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Pat Buchanan

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Patrick Buchanan
Patrick Buchanan

Patrick Joseph Buchanan (born November 2, 1938), is an American author, syndicated columnist, and television commentator. In 2000, he ran for President of the United States on the Reform Party ticket. He had twice unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for president. He has written several books on his political and religious views.

He is also one of the founding editors of and main contributors to The American Conservative magazine.

Contents

Early life

Buchanan was born in Washington, D.C. to William Baldwin Buchanan and his wife, Catherine Elizabeth Crum. He was educated in Roman Catholic schools, including Gonzaga College High School. He graduated from Georgetown University with degrees in English and Philosophy in 1961, and he earned a Master's Degree in Journalism from Columbia University in 1962.

The same year he obtained his Journalism degree, Buchanan became an editorial writer for the now-defunct St. Louis Globe Democrat newspaper. Buchanan was an early supporter of Richard Nixon's political comeback, and in 1966 began working as an advisor to Nixon's campaign, primarily as an opposition researcher. When Nixon took office in 1969, Buchanan worked as a White House advisor and as a speechwriter to Nixon. He was associated with some of Nixon's "dirty tricks" campaigns to harass and embarrass opponents during the 1972 election, revealed years later in a memo that contradicted his testimony before Congress on the subject in 1973, where he said that he did not know of any covert operations.

Buchanan was not implicated in the Watergate Scandal, though he was mentioned as a possible (but incorrect) identity of "Deep Throat". When the actual identity of Deep Throat was revealed in 2005 as FBI Associate Director Mark Felt, Buchanan called Felt "sneaky," "dishonest," and "criminal," commenting that "What he should have done, was if he felt the investigation was corrupted, stand up and say, 'I'm going to resign from the FBI because I don't want to be a party to what's going on. This is not correct, I think things are going on in the White House that are wrong. I don't believe they're investigated. I don't believe they're being investigated properly.'"

When Nixon resigned in 1974, Buchanan briefly fulfilled the same duties under President Gerald Ford before quitting the same year. After leaving the White House, he became a syndicated political columnist and began his regular appearances as a host and commentator on various national television public affairs programs, including The McLaughlin Group and Crossfire. Buchanan returned to the White House in 1985, serving until 1987 as White House Communications Director for the Reagan administration.

He and liberal commentator Bill Press cohosted Buchanan & Press on American cable channel MSNBC from 2002 until its cancellation in November, 2003. Buchanan is still with MSNBC as an analyst, and he occasionally fills in for Joe Scarborough on the nightly show "Scarborough Country".

Political views

Buchanan is typically catagorized as right-wing, or even far right-wing, but this is not a complete description. His political views include elements of populism (such as sympathy for displaced factory workers, blamed on imports) as well as a strong anti-war position adopted after the end of the Cold War (he vehemently opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, for example). He is conservative on social issues.

Buchanan refers to himself as a "traditional conservative" (in contrast to "mainstream conservative") and is often categorized as a paleoconservative. Although he was a long time member of the Republican party, he is highly critical of the party today, believing that the party has largely abandoned its traditional conservative principles in favor of neoconservatism. Many of his positions are in line with conservative Republicans of the first half of the 20th century, with views that have become unpopular in recent decades.

Buchanan has described multiculturalism as "an across-the-board assault on our Anglo-American heritage" and supports restricting immigration into the United States. He has described homosexuality as leading to "a decay of society and a collapse of its basic cinder block, the family." He opposes abortion, including in cases of rape and incest. He advocates allowing prayer in public schools, and encourages defiance of Supreme Court rulings against school prayer. He supports abolishing many government bureaus and advocates a flat tax. He is in favor of ending treaties that do not protect the interests of the United States, such as one-way defense treaties where the U.S. must militarily come to the defense of another country, but not vice versa.

In contrast to many conservatives, Buchanan opposes free trade, most American interventionism and current American foreign policy in general. He supports repealing NAFTA and raising tariffs on imported goods to protect domestic industry, and is often described as an isolationist.

