Pat Buchanan on the Republican Party's historical opposition to free trade deals

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Is there a part of republican doctrine that is supposed to make sense?

After “me first! gimme gimme!” everything else is contradictory, counterfactual, or just plain crazy.


There is actually a serious point amongst the crazy here.

The Republican party was historically opposed to free trade, and it is not an article of faith for a Conservative party to be pro-trade at all. Indeed, the idea would have seemed laughable in Europe, where Liberal parties were always the standard bearers of free trade and free markets (our current worldwide economic order is called Neoliberalism for a reason)

What the Republican party does not want to examine in itself is that Trump harks back to the origins of the Republican Coalition. He supports the Protectionism of the Whigs and the Nativism and hostility to foreigners of the Know-nothings.

A Paleoconservative like Buchanan might be pleased at the discomfort Trump causes to the “establishment” Conservatives, but his pet issues are hardly in line with the few things that Trump believes either.

Overall, this illustrates why Trump may be on course to shatter the Republican coalition:

  • Fundamentalist Christians have had their pet concerns ignored or flip flopped because Trump doesn’t even pretend to care about their cultural wedge issues

  • Randians have been sidelined by his complete opposition to free trade, his opposition to immigration of cheap labour and general economic"populism"

  • Neoconservatives Are out because of his complete disdain for foreign policy and semi isolationism.


Yeah, I keep making this point about the current republican party shattering, too. I think it’s right on the money. We can see that not only in the case of free trade, but also along the lines of social issues. The GA governor is a business dude and he vetoed GA’s anti-LBGQT law based on a business decision. My better half seems to think that the Dems are also fractured, but I think that they are not nearly as fragile as this coalition in the GOP.


Also sometimes phrased as “I got mine, sucks for you!”


Patrick J Buchanan’s May column in American Conservative (an organ he founded that is a total reich wing loony rag)


Yeah… back when he was running for president, I seem to remember him saying at one point “Hitler had a few good ideas”… Fuck this right wing crypto-fascist.


Why are these people called conservatives anyway? They don’t even believe in divine right of kings.


largely because the meaning of political languages has changed over the years and monarchy, which used to be the old order, is really much rarer today, in terms of having actual political power in governance. What they want to conserve has changed, because society has fundamentally changed in many ways since the French revolution.

Honestly, I have a sneaking suspicion that the language that emerged out of the french, Haitian, and American revolutions are not really fully effective in understanding the political situation today.


I wish that were true. Lately he’s seems to be doing everything he can to pull it back together.
On the first issue, Trump has, from the beginning, absolutely pretended to care about (some) cultural wedge issues (the gay marriage thing he dropped presumably because it isn’t actually a big issue for most Republicans). It wasn’t very convincing pretending, but combined with the vocal Islamophobia, it was enough to convince many fundamentalists to support him even above honest theocrat Cruz, because Trump promised to “defend the faith” the most muscularly (by attacking their enemies).
As for the others - Trump has kept all his policy suggestions undeclared or totally contradictory (i.e. he seems to take a protectionist stance, but he’s only talking about a single company, or doesn’t actually specify what he’d do differently, or he takes a stance that he knows will please his core supporters and then quietly contradicts himself to a general conservative audience). Lately he’s been going full-bore in becoming a totally conventional Republican candidate (e.g. a list of potential Supreme Court nominees that came straight from the Heritage Foundation, etc.). By the time the election rolls around, I full expect he’ll be totally palatable to the average Republican, at least on policy issues.

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Buchanan seems to be arguing that nationalist tariffs will raise wages for American workers. Is this an attempt to argue that the Republicans under Trump would have the interests of the middle class at heart? I’m not making any suggestions as to whether he actually believes it or not, but is it possible that even moderately rich people like himself have begun to get cold feet at the way money is moving to the billionaires? One way for the Right to defeat a left wing idea is to adopt it, with significant changes, as a right wing idea. (For instance, you could take a right wing idea like nationalism and a left wing idea like socialism and do a bit of creative rebranding…)

But it’s not all about him, it’s about how he shows the cracks in the party as it stands. I wouldn’t be surprised if his swerve to be more inline with the party leaders loses him a fair number of his followers who were on board precisely because he was thumbing his nose at the party. [quote=“Shuck, post:10, topic:78446”]
I full expect he’ll be totally palatable to the average Republican

I think so too and I suspect that he’ll get a back lash on that count.

