He is called America’s leading populist conservative, and with six bestselling books and several runs for political office to his name, Pat Buchanan is no stranger to government, or the Republican party. Which is why this book is so important and so stunning, for here is a popular conservative taking the current presidency to task for becoming a gross distortion of what conservatives, and most Republicans, stand for and believe in. And the fact that Buchanan isn’t a liberal or Democrat means his argument holds a lot more water with those who refuse to see the light on the right.
Buchanan makes his argument on the basis that the neoconservatives running the Bush presidency have hijacked the Republican party and moved the conservative label to the extreme right. His explosive book accuses Bush’s neoconservative staff members of planning the Iraq invasion long before 9/11, as part of an overall plan to take over the entire Middle East region by engaging in war upon war upon war.
Not afraid to hold back or mince words, the author attacks the utter recklessness of Bush’s fiscal policies, which have led to massive overspending and a deficit big enough to throw a galaxy into. These are not values of the real conservatives in America, who believe in less government spending and fiscal responsibility. Nor is the foreign policy of neocons acceptable, and Buchanan names names, citing Paul Woflowitz, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle as three of the cabal members responsible for turning Bush’s presidency into a dangerous and financially imperiled empire.
China comes up as a touchy subject, with a warning from the author that if we are not careful, this growing economic world force could steal our industrial base and flex its muscles in ways we do not want to imagine. Also a thorn in Buchanan’s side is the massive debt incurred over the last four years and the deviations from the basic conservative principals that Republicans once championed. The chapter “Economic Treason” is a real eye-opener, as is much of this book.
I do not agree whatsoever with many of Buchanan’s right-wing beliefs, such as his praise for the Reagan economic revolution and his admiration of Bush’s conservative (and often clandestine) judgeship appointments, nor do I see anything compassionate or American about his total lack of respect for the Mexican immigrants who pick our food and clean our houses or his anti-gay stances, but I do have to respect the author’s attempts to reign in his own party and try to return conservatism to its basic roots and some semblance of reality. “Republican” used to mean less government spending, less government interference in our private lives, and personal responsibility. Today, it means wild spending, Big Brother and war without end. The focus on a “war of civilizations” with the Islamic world, as Buchanan states, has moved the GOP into an area that not only further endangers our nation from the real threat of terrorism, but economically threatens our stability, independence and standard of living.
Now THAT’S something we can all agree on, right and left and in between.