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An un-American conservative
Jerusalem Post ^ | Apr. 13, 2003 | IRVING LOUIS HOROWITZ

Posted on 04/14/2003 12:36:11 PM PDT by yonif

For Patrick Buchanan, the real political divide is between the 'New World Order Party' and the 'America First' party

For the past two decades it has become apparent that an implosion has taken place within the ranks of American conservatism - that ideological tendency which emphasizes liberty over equality, national interest over global commitments, and moral principles over pragmatic policies. For once we move from the abstract to the concrete, the weakness of this ideology, as indeed all ideology, begins to show. Real interests trump general guides.

In the case of the rift between "paleo" and "neo" conservatives, common animosities ranging from the existence of the Soviet Union abroad to the pre-eminence of the Democratic Party and its post-Vietnam syndrome at home, served to paper over the differences. But with profound changes in the international and national scene alike, these conditions have changed. The issues become war with Iraq, mass immigration, and the status of the free enterprise system in advanced capitalist conditions.

But going one step further toward the specific it has become apparent that the flash point is the status of Israel and the power of the Jewish community in the United States. Old-line conservatives, who did little but pay lip service to the "Judeo-Christian tradition" to start with, began to emphasize the hyphen rather than the linkage. At the forefront of what might be called the post-Russell Kirk wing of traditional conservatism is Patrick J. Buchanan, who far from taking his electoral beatings for the presidency in sullen silence, decided instead to establish a new publication, The American Conservative.

The very physical design of The American Conservative reminds the reader of The Nation. The paper is of newspaper quality. Layout and format likewise are similar to that critical organ of the Left. Imitation is indeed the highest form of flattery. Beyond that, the contents also invite comparison to The Progressive and The American Prospect. Beyond appearance, these four publications have in common dedicated opposition to American military strikes against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The rhetoric of each publication shades off into the other. In the first three issues of The American Conservative we start with themes that have become staples of the Left in the period of its post-Soviet decline.

Justin Raimundo writing on the American Imperium is quite frank in identifying Buchanan with "the conservative movement of the 1930s on up through the early 1950s [which] was anti-imperialist and anti-interventionist." Eric Margolis in "Iraq Invasion: The Road to Folly" tells us in the litany of the Left that President Bush lacks a strategic plan. He is trapped by the neo-conservatives, and can only move the nation toward a "quagmire." He sees a world dominated by Pentagon hawks, obsession with Iraq, and lust for oil.

The highlight of the first issue harkens back to C. Wright Mills Power Elite. Kevin Phillips tells us why he is no longer a conservative. "The power structure Washington conservatism now represents can be described as Wall Street, Big Energy, multinational corporations, the Military Industrial Complex, the religious Right, the Market Extremist think tanks, and the Bush-Limbaugh Axis." In this fashion Phillips calls forth an America that needs a new leader - and who better exemplifies that push toward salvation than does Patrick Buchanan.

Buchanan himself speaks in his own voice from the outset, properly raising the question not of victory or defeat in Iraq, but the price of managing the victory. But by the third issue, empirical concerns dissolve into editorial shouts. He hammers away at a theme that has become his staple: an attack on the "Israeli Lobby" for which The New Republic has been a conscious echo." He then moves to a defense of Al Gore's presumed "opposition to preemptive war," a stand which already paid dividends for Gore in harnessing the support of Edward Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and "the Hollywood Left, whose cash and concerts will be crucial when campaign reform takes hold." Apparently, the Jewish conspiracy for a war with Iraq ends at the gates of the movie actors, actresses, and moguls solidly aligned against such a war.

With subsequent issues, Buchanan moves into high gear, in a voice of unrelenting hatred for President Bush and the Grand Old Party that nurtured him but now sees fit to live without him. His complaints are manifold: the White House and the Capitol has become "a virtual fortress" due to the anthrax scare. Open borders and free immigration have made the nation vulnerable to terrorists and illegal aliens. Then came wars of intervention from Panama to Haiti to Somalia to Kuwait to Bosnia to Kosovo. Buchanan views the World Trade Center as the "blowback" - by which he obviously means the payback. Americas is left with a single ally: Sharon's Israel. "The occupation of the West Bank" is the capstone. Washington and Jerusalem become the vortex to which Congress has capitulated and thus it shares the blame with President Bush.

