BUCHANAN: I’ve reached an age where you say, look, you’ve rolled
the dice so many times. This is one thing I think a lot of Republicans feel. We’ve gone out and voted for these guys. “Hey, come on,
we’ve got a great chance to take both Houses of Congress!” 245
seats, take the Senate, and then nothing. Then you give them back
another Congress and then nothing. It’s not surprising they’re all
going for Trump.
RUSH: No, no, I totally agree. I think there’s a point of no return.
It’s to the point now people are excited.
BUCHANAN: I’ve never seen an election where so many people are
excited. Trump is right when he says, “Look at the turnout.” In every Republican primary or caucus, turnouts are all-time records,
sometimes doubling what they were before. Some of them are coming out because they’re afraid of Trump, but the great majority of
them are coming out for Trump.
RUSH: Let’s talk about conservatism for just a second, because
one of the potential victims of a Trump victory is not just the
Republican establishment and the whole Republican Party. But
what about the classic “conservative movement”? You and I both
know there’s the inside-the-Beltway intelligentsia, which is really
indistinguishable from the Democrat intelligentsia, in terms of
Washington being the capital of the world and focus of attention.
But what about a guy like Ted Cruz? Your conservatism is as solid
and as deep as any real conservative in this country for the last
100 years. Where do you put Ted Cruz in this mix? Are you
tempted to support him at all?
BUCHANAN: In terms of modern conservatism, Ted Cruz is a silver
standard, if not a gold standard. I say that because he’s solid on all
the issues. You can rely on him on all of the issues. I would be as-
tonished if on some major question he went the other way. What
Trump has that Cruz does not is: Trump has really seized upon and
expropriated the Buchanan issues from the 1990s, which were not
I used to be a free trader in Ronald Reagan’s White House, Rush.
Roger Milliken came in and I said, “We’re going to veto that pro-
tectionist textile bill, Roger, because I’m the biggest free trader in
the building except for the guy down the hall in the Oval Office.”
But then I went out there and saw what had happened. When the
Cold War ended you saw the Soviet Empire break apart. Eastern
Europe was free, the Soviet Union broke into 15 pieces. I said, “My
war, the Cold War, is over. Let’s let the allies now start taking over
their own defense.” So those issues are post-Cold War, post-Reagan
conservative issues, in my view. Of course, they’re called “populist”
and all kinds of other names, “nationalist,” etc., but those are differ-
ent, and Cruz does not hold those. That’s the appeal that Trump
has to me, for what he did when he stepped right into it. All of a
sudden he laid down a hand, and as far as I was concerned there
were three aces in it.
RUSH: Now another key point. I think the American people are a
little conflicted because of the threat of international terrorism, but
a point you have been making for decades is that it’s not our place
to involve ourselves in every international skirmish. We can’t see
defined U.S. national interests in over half these places we involve
BUCHANAN: Exactly. Politically, taking the hawkish line, the hard
line, the confrontational line — you know, “We’re going to tear up
that agreement with Iran the first day I take office” — is undeniably the popular position to take. But I don’t believe it is the right
position always for the country.
I opposed the Iraq war, the invasion of Iraq. I didn’t think they
had weapons of mass destruction. I didn’t believe Saddam Hussein
was going to put mustard gas on northwest Washington or McLean,
Virginia. I didn’t believe he was a threat, so I opposed the war. Bill
Odom, the late general, called it the worst strategic mistake we ever
made. It cost us. What did we get? Thousands of American dead,
tens of thousands of wounded warriors, a couple trillion dollars
down the tube, Iraq broken into three pieces, ISIS holding onto most
of Anbar Province. It’s just a hellish mess. And we dumped over
Khadafy, a dreadful human being who did the Lockerbie massacre.
We killed him. Now they’ve got ISIS all over there, fighting with al
Qaeda. Then you’ve got Syria. The idea of sending an American
army in there to try to clear this up — no way. If Putin is bombing
ISIS, I’ve got no problem with it either.
RUSH: I need to go back to something you said. Here’s Trump who
is, by all definitions, a professional political novice. Say he gets
elected President, and now it’s time to assemble a foreign policy
team. You’re right, all these people who have ripped him to shreds
will be showing up with résumés, because they want their turn at
stardom. How does Trump guard against being sabotaged by people at State or the Pentagon who would end up undermining him?
How did Reagan avoid that? No President knows enough people
intimately to be able to place them at Commerce, at DOJ, or Homeland Security. You’ve got to rely on somebody to advise you.
BUCHANAN: I think that’s right. Jeff Sessions, for my money, is
about one of the best men in either House of Congress. He’s a terrific choice, a guy with guts, a man with good judgment. I think
candidate Trump ought to be talking to him, and he ought to be
gathering together people who are loyal to his agenda and loyal to
him. Then you’ve got to rely upon them.
I was with Richard Nixon back in ’66, ’67, ’68, and when the
election was over, we’d won what I thought was a great conservative
victory over Humphrey — and we get Nelson Rockefeller’s foreign
policy guy, Henry Kissinger, and Kennedy’s domestic guy, Pat
Moynihan. PH O T