July 24, 2012
Triumphant in the first Gulf war, George H.W. Bush, in October 1991, went before the UN to declare that the US’s goal was now to build a “New World Order”.
Rejecting this as Wilsonian utopianism, my 1992 presidential campaign called for an end to US military intervention where no vital interest was imperilled, for federal action to secure our southern border and for a halt to the outsourcing of US manufacturing jobs.
We advocated a Hamiltonian policy to support industry and a Jeffersonian foreign policy of peaceful commerce with all nations but entangling alliances with none. And we were denounced as isolationists and protectionists.
We lost. But Mr Bush lost too, when Ross Perot, running on the same theme – putting America first – stripped away a third of the coalition Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan put together, leaving Mr Bush with an incumbent’s smallest share of the vote since William Howard Taft.