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Buchanan, Patrick Joseph

BUCHANAN, PATRICK JOSEPH

Political commentator, White House appointee, and presidential candidate Patrick Joseph Buchanan is a leader of far-right conservatism. From modest beginnings as a journalist in the early 1960s, Buchanan became an influential voice in the republican party. He served in a public relations capacity under three presidents—Richard M. Nixon, gerald r. ford, and Ronald Reagan—before running for president himself in 1992. His hard-line positions on abortion, immigration, and foreign aid, as well as his battle cry for waging a "cultural war" in the United States, failed to wrest the nomination from George H. W. Bush. Buchanan tried for the presidency twice more, in 1996 and 2000, but again failed to gain support of his party. Often the subject of controversy for his writings and speeches, Buchanan is the founder of a political organization called the American Cause, whose slogan is America First.

Born November 2, 1938, in the nation's capital, Buchanan was the third of nine children of William Baldwin Buchanan and Catherine E. Crum Buchanan. He grew up under the resolute influences of Catholicism and conservatism, both the hallmarks of his father, a certified public accountant. Buchanan's brilliance at the Jesuit Gonzaga College High School earned him the honor of class valedictorian and a scholarship to Georgetown University. In his senior year of college, the English and philosophy major was already developing the sharp, confrontational style that would mark his professional life. He broke his hand scuffling with police officers over a traffic incident and was suspended from Georgetown for a year. He nonetheless finished third in his class in 1961. He received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1962.

Like other conservative politicians of his generation, notably Senator jesse helms (R N.C.) and President Reagan, Buchanan began with a career in the media, which led into politics. He spent three years writing conservative editorials for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat before being introduced to Nixon at a dinner party. The politician soon hired the 28-year-old as an assistant in his law firm. Buchanan wrote speeches for Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign, worked as his press secretary, urged him to choose Spiro T. Agnew as a running mate, and, after the election, became his special assistant. This last position involved reporting on what the news media said about the administration. It was an increasingly thankless job. Buchanan believed that bad news about the vietnam war, youth protest, and the watergate scandal was the work of a biased liberal media. He fought back, and is widely thought to have written Vice President Agnew's famous antipress speech in 1969 attacking the "small and unelected elite" whose opinions were critical of the president.

"If we can send an Army halfway around the world to defend the borders of Kuwait, can'twe defend the national borders of the United States of America?"
—Patrick Buchanan

Buchanan escaped the taint that brought down Nixon, in part because he refused to help Nixon aides in their so-called dirty tricks campaign. Buchanan declined to smear Daniel Ellsberg—the former defense analyst who leaked the classified documents known as the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, and whose psychiatrist's office Nixon aides broke into, helping to set in motion the Watergate scandal. In fact, Buchanan later strongly defended the president and denounced the conspirators at U.S. Senate hearings. This testimony saved his career: he was seen as loyal and, more important, as evidently knowing little about the vast extent of the administration's illegalities. Unlike other Nixon insiders, he did not need to rehabilitate his reputation after Nixon left office. He remained in the White House under President Ford until 1975.

Between 1975 and 1985, Buchanan established a national reputation. He wrote a syndicated column that criticized liberals, gays, feminists, and particularly the administration of President james (jimmy) carter. He also made forays into radio and television broadcasting, founding what would later become the political debate program Crossfire on the Cable News Network (CNN). He rarely pulled punches; liberals and even some conservatives regarded him as a reactionary, but he won an audience with his appeals to traditional values.

Although he was earning a reported annual income of $400,000 for his writing and work in radio and television, Buchanan jumped at the offer to serve as director of communications during the second term of President Reagan. The job was a conservative activist's dream: besides shaping Reagan's public image, Buchanan had constant access to the president's ear. Buchanan reportedly used this access to spur Reagan on to taking tougher positions—such as vetoing a farm bailout bill and lavishly praising the anti-Sandinista Contra rebels fighting in Nicaragua as "the moral equal of our Founding Fathers."

Presidential aspirations drew Buchanan into the 1992 race. He was even better known than in the 1980s as the result of his nightly appearances on CNN's Crossfire, where he sparred with his liberal colleague Michael E. Kinsley. President George H. W. Bush's popularity among Republicans was waning, especially in light of a sluggish economy. Moreover, Buchanan offered a clearly tougher platform than Bush, whom he considered a tepid moderate. "It seemed to me that if we're going to stand for anything," he told the Washington Times, "conservative leaders had to at least raise the banner and say, 'This is not conservatism.'"

Buchanan's campaign combined populism, nationalism, and social conservatism: he advocated limits on immigration, restrictions on trade, and isolationism in foreign policy, while opposing abortion rights, gay and lesbian rights, and federal arts funding. As he always had in his role as a pundit, the candidate provoked. He ran TV ads featuring gay dancers, and he toured the South criticizing the voting rights act (42 U.S.C.A. § 1971 et. seq. [1965]) and reassuring southerners that hanging the Confederate flag from public buildings was acceptable free expression.

Buchanan's critics did not pull their punches. Liberals accused him of xenophobia, racism, and homophobia. Conservatives sometimes came to his defense, but not always. Michael Lind, editor of the conservative journal

the National Interest, wrote that Buchanan represented "conservatism's ugly face." Charges of anti-Semitism followed Buchanan's use of the phrase "Israel and its amen corner" in attacking U.S. intervention in the Persian Gulf War, and among those critical of him was the prominent conservative author and Catholic William F. Buckley Jr. Buchanan denied the charges: he said he was being tarred for supporting John Demjanjuk, who was accused, then later cleared, of being the Nazi war criminal Ivan the Terrible.

Small flaps attended the Buchanan campaign regularly—one day he was announcing that English immigrants would assimilate better than Zulus, and the next calling for beggars to be removed from the streets. The most severe criticism came in August 1992 after his speech at the GOP national convention. First he knocked the Democratic Party's convention as a gathering of "cross-dressers." Then he called for a "cultural war" in which U.S. citizens, like the national guard putting down the Los Angeles riots, "must take back our cities, and take back our culture, and take back our country."

Typical of the liberal response was an editorial in the New Republic criticizing Buchanan for advocating "militarized race war" (Washington Times 19 July 1993). Mario M. Cuomo, former governor of New York, confronted Buchanan on the CBS program Face the Nation, asking," What do you mean by 'culture'? That's a word they used in Nazi Germany." William J. Bennett, former secretary of education, accused him of "flirting with fascism." Buchanan defended himself, blaming secular humanism, Hollywood, the National Endowment for the Arts, and public schools for creating an "adversary culture" contrary to traditional values.

Despite Bush's winning the nomination handily, Buchanan's influence did not wane. Two years later, the themes of his candidacy found expression in the Contract with America's insistence on a constitutional amendment allowing school prayer and in a call for a crack-down on immigration. Moreover, in 1995, his "cultural war" message could be heard from nearly every Republican presidential candidate, especially bob dole. Meanwhile, Buchanan announced a second run for the White House campaigning on the same strong conservative positions he had advanced in his campaign in 1992. Though he stayed in the race until the end, Buchanan lost the Republican nomination for president to Dole by a large margin.

In 2000, Buchanan made a third run for the presidency running on the Reform ticket with Ezola Foster, an African American woman. Buchanan's capture of the reform party nomination caused a split with supporters of party founder Ross Perot who then ran their own candidate. Both candidates did poorly at the polls winning less than one percent of the votes.

Buchanan continues to be a prolific writer. He has written numerous articles and writes a nationally syndicated newspaper column. His books include Right from the Beginning (1988), A Republic Not an Empire: Reclaiming America's Destiny (1999), and The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization (2001). Buchanan also remains a prominent figure in the media as a commentator, and as a cohost with liberal reporter Bill Press on their daily program, which airs on MSNBC.

further readings

The American Cause. Available online at <www.theamericancause.org> (accessed June 19, 2003).