He accuses the Bush administration of being overinvolved in world affairs to the point where it is committing imperialism. He believes that Islamic terrorist attacks, such as the events of September 11, 2001 come as a result of intervening in foreign countries, saying "terrorists hate us for what we do, not what we are." He describes the term 'isolationist', frequently applied to him, as a derogatory label used by political groups which put foreign or global interests ahead of U.S. interests.

Despite being an isolationist with regard to contemporary politics and World War II, Buchanan was a staunch supporter of the Cold War and the Vietnam War, positions he justified on the basis that Communism directly threatened the safety of the United States.

In Britain, he was supported by the conservative journalist Auberon Waugh, whose position relative to Britain's Conservative mainstream post-Thatcher was very similar to Buchanan's position relative to the modern Republican mainstream. The British political thinkers most similar to Buchanan in this respect - notably those in the Conservative Democratic Alliance - would be unlikely to acknowledge the similarity because they tend to be strongly anti-American, seeing the pro-US policies of the modern Tory party as its greatest betrayal.

Presidential campaigns

Pat Buchanan has run for president three times on a platform of protectionist trade policies, monoculturalism, barriers to immigration, and preventing abortion and gay rights.

1992

In 1992, Buchanan unsuccessfully challenged George H. W. Bush for the Republican Party Presidential nomination, garnering some 3 million votes in state primary elections. It is said that Buchanan's strong potential in the primaries pushed Bush to run a more conservative campaign than he had in 1988. Buchanan later threw his support behind President Bush, and delivered the controversial keynote address at the 1992 Republican National Convention which has since been dubbed the culture war speech. In it, he strongly attacked the liberalism of Bill Clinton, saying:

The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America--abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat--that's change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God's country.

Buchanan's stances were controversial within the Republican party. His characterization of the United States as being in the center of culture war, as well as his strongly negative depictions of the economy, clashed with some of Bush's supporters. Many outside the party saw the speech as intolerant. Buchanan's speech is considered to have alienated voters in the general election, which Bush lost.

1996

Buchanan again sought the Republican nomination in 1996. It was in this campaign that Buchanan voiced his opposition to NAFTA. Buchanan won a surprising victory in the New Hampshire primary in February, defeating Senator Bob Dole by about 3000 votes. However, Dole defeated him by large margins in the subsequent Super Tuesday primaries. Buchanan dropped out of the race in March. He had collected 21% of the total votes in Republican state primaries. Buchanan threatened to run as the US Taxpayers Party candidate if Bob Dole were to choose a pro-choice running mate. Dole ultimately chose pro-life Jack Kemp and Dole received Buchanan's endorsement.

2000

After leaving the Republican party in October 1999, Buchanan sought the nomination of the Reform Party. The party -- which was founded on reform of taxation and government but was mostly quiet on hot-button social issues -- was bitterly divided between nominating Buchanan and nominating John Hagelin, an Iowa physicist whose platform was based on transcendental meditation. Many members of the party were uncomfortable with Buchanan's strong rhetoric on abortion and gay rights, perceived racism and anti-Semitism, and involvement with "dirty tricks" in the Nixon administration. Party founder Ross Perot did not endorse a candidate, but his former running-mate Pat Choate endorsed Buchanan.

Supporters of Hagelin charged that the results of the party's write-in primary, which favored Buchanan by a wide margin, were "tainted". The party's delegates ignored the election and voted to nominate Hagelin, creating a split in the party with two camps claiming legitimacy for separate candidates. Ultimately, Buchanan won the nomination when the Federal Elections Commission ruled that Buchanan would receive ballot status as the Reform candidate and some $12.6 million dollars in federal campaign funds secured by Perot's showing in the 1996 election. In his acceptance speech, Buchanan proposed leaving the United Nations and kicking them out of New York, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Housing and Urban Development, taxes on inheritance and capital gains, and affirmative action programs. Buchanan chose Ezola B. Foster, an African-American activist and retired teacher from Los Angeles, as his running-mate.

