RUSH: Hey, Pat. I really appreciate your making time for this.
BUCHANAN: Delighted. How are you, fella?
RUSH: I’m great. There’s so much I want to talk with you about.
Let me start with the piece written back in 1996 by Sam Francis
[“FROM HOUSEHOLD TO NATION: THE MIDDLE AMERICAN
POPULISM OF PAT BUCHANAN”]. Do you remember this piece? He
was advising you back then.
BUCHANAN: Yes, I do.
RUSH: One of his salient points was that you needed — in order to
accomplish then what Donald Trump is essentially accomplishing
today — to abandon using the word “conservative” or “
conservatism.” That “the conservative movement” was as much a part of
what you opposed as any Party establishment was. But you couldn’t,
because you were so tied to the conservative movement.
Other than that, you were the forerunner of what we’re seeing
now. In fact, you were asked, “What’s different between then and
today?” Your answer was that you set the stage for somebody to
come later to actually accomplish all this. How does it make you
feel? You’re being validated in some ways. Was Sam Francis right,
that you could have gone farther if you had somehow found a way
to extricate yourself from the so-called “conservative movement”?
BUCHANAN: No. I don’t think the country or the Party, certainly,
were ready for that. There was a great pile-on after I’d won Alaska
and I’d won Louisiana, came in second by three points to Dole in
Iowa, and then I won New Hampshire, Rush. What Sam Francis
was saying, in effect, was: “You should abandon basically the
Beltway conservative elites and all the retainers and all their agen-
das and run on a populist and nationalist ticket alone.”
I was arguing for secure borders back in ’91, ’92 when I ran
against Bush Senior. I’d run against free trade and in favor of “eco-
nomic patriotism,” a restoration of basically 19th century trade
policy that made America a great nation. The third thing I argued
against was these international wars and wars in the Middle East
which were unending and unwinnable and unnecessary. I made
those issues, but I didn’t abandon conservatism because I was a
Barry Goldwater/Spiro Agnew/Ronald Reagan conservative. So I
stayed with that.
I might have been able to beat Bob Dole in ’96 if Steve Forbes
could have gotten out of the race, but he had too much money and
stayed in. I doubt I could have beaten Bill Clinton that year. He was
very strong. I will say those issues were the issues we raised, and we
said what would happen.
Trump is succeeding because what we predicted has come to
pass. Rush, in the first decade of the 21st century we lost six million
manufacturing jobs and 55,000 factories. Today there are towns
and cities and states all over America that realize the consequences
of this, and the constituency standing up against “free trade” is far
larger, broader, and deeper than it was. It was strong then. Ralph
Nader and I and Ross Perot all ran against NAFTA, but we didn’t
succeed because the Bush-Baker Republicans joined with the
Clinton Democrats and rammed it through.
RUSH: Another thing front and center in 1996, and also in 1992
when you ran against George H.W. Bush, was “the culture war,”
your term. The culture war had to do with domestic policy issues,
with the left forcing cultural revisionism on an essentially
Judeo-Christian country that wasn’t prepared for it, didn’t want the
change, but found themselves being muscled out. Now that’s
something Trump does not talk about.
BUCHANAN: Right. When I ran against Bush in ’91, ’92, I did not
raise the issue of right to life or the cultural/social issues against him,
Such a privilege to speak with this longtime conservative
warrior — senior advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, and
Reagan; GOP Presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996;
conservative media commentator; incisive and prolific author
— who has been writing about the birth of a “new GOP”: