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'Where The Right Went Wrong' (Patrick J. Buchanan)- New York Times Book Review
NY Times ^ | September 12, 2004 | Michael Kazin

Posted on 09/18/2004 6:07:04 PM PDT by Former Military Chick

Where The Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency. By Patrick J. Buchanan. 264 pp. Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin's Press. $24.95.

Underneath the pugnacious hide of Patrick J. Buchanan beats a heart of pure nostalgia. He longs to return to the high-tariff reign of William McKinley, mourns the passing of such budget-slashing icons as Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater and dedicates his new book to Ronald Reagan, who, he says, ''never took precipitate or rash action'' abroad. Buchanan's reverence for late, great conservatives is unbounded by epoch or nationality. He even praises Urban II, the ''extraordinarily eloquent'' French-born pope who inspired the First Crusade.

The former presidential candidate and longtime journalist has a mission, of course. He wants to marshal this glorious past against ''impersonators'' in and close to the Bush administration who have ''hijacked'' his movement. His enemies list of neoconservatives has unsurprising names: Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Irving and William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer and Jonah Goldberg. He detests them most of all for promoting the invasion of Iraq, for arrogantly believing it would spark a democratic revolution throughout the Middle East. But the self-described populist conservative is still fighting a war against un-Christian cultural elites. And he charges most of the same neoconservatives with abetting the godless enemy on nearly every major issue -- from gay marriage to abortion to immigration. To save the nation, the right must be cleansed.

Characteristically, Buchanan blasts away at more targets than he hits. His manifesto includes a stirring, if familiar, call to revive America's heavy industries; those who've allowed the manufacturing base to wither, he declares, are guilty of ''economic treason.'' Elsewhere, however, he writes that China poses little threat of war because its ''prosperity depends on us.'' That confident free trader needs to talk to his agitated protectionist alter ego. When not running for president, Buchanan is a regular participant in the shouting matches the networks call public affairs. In his many illogical moments, it shows.

Such belligerence weakens the main thrust of his book: a vigorous argument against the war in Iraq. A traditionalist to his core, Buchanan despises policy intellectuals who would ''define morality for all peoples for all times.'' He points out, correctly, that devout Muslims do not hate the United States because they envy our wealth and freedom, as President Bush would have it. They resist the erotic, feel-good popular culture Americans celebrate and sell around the globe and don't like being occupied by a military whose definition of evildoers clashes with theirs. But Buchanan's defense of the original crusaders negates his cautious relativism. The religious warrior makes an unconvincing apostle of peace.

Alert readers will have spotted another troubling flaw in Buchanan's worldview. His roster of warmongers is made up exclusively of Jews. But it was Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and the president himself -- good Christians all -- who sent all those armed Americans into Iraq. Aside from Wolfowitz, the Jewish neocons could only cheer them on from their op-ed pages, think tanks and talk shows.

Buchanan thinks he can explain this discrepancy between conservatives who decide and those who merely advocate. The neconservatives, he claims, saw that George W. Bush was ignorant about world politics and cleverly persuaded him to think like them. At one point, he compares Richard Perle's ''delight at first meeting the future president'' with Fagin's ''initial encounter with the young Oliver Twist.'' After four decades of close political combat, Buchanan seems unwilling to abandon such abusive rhetoric. It may be as essential to him as God and the flag, even while it confirms his status as a political pariah. Strangely, he doesn't realize that the president, a born-again Christian, needed no special prompting after the attacks of Sept. 11 to declare a new world war between good and evil.

Pat Buchanan's perpetual irritation with American Jews suggests a larger problem with his style of conservatism. The past to which he would like to return is full of imagined, often contradictory tales. High tariffs under the old G.O.P. were a giant subsidy to industrial companies and the regions they dominated, which is why most foes of big government abhorred them. And to claim that Reagan favored using force only to ''defend the country he loved'' ignores the proxy armies his administration sponsored in Nicaragua and El Salvador, Angola and Afghanistan and the 5,000 American troops who overwhelmed tiny Grenada.