THE WORLD of Pat Buchanan is one turned upside down. Cause and effect are reversed. The enemy is within. American efforts to enforce a plethora of resolutions to prevent nuclear proliferation in the Middle East become little more than naked display of American imperialism. Near complete Palestinian intransigence to any sort of peaceful solution that recognizes the sovereignty of a Jewish state becomes an Israeli warrior instinct.

A day will come, we are ominously informed, in which "we will settle accounts with those who sacrificed God's Country on their pagan altar of empire." If Buchanan's is an oversimplified model of the universe, it is nonetheless makes for compelling rhetoric. It identifies an easy enemy: the imperial president, whose view of the world corrupts "God's Country" by trying to tell other people how to live.

For Buchanan, the deeper we move into the first decade of the new century the more evident it becomes that the issue is not terrorism, but the presumption that such terror is brought about by the United States itself, by its voracious appetites to rule the world unilaterally. As a result, old categories like Right and Left, Conservative and Liberal, dissolve under the guise of a choice between a New World Order Party (which for Buchanan implies both the Democrats and Republicans for the most part) and an America First Party.

The latter is an amorphous group comprised of native-born Americans, dedicated to Christian fundamental values, for which the rest of the world is a cross between a cesspool and a diabolical conspiracy trying to engage a virtuous nation in its plots. That he is on to something is evident in his ability to round up a wide ranging group of contributors ranging from Scott McConnell from the traditional right to Nicholas von Hoffman from what used to be gratuitously called the New Left. They all sound the same theme of animus for Ariel Sharon, respect for Saddam Hussein. But the specific villains and heroes of the moment are less important than the ideological alliances that are clearly being formed.

Buchanan's vision, however carefully embroidered, comes upon some severe contradictions not so easily generalized. The pseudo populism of his appeal resurrects a leadership principle in which elites impose order and justice on a nation by curbing excess. These may be anything from an urban impulse in cultural expression to the unrestricted effort to innovate.

The central villain remains an economy that in its nature has become global in its structure and therefore unconfined by the nation state. The world of Buchanan is one in which problems may be universal but solutions are always national and hence controllable. Anything that smacks of reduction of national power through loss of sovereignty, from The Hague to Brussels, from world courts to European Unions, are seen as dangerous and inimical to American interests.

Buchanan and his army see a world of Hobbesian proportions without Hobbes' vision. As with the fascist persuasion, the promise of social justice depends upon the commitment of all to the state system. And as a result, the appeal to the people falls on deaf ears, as it becomes evident that the guarantor of national health is America First and its singular charismatic leader. The traditional conservative assault on totalitarianism is conspicuously, nay ominously, noticeable by its absence.

It would be a dangerous mistake to scoff at the ravings of the political extremes. To start with, we are obligated to do what Buchanan as ideologist cannot do: examine each overseas activity and each domestic policy as well, to determine where right and wrong exist.

The anti-democratic character of the political extremes does not reside in its errors about any particular event, so much as its moral absolutism, and the denial of debate and dialogue before decision. What makes the position of Left Fascism, or if one prefers, Right Communism so compelling is precisely its simple-minded model of the world.

The world conspires to be more complex than all models, especially simplistic ones like Buchanan's that ultimately define good and evil rather than right and wrong. Demagogic appeals to national sentiment carry great weight. But when a nation is undergoing travails of the sort we are experiencing in the economic realm with a market downturn, and in the social realm, with the emergence of state-religious sponsorship of terrorism to weaken American resolve, there is a risk of irrelevance to his emphasis. The intriguing challenge of our times is not only the resurrection of the regnant creed of neo-isolationism, but also the capacity of the American consensus to hold. Buchanan's attack on publications such as The New Republic, National Review, The Weekly Standard, Commentary, and a host of other publications that in the past held high their respective flags of conservatism and liberalism, is a profound if inadvertent recognition that the old order is crumbling in the culture no less than in the polity.

There is a growing liberal-conservative alliance in general ideological terms, and no less a growing Democratic-Republican continuum in matters of fundamental integrity to system survival and political legitimacy. The rise of Muslim extremism with its reliance upon a worldwide network of terrorism has made such a broad consensus within American life necessary. It is like Camus's coming together of people during the Plague.

The task of the coming period will be to determine the extent to which this systemic consensus can hold, and in so doing move beyond ideological cliches and conventions that dotted the late 20th century landscape. If it can, The American Conservative will remain a useful, but minor irritant in the world of political opinion magazines.

If the broad post-September 11 consensus that has been tenuously stitched together fails to hold, then look for Buchanan or a more credible look-alike to emerge as a potent force in the years to come.