"Patrick J. Buchanan." MSNBC News. Available online at <www.msnbc.com/news/785140.asp> (accessed June 19, 2003).

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Buchanan, Pat

Pat Buchanan

Born: November 2, 1938
Washington, D.C.

American politician, writer, and broadcaster

Pat Buchanan is one of the country's most famous conservatives. Buchanan writes books and articles and appears on television to express his extreme conservative views on the issues that he believes are important to the future of the United States. He has also campaigned unsuccessfully for the presidency several times.

Early life

Patrick Buchanan was born in Washington, D.C., on November 2, 1938. His father, William Baldwin Buchanan, was a partner in a Washington, D.C., accounting firm. His mother, Catherine Elizabeth (Crum) Buchanan, was a nurse and a homemaker. Buchanan had six brothers and two sisters. His father taught the children good manners but also encouraged debates and fights. Buchanan would later say that his conservative views and beliefs were shaped by growing up in this large Irish-Catholic family.

Buchanan attended a Catholic elementary and high school, following in the steps of his father and brothers. Deciding to stay in Washington and to continue at a Catholic school, he enrolled in Georgetown University in 1956, studying for a degree in English. In his senior year he received a traffic ticket. Believing that his ticket was wrongfully given, he verbally and physically assaulted the police. He was then arrested and fined, and the incident left him with a minor police record. The university also suspended him for a year.

A career in the media

While suspended from Georgetown, Buchanan learned accounting and took a serious look at his future. He decided to pursue a career in journalism and returned to complete his college education with a more mature attitude. After he graduated with honors from Georgetown in 1961, he entered the journalism school at Columbia University. While he disliked studying the technical side of newspaper publishing, he found that he enjoyed writing. He went on to earn his master's degree in 1962.

Buchanan began his career as a reporter with the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. He quickly became an editorial writer for this conservative midwestern newspaper. He was appointed the paper's assistant editorial page editor in 1964. Thinking it would be many years before he could become an editor, and wanting some challenges in his life, he thought about a new career direction. He was eager to become more directly involved with politics.

Working for the president

In 1966 he arranged a meeting with Richard Nixon (19131994), whom he impressed with his conservative outlook and tough political style. Nixon hired him as an assistant. At that time Nixon, who had served two terms as vice president, was a partner in a New York City law firm. Nixon was involved in Republican Party activities and was preparing to run in the 1968 presidential election. Buchanan assisted Nixon with his speeches, newspaper articles, study tours, and other campaign activities.

Following Nixon's 1968 election, Buchanan joined the new presidential administration as a special assistant. He wrote speeches for Nixon and for Vice President Spiro Agnew (19181996). He helped make plans for the 1972 reelection campaign. During this time he met Shelly Ann Scarney, who was a receptionist at the White House. They married in 1971. In 1973 Buchanan devoted his attention to the Watergate crisis, which involved criminal activity in the 1972 Nixon campaign. He testified before the Senate Watergate Committee later that year and denied having suggested or used any illegal tactics.

After Nixon's resignation from office in August 1974, Buchanan stayed on for several months as an adviser to President Gerald Ford (1913). Buchanan then left the White House and became a newspaper writer and public speaker. He later worked in radio and television, broadcasting his conservative views on political and social issues. With his style and viewpoints, he became known across the country as a spokesman for conservatives, who support traditional values and tend politically to resist change. Buchanan returned to the White House in 1985 as director of communications at the start of President Ronald Reagan's (1911) second term. He stayed only two years and then went back to broadcasting, writing, and giving lectures, where he made more money.

Buchanan runs for office

In 1992 Buchanan announced he was running in the Republican Party presidential primary. His campaign against President George Bush (1924), who was seeking reelection, was designed to position himself as an "outsider" and to promote a strong conservative program. He ran with an "American First" theme, arguing that the country should limit its obligations in other countries and take care of business at home. Buchanan attracted attention from a public facing layoffs of workers, falling real estate values, increased taxes, and general unhappiness with government. He spoke for aid to religious schools, prayer in public schools, and limits on illegal immigrants. Buchanan called himself a "street corner" conservative, saying that he learned his beliefs at the dinner table, in schools, and on the street corners of his youth.