Since the mid-1950's, when William F. Buckley Jr. created National Review, most prominent conservatives have sought to remake the world in the image of the America they cherish. The fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of Market-Leninism in China and Vietnam seemed to vindicate their labors. To demand that they give up this habit now -- when the United States has many enemies but no true rivals -- is naive. Buchanan writes that ''a rebellion is brewing among principled and populist conservatives'' against the quisling hierarchy that rules the Republican Party. But who are these people and why is their revolt so quiet?

The ideologue is caught in a bind of his own choosing. Antiwar liberals can applaud when he writes: ''In 2003, the United States invaded a country that did not threaten us, did not attack us and did not want war with us, to disarm it of weapons we have since discovered it did not have.'' But we cringe at every aspect of his cultural politics. Christian traditionalists love his stands against abortion and gay marriage, but they burn, like President Bush, to convert the benighted. Buchanan is thus left with a casual audience in the millions but a following that is probably a good deal smaller than the 449,000 votes (including those excuse-me ones from Palm Beach County) that he drew in the 2000 election.

In his call to emulate an ideal right that never existed, this tough-talking Jeremiah neglects the practice of leaders from Disraeli to Reagan who managed to thrive in a modern age. Conservatives have prospered only when they adapted their principles to the flow of history. As Tancredi, the young aristocrat in Giuseppe di Lampedusa's great novel, ''The Leopard,'' put it, ''If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.''

Michael Kazin, the co-author of ''America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960's,'' is writing a biography of William Jennings Bryan. He teaches history at Georgetown University.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: antiwarright; bookreview; patbuchanan; republican; rightwentwrong
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For those who like to read reviews before purchasing the book.
1 posted on 09/18/2004 6:07:04 PM PDT by Former Military Chick
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To: Former Military Chick

Who is Pat Buchanan?


2 posted on 09/18/2004 6:08:18 PM PDT by Drango (PJs? Never. FReep in the "Buff")
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To: Former Military Chick
But the self-described populist conservative...

There's no such animal.


$710.96... The price of freedom
VII-XXIII-MMIV

3 posted on 09/18/2004 6:11:42 PM PDT by rdb3 ("The Republican Party is the ship and all else is the sea." ---Frederick Douglass)
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To: Former Military Chick

S-N-O-O-Z-E!!!

We know, we know....

We all went wrong by not listening to him, not voting for him for president, etc., etc.


4 posted on 09/18/2004 6:12:19 PM PDT by Fruitbat
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To: Former Military Chick

Considering this idiot joined forces with Lenora Fulani a few years ago, I fail to see why he thinks we would consider his opinion on any topic.


5 posted on 09/18/2004 6:12:28 PM PDT by OldFriend (It's the soldier, not the reporter who has given US freedom of the press)
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To: Former Military Chick

They only like/review conservative books/authors that criticize other conservatives/Bush.

Another example of liberal bias from NY Slimes.


6 posted on 09/18/2004 6:12:49 PM PDT by Cableguy
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To: Former Military Chick
"For those who like to read reviews before purchasing the book."

Don't rush it. His book had dropped 30% in price within 3 days of being released. It should be on the Under $2 tables soon enough.

7 posted on 09/18/2004 6:14:17 PM PDT by CWOJackson
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To: Former Military Chick
...and dedicates his new book to Ronald Reagan, who, he says, ''never took precipitate or rash action'' abroad.

God knows I love Reagan, but what Buchanan claims here is pure Bravo Sierra. By pulling Marines out of Lebanon, Reagan did indeed engage in a very rash action; one that validated the terrorism of the Islamists and emboldened them to further attack America without fear of meaningful reprisal. And the airstrikes on Libya were just more of the same. Libya exported far less terrorism than Iran, but we only struck Libya because Khaddafi was a loudmouth.

As for precipitate action, what the hell does Buchanan think Grenada was? If that wasn't a pre-emptive action, what the hell was it, Pat?

Reagan's legacy is great enough without piling fiction on to it. I should hope Buchanan will refrain from such nonsense in the future.