It is a well-worn truism, and in this case, a solid truth, that if and when fascism comes to the United States, it will be wrapped about in an American flag. Still, the high political fall-out from frontal assaults on American institutions and values will probably limit the damage of the resurfaced paleo-conservatives. Perhaps the greater challenge will be the need of this new democratic majority to continue carrying to new levels vigorous debates on our institutions and values. For a consensus that hardens into a bleak set of majoritarian platitudes that simply dries up dissent and disguises basic differences is arguably a greater challenge to the American system in the long run than anything advanced by Buchanan and his frontal assault on our civilization and our culture.

The writer is the Hannah Arendt University Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University. His most recent works are Behemoth: The Theoretical and Historical Foundations of Political Sociology, and the fifth edition of Taking Lives: Genocide and State Power. This piece is adapted from a more extensive article in Partisan Review.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; Israel
KEYWORDS: america; antiwarright; buchanan; conservative; neocons; paleocons; patrickbuchanan
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To: ex-snook
The Palistinians already have their own country - its called Jordan.

And I despise neocons.

51 posted on 04/14/2003 3:42:29 PM PDT by skeeter (Fac ut vivas)
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To: rrstar96
Ho hum! Folks like Pat Buchanan and Joe Sobran have become irrelevant among conservative thinkers in America.

Which conservative thinkers or leaders are you referring to?

52 posted on 04/14/2003 3:43:55 PM PDT by Joe Hadenuf
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To: yonif
the Grand Old Party that nurtured him but now sees fit to live without him.

Interesting, and I thought Buchanan left the Republican party. I had no idea the Republicans threw Buchanan out of that party.

53 posted on 04/14/2003 3:47:07 PM PDT by Joe Hadenuf
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To: yonif
It sounds more like the author needs to refrain from calling Miss Cleo of the physic friends network for advice on the future of American politics. The only problem with his article is that Patrick Buchanan is irrelevant to modern day conservatism. Nobody is buying his magazine let alone paying any attention to what he is espousing. The hand full that are do nothing more than serve as token icons for the left to hold up and try to tar the right with. PJB is totally out to lunch when it comes to political vision in trying to obtain political office.
54 posted on 04/14/2003 4:00:01 PM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: Captain Beyond
Nobody is buying his magazine let alone paying any attention to what he is espousing.

You sure about the "no one" part?

It would be music to my ears...

55 posted on 04/14/2003 4:01:26 PM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: Poohbah
I'm saying in overall performance the sells are not blowing the doors off Newsweek, Time, etc. PJB at times has written good columns and has had good commentary but when he engages in political action it is a disaster. For the author to think that PJB is a role model for future politics is preposterous.
56 posted on 04/14/2003 4:17:03 PM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: Captain Beyond
I seem to recall that they said the same thing about this Austrian ex-corporal in 1920s Germany.
57 posted on 04/14/2003 4:18:10 PM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: american spirit
Buchanan's biggest problem is that he understands the Constitution better than most neo-cons... and in the face of opposition that contains heavy doses of ignorance and arrogance he continues to persevere.

Bump to that!

58 posted on 04/14/2003 4:29:46 PM PDT by bob808
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To: Poohbah
If you see America as 1930's Germany then get out while you can. But the majority of us will stay and make sure that doesn't happen here and continue to live in liberty and peace. American will remain free as long as the Constitution is law and we remember history.
59 posted on 04/14/2003 4:31:50 PM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: yonif
This is a very bizarre article when you consider that Transaction Publishers, which Horowitz heads, has published several paleoconservative books in recent years and provided space in its magazine "Society" for Paul Gottfried and other paleo authors. Certainly paleos have had more of an "in" with Horowitz's outfit than with most other magazines or publishing houses. Keeping that in mind it's hard to take Horowitz's charges seriously. If he thought they were fascistically inclined, why publish them all this time?

It's hard to recognize Buchanan's magazine in what Horowitz writes. Buchanan is critical of Bush, but that hardly amounts to "unrelenting hatred." This article looks like another example of the heated emotions of the day rather than a serious analysis of "paleoconservatism" or "The American Conservative."

60 posted on 04/14/2003 5:10:38 PM PDT by x
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
I thought Pat already HAD a spot on MSNBC to trash Bush from. :-)
61 posted on 04/14/2003 5:20:26 PM PDT by Howlin (It's a great day to be an American -- or an Iraqi!)
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To: Howlin
Buchanan on MSNBC Buchanan rides to the sound of the guns

"The president of the United States did indeed speak last night. He said Saddam Hussein and his sons have 48 hours to get out of town, and, if they don’t, we’re going to take them down and take down the regime.

