Bush's speech is being billed as a rebuke to Trump. Whoever wrote it for him is certainly not a fan of some Trump policies. What Bush had in mind is another matter. But while it's a very nice speech in the usual style of his old speeches, it ignores contemporary reality.
We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism – forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade – forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.
We have seen the return of isolationist sentiments – forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places, where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge.
Except that conflict, instability and poverty have followed in the wake of globalization, as I discuss in an upcoming article. We can see those all around us. We can see the consequences of exported jobs and of terrorism imported to America.
American security is threatened by terrorism largely to the extent that we open our borders to Islamic immigration. Drug trafficking and foreign gangs can also be stopped at the immigration level.
Bush is spouting sentiments from a written speech that don't accord with reality. And if the establishment really wants to push back, it is going to have to stop relying on old cliches and address new realities.