He finished in fourth place nationwide with 449,895 votes, or 0.4% of the popular vote. (Hagelin garnered 0.1% as the Natural Law candidate). In Palm Beach County, Florida, Buchanan received 3,407 votes - extremely inconsistent with Palm Beach county's liberal leanings and his showing in the rest of the state. He is suspected to have gained thousands of inadvertent votes as a result of the county's now-infamous "butterfly ballot". (see 2000 Presidential Election) When Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer stated that "Palm Beach county is a Pat Buchanan stronghold and that's why Pat Buchanan received 3,407 votes there," Reform party officials strongly disagreed, estimating the number of supporters in the county at between 400 and 500. Appearing on the "Today" show, Buchanan said: "When I took one look at that ballot on Election Night ... it's very easy for me to see how someone could have voted for me in the belief they voted for Al Gore,"

Controversy

Statements about Women

In a 1983 syndicated column, Buchanan wrote, "Rail as they will about 'discrimination,' women are simply not endowed by nature with the same measures of single-minded ambition and the will to succeed in the fiercely competitive world of Western capitalism."

In Right from the Beginning, his autobiography, Buchanan wrote that "The real liberators of American women were not the feminist noise-makers, they were the automobile, the supermarket, the shopping center, the dishwasher, the washer-dryer, the freezer." He also wrote, "If a woman has come to believe that divorce is the answer to every difficult marriage, that career comes before children ... no democratic government can impose another set of values upon her."

Statements about Segregation and the Civil War

As a member of the Nixon administration, Buchanan urged President Richard Nixon not to visit Coretta Scott King, widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King. He said that a visit would "outrage many, many people who believe Dr. King was a fraud and a demagogue and perhaps worse.... Others consider him the Devil incarnate. Dr. King is one of the most divisive men in contemporary history." Buchanan's defenders argue that his comments must be considered in the context of Buchanan being a consultant, and that they are not necessarily his beliefs.

Buchanan believes that the U.S. Civil War was not fought over slavery, and has ridiculed opponents of the display of confederate flags in state capitals.

The War Between the States was about independence, about self-determination, about the right of a people to break free of a government to which they could no longer give allegiance. How long is this endless groveling before every cry of 'racism' going to continue before the whole country collectively throws up?

Buchanan also defended Apartheid South Africa, asking, "Why are Americans collaborating in a U.N. conspiracy to ruin her with sanctions?"

Buchanan's defenders counter charges of racism by pointing out that Buchanan's running-mate in his 2000 presidential bid is African-American, and that he had reportedly offered the spot to Alan Keyes, another African-American conservative. Buchanan, in an interview conducted with him by Norman Mailer in GQ magazine, also stated that Jesse Jackson is a close friend of his.

Statements about Israel, Hitler, the Holocaust, and Accused Nazis

Buchanan once referred to Capitol Hill as "Israeli-occupied territory" in a column. During the run-up to the first Gulf War, Buchanan said "There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East -- the Israeli defense ministry and its 'amen corner' in the United States."

On Buchanan's 1996 campaign site was an article blaming the death of White House aide Vincent Foster on the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad. The article also alleged that Foster and Hillary Clinton were Mossad spies. The campaign later removed the article.

In a frequently quoted 1977 column, Buchanan wrote,

"Though Hitler was indeed racist and anti-Semitic to the core, a man who without compunction could commit murder and genocide, he was also an individual of great courage, a soldier's soldier in the Great War, a political organizer of the first rank, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him ... Hitler's success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path."

Buchanan has also called Spanish dictator Francisco Franco a "Catholic savior", and compared the alleged Jenin massacre to Auschwitz.

In the Reagan White House, Buchanan pushed for Reagan to visit a German military cemetery at Bitburg, over the objections of some Jewish groups. Buchanan was credited with crafting Ronald Reagan's statement: "These were the villains, as we know, that conducted the persecutions and all. But there are 2,000 graves there, and most of those, the average age is about 18. I think that there's nothing wrong with visiting that cemetery where those young men are victims of Nazism also, even though they were fighting in the German uniform, drafted into service to carry out the hateful wishes of the Nazis. They were victims, just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps." Buchanan says they were Reagan's extemporaneous remarks in response to a question.

