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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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Buchanan, Pat

Pat Buchanan

Born November 2, 1938

Washington, D.C.

Presidential advisor, newspaper columnist, presidential candidate, anti-immigrant crusader

"Uncontrolled immigration threatens to deconstruct the nation we grew up in and convert America into a conglomeration of peoples with almost nothing in common."

S ome Americans take pride in describing the United States as a nation of immigrants, and there is no doubt that since 1620 the character of the North American continent has been drastically changed as a result of people arriving from Europe, Africa, and Asia. But the celebration of the nation of immigrants has often been countered by a strong backlash against new arrivals. It happened in the middle of the nineteenth century, with the secretive Know Nothing Party, and it happened again at the end of the twentieth century with the repeated presidential aspirations of Pat Buchanan, a well-known conservative (supporting traditional values) newspaper columnist and presidential advisor.

Buchanan's efforts to achieve the White House, while never close to successful, illustrated a thread running through American politics, in which those born in the United States have blamed foreign sources for their own economic unhappiness. In the case of Buchanan, he blamed two main targets: inexpensive goods imported from Asia, which he has said creates worries about job security, and illegal immigration from Mexico, which he has vowed to stop by erecting a wall along the Mexican-American border. Buchanan's political positions have also emphasized the importance of religion in public life, a set of strict moral values, and an emphasis on minimizing government interference with business. In repeated campaigns for the presidency, Buchanan has demonstrated there is a small but steady core of Americans sympathetic to his viewpoint.

Early years

Patrick Joseph Buchanan was born in Washington, D.C., the son of a well-off insurance company executive who gave his sons boxing lessons as preparation for life. The Buchanan brothers led a rowdy existence that included occasional visits by the police department for disruptive behavior, fighting, and using their father's car without permission. While a senior attending Georgetown University in Washington, Buchanan was accused of assaulting the police officers who confronted him during a traffic stop. He was spared a jail sentence, but was forced to take a year off from Georgetown, which he spent working for his father. It was, perhaps, a measure of a combative personality that he later redirected into writing and politics.

After graduating from Georgetown, Buchanan went to Columbia University's School of Journalism, determined to redirect his forceful personality. Soon after graduating, he was hired by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper to write editorials, a job Buchanan felt gave him a suitable outlet for his argumentative tendencies. Buchanan was one of the youngest members of the paper's editorial staff. His work was well regarded and he was soon promoted.

Buchanan's newspaper career started in 1962, at the beginning of one of the most controversial decades in modern American history. President John F. Kennedy (1917–1963; served 1961–63) was the first Roman Catholic to be elected to the White House and the first Democrat elected since 1948. Throughout the South, African Americans were campaigning for equal civil rights, using tactics of nonviolent marches and sit-ins led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968). The United States was just beginning a long, steady buildup of military forces in Vietnam. For the young editorial writer working for a conservative newspaper in St. Louis, many of these developments were highly distasteful. Buchanan authored many editorials highly critical of King's civil rights movement, while supporting a strong anticommunist foreign policy towards the Soviet Union (a country made up of fifteen republics, the largest of which was Russia, that in 1991 became independent states). Buchanan was influenced by J. Edgar Hoover (1895–1972), the long-time director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who strongly suspected that American communists sympathetic to the Soviet Union were influencing the civil rights movement.

Getting into politics

In 1966, Buchanan quit his job at the Post-Dispatch, frustrated that it would be years before he could expect to succeed his boss on the editorial page. Instead, he went to work for former vice president Richard Nixon (1913–1994), the unsuccessful Republican candidate for president in 1960 who was planning to run again in 1968. Buchanan got a job writing speeches for Nixon and his eventual vice presidential running mate, Maryland governor Spiro Agnew (1918–1996), during their successful 1968 campaign. After Nixon became president, he hired Buchanan to serve on his staff as a speech writer and to help plan a strategy for reelection in 1972.

