It’s been clear from the beginning that Trump is not a conservative, as that term is understood in this country. The conservative American tradition begins with Mason and Madison, was continued by Jefferson and Jackson, and was born again in the 20th century with Barry Goldwater in 1964. It believes, above all else, in limited government, and in the sovereignty of the States. Conservatives like Madison and Mason wrote the Constitution, and did so with the purpose of limiting and controlling the power of the federal government.
In order to secure the support of Hamilton and the Federalists, a number of compromises were struck. The Federalists were the Wall Street Bankers of the day. Hamilton, their leader, founded the Bank of New York in 1784, three years before the Convention. They wanted a strong federal government, the stronger the better. They wanted the federal government to use its financial power to invest in vast internal improvements that the country desperately needed. Roads, canals, an entire national infrastructure needed to be built, and only the federal government would have the ability to raise the money.
Madison and the conservatives wanted none of it. That sort of thing wasn’t the federal government’s business. Much of our political history is the story of these two contesting forces, often called Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians. The Jeffersonians represent our southern tradition, and culture, which began at Jamestown in 1607. The Hamiltonians are part of our northern culture, which began in Massachusetts in 1619. These two forces have contested for power in this country since the beginning, and they’re still at it.
I’m a Jeffersonian, and proud of it. Trump is a Hamiltonian, to his bones. We aren’t destined to see eye to eye. He wants to exercise power, and I want to restrain him. The branch of government I am associated with, the Federal Assembly, has all the power it needs to exercise the restraint that may be needed.
David A. Lieb, the Missouri correspondent of the Associated Press, has an outstanding article on our movement. This guy is a real journalist. He took a serious story, did his home work, figured out what was happening, and wrote a fair and balanced account of our story. Where have you been, David A. Lieb? It’s about time. I’ve been waiting for some reporter who was smart enough to figure it all out to come along. It was David Lieb who did it. My hat is off.
Now that we’re out in the open, thanks to Lieb, we need to make it understood that we’re not part of the Trump phenomenon. We’re conservatives, Jeffersonians. Trump is a Hamiltonian, and as such we oppose him.