Buchanan vocally asserted the innocence of some Americans accused of being Nazi war criminals, most famously retired Cleveland autoworker John (born Ivan) Demjanjuk, comparing his trial to the Salem witch trials. In a 1990 New York Post column defending Demjanjuk, Buchanan claimed that the diesel engine used to kill victims at Treblinka could "not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody." When asked for his source, Buchanan cited an article about children surviving the fumes of idling diesel engines while trapped in a tunnel. However, there was ample oxygen in the tunnel, and the primary cause of death in diesel-powered chambers was asphyxiation on carbon monoxide rather than carbon monoxide poisoning. It is estimated that gas chambers powered by diesel engines were used to suffocate between 1.5 and 2.5 million people at the Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibór, and Chelmno death camps. (See The_Holocaust for more information)

Demjanjuk was ultimately acquitted by an Israeli court.

In explaining his defense of Americans accused of war crimes, Buchanan has written:

"Now, why did I take up the causes of these men? Because I believed they were innocent, or I believed they had not been given a fair chance to prove their innocence. And because no one else would. While I have paid a high price for having done so, I have never regretted it. It was the best journalism I ever did. "

Statements about Canada

Buchanan has a history of unflattering references to Canada. On October 31, 2002, Buchanan denounced Canadians as anti-American, described the country as a haven for terrorists, and applied the label "Soviet Canuckistan" on his MSNBC television show. His comments followed a warning issued by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs stating that Canadians born in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Syria should be cautious while travelling to the United States, prompted by a U.S. law requiring photos and fingerprints of anyone born in those countries and visiting the U.S., as well as the case of Maher Arar.

Following Buchanan's comment, many Canadians proudly adopted "Soviet Canuckistan" as an ironic, humorous self-reference. At the same time, some Canadians (primarily Albertans) adopted the term to express dislike for the Canadian political system and leadership.

In 1990, he stated that if Canada were to break apart due to the failure of the Meech Lake constitutional accord, "America would pick up the pieces." In 1992, he stated that "for most Americans, Canada is sort of like a case of latent arthritis. We really don't think about it, unless it acts up."

Buchanan's interest in Canada dates back to his "major paper" at Columbia University. The subject of the paper was the expanding trade between Canada and Cuba. It had tripled in 1961, the first year of the United States embargo against Cuba. Buchanan was able to publish a rewrite in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat under the eight-column banner "Canada sells to Red Cuba - And Prospers." This was a milestone in his early career as a business editor and occurred just eight weeks after he started at the paper, according to his memoir, Right from the Beginning.

Trivia

Was interviewed by Ali G on Da Ali G Show. [1] (http://homepage.mac.com/njenson/movies/aligbuchanan.html)

Hunter S. Thompson considered him a friend. Buchanan wrote a short piece about Thompson in Rolling Stone Magazine after Thompson's suicide in 2005. [2] (http://thrashersblog.com/2005/03/dr-hunter-s-thompson-remembered.html)

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Books

  • Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency (2004) ISBN 0312341156
  • The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization (2001) ISBN 0312285485
  • A Republic, Not an Empire: Reclaiming America's Destiny (1999) ISBN 089526272X
  • The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice Are Being Sacrificed to the Gods of the Global Economy (1998) ISBN 0316115185
  • Right from the Beginning (1988) ISBN 0316114081
  • Conservative Votes, Liberal Victories: Why the Right Has Failed (1975) ISBN 0812905822
  • The New Majority: President Nixon at Mid-Passage (1973)

See also

External links

Buchanan-affiliated

News and analysis

Opposing views

Supporting views

Misc.


Preceded by:
Ross Perot
Reform Party Presidential candidate
2000 (lost)
Succeeded by:
Ralph Nader

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