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I just can't stand Pat

Ever since I first saw him on The McLaughlin Report, I've never liked Pat Buchanan. He just struck me wrong, and that feeling has never gone away. But after his little reminiscence about World War II kicking around today, and hearing him shill his latest book on a talk show, I finally decided to give it a thorough think-through.

Buchanan's critics (and they are legion) accuse him of being an isolationist, a Nazi apologist, a fascist, and an anti-Semite, just to hit on a few of the big things. They say that he takes Conservative ideas and principles to the extremes, that he's too radical.

I don't think those accusations are true. I don't think that Buchanan is an isolationist, a Nazi apologist, a fascist and an anti-Semite. And that's aggravates the hell out of me.

Buchanan is a brilliant man. He has perfected his technique over the years of racing headlong towards the extreme, to the point where he can be freely called a whacko, and then he slams on the brakes and stops JUST short of crossing the line. Like the best test pilots, he flirts with the edge of the envelope, but always pulls back just short of disaster.

In the meantime, though, he captures the imagination of those who live over those cliffs. The real isolationists, the real neo-Nazis, the real fascists, the real anti-Semites see him racing towards them and when the doesn't quite cross the line, they tell themselves that he would if he dared truly speak his mind and go against the Powers That Be.

I've experienced this first-hand. In 1992, when Buchanan was running for president, I met with a few of his supporters, and had a bit of a disagreement with them. The discussion ended up with one of the other guys offering to settle the matter by tossing me through a plate-glass window.

Others have pointed out Buchanan's history. His constant stream of criticisms of Israel, while pointedly avoiding mentioning the wrongdoings of her enemies. He's hard on crime and tough on criminals, unless those accused criminals are facing charges of being Nazi war criminals. And now he re-examines the causes and results of World War II and questions whether it was really worth fighting Nazi Germany.

I'm almost jealous of that piece. It's as cold and calculating piece of reasoning, looking at objective facts and results, and his conclusions are difficult to easily refute.

Others have done a far better job of properly shredding Buchanan's piece (most notably, Instapunk) and Vodkapundit than I could, so I won't bother.

Like I said, Buchanan is brilliant. And it disgusts me that he uses that amazing intellect of his and uses it in such appalling ways. He could be a truly great thinker, an inspiring leader, and instead he panders to the lowest common denominator of the far right. He gives voice to those who really have nothing to contribute to the common discourse, egging them on and encouraging them.

He reminds me of a few people on the left side of the political spectrum who also have cultivated reputations as bomb-throwers. At least we can say that we've never elected Buchanan as Democratic National Chairman.


Comments (13)

I have that same feeling ab... (Below threshold)
Zsa Zsa:

I have that same feeling about Pat Buchanan. Only I don't think he is brilliant. I am sure he is quite intelligent but I think brilliance is attached with a certain sparkle and charisma...

Pat Buchanan's fervent beli... (Below threshold)

Pat Buchanan's fervent beliefs start and stop with Pat Buchanan -- and I'll give you an example of his absence of integrity. The year before he ran for President, he solicited some of the country's biggest conservative supporters for funds to create a newsletter called From The Right. A dozen or so people put up the money to back the launch, and the newsletter burned through the money, heading toward profitability -- until he decided that he was going to run for President. Unilaterally, he told his investors the newsletter was being terminated -- and despite the abrogation of his contractual committment, he never responded to demands that he make his investors whole (not that he lacked the means after his candidacy failed). He just walked away and left his backers with an empty bag. Just another deadbeat with a big mouth and small conscience.

Hmmm. I see in that articl... (Below threshold)
JD:

Hmmm. I see in that article much scorn for FDR and Churchill (especially Churchill) but none for Clement Attlee, none for Harry Truman, and little if any for Stalin aside from the bone tossed to the neocon about Stalin's record.

Did Buchanan forget to mention that in the Potsdam Accord (which finalized the partition of Germany and Berlin into the four zones) was entered into by Stalin, Truman, and Clement Attlee? That Churchill left the conference one and a half weeks in because Labour had replaced the Tories in Parliament?

Did he mention that Truman and Attlee entered into an agreement with an individual (Stalin) with an impressive road record for violating agreements - probably second only to ole Adolf himself - but still took him at face value? And then tried to be surprised when the Iron Curtain came down?

Did Buchanan ever read or listen to Churchill's speech at Independence, Missouri, regarding that very same fact?

I quote from Phil Hartman, in the guise of Frank Sinatra, during The Sinatra Group on SNL:

"Pat Buchanan - WRONG!!!"

I don't like Pat at all, do... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I don't like Pat at all, don't even need to rethink the opinion.

I think his brilliance is also debatable.