Buchanan's political career thus became closely linked to one of the most controversial politicians ever to occupy the White House. Nixon was the only president to resign from office in the face of almost certain impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives. (To be impeached means to be accused of serious wrongdoing while in office. In Nixon's case, he was accused of involvement in planning a burglary at the headquarters of the opposition Democratic Party in June 1972, at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and then helping to cover up the burglary. His involvement and participation in the cover-up ran contrary to his oath of office, which required him as the president to uphold the law.)

Nixon resigned from office in 1974, to be succeeded by Vice President Gerald Ford (1913–; served 1974–77). (In 1973, Ford had succeeded Agnew as vice president, after Agnew resigned in light of accusations of earlier wrongdoings as a Maryland government official.) Buchanan worked for President Ford briefly, but he decided to return to the Post-Dispatch when Ford decided not to appoint him to be the U.S. ambassador to South Africa. At the time, South Africa was going through a bloody struggle between the minority white rulers and the majority of black Africans pressing for a voice in government. As a vocal critic of the civil rights movement in the United States, Buchanan was not considered suited to represent the United States in a country whose government was widely regarded as racist.

A second career in journalism, and back to politics

Buchanan left the White House to start a second career in journalism, first as a syndicated newspaper columnist (in which his stories are printed in many papers across the country) and later as the host of television talk shows. Buchanan gained a reputation as one of the most conservative commentators on politics. He was the host of a long-running program on CNN called Crossfire (1982–95) and also of a program called Capital Gang (1988–92). Buchanan gained a reputation as a leading representative of highly conservative politics.

In 1985, Buchanan briefly interrupted his television journalism career to become director of communications for President Ronald Reagan (1911–; served 1981–89) for two years. His time working in the White House gave Buchanan a record of practical experience, as well as exposure on television as a journalist, which put him in a unique political position to run for office later.

Buchanan reentered the political scene in 1992, running against President George Bush (1924–; served 1989–93) for the Republican nomination as president. Buchanan never seriously challenged Bush, but in the New Hampshire primary election (held to choose candidates for the Republican party's annual convention and in 1992 held to make the renomination of Bush official), Buchanan won 37 percent of the vote. The result was widely regarded as symbolic of discontent by some conservative Republicans with the generally moderate policies of the first President Bush. The high percentage demonstrated the existence of a core of conservative voters sympathetic with Buchanan's viewpoint, as well.

Buchanan tried to gain the Republican nomination again in 1996, when his chief opponent was former U.S. senator Bob Dole (1923–) of Kansas. Buchanan failed to gain the nomination, but some Republican Party leaders were surprised at the depth of public support for his conservative views. In 2000, Buchanan abandoned his efforts to be nominated as a Republican and instead mounted a presidential campaign as the candidate of the Reform Party. He came in a distant fourth, with less than half a million votes (out of over 103 million votes cast). The number represented less than one half of one percent of the total votes cast.

Buchanan returned to journalism, where he appeared regularly on radio and television and in newspapers. He started a new magazine entitled The American Conservative in 2002.

Buchanan and immigration

In 2002, Buchanan published a book titled The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. In his book, Buchanan warned that white Americans would soon become a minority in the United States for the first time, due partly to illegal immigration from Mexico and other countries of Central America and partly to the fact that white women in the United States had relatively fewer babies than women of other races. In Buchanan's view, the relative decline of the number of Americans with European ancestors raised a danger to the civilization of the United States.

In his book, Buchanan declared that there was a great chasm, or division, in American society: "This chasm in our country is not one of income, ideology, or faith," he wrote, "but of ethnicity and loyalty." On the morning of September 11, 2001, four teams of terrorists seized control of civilian jet planes. Hijackers forced two of the planes into each of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, bringing the two skyscrapers crashing to the ground. A third team of terrorists intentionally flew their plane into the Pentagon, the building in Virginia that houses the headquarters of the U.S. military. The fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, brought down by passengers who realized the hijackers intended to hit a government building in Washington and forced the plane down before it could reach its target. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, Buchanan declared that "suddenly we awoke to the realization that among our millions of foreign-born, a third are here illegally, tens of thousands are loyal to regimes [governments] with which we could be at war, and some are trained terrorists sent here to murder Americans. For the first time since [U.S. general and future president] Andrew Jackson [1767–1845] drove the British out of Louisiana in 1815, a foreign enemy is inside the gates, and the American people are at risk in their own country."