In the early 1992 New Hampshire primary Buchanan won 37 percent of the votes. However, in each succeeding primary he received fewer and fewer votes. He found it difficult to maintain a campaign organization and to raise funds, but he ran for the White House a second time in 1995, again basing his campaign on conservatism. His campaign slogan was "Reclaiming the American Dream." However, he lost once again. Buchanan also founded and directed The American Cause, an educational foundation that emphasizes his political beliefs.

One last try

On March 2, 1999, Buchanan announced his bid to become the Republican candidate for president in the 2000 election. Buchanan took a disappointing fifth place finish at the Iowa primary in August 1999. On October 25, 1999, Buchanan announced his departure from the Republican Party to join the Reform Party. He declared his intention to become the Reform Party's candidate for the presidency. Some Republicans expressed relief over Buchanan's party switch following the release of his book A Republic, Not an Empire, which was published in September 1999. In this book he expressed opinions that many disagreed with regarding America's involvement in issues outside the United States.

Buchanan's run for president in the 2000 election caused a split in the Reform Party. Those opposed to Buchanan tried to prevent his name from being listed on the ballot. This, in addition to health problems and declining interest in the issues he wanted to discuss, led him to finish fourth in the election. He received less than 1 percent of all the votes cast.

Buchanan continues to remain in the public eye by writing books and newspaper articles, and giving lectures on conservative topics. In 2002 he published The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. In this book Buchanan discusses his strong stand against immigration and his belief that immigrants are a threat to the American way of life.

For More Information

Buchanan, Patrick. Conservative Votes, Liberal Victories: Why the Right Has Failed. New York: Quadrangle/New York Times Book Co., 1975.

Buchanan, Patrick. Right from the Beginning. Boston: Little, Brown, 1988.

Grant, George. Buchanan: Caught in the Crossfire. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1996.

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Patrick Joseph Buchanan

Patrick Joseph Buchanan

Commentator, journalist, and presidential candidate Patrick Joseph Buchanan (born 1938) represented the hard-line conservative wing of the Republican Party.

Patrick Buchanan was born in Washington, D.C., on November 2, 1938. His father, William Baldwin Buchanan, was a partner in a Washington, D.C., accounting firm. His mother, Catherine Elizabeth (Crum) Buchanan, was a nurse, an active mother, and a homemaker.

Buchanan traced his father's family as coming from Scotland and Ireland and settling in the southern region of America in the late 1700s. He related how some of his ancestors fought for the Confederacy, while another family branch lived in the North. His mother's side of the family were of German immigrant heritage and had settled in the Midwest.

Buchanan grew up in an energetic household. He was the third of nine children. He had six brothers and two sisters. He learned his combatative personality from his father. The elder Buchanan encouraged good manners, debates, sibling rivalries, and fisticuffs.

As did all his siblings, he attended a local Catholic elementary school. He went on to Jesuit-run Gonzaga High School, following in the steps of his father and brothers. Deciding to stay in Washington and to continue at a Catholic school, he enrolled in Georgetown University in 1956 on a scholarship. While there, Buchanan majored in English, lived at home, and had an active social life. He joined intramural boxing and tore the cartilage in his knee during a fight. The damage was later to keep him out of military service.

In his senior year he received a traffic violation. Believing that his ticket was wrongfully given, he verbally and physically assaulted the police. He was arrested, fined, and had a minor police record. The incident had a marked effect on his life. The university suspended him for a year. During that period he learned accounting and took a serious look at his future. He decided on a career in journalism and returned to complete his undergraduate education with a more mature attitude. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, in 1961.

Buchanan entered the journalism school at Columbia University with a fellowship. He enjoyed writing, but disliked studying the technical side of newspaper publishing. He earned his Master of Science degree in 1962.