8 posted on 09/18/2004 6:14:41 PM PDT by Prime Choice (The Religion of Peace ISN'T.)
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To: Former Military Chick
Pat Buchanan is an isolationist wind bag with strong anti-Semitic believes who we don't want associated with the party of Reagan. The big tent only stretches so far, and we need to make sure he's on the outside looking in.
9 posted on 09/18/2004 6:15:37 PM PDT by Stonedog (Mr. Blather... tear down this STONEWALL!!)
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To: Former Military Chick

Buchanan BUMP


10 posted on 09/18/2004 6:16:05 PM PDT by No-Compromise Conservative
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To: Former Military Chick
Alert readers will have spotted another troubling flaw in Buchanan's worldview. His roster of warmongers is made up exclusively of Jews.

You don't even have to be alert. Buchanan has had it in for Jews for 20 years.

11 posted on 09/18/2004 6:16:31 PM PDT by sinkspur ("I heard that the traditionalists have taken over the FR religion forum"--Cardinal Fanfani)
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To: Drango
Who is Pat Buchanan?

He was a guy I used to enjoy reading a long time ago. Don't know what happened to him though...
12 posted on 09/18/2004 6:16:46 PM PDT by Freepdonia (Victory is Ours!)
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To: Former Military Chick

I think Pat is cute!


13 posted on 09/18/2004 6:17:45 PM PDT by Tax-chick (A python asleep on the windowsill and a nasty smell were the first signs that all was not well ...)
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To: Tax-chick
I think Pat is cute!

God as my witness, I am truly speechless right now...

14 posted on 09/18/2004 6:19:50 PM PDT by Prime Choice (The Religion of Peace ISN'T.)
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To: OldFriend

LOL, the only thing they had in common was Jew hatred, which is probably Buchanan's dominant theme. What is also funny is that he supported war with Viet Nam, Granada, Nicaragua, etc. Did any of those nations pose a direct threat to the USA? No more than Iraq certainly. He just hated Communism but is sympathetic to Islamic murderers.


15 posted on 09/18/2004 6:20:37 PM PDT by Honestfreedom
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To: Prime Choice

I take it you don't think he's cute. That's okay.


16 posted on 09/18/2004 6:21:11 PM PDT by Tax-chick (A python asleep on the windowsill and a nasty smell were the first signs that all was not well ...)
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To: Drango
Who is Pat Buchanan?

Bay Buchanan's brother.

17 posted on 09/18/2004 6:22:16 PM PDT by South40 (Amnesty for ILLEGALS is a slap in the face to the USBP!)
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To: Cableguy

That's my thought too, and I always like to get advice on conservatism from the NYT.


18 posted on 09/18/2004 6:22:49 PM PDT by elhombrelibre
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To: Honestfreedom
He was consistently bashing America for the sanctions on Iraq....BEFORE the war. Blaming America for all the so called deaths there.

Just seemed to love Saddam Hussein.

Mostly because SH sent cash to suicide bomber families, I guess.

The media loves Pat, they share his opinions on Israel, terrorists, and his hatred of the President.

19 posted on 09/18/2004 6:23:37 PM PDT by OldFriend (It's the soldier, not the reporter who has given US freedom of the press)
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To: Honestfreedom
He was consistently bashing America for the sanctions on Iraq....BEFORE the war. Blaming America for all the so called deaths there.

Just seemed to love Saddam Hussein.

Mostly because SH sent cash to suicide bomber families, I guess.

The media loves Pat, they share his opinions on Israel, terrorists, and his hatred of the President.

20 posted on 09/18/2004 6:24:01 PM PDT by OldFriend (It's the soldier, not the reporter who has given US freedom of the press)
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To: sinkspur

Yes it is true -- he is anti-semitic. He and Hillary would get along in that regard. While Pat bounces off the walls alot in his manifesto, he does have a core of true conservatism, a lust for a return to "real" America, but with alot of rough edges, and a bit of myopia.


21 posted on 09/18/2004 6:25:19 PM PDT by EagleUSA
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To: Former Military Chick
Pat finally lost me completely when I heard him praising President Reagan for the only thing I faulted him for ... being chased out of Lebanon. I think it set a dangerous, and now familiar, precedent that led directly to 9-11. Pat thinks it was a policy decision worthy of admiration. Man he really, really hates the Jews.
22 posted on 09/18/2004 6:25:43 PM PDT by Gumption
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To: Freepdonia
Since the mid-1950's, when William F. Buckley Jr. created National Review,

Bill Buckley drummed Pat out of the respectable wing of the conservative movement for his anti-semitism, just as he excised the John Birch Society from our ranks.