Buchanan's article is misti... (Below threshold)

Buchanan's article is mistitled. The whole thing is an argument that we didn't fight ENOUGH WWII (a position I have long maintainted). How he can twist this into we-fought-too-much-WWII is incomprehensible. Don't call Buchanan brilliant. This article marks him as impossibly stupid.

I think he's a bit of a nut... (Below threshold)
Redhand:

I think he's a bit of a nut-job, actually. He went over the edge when he was running for Pres. in the '92 primaries, and then realized he wasn't going to beat Bush Sr. He became ever more histrionic, anti-Semitic, and just plain creepy after that. There was no limit to the outrageous things he would say, all with that impish, supposedly disarming Irish "twinkle in his eye." Someone in the MSM back then observed that seeing and hearing Buchanan at the same time induced a cognitive dissonance that was very disturbing, "like watching a cartoon of the Pillsbury Doughboy smiling, only to note that he was also sporting a swastika armband." Frankly, I don't think much has changed with Buchanan in the last 13 years. He's as predictible in his outlandish opinions as Eleanor Clift is on the McGoofy, er McLaughlin Report, "The Original" talking head foodfight show.

Pat Buchanan is just a sobe... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

Pat Buchanan is just a soberer version of Teddy Kennedy masquerading as a conservative. Kinda like a cross between Teddy and Jerry Falwell. It's easy to see why so many Sunday talk shows like to use him as a supposed voice of the right. He makes the right look bad. I don't think he truly believes in anything and will say anything to keep himself in the public eye. Media whore, nothing more, nothing less.

I can't take Pat too seriou... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

I can't take Pat too seriously as a political candidate, but he does bring up a point regarding Eastern Europe. EE was saved from evil Hitlerism only to be put under 50 years of evil Stalinism. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

After V-E day, should we have immediately declared war on Stalin? Maybe, I don't know. It probably would have cost another 10, 20, 50 million deaths and nuclear destruction throughout Russia, since only we then had the A-bomb. Should we have paid that high cost? Maybe.

In the end, yes, I think we won WWII. But several Eastern European countries can be forgiven for saying 'Hey Free World, what about us? Please help us.' during 50 years of Communism.

Bullwinkle what a brilliant... (Below threshold)
Zsa Zsa:

Bullwinkle what a brilliant observation! I love the comparison of the Ted Kennedy and Jerry Falwell combo...Now that is brilliant, don't you think Jay Tea?

Pat Buchanan gives Republic... (Below threshold)

Pat Buchanan gives Republicans a bad name. Period. End of story.

I am one of Buchanan's crit... (Below threshold)
Dodd:

I am one of Buchanan's critics and I've actually met and talked to the man. I despise him for two reasons. 1) He is, as I discovered when I met him a person, one of the biggest ***holes I have ever had the misfortune to me. And 2) because, when he decided to run against Bush, Sr. in 1992 (damaging him enough to soften him up for Bubba, a side issue) as a populist, he ceased to be a conservative in any recognizable sense apart from opposition to abortion (and, DNC speaking slots notwithstanding, there are plenty of liberals who also oppose abortion). For one thing, conservatives believe in markets and free trade, not protectionism for unions (who, not incidentally, help keep the Democrat party off of life support with massive donations).

About the only good thing I can say about him is that he's one of the few truly prominent public figures who's willing to make noise about immigration problems. I don't necessarily agree with all of his notions on the subject, but at least he keeps it being discussed. OTOH, given that he's basically a troll the media trot out to 'represent' the viewpoints of conservatives (most of whom agree with him on very little) in order to make it look bad, that may actually be an impediment to getting anything done about it.

So, which is he Jay? Someon... (Below threshold)
Clive Tolson:

So, which is he Jay? Someone 'who panders to the lowest common denominator of the far Right', or your garden variety 'bomb thrower'? Buchanan may have bolted the party, but it's obvious his former flock within the GOP are calling the shots - just ask Bill Frist.

Buchanan is the white man's Alan Keyes. The Right tolerates him as long as he can energize the base. So, you humor him and ignore his antics, until he becomes an embarrassment or disses the party.

I've been a long time McLaughlin Group viewer too, and have actually warmed a bit to Pat. I was shocked by how he articulated his opposition to the Iraq War. So now, when he gets nutty over the Schiavo case and continued gay hate speak, I laugh.

What's this: the anti-Buch... (Below threshold)
Mary Norton:

What's this: the anti-Buchanan thread. What a bunch of hateful people you are. Patrick Buchanan is a nice man, a great leader for the tradtional, populist movement, a brave man who had much success when he ran for president because people respond to his ideas and personality. (You may recall he almost upset a sitting elected president in NH in 1992 and won NH in 1996. Both times, the establishment went ape.) And if the author of the above article was threatened to be thrown through a plate glass, he was probably asking for it!




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