My local npr station had a story on just this phenomenon. A conservative district elected a tea party dude, Barry Loudermilk is being challenged from the right for his congressional seat. Here is the AJC’s take on it (I can’t seem to find the story I heard this week).

If Trump comes into line with the party, there’s a strong chance he’ll lose voters, I think.


Always a problem for populists because their platform is “what gets me votes” rather than ideological.

Berlusconi in Italy started his own party. Farage in the UK took over UKIP from within before it was big enough to matter. To me it’s interesting that UKIP was founded to be an anti-EU and Euro party of the soft Left, but Farage drifted to the hard right because that’s where the people were who were sufficiently anti the main parties to vote for him. His problem is that they are limited to around 14-17% of the electorate. Berlusconi, however, seems more relevant when considering Trump. Whether or not he had actual Mafia links, his policies were Mafia-friendly. Berlusconi retained to the end the ability to engage a particular type of Italian, but in the end his support just ebbed away as a result of macro-economic events.
If Trump is trying to trim his sails to catch the voter wind while at the same time steering the same way that the big donors and powerful Republicans want him to go, then all I can say is that PhDs will be written analysing what happens.


And historically the Republican party wasn’t always or exclusively a conservative party. Both political parties have shifted, re-aligned, collapsed and reformed multiple times. Historically they’ve both been coalitions featuring distinct conservative and liberal/progressive wings allied over issues other than simple ideological purity.

And its not that reason. The “liberal” in neoliberalism isn’t a reference to left wing politics or an origin there. It refers to an older usage of the term in economics. Essentially a form a laissez faire capitalism. The “liberalism” there is a lack of regulation or centralized control of business or economic structures. And while the left may have been traditionally pretty well down with free trade, modern left wing politics has its base heavily in things like the labor movement, activism for increased enfranchisement (ie voting rights), the social safety net, socialism etc. These roots and hell of a lot of left wing goals, successes, and base political theory are often diametrically opposed to the tenets pushed and idealized by neoliberalism. And neoliberalism itself grew directly out of conservative politics.


Volkswagen? The Autobahn? Animal welfare? Vegetarianism? Couture military uniforms? Operation Barbarossa?

…well, he did say a few good ideas.

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Even the Nazis loved their mothers. But that still doesn’t explain why anybody is listening to Pat Buchanan any more.


The cracks have been there for a while - and they’re probably better demonstrated by the differences between younger and older Republicans (where, for example, we have majority support for gay marriage for younger Republicans). Trump crosses those divides better than you’d think, apparently because the one thing that’s widely appealing is being a dumb, rich bully.
Unfortunately I suspect that Trump’s shift to being a conventional candidate will not hurt him very much with his existing supporters because they’re not low information voters, they’re no information voters. Taking on conventional positions wouldn’t change how he talks about these things, and that’s apparently what they like, not the substance of what he’s saying. After all, these people have been willing to ignore the fact that he has no actual policy positions on almost anything, and the few he does have are literally insane. They’re willing to overlook the facts when Trump simply declares something else to be the case when it demonstrably isn’t, or that he said something different the previous week (or several sentences ago). The fact that the Republican party will be paying for his campaign, for example, will go unacknowledged because Trump will just lie and say it’s self funded, for example - after all, that’s worked so far. Like his court appointment list, I’m sure he’ll come out with lists of foreign and economic policy advisors, etc. that have been handed to him by the Republican party - they won’t mean anything to his existing supporters, but will to those conservatives who know and care about actual policy, and they’ll be properly mollified.

Holy crap, now I’m scaring myself into thinking we might just get a Trump presidency…


Clem had a daydream,
Daydream from heaven:
Picked up the headline,
His country was made up of singers,
And no more right-wingers.

Wakes up to "Homeless are stupid,
Welfare is stupid ,
Private investment, efficiency,
Cool fiscal plannin’,"
Sounds like more Pat Buchanan.

Back in his day job this afternoon.
Unlikely he’ll move down to Cuba soon.

Reluctant to find he’s
Stuck in the 90’s again…

  • Moxy Früvous, Stuck in the 90’s

This the best I could do, sorry:


Those who forget their Pat Buchanan are doomed to find themselves listening to him again.