23 posted on 09/18/2004 6:26:08 PM PDT by Valpal1 (The constitution is going to be amended, the only question is by whom?)
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To: Tax-chick
I take it you don't think he's cute.

Puppies are cute. Kittens are cute. Baby ducks are cute. I would not put Pat Buchanan in that category. *shudder*

24 posted on 09/18/2004 6:27:04 PM PDT by Prime Choice (The Religion of Peace ISN'T.)
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To: Freepdonia
Who is Pat Buchanan?

The guy who lost an uncle in Germany during WWII. He fell out of a guard tower and broke his neck.

(Don't blame me, I heard in on Imus years ago)

25 posted on 09/18/2004 6:27:31 PM PDT by Mister Baredog ((Part of the Reagan legacy is to re-elect G.W. Bush))
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To: OldFriend

Everytime a bus, pizza parlor or anything along that line
that a suicide murderer destroys in Israel I try to send Pat a photo for his scrapbook.


26 posted on 09/18/2004 6:27:44 PM PDT by dwilli
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To: Former Military Chick
Strangely, he doesn't realize that the president, a born-again Christian, needed no special prompting after the attacks of Sept. 11 to declare a new world war between good and evil.

How does this moron know that president Bush needed no prompting??? This guy seems to think that his opinion is a legitimate critique of P. Buchanan...It reads more like an advertisement...I'm going to buy the book...

27 posted on 09/18/2004 6:28:04 PM PDT by Iscool
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To: Prime Choice

Everyone has a deep, dark secret, and mine is thinking Pat Buchanan is cute ... I didn't say I think he's right, or even sane, just cute.


28 posted on 09/18/2004 6:28:59 PM PDT by Tax-chick (A python asleep on the windowsill and a nasty smell were the first signs that all was not well ...)
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To: Drango
Who is Pat Buchanan?

More like who gives a royal crap what Buchanan has to think or say!

29 posted on 09/18/2004 6:29:57 PM PDT by Bommer ( To be believable, we must be credible; to be credible, we must be truthful. Edward R. Murrow)
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To: Former Military Chick

Pat, Pat, Pat. All the good gets flushed out with the bad...


30 posted on 09/18/2004 6:31:02 PM PDT by ApesForEvolution (DemocRATS are communists and want to destroy America only to replace it with the USSA)
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To: Former Military Chick

"Alert readers will have spotted another troubling flaw in Buchanan's worldview. His roster of warmongers is made up exclusively of Jews. But it was Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and the president himself -- good Christians all -- who sent all those armed Americans into Iraq. Aside from Wolfowitz, the Jewish neocons could only cheer them on from their op-ed pages, think tanks and talk shows.

Buchanan thinks he can explain this discrepancy between conservatives who decide and those who merely advocate. The neconservatives, he claims, saw that George W. Bush was ignorant about world politics and cleverly persuaded him to think like them. At one point, he compares Richard Perle's ''delight at first meeting the future president'' with Fagin's ''initial encounter with the young Oliver Twist.'' After four decades of close political combat, Buchanan seems unwilling to abandon such abusive rhetoric. It may be as essential to him as God and the flag, even while it confirms his status as a political pariah. Strangely, he doesn't realize that the president, a born-again Christian, needed no special prompting after the attacks of Sept. 11 to declare a new world war between good and evil."



I do not have a clue what has happened to make Buchanan so tunnel visioned...I used to like to hear him speak...He is the bridesmaid who did not catch the bouquet.


31 posted on 09/18/2004 6:31:05 PM PDT by MEG33 (John Kerry has been AWOL on issues of national security for two decades)
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To: Tax-chick
Everyone has a deep, dark secret, and mine is thinking Pat Buchanan is cute ... I didn't say I think he's right, or even sane, just cute.

Fair enough. I respect that. And besides, it gives me some hope. If there's someone out there who thinks Pat Buchanan is cute, there's bound to be someone out there who thinks I'm cute. Yay! : )

32 posted on 09/18/2004 6:32:47 PM PDT by Prime Choice (The Religion of Peace ISN'T.)
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To: Former Military Chick
For those who can hold down their lunch when coming in to contact with Buchanan's mishmash of regurgiated 60's leftism he is quite amusing.

