Pat Buchanan nails this one. Over the years I have had some disagreements with Pat Buchanan but at least he sticks by his guns. Writing over at Human Events, Buchanan notes some interesting parallels between the Obama presidency and the LBJ disaster:
It was the winter of conservative discontent.
Barry Goldwater had gotten only 38 percent of the vote, and his party had suffered its worst thrashing since Alf Landon fell to FDR in 1936.
Democrats held 295 House seats, Republicans 140. They held 68 Senate seats to Republicans’ 32, and 33 governors to the GOP’s 17.
Democratic registration was twice that of the GOP. The liberal press was gleefully writing the obituary of “The Party That Lost Its Head.”
Rumors of the death of the Conservative movement have been greatly exaggerated, now and in the past. Pat continues:
Donovan and all the rest were wrong. The GOP came roaring back in 1966 to capture 47 House seats and eight new governorships. In 1968, Nixon led the party out of the wilderness and into a White House it would hold for 20 of the next 24 years.
Full of hubris in 1965, Lyndon Johnson had seized his moment. He had launched a Great Society that would outdo his beloved patron FDR. He would dispatch 500,000 troops to Vietnam to “bring the coonskin home on the wall” and create a “Great Society on the Mekong.” Those were heady days of “guns-and-butter.”
By 1968, LBJ’s coalition was shredded. Gov. George Wallace had torn away the populist right. Sens. Gene McCarthy, George McGovern and Robert Kennedy had rallied the antiwar left against him. LBJ and Hubert Humphrey were left to preside over a shrinking center.
Why did LBJ fail? He overloaded the circuits. He tried to do it all. He misread a national desire for continuity after Kennedy’s death as a mandate for a lunge to the left and a great leap forward with the largest expansion of government since the New Deal
Is this starting to sound familiar at all?
By the winter of 1968, Lyndon Johnson was a broken president.
History never repeats itself exactly. But Barack Obama is making the same mistakes today that LBJ made in 1965.
Not only is Barack running a deficit four times as large as Bush’s largest, he has called for $1 trillion in new taxes on America’s most successful, who have already seen their savings and pensions ravaged.
He wants a cap-and-trade system to deal with a global-warming or climate-change crisis many scientists believe is a hoax. He is going to provide health care for all, including immigrants, millions of whom arrive uninsured every year.
He is going to plunge scores of billions more into education, though education has eaten up the wealth of an empire, as SAT scores sink further and further below the apogee of 1964, before LBJ and the feds barged in. He is going to ask Congress for authority to spend another $750 billion rescuing the banks.
Buchanan closes by pointing out that Obama’s hard left turn is a huge gift to the GOP:
Obama is misreading the election returns. When America voted to cancel the White House lease of Mr. Bush, it did not vote Barack Obama a blank check.
By misinterpreting his mandate, Obama has accomplished something John McCain could not — unite the Republican Party and instill in it a new esprit de corps. For the Obama budget is an insult to the core belief of the party — that free people, not coercive government, should shape the character of society.
By daring Republicans to fight on the issue of a $1.75 trillion deficit, Obama has liberated the GOP from any obligation to him. He has come out of the closet as a radical liberal spoiling for a fight over an agenda of radical change.
Sooner than any might have thought, we have clarity.
Republicans always seem better and more principled when out of power. The challenge is going to be holding them to our principles once the GOP retakes the House and/or Senate.
Read Pat’s entire column here.