Attacking Buchanan...from the right

By Joe Schembrie
web posted October 23, 2000

There's a strong, deserved sense of confidence in the George W. Bush camp. Al Gore has come back before, but how do you regain trust after constantly lying? There's a real temptation to say, "Stick a fork in him -- he's done!"

The first time I heard that cliche was September 1998 -- and in reference to Bill Clinton. Polls indicated a Congressional Republican sweep in off-year elections. If that had happened, Clinton would indeed have been gone.

But on Election Day, too many conservative voters stayed home in disgust. They were convinced by certain 'Pundits on the Right' that the Republican Congressional leadership would never bring Clinton to trial. Congressional Republicans did follow through; it's those voters who deserted the cause.

The 'Purist Right' always has an excuse for desertion. In '92 and '96, they voted for Ross Perot -- a believer in big government who also supported gun control and abortion. The purists stayed home in '98 -- and in '00, they've turned to Pat Buchanan. Ideological Purity means never having to say you've won.

Winning an election is a tricky thing. Candidates stretch out from an ideological base into the amorphous electoral middle. As the message to the base dilutes, third party spoilers threaten to steal the base.

Pat BuchananThird-partyists always argue that 'the two major parties are identical,' and so Pat Buchanan's $12 million in government-subsidized funding is being applied to radio ads, aired during conservative talk shows, which attack Bush as a Gore-Clone -- a tax-and-spend liberal who favors affirmative action.

Reality Check: Bush supports tax cuts, Social Security privatization, school vouchers, missile defense, and restrictions on partial birth abortion. Bush supports 'strict constructionist' judges for the Supreme Court, while Gore wants judges who are 'pro-choice.' If that doesn't illustrate a vast philosophical difference, then what would?

Buchanan is hurting Bush, and it's time for the counter-attack. And let it be waged by coming around Buchanan's own right flank.

True, after denying the Holocaust, it may seem that the Buchanan Brigade's right flank is up against a cliff -- and maybe a bit over the edge. But notice: Buchanan is really questioning Bush's integrity.

It's only fair to question Buchanan's own ideological purity.

Of course, Buchanan has no legislative or executive record himself; in three decades, he's raked in big bucks solely as a political pundit attacking those who do fight in the arena -- particularly the conservative gladiators.

His first public service, however, was as a speechwriter during the Nixon presidency -- the Administration which brought us an unenforced treaty on missile defense, recognition of Red China, record high levels of deficit spending -- and yes, affirmative action.

But at that time, Buchanan's paycheck came from Nixon, so he kept quiet.

Ted Turner: Buchanan's one time paymaster
Ted Turner: Buchanan's one time paymaster

His paychecks most recently come from CNN, aka the 'Clinton News Network.' CNN is the child of Ted Turner, the self-proclaimed globalist who donated a billion dollars to the United Nations. As a Talking Head on CNN, Buchanan is the only presidential candidate ever to be inarguably on the payroll of the New World Order.

You conspiracy theorists can put away your complicated wall charts with block diagrams and arrows purportedly displaying how one 'New World Order Front Organization' feeds into another, ad infinitum, and then into Dick Cheney's stock options; in Buchanan's case, the fingers touch as the money is exchanged. Does the obvious really escape you so easily?

Ted Turner would like nothing more than to see the center-right coalition in American politics split into impotent fragments, which is why Ross Perot was always warmly received by CNN. As a spoiler on the Right, Buchanan couldn't be of more service to the socialist inclinations of the man who rescued him from the relative obscurity of Just Another Syndicated Columnist.

. . . Now, is this attack on Buchanan's integrity unfair? It's the same 'reasoning' he uses against Bush.

This year, the one or two percent of the vote that Buchanan siphons off from the Republican ticket could well ordain Al Gore as President. In 1992, Buchanan's strong showing in the New Hampshire Republican primary toppled President Bush from his ninety percent approval ratings and ushered the coming of Clinton. How many times does this have to happen before somebody asks just what is Buchanan up to?

Whether Buchanan himself is simply another dupe of the Left, or merely indulging in a fatuous ego trip, is not the point. The point is that armies have always dealt more harshly with deserters than with enemy troops; armies which do not impose internal discipline do not win, they merely dissolve.

Buchanan's latest desertion may again cost victory. It's fair for true conservatives to launch a flanking attack against him, recognizing -- finally -- that he is no longer on our side.

Joe Schembrie is a senior writer for Enter Stage Right and can be reached at

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