Amid the current field of Republicans vying for the Party’s nod in 2016, how would General Douglas MacArthur fare? While MacArthur ended his career without having given a full run for the nomination, arguably reached his career peak in 1946, and lived out his retirement in the New York Waldorf Astoria, perhaps placing the General in the present tense will allow for a few points of comparison.
Unlike most of the other Republicans in the field, MacArthur has extensive military experience — as he says, “joining the military before the turn of the last century was the fulfillment of all my boyhood hopes and dreams.” Yet he says nothing about Planned Parenthood, and has no venom for the federal government as an instrument of, in an incongruent phrase, “social justice.” He is nevertheless eloquent as a speaker; his lack of fluency with social media is endearing. He eschews neckties, is photogenic, and stares off into the visionary distance like no other candidate. He is pro-free trade, supports South Korea against a war of northern aggression, promotes reforms in Japan, and, with the help of our Christian ally the Philippines, will keep Beijing on the defensive in the South China Sea. His definite views on, and extensive experience in, foreign policy, along with proven experience as a chief executive should immediately distinguish him in the field. Amid a field of candidates emphasizing their supposedly tough attributes, MacArthur can point to his tangible threat of nuclear attacks on China; this will certainly rev up the base. MacArthur also regularly explains his love for the magnificent troops in the trenches, and Christian conservatives can take comfort in his references to the Almighty (“the fundamental problem is theological,” he [MacArthur, not God] says).
However, some voters may wonder why, like the current President, he refuses to condemn Islamic terrorism explicitly, even as the country’s drone budget clearly allows for its prompt and utter destruction. Finally, he has an adversarial relationship with the press, particularly in foreign countries; this narrative of unfair persecution will go down extremely well with voters. I don’t know how much money he has raised, and his first campaign speech in Austin, Texas, was not without its uncomfortable moments, but let’s see how he does. Keep an eye on Douglas MacArthur as, for the the next eight months on the way to the convention in Cleveland, you consider your vote in the American Republican primaries.