Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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 previously sought, though never received, 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.
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, and he has been mentioned as a possible identity of "Deep Throat".
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".
Buchanan is generally considered to represent the far right of American politics. He 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, however, Buchanan opposes free trade, most American intervention in other countries, 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.
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 keynote speech 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.
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.
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 seperate candidates. Ultimately, Buchanan won the nomination when the Federal Elections Commission ruled that Buchanan would recieve 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 recieved 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 recieved 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,"
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.
Statements about Israel, Hitler, the Holocaust, and Accused Nazis
Buchanan once referred to Capitol Hill as "Israeli-occpied territory" in a column. During the run-up to the first Gulf War, which was broadly supported by U.S. public opinion, 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".
In the Reagan White House, Buchanan pushed for Reagan to visit the burial site of Nazi troops, over the objections of some Jewish groups. Buchanan allegedly wrote the phrase "Succumbing to the pressure of the Jews" repeatedly in his notebook during a meeting. Buchanan was credited with crafting Ronald Reagan's line that the SS troops buried at Bitburg were "victims just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps."
Buchanan vocally asserted the innocence of some accused Nazi war criminals, most famously Ivan Demjanjuk -- a guard at the Treblinka and Sobibór death camps -- 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)
On May 1, 2004, a three judge panel of the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Demjanjuk could be stripped of his US citizenship because the Justice Department had presented "clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence" of Demjanjuk's service in Nazi death camps.
In relation to Buchanans statements, William F. Buckley has written, "I find it impossible to defend Pat Buchanan against the charge that what he did and said during the period under examination amounted to anti-Semitism." (National Review, December 30, 1991)
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."
- 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)
- The American Cause
- The American Conservative magazine
- Overview and refutation of Buchanan's diesel engine assertion
- Buchanan's Internet Brigade
- Buchanan's 2000 run
- Murray Rothbard's 1990 defense of Buchanan
- Opening night speech at 1992 Republican National Convention
- Who's afraid of Pat Buchanan?
- Patrick Joseph Buchanan
- Pat Buchanan's Skeleton Closet
- Buchanan and Palm Beach county controversy
- A page featuring his ancestry through nine generations
- Pat Buchanan attacked with salad dressing
- PBS.org - third party candidates
- BBC News - Reform Party Split Deepens
- - Buchanan 2000: What Went Wrong (enterstageright.com)
- The New American - "Targeted for Destruction"
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