So, that’s what’s coming, upcoming, folks. And when that happens and when Americans go into battle, it seems to me that the right thing to do for patriots, when American lives are at risk and Americans are dying, is to unite behind the troops until victory is won.

Now, on BUCHANAN & PRESS, we’ve had a good debate for eight months on this conflict, ever since last July. We’ve had pacifists and super hawks and doves. But now it seems, when the war comes, the debate ends, at least temporarily, until victory is achieved and the Americans march into Baghdad, when the debate will open again as to where we go from there.

But, for right now, I think we back our troops, and that means all of them. And that includes, for this writer certainly, and I hope for many of us, the commander in chief, because, after all, he is our leader in this war.

I think unity is essential at this time, or at least when the guns begin to fire."

62 posted on 04/14/2003 5:31:46 PM PDT by ex-snook (American jobs needs balanced trade - WE BUY FROM YOU, YOU BUY FROM US)
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To: dighton
How's this?

Could be better, but I'll try:


63 posted on 04/14/2003 5:44:48 PM PDT by TomB
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To: Howlin
Gosh, they are way ahead of me :o)
MSNBC knows what they are doing, and how helpful of them to expose those who clai to be conservatives, who are not.
So, where are all the anti-Iraq war folks who spouted off on here that Bush was wrong? Where are they now? Maybe I should ping a few...

growl
64 posted on 04/14/2003 5:47:24 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: Howlin
clai = claim.
Someone at my m!
65 posted on 04/14/2003 5:48:25 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: SJackson; Yehuda; Nachum
Ping.
66 posted on 04/14/2003 6:35:04 PM PDT by yonif
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To: Captain Kirk
Typical screed from a man who has no argument. Anytime anyone disagres with him call him "un-American." Pretty slimy.

Considering that Pat questions the patriotism of his opponents all the time, turnabout is fair play.
67 posted on 04/14/2003 6:58:40 PM PDT by rmlew ("Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.")
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To: rrstar96
Truly wise men don't see conspiracies (Jewish or otherwise) every time America's interests are at stake; it is intellectually lazy (and dishonest) to do so.

Amen.  :)
68 posted on 04/14/2003 7:06:09 PM PDT by gcruse (If they truly are God's laws, he can enforce them himself.)
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To: Kurdistani
agreed! I lost all respect for Pat after he tried to throw his votes to Gore. The only consistant theme for him and Novak is lack of support for Israel!
69 posted on 04/14/2003 7:14:29 PM PDT by 2nd Amendment
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To: yonif
I used to like Buchanan. Hey, I'll give credit where credit is due. Without Pat on the ballot in Palm Beach, it would be President Algore.
70 posted on 04/14/2003 8:01:36 PM PDT by Tribune7
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To: Captain Beyond
If you see America as 1930's Germany then get out while you can.

No, I'm saying that 1920s Germany didn't see itself as ever electing Hitler.

Hell, the Communist bloc in 1987 didn't see itself falling apart in 1989.

I don't see us electing Buchanan et al.

But I could be very wrong.

Anyone trying to predict the future is taking the short end of a very long bet.

71 posted on 04/15/2003 4:55:02 AM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: Poohbah
Well, since the whack job leftists who take votes from democrats are called the Greens, couldn't the whack job paleos who follow Buchanan be called the Browns?

There is a certain symmetry there.

72 posted on 04/15/2003 5:06:36 AM PDT by dogbyte12
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To: Poohbah
Hitler was wayyyyyyyyyyyy before my time, and I attended public schools, so I may have missed something. Didn't Hitler come to power and then try to take over Europe. Does anyone see Pat Buchanan as someone who would try to take over Europe or North and South America or the Middle East or whatever? Does anyone think that Pat Buchanan would attempt to rid the US of all non Caucasians?????

I don't. And I'm not a PJB follower by any means. I never thought that he had a shot at the presidency.
73 posted on 04/15/2003 5:35:21 AM PDT by petitfour
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To: petitfour
Hitler was wayyyyyyyyyyyy before my time, and I attended public schools, so I may have missed something.

Didn't Hitler come to power and then try to take over Europe.

