Three Cheers for Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan has penned his last weekly syndicated column.

That is a real loss for American conservatism and American political intellectual history.

Buchanan was a one man wrecking crew against the establishment. I didn’t always agree with his positions–he was too Lincolnian and Hamiltonian for my taste–but he always was thought provoking and often right.

He is also loyal. He defends Nixon to this day. Same for his Confederate ancestors.

That more than anything else is noteworthy in American politics.

Loyalty is hard to come by, but of course, Buchanan wasn’t really in American politics. He was always taking shots from the outside of American politics.

That made him great.

If you’re reading this email and you are interested in writing about American politics, read Pat Buchanan and skip William Buckley.

Buchanan knew how to grab a reader and riddle him with hard hitting point after point.

His pen was a Tommy Gun.

Buckley lounged in his chair, ran his fingers through his hair, and meandered around the issues until finally saying something worthwhile.

And by worthwhile I often mean CIA approved.

Buchanan wrote from a place of real culture, not some faux, half-cocked and barely distinguishable American “conservative” ideology like Buckley.

This is why Buckley butted heads with George Wallace (real culture) and Buchanan could thump about America first.

America had meaning. It wasn’t an idea. Protecting real people and a real place and not an intangible “proposition nation” made Buchanan attractive to a wide swath of the American public.

He smashed myths and took down sacred cows. Anyone willing to suggest that America should have stayed out of World War II has a spine of solid granite.

His prognostications about a “culture war” in America have largely come true. People laughed at him when he said it in 1992, but again, Buchanan said these things because he didn’t think America was created on an idea.

People made it, people, like him, who had skin in the game. When Jefferson insisted that people built America on their own blood and hook, he wasn’t waxing philosophical about some theoretical America. They were the sweaty people who Pat loves.

Buchanan also didn’t care if he upset the right people, but he did it with a warm smile and Christian charity. There’s no other way to explain how he could sit across from some of the Washington beltway crowd for years and tell them off without losing his cool.

I met Pat once in 2000 in Columbia, South Carolina when he was running for President. He wouldn’t remember it, but I have the pictures, somewhere. He is a real Southern gentlemen, and his wife a great Southern lady. Pat put flowers on the grave of his Confederate ancestor right in front of the establishment media when he was running for office. Who else would do that today?

Not our “conservative” apparatchik collaborators in Congress.

Pat ran for President like John C. Calhoun ran for President. It wasn’t for power but to make a point, to have influence over policy in the future.

He knew he wasn’t going to win in 1996 or 2000, but without those runs, “America First” would not have had the firepower it did in 2016.

There aren’t really any men like Pat Buchanan left among mainstream politicos. That’s too bad, because an America with more rock-ribbed conservatives would be a better place to live.

I discuss Pat and this great article by Tom Piatak on Episode 775 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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