Buchanan asserted in his book that "in 1960, only sixteen million Americans did not trace their ancestors to Europe. Today [he wrote in 2002], the number is eighty million. No nation has ever undergone so rapid and radical a transformation." In Buchanan's view, such a large inflow of immigrants threatened the cultural and political standards long established in the United States. Many of the newcomers, he asserted, had little interest in adapting to American ways; they were interested solely in achieving economic success while maintaining their traditional cultural habits and beliefs.

In the twenty-first century, he said, immigration from Mexico in particular has taken on a new aspect. While earlier immigrants from Europe planned to move to the United States permanently, immigrants from Mexico plan on working only temporarily in the United States. Moreover, some Mexicans view immigration as a form of la reconquista, ("reconquest" in English) to reverse the result of the 1848 war with Mexico. As a result of that war, the United States took control of Texas and other Mexican territory, including territory now occupied by California, New Mexico, and Arizona.

In Buchanan's opinion, large-scale immigration, especially from Mexico, threatens the very nature of the United States. "We are not descended from the same ancestors [as we once were]," Buchanan asserted. "We no longer speak the same language. We do not profess the same religion…. Common principles of government are not enough to hold us together…. Americans no longer agree on values, history or heroes."

Although Buchanan was dramatically rejected by voters in his presidential campaign of 2000, receiving less than one half of one percent of the votes cast, he did emerge as a spokesman for Americans who believe that cultural factors including religion are an essential element in defining what the term "American" should mean. His argument had many similarities to issues raised more than 150 years earlier, when some Protestants objected that the large-scale immigration of Catholics from Ireland (who may have included some of Buchanan's own ancestors) was fundamentally changing what they perceived as the essentially Protestant character of the United States.

Buchanan's concerns addressed a basic issue surrounding migration to the United States: at what stage should it be finished? If American society celebrates its past as a "nation of immigrants," should the celebration stop when the immigrants are found coming from places besides western Europe? Or has it always been part of the character of human beings to roam the earth to find better opportunities? In prehistoric times those opportunities came in the form of more plentiful herds of animals to hunt; in a modern industrial society, they come in the form of better-paying jobs. Whether immigration to the United States has an endpoint is a question to which there may not be a right or wrong answer.

—James L. Outman

For More Information

Books

Brown, Mary Elizabeth. Shapers of the Great Debate on Immigration: A Biographical Dictionary. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.

Buchanan, Patrick J. The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002.

Castles, Stephen, and Mark J. Miller. The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World. New York: Guilford Press, 1993.

Harris, Nigel. The New Untouchables: Immigration and the New World Worker. New York: I. B. Tauris, 1995.

Miller, Mark J., ed. Strategies for Immigration Control: An International Comparison. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Periodicals Press, 1994.

Solomon, Barbara M. Ancestors and Immigrants; a Changing New England Tradition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1956. Reprint, Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1989.

Periodicals

Jacoby, Tamar. "Too Many Immigrants?" Commentary (April 2002): p. 37.

Klinkner, Philip A. "The Base Camp of Christendom." The Nation (March 11, 2002): p. 25.

McNicoll, Geoffrey. "The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization" (book review). Population and Development Review (December 2002):p. 797.

Web Sites

Benedetto, Richard. "Profile of Patrick Buchanan." USA Today.http://cgi.usatoday.com/elect/ep/epr/eprbprof.htm (accessed on March 9, 2004).

Buchanan, Patrick J. "A City of Big Ideas and Tiny Minds." The American Cause.http://www.theamericancause.org/patacityofbigideas.htm (accessed on March 9, 2004).

The Official Pat Buchanan for President 2000 Archive.http://www.buchanan.org/ (accessed on March 1, 2004).

"One on One: Patrick Buchanan." Online NewsHour (October 28, 1999). http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/election/july-dec99/buchanan_10-28.html (accessed on March 9, 2004).

"Patrick Buchanan." Online NewsHour (September 12, 2000). http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/election/july-dec00/buchanan_9-12.html (accessed on March 9, 2004).

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