Sam Tanenhaus just penned a lengthy profile in Esquire of Pat Buchanan describing how Buchanan's three unsuccessful presidential campaigns helped lay the groundwork for Trump's successful campaign this year. Tanenhaus quotes Buchanan as telling the New York Times, in 2000, "When the chickens come home to roost, this whole coalition will be there for somebody. . . . There's no doubt these issues can win." Since 2000, of course, the problems highlighted by Buchanan in his campaigns have only grown more apparent, with the great damage caused by economic globalization, mass immigration, and pointless foreign wars now so clear that even some of the denizens of DC and Manhattan can see them.
Unfortunately, at least some in the Trump White House are beginning to lose sight of the issues that brought about perhaps the most astonishing win in American presidential history. Donald Trump was elected to bring American jobs home and to end the invasion of our southern border, not to lob cruise missiles into Syria, much less put us on the road to deeper involvement in the Syrian civil war. By taking that action, Trump dismayed some of his staunchest supporters and delighted some of his fiercest opponents. Of course, statesmanship does sometimes require taking actions that garner the disapproval of many of a politician's supporters, but no politician who makes a regular habit of disappointing his base and pleasing his enemies has much of a future. Nor does any politician who puts his enemies in positions of power. Almost as astonishing to me as the missile strike on Syria was the revelation that Trump's UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, employs the wife of Jonah Goldberg, a bitter and vitriolic Never Trumper. One fears that a White House post for Mrs. George Will is not far behind.
In his article, Tanenhaus reveals that Trump would call and talk to Buchanan during the primaries, but that the two men have not talked since. Instead, many news stories suggest that the Syria strike was the result of the rising influence of Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. If Trump wants to succeed politically and to advance the issues he campaigned on, he would be well advised to listen more to Pat and less to Jared. Pick up that phone again, Mr. President!
[Image: screengrab via Youtube]
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.