At The American Conservative, Pat Buchanan reviews Laura Ingraham’s book, Billionaire at the Barricades. In it, Ingraham makes the case that Donald Trump is the heir to the legacy of Ronald Reagan. Pat lists the major similarities between the two men, but also cautions that a troubled Trump presidency could easily change course in a war with North Korea. Such a change of course would result in a presidency more like that of George W. Bush than that of Reagan. Pat writes:
Laura Ingraham’s new book: “Billionaire at the Barricades: The Populist Revolution from Reagan to Trump.” Thesis: Donald Trump is a conservative populist and direct descendant and rightful heir to Ronald Reagan.
Both men were outsiders, and neither a career politician. Raised Democratic, Reagan had been a Hollywood actor, union leader and voice of GE, before running for governor of California.
Trump is out of Queens, a builder-businessman in a Democratic city whose Republican credentials were suspect at best when he rode down that elevator at Trump Tower. Both took on the Republican establishment of their day, and humiliated it
Among the signature issues of Trumpian populism is economic nationalism, a new trade policy designed to prosper Americans first.
Reagan preached free trade, but when Harley-Davidson was in danger of going under because of Japanese dumping of big bikes, he slammed a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles. Though a free trader by philosophy, Reagan was at heart an economic patriot.
Reagan and Trump both embraced the Eisenhower doctrine of “peace through strength.” And, like Ike, both built up the military.
Both also believed in cutting tax rates to stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget through rising revenues rather than cutting programs like Medicare and Social Security.
Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day — the Soviet Union in Reagan’s day, Russia and China in Trump’s time.
And both were regarded in this capital city with a cosmopolitan condescension bordering on contempt. “An amiable dunce” said a Great Society Democrat of Reagan.
The differences between Trump in his first year and Reagan in 1981 are stark.
Coming up on one year since his election, Trump is besieged by a hostile press and united Democratic Party. This city hates him. While his executive actions are impressive, his legislative accomplishments are not. His approval ratings have lingered in the mid-30s. He has lost half a dozen senior members of his original White House staff.
Moreover, we seem close to war with North Korea that would be no cakewalk.
Steve Bannon may see the 25th Amendment, where a Cabinet majority may depose a president, as the great threat to Trump.
But it is far more likely that a major war would do for the Trump presidency and his place in history what it did for Presidents Wilson, Truman, LBJ and George W. Bush.
Read more here.