Nativists, Protectionists and Isolationists! Oh my!
President Bush, marking the fifth anniversary of his Wilsonian crusade for democracy in Iraq, chose to commemorate the war by bashing his administration's critics - no, not liberal democrats like Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid; rather, the president aimed his clunky rhetoric straight at conservatives. Pat Buchanan rightly notes:
With Iraq entering its sixth year, the dollar sinking to peso levels, the economy careening into recession, and 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens roosting here, Bush alerted us to what really worries him:Such scare words! Protectionism! Isolationism! Nativism! Yes, protecting America's domestic industries (which was US policy until just the last forty years, which coincidentally is when we lost so much of our domestic industry), keeping out of foreign wars and trying to hold on to a national identity, why those ideals are just as bad as communism or nazism! Only trolls could espouse such nonsense (trolls including, apparently, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams). Buchanan goes on to point out that these are straw men, at best. The U.S. has never been "isolationist" in any real sense of the word; and US could not have possibly intervened in Europe during the 30's in such a way as to prevent the rise of Hitler. As for the ill-advised, but overly maligned Smoot-Hawley Act, it certainly didn't help the depression - but it hardly caused it. The blame for the depression should fall squarely the Federal Reserves massive failure to adequately deal with the banking crisis in 1930-33, the very type of crisis the Fed had originally be created to prevent.
“I’m troubled by isolationism and protectionism … (and) another ‘ism,’ and that’s nativism. And that’s what happened throughout our history. And probably the most grim reminder of what can happen to America during periods of isolationism and protectionism is what happened in the late — in the ’30s, when we had this America First policy and Smoot-Hawley. And look where it got us.”
Since 2001, he has presided over the seven largest trade deficits in history, the loss of 3.5 million manufacturing jobs and the collapse of the dollar, and added but one-fifth of the private sector jobs Bill Clinton created. Gold has gone from $260 an ounce to $1,000, oil from $28 a barrel to $100.Of course, Bush was never a conservative to begin with and the GOP was merely a vehicle for his political career, not an identification of political beliefs. The results of his presidency, however, will be as disastrous for the GOP as they will for the nation.
“Nativism” is another smear term, dating to the early 1850s and the Know-Nothing Party, which sought to halt immigration after millions of Irish flooded in after the famine of 1845. It carries a connotation of xenophobia, or the fear and hatred of foreigners.
Thus does Bush tar critics who deplore his dereliction of duty in failing to defend this nation’s borders against a Third World invasion that may turn this republic into a Tower of Babel.
From 1924 to 1965, there was indeed little immigration. Does that make Coolidge, Hoover, FDR, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Kennedy knuckle-dragging nativists? When JFK took office, we were as united and strong a country as we have ever been. How did we suffer from not having 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens here?
In smearing as nativists, protectionists and isolationists those who wish to stop the invasion, halt the export of factories and jobs to Asia, and stop the unnecessary wars, Bush is attacking the last true conservatives in his party.