Yes. BTW, you should end questions with a question mark. (Must be that public schooling :o)

Does anyone see Pat Buchanan as someone who would try to take over Europe or North and South America or the Middle East or whatever?

If I lived in Canada, I would be very nervous about a Buchananite presidency.

Does anyone think that Pat Buchanan would attempt to rid the US of all non Caucasians?????

At some point, his ideology needs a readily-identified focus of hatred. Non-Caucasians would work nicely.

74 posted on 04/15/2003 5:44:44 AM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: Joe Hadenuf
"Which conservative thinkers or leaders are you referring to?"

The list can be endless: National Review, The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, talk-radio show hosts, columnists, the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
75 posted on 04/15/2003 6:18:59 AM PDT by rrstar96 (Proud member of Israel's "Amen Corner")
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To: Poohbah
I'd sure like to see you point out a few examples of all this "hatred" that supposedly eminates from Buchanan. The more I read of this thread I see more evidence of some sort of twisted logic that characterizes someone as a hatemonger who wants to protect our borders, our children from the fedgov education behemoth, our industries from slave labor capitalism, our tax base from a flood of people who we now pay to feed, house, medicate and educate so that businesses can have all this "cheap labor" (thus EVADING a whole lot of payroll taxes). The biggest problem we have right now is that so many followers of the mainstream media orthodoxy are so petrified that someone like Buchanan could possibly be correct in his views that they will go to any length to demonize him with subtle Hitlerian and white supremacist references....it's the sign of mounting desperation.
76 posted on 04/15/2003 7:09:43 AM PDT by american spirit
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To: american spirit
If it's all a media plot to "demonize" Buchanan with Hitlerian references...

...why is he actively assisting them by his own comments?
77 posted on 04/15/2003 8:06:32 AM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: Poohbah
Yup Buchanan has lifted himself on his own petard.
78 posted on 04/15/2003 8:08:58 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: AppyPappy
Yup Buchanan has lifted himself on his own petard.

And that usually smarts :o)

79 posted on 04/15/2003 8:13:10 AM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: Poohbah
Didn't say anything about media plots, it's just obvious that when those in the media or otherwise cannot bring themselves to debate at length the pros and cons of various policy debates it's convenient to resort to the aforementioned references.
80 posted on 04/15/2003 8:49:19 AM PDT by american spirit
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To: american spirit
Didn't say anything about media plots, it's just obvious that when those in the media or otherwise cannot bring themselves to debate at length the pros and cons of various policy debates it's convenient to resort to the aforementioned references.

Said references coming from Buchanan's own mouth.

81 posted on 04/15/2003 8:51:58 AM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: Poohbah
...and because some media types and forum contributors are adept at taking certain comments from a book or article out of context to serve their narrow viewpoint proves my point even more.
82 posted on 04/15/2003 9:05:20 AM PDT by american spirit
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To: american spirit
If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel...

...claiming that his remarks were "taken out of context" is most likely the first...
83 posted on 04/15/2003 9:07:23 AM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: Poohbah
..."all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"...with that in mind I'll take refuge with Edmund Burke and PJB and you can feel free to align yourself with a leftist professor from another socialist incubator on the east coast.
84 posted on 04/15/2003 9:46:30 AM PDT by american spirit
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To: american spirit
...and the second refuge is to engage in the sort of smear-by-innuendo tactics you are busily decrying...

In case you didn't notice...

Buchanan and Professor DiGenova (the prototypical leftist professor from an east coast socialist incubator) AGREE on Iraq.
85 posted on 04/15/2003 9:55:12 AM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!)
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To: Poohbah
Don't be so touchy...it was just a little test to check your reaction to the crap Buchanan puts up with on a daily basis and you passed with flying colors...congrats! As far as that whinefest you call an article the writer definitely wrote it with a mocking yet subtle characterization of Buchanan's efforts to deal with many policy issues in the face of considerable ignorance spiced with arrogance.
86 posted on 04/15/2003 11:33:56 AM PDT by american spirit
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To: Poohbah
The Wall Street Journal in their editorial of 4/16 said that the American hating, anti war, Left wing, can't identify with Pat Buchanan and the "isolationist" Right Wing. Why? Because the "isolationist" right wingers think the world is not good enough for America and we will be corrupted by it. The Left thinks we are the evil of the world and will corrupt them!

This article is absolute crap and I doubt most have read a Buchanan book or even an issue of "The American Conservative".

87 posted on 04/17/2003 10:17:08 PM PDT by Burkeman1 (B)
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