What are the limits to populism in a Constitutional Republic. The answer is, we’re about to find out. When Trump rode in on the heels of a Jacksonian moment, it took nearly three months to discern the limits of being a purely domestic President. Even though Lyndon Johnson, Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter remain divisive Executives, they were primarily elected to fix domestic agendas. But that’s not the most effective or judicious way to wield Executive power as President. Our unitary executive was created resembling monarchy. Only a Hamiltonian Presidency can shape a Jacksonian creed. Trump is learning this now, even as Steve Bannon rails to curtail H.R. McMaster’s writ in Southwest Asia.
What Bannon has yet to acknowledge, Trump has already acquired and recalculated back into his tactical posture of executive strategy, for Trump, the United States domestic economy resides as the foundation for global security and prosperity. We’re severely constrained with an executive pursuing a domestic agenda. If anything, we’ve just relinquished eight years of naval gazing that procured nothing but diminishing returns.
The core goals of a Jacksonian domestic Presidency can only succeed within the confines of a Hamiltonian Presidency. The sine qua non is expressed power, and only perhaps realists understand how best to wield this instrument. As Dr. Walter Russell Mead recently wrote, Lincoln embodied the symmetry of the American electorates binary party system between Jacksonian Democrats and Hamiltons Whigs. By the time of the Cold War, the American electorate knew expressed requisite power alone could curtail Soviet expansion. Both Truman, Kennedy and Reagan implicitly knew it.
My interview with Dr. Henry Nau, Ronald Reagan’s Director of the National Security Council cover this agenda by examining his latest publication, Conservative Internationalism: Armed Diplomacy Under Jefferson, Polk, Truman & Reagan.