His title actually elecits a belly laugh.

Second term for concervative president coming up. Both houses with conservative majority.

And to this idiot it all went wrong.

And how did it go wrong. The right are not leftiest like he is.

Few bigger lying hypocrites than pat Buchanan areound these days.

Maybe its a mental thing with him, I don't know.

33 posted on 09/18/2004 6:32:48 PM PDT by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: Gumption
I cut my conservative teeth on his columns during the seventies when I was a kid, but lost track of him until the nineties when he became a populist anti-"neo-con" (yeah, we know what he means there, don't we?)

Rush was thinking about voting for him in '92 before he realized how much he had changed.
34 posted on 09/18/2004 6:35:21 PM PDT by Freepdonia (Victory is Ours!)
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To: Former Military Chick
This is a great day, Lord, now that the Free Republic consensus agrees almost completely with the New York Times. Halleluyah!

(To quote Samuel Goldwyn, include me out, please!)

35 posted on 09/18/2004 6:35:28 PM PDT by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything!")
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To: tallhappy

I'm glad Savage came out against Buchanan, calling him a defeatist. Even after having him on his show a few times.


36 posted on 09/18/2004 6:37:19 PM PDT by miliantnutcase
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To: Former Military Chick

Buchanan is Deepthroat.


37 posted on 09/18/2004 6:37:26 PM PDT by bayourod (Kerry would avenge the murder of my family by terrorists. Bush would prevent the murders.)
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To: Former Military Chick
Doesn't seem like an especially insightful review or like Kazin actually needed to read the book to write it. Nor is it conceivable that Buchanan could ever have written a book that would please Kazin. Pat Buchanan's uneasy position between various political blocs is clear to all by now, but that could be a stimulus to reflection on just how solid or cohesive or sensible or thoughful those blocs are, and whether current ideological packages might have real flaws in them, and Kazin doesn't rise to the occasion.

He does raise a good point -- Cheney and Rumsfeld were far more central in the move to war than Kristol or Krauthammer. But this book grew a lot out of journalistic polemics and reviews of books. Rightly or wrongly, politicians and administrators are usually given a pass, in that they're allowed to disassociate themselves from their policies more than those who simply advocate, propose, or agitate for such policies. People extend more chances to elected officials than to polemicists and ideologists, who are tied to the policies that they've promoted. It's not necessarily anti-Semitism, just the age-old need to believe in the "good" but misled king.

Buchanan's ideology does have inconsistencies, as Kazin points out, and it's unlikely that any future Republican or conservative leadership would follow him in everything. The "Old Right" package never persuaded a majority of Americans and didn't provide workable answers to foreign policy. But the ability of leaders like Reagan to win over those with more realist or non-interventionist or continentalist views shouldn't be dismissed. In the past, Republicans showed much skill in uniting disparate groups under the same banner, and their ability to do so seemed to be in question in the last few years when this book was written. The outlook has gotten brighter for the Bush Administration in the last few weeks, but whether that will last isn't yet clear.

38 posted on 09/18/2004 6:37:41 PM PDT by x
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To: Valpal1
just as he excised the John Birch Society from our ranks.

Who was or is the John Birch society? I've heard the name, but don't know anything about them. What did they do and whats the bad thing about them?

39 posted on 09/18/2004 6:38:44 PM PDT by Sonny M ("oderint dum metuant")
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To: rdb3

Oh, you mean the people who believe in a limited government that is not quite so limited that it can't provide them a job?


40 posted on 09/18/2004 6:38:51 PM PDT by stands2reason (Limousine Liberal--a man who has his cake, eats his cake, and complains that other people have cake.)
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To: Freepdonia
He was a guy I used to enjoy reading a long time ago. Don't know what happened to him though...

Yeah me too...I use to enjoy the ideology of the conservative formerly known as Pat. Now we just know him as clymer.

