Patrick Buchanan

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Patrick ("Pat") Buchanan is a political figure in the U.S., from the paleoconservative wing of American conservatism. He campaigned twice for the Republican Party (United States) presidential nomination, and was the U.S. Reform Party candidate in 2000. He is now a columnist in many outlets, a political analyst for MSNBC, chairman of The American Cause Foundation and an editor of The American Conservative.

Educated as a journalist, he became Richard Nixon's first full-time assistant in the 1966 campaign. He served in the Nixon White House from 1966 to 1974, and was Ronald Reagan's director of communications, 1985-1987. He was Reagan's main speechwriter and attended four summits, including Mr. Nixon’s historic opening to China in 1972, and Ronald Reagan’s Reykjavik summit in 1986 with Mikhail Gorbachev.

He tends to call himself simply a "conservative", but he is outside the mainstream thereof. [1]


Leaving the White House, he challeged President George H. W. Bush in the Republican primaries, winning in New Hampshire.

Return to journalism

After 1974, he returned to journalism and occasional politics, including the first of the panel shows featuring heated argument: NBC’s The McLaughlin Group, and CNN’s Capital Gang and Crossfire (CNN).

1996 and 2000 Elections

Certainly in this period, whatever his ideology may be called, he was able to tap into a substantial amount of electoral discontent. [2] Leading to Buchanan's 2000 run as the U.S. Reform Party candidate was Pat Choate's 1996 cabdicacy Ross Perot in 1996. In 1999, he was described as a "kingmaker" for rhw 100 attempt to build a left-right-center coalition. [3] Choate worked with Bay Buchanan and Lenora Fulani, a figure of the left. He said "The unlikely threesome came together in the belief that party members' agreement on economic nationalism can outweigh their disagreements over social issues like abortion and gay rights." In 2000, the U.S. Reform Party, formed by H. Ross Perot in 1992, split, with Buchanan being the Presidential candidate of one faction. [4] His chief strategist was his sister Bay Buchanan, a conservative activist; Peter Gemma was a senior assistant.

Many Al Gore supporters, such as Jesse Jackson, saw Buchanan as a spoiler, taking votes from their candidates. [5]

Allegations of racism

While there is little question he is a nativist, and wants to limit immigration and dependency on foreign trade, he has been embroiled in charges and countercharges of racism, which he denies. Apropos immigration, Pat Choate wrote a 2004 position book fort the dependency of the U.S. on foreign sources[6]

In a 1990 column, Jacob Weisberg wrote of Buchanan's problems with Jews. [7] "He does not speak of cutting the Jews down to size, or of being sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust. If he has expressed negative sentiments about Jews in the past, they are not quite the crude ones vented by his colleague from National Review," Joe Sobran, whom Weisberg does call anti-semitic.

Weisberg finds the strongest argument against Buchanan is his ostensible affection for fascism. Even posthumously, he defends the Falangist strain of Francisco Franco , the "soldier-patriot" of Spain, and Antonio Salazar of Portugal. On the German variety, Buchanan's attitude is more equivocal. In 1977 he 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. But 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.

A.M. Rosenthal of the New York Times wrote an opinion based on Buchanan's 14 September 1990 comment, on the "McLauglin Group", that the only two groups beating the drums for war in the Middle East were "the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States," Rosenthal charged Buchanan with the "blood libel" that "Jews are not like us but are others, with alien loyalties for which they will sacrifice the lives of Americans." Rosenthal's column was hyperbolic and unsubstantiated. The charge of dual loyalty -- arguably implied by Buchanan's off-the-cuff remark about the amen corner -- is far from the fanatical hatred of Jews connoted by the term blood libel, literally the accusation that the blood of Christian children is used to make matzoh."

Weisberg found "Buchanan's entire worldview is deeply disturbing. His instincts are powerfully authoritarian and anti-democratic, and, in a distinct sense, fascistic. A conspiratorial frame of mind and a misguided sense of loyalty lead Buchanan to view the world in terms of eternal struggles between Catholics and Jews, conservatives and liberals, anti-Communists and Communists, Americans and anti-Americans. These opinions should be cause for alarm, whether the person who holds them is anti-Semitic or not." Weisberg sees them as rooted in the 1930s American nationalism of Father Charles Coughlin and Charles Lindbergh. The hallmarks of this tradition are a fierce and unselective anti-communism, an animosity toward Britain, and an eccentric obsession with the menace of "Jewish internationalism.

Buchanan's earliest syndicated columns, according to Weisberg, echo these obsessions. In 1975 he attacked the infamous United Nations resolution equating Zionism with racism. But he laid some of the blame at the door of "Western intellectuals and internationalists, many of them Jews." The fault was partly theirs, he wrote, because Jews supported the idea of the U.N. in the first place. Attempting to draw out this supposed irony in another piece, he blasted "the American intelligentsia, a significant slice of which is Jewish and avidly pro-Israel." This echoes Coughlin, in whose lexicon "intellectual" and "internationalist" were not only cusswords but also synonyms both for Jews and for secular liberals.

in March 2008, Buchanan wrote that Barack Obama had remained silent when his minister, Jeremiah White, had made allegations of white racism. "Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America. Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to." [8] The Anti-Defamation League challenged his appearance on a radio show, "Political Cesspool" to promote his book, Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, a show hosted by what ADL Executive Director Abraham Foxman white supremacist James Edwards. Foxman said "It's not as if he did this by accident,.... "Anyone who would have made inquiries into the nature of this program would have realized that it is an outlet for racism, anti-Semitism and hate."[9]

Earlier, the ADL described him as having racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-immigrant views. At one time an influential staff member in the Nixon and Reagan Administrations, Buchanan has gone on to write a number of books and articles that focus on the decline of Western civilization due to what he refers to as the “invasion” of non-European immigrants in the United States and Europe." [10] ADL also quotes Buchanan as saying "“They charge us with anti-Semitism…The truth is, those hurling these charges harbor a 'passionate attachment' to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on an assumption that, somehow, what's good for Israel is good for America.” [11]


Master's degree in journalism, Columbia University


  1. William Rusher (May 19, 2003), "Special Section: Frum Forum.(Letter to the Editor)", National Review
  2. David Frum (22 April 1996), "Living with nationalism - Pat Buchanan", National Review
  3. "The kingmaker speaks", Salon/Slate, 11 November 1999
  4. Michael Janofsky (9 August 2000), "THE 2000 CAMPAIGN: THE REFORM PARTY; Buchanan's Bid for the Presidential Nomination Splits the Party Leadership", New York Times
  5. John Lantigua (9 November 2000), ""We've had a wreck here": The Rev. Jesse Jackson and thousands gather to protest the controversial ballot that caused many Gore supporters to vote for Pat Buchanan", Salon
  6. Pat Buchanan (1 September 2004), Where The Right Went Wrong, at 163-4
  7. Jacob Weisberg (22 October 1990), "The Heresies of Pat Buchanan: Cruising for a bruising", The New Republic
  8. Patrick J. Buchanan (21 March 2008), "A Brief for Whitey", Human Events
  9. Pat Buchanan Promotes New Book On Racist Radio Show, Anti-Defamation League, 30 June 2008
  10. Pat Buchanan: In His Own Words, Anti-Defamation League
  11. Patrick Buchanan, Neo-Conned! Just War Principles: A Condemnation of War in Iraq, (2005) P.137, quoted by ADL in "In his own words"