Editor’s note: The following column is a condensation of Pat Buchanan’s endorsement of President Bush in the American Conservative.
In the fall of 2002, the American Conservative made the conservative case against invading Iraq. Such a war, we warned, on a country that did not attack us, did not threaten us and had no role in 9-11, would be “a tragedy and a disaster.”
Invade and we inherit our own West Bank of 23 million Iraqis and incite imams from Morocco to Malaysia to preach jihad against America.
So we wrote. And everything we predicted has come to pass. Iraq is the worst strategic blunder in our lifetime. And for it, George W. Bush and the neoconservatives who planned this war for a decade bear full responsibility.
Should Bush lose the election, it will be because he heeded their siren song – that the world was pining for American Empire; that “Big Government Conservatism” is a political philosophy, not a sellout of principle; that free-trade globalism is the path to prosperity, not the serial killer of U.S. manufacturing; that amnesty for illegal aliens is compassionate conservatism, not an abdication of constitutional duty.
Yet in the contest between Bush and Kerry, I am compelled to endorse the president of the United States.
While both men are wrong on Iraq, Ariel Sharon, NAFTA, the World Trade Organization, open borders, affirmative action, amnesty, free trade, foreign aid and Big Government, Bush is right on taxes, judges, sovereignty and values. For conservatives, Kerry is right on nothing.
The only compelling argument for endorsing Kerry is to punish Bush for Iraq. But why should Kerry be rewarded? He voted to hand Bush a blank check for war. Besides, a vote for Kerry is more than just a vote to punish Bush. It is a vote to punish America.
For Kerry is a man who came home from Vietnam to slime the soldiers, sailors, Marines and POWs he left behind as war criminals. His conduct was as treasonous as that of Jane Fonda and disqualifies him from ever being commander in chief.
As senator, he voted to undermine the policy of Ronald Reagan that brought us victory in the Cold War. Though a Catholic who professes to believe life begins at conception, he backs abortion on demand. He has opposed the conservative judges Bush has named to the U.S. appellate courts.
His plans for national health insurance and new spending would bankrupt America. He would raise taxes. He is a globalist and a multilateralist who would sign us on to the Kyoto Protocol and International Criminal Court. His stands on Iraq are about as coherent as a self-portrait by Jackson Pollock.
I cannot endorse the candidate of Michael Moore, George Soros and Barbra Streisand, no matter how deep our disagreement with the fiscal, foreign, immigration and trade policies of George W. Bush.
As Barry Goldwater said in 1960, in urging conservatives to set aside their grievances and unite, the Republican Party is our home. It is our only hope. If an authentic conservatism rooted in the values of faith, family, community and country is ever again to become the guiding light of national policy, it will have to come through a Republican administration.
Moreover, inside the Republican Party, a rebellion is stirring. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado is leading the battle for defense of our borders. While only a handful of Republicans stood with us against the war in Iraq, many now concede that we were right. There is a rumbling of dissent inside the GOP to the free-trade fanaticism that is denuding the nation of manufacturing and alienating Reagan Democrats. The celebrants of outsourcing in the White House have gone into cloister. The Bush amnesty for illegal aliens has been rejected.
Prodigal Republicans now understand that their cohabitation with Big Government has brought their country to the brink of ruin and bought them nothing. But if we wish to be involved in the struggle for the soul of the GOP – and we intend to be there – we cannot be AWOL from the battle where the fate of that party is decided.
There is a final reason I support George W. Bush. A presidential election is a Hatfield-McCoy thing, a tribal affair. No matter the quarrels inside the family, when the shooting starts, you come home to your own.