41 posted on 09/18/2004 6:39:28 PM PDT by Drango (PJs? Never. FReep in the "Buff")
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To: Stonedog
Pat Buchanan is an isolationist wind bag with strong anti-Semitic believes

That's a lot of air to blow out at once.

who we don't want associated with the party of Reagan. The big tent only stretches so far, and we need to make sure he's on the outside looking in.

Funny that proponents of the "big tent" theory would use it to justify the inclusion of flaming liberals like Rudolph Giuliani, Arlen Specter, George Pataki, Jim Jeffords, John McCain, etc. in a supposedly center-right political party, but absolutely refuses to include a man who expressly condemns abortion, homosexual marriage, and mass immigration invasions.

Critics, of course, insist that Buchanan has become increasingly "alertist" and negative about the state of the Union (no pun intended) over the last fifteen to twenty years, and cite this as proof of "anti-Americanism," which they then claim discredits anything he says. But as someone who grew up in the 1990's and is being educated in the mid-2000's, I can tell you why Buchanan's incresing alertism is totally warranted: frankly, this country has deteriorated severely even over my own lifetime. What remained of this country's moral identity when I was born has been relaxed to be barely recognizable in many places. We are constantly being invaded by our good neighbors to the South. As a result, I worry that I might not have a good homeland to pass on to my children.

I don't agree with Buchanan on everything. But he is frequently correct about many issues, and what's more, I have never seen anyone actually refute anything he wrote. At best, they call him "anti-Semitic," "nativist," "isolationist," "protectionist," or, my favorite, "RACIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

42 posted on 09/18/2004 6:39:42 PM PDT by MegaSilver
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To: Drango
Now we just know him as clymer

Big time.
43 posted on 09/18/2004 6:41:02 PM PDT by Freepdonia (Victory is Ours!)
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To: Cableguy
Antiwar liberals can applaud when he writes: ''In 2003, the United States invaded a country that did not threaten us, did not attack us and did not want war with us, to disarm it of weapons we have since discovered it did not have.'' But we cringe at every aspect of his cultural politics.

Couldn't find anyone more balanced to review it, apparently.

44 posted on 09/18/2004 6:41:09 PM PDT by stands2reason (Limousine Liberal--a man who has his cake, eats his cake, and complains that other people have cake.)
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To: Honestfreedom

Just curious ... Have you ever read anything more complicated than a bumper sticker?


45 posted on 09/18/2004 6:45:14 PM PDT by PaleoPal
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To: MegaSilver
Patrick Buchanan has joined the "blame the Jews" school of thought. Actually he joined it over 20 years ago, and no matter what else he says that alone is enough to push him into an area all Republicans can not afford to be in. He's also rabidly anti-free market, and wants the U.S. to never become engaged in anything outside our borders. We saw several times in the past century exactly where that kind of thinking leads us. Lastly as someone who grew up in Texas, and is now seeing my new home of Arkansas being overrun by illegals, I can agree that we have to do something about this issue. I am just unwilling to sell my soul to an anti-Semite to do it.
46 posted on 09/18/2004 6:46:01 PM PDT by Stonedog (Mr. Blather... tear down this STONEWALL!!)
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To: stands2reason
Oh, you mean the people who believe in a limited government that is not quite so limited that it can't provide them a job?

That's correct. While they may be socially conservative, in economic matters they swing wildly to the left.

So, to me, they are lefties who have morals. Well, sorta.


$710.96... The price of freedom
VII-XXIII-MMIV

47 posted on 09/18/2004 6:50:03 PM PDT by rdb3 ("The Republican Party is the ship and all else is the sea." ---Frederick Douglass)
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To: Mister Baredog
Who is Pat Buchanan?

"The guy who lost an uncle in Germany during WWII. He fell out of a guard tower and broke his neck."

Better version:

The guy who lost an uncle in a Nazi concentration camp. He fell out of a guard tower and broke his neck.

48 posted on 09/18/2004 6:50:09 PM PDT by secretagent
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To: Former Military Chick
"Neocon" ~ that's the professional leftwinger's new code word for "Jews".

Does Buchanan know that yet?

(Bet he does, snicker, snicker).

49 posted on 09/18/2004 6:52:40 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Tax-chick

50 posted on 09/18/2004 6:53:28 PM PDT by John Lenin
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