The future media personality began his career as a reporter with the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. He quickly became an editorial writer for this conservative Midwest newspaper. He was appointed the paper's assistant editorial editor in 1964. Thinking it would be years before he could become an editor, and wanting some challenges in his life, he thought about a new career direction.

In 1966 he arranged a meeting with Richard Nixon, whom he impressed with his conservative outlook and aggressive political style. Nixon hired him as an assistant. At that time the former vice-president (1953-1961) was a partner in a New York City law firm, was involved in Republican Party activities, and was anticipating a run for the 1968 presidential nomination. Buchanan assisted Nixon on his speeches, newspaper articles, study tours, and campaign.

Following Nixon's 1968 election, Buchanan joined the new presidential administration as a special assistant. He wrote speeches for Nixon and for Vice President Spiro Agnew. He helped plan strategies for the 1972 reelection campaign. During this time he met Shelly Ann Scarney, who was a receptionist at the White House. They married in 1971.

In 1973 Buchanan was appointed a special consultant to President Nixon. He devoted his attention to the Watergate crisis, which revolved around political sabotage in the 1972 presidential campaign. He testified before the Senate Watergate Committee later that year. Although he was not accused of any wrongdoing by the committee members, Buchanan denied suggesting or using any illegal or unethical tactics.

After Nixon's resignation from office in August 1974, Buchanan stayed on for several months as an adviser to President Gerald Ford. Buchanan then left the White House and became a syndicated columnist and lecturer. He later worked as a radio and television commentator on political and social issues. With his style and viewpoints, he became nationally known as a spokesman for a right-wing conservative philosophy.

He returned to the White House in 1985 as director of communications at the start of President Ronald Reagan's second term. His sister, Angela Marie Buchanan-Jackson, had served as treasurer of the United States in Reagan's first term. Buchanan took a major loss of income in his switch back to public service. He stayed only two years, then went back to broadcasting, writing, and lecturing.

In 1992 Buchanan declared his candidacy for the Republican Party presidential nomination. His campaign against President George Bush, who sought reelection, was designed to position himself as an "outsider" and to promote a strong conservative program. He ran with an "American First" theme, arguing that the country should limit its obligations abroad in the post-Cold War decade.

Buchanan attracted attention from a public facing an economic recession, lay-offs of workers, depressed real estate values, increased taxes, and general frustration with government. He spoke against abortion on demand, homosexual rights, women in combat, pornography, racial quotas, free trade, and an activist U.S. Supreme Court. He spoke for aid to religious schools, prayer in public schools, and curbs on illegal immigrants. Buchanan called his political beliefs "street corner" conservatism, which he learned at the dinner table, soaked up in parochial schools, and picked up on the street corners of his youth.

In the early 1992 New Hampshire primary he won 37 percent of the votes. That was his highest percentage of support. The figure dropped in each succeeding primary. In some primaries where Republican voters could vote uncommitted, "uncommitted" finished ahead of Buchanan. He found it difficult to maintain a campaign organization and to raise funds, but he pressed on through the spring and summer.

Buchanan vied for the White House a second time in 1995, basing his campaign on conservatism. However, he lost once again. Buchanan also founded and directs The American Cause, an educational foundation that emphasizes his political beliefs.

Further Reading

Buchanan has written a lively autobiography, Right from the Beginning (1988), which describes the life and times of growing up in Washington, D.C., and attending Catholic schools in the mid-to-late 20th century. His conservative call to arms is colorfully written in his book Conservative Votes, Liberal Victories: Why the Right Has Failed (1975). The 1992 election campaign can be reviewed in the 1992 Congressional Quarterly weekly reports. Many facts about Buchanan can be obtained from his Web site entitled "The Buchanan Brigade" available at <http://www.buchanan.org>. □

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"Patrick Joseph Buchanan." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Patrick Joseph Buchanan." Encyclopedia of World Biography. . Retrieved June 24, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/patrick-joseph-buchanan