Pat Buchanan
One question I am asked while on tour for my new book, "The Greatest Comeback," on the resurrection of Richard Nixon, is:

Does Nixon's rise, from crushing defeats in 1960 and 1962, and the debacle his party suffered in 1964, to capturing the White House and beginning a string of five victories in six presidential elections, have relevance for today's GOP?

Can the "Great Silent Majority" of yesteryear be replicated?

The answer is probably not. For while there are similarities between the America of 1968, and of today, the differences are greater.

The similarities: By the late 1960s, as today, the country was pivoting away from a Democratic Party and president that seemed incapable of mastering the crises of the times in which they lived.

Then it was LBJ; today, Barack Obama.

In 1968, America turned to the GOP to manage a bloodier war than Iraq, that the Democratic Party could not win or end, and to cope with the social anarchy Lyndon Johnson's Great Society seemed to have ushered in.

And the party of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan delivered -- eventually -- a successful conclusion to the Cold War that had been the unifying cause of that generation.

America is another country today.

The Cold war is over. The nation is no longer united on America's role. A majority want out of the Middle East wars into which George W. Bush led the nation.

And the GOP is itself, like the Democrats of 1968 over Vietnam, divided on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and how to deal with the challenges of Vladimir Putin's Russia and Xi Jinping's China.

While distrust of government has rarely been greater than today, it is also true that dependence upon government has never been greater.

Tens of millions of families rely on the government as a primary source of income, food, health care, housing and other necessities of daily life.

Government's role in education has never been greater.

A Republican Party that preaches an anti-Big Government gospel or a rollback of programs is unlikely to be warmly received by the scores of millions who depend on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and a host of other social welfare benefits.

Republican proposals to cut taxes on income, capital gains, estates and inheritances are unlikely to win standing ovations from folks who pay no income taxes and have no estates or capital gains.

America is another country in other ways.


Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
 
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