Harmless Uncle Pat
Pat Buchanan comes with strong credentials. He was a Senior Advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan. Pat’s been on television for years. He was an original host of CNN’s Crossfire. A regular on “The McLaughlin Group” and then “Morning Joe.” Now a frequent contributor on Fox News. He ran for President as a Republican in 1992 and 1996 and was the nominee of the Reform Party in 2000.
Pat’s background makes him well-respected and he’s also well liked, despite his views. Rachel Maddow refers to him as “Uncle Pat.” He has no doubt served as a mentor over her career. Uncle Pat is what’s known as a Paleoconservative or Paleocon. His political philosophy embraces tradition, limited government and civil society. If you’re having trouble understanding how “tradition” translates to a political philosophy; think “Make America Great Again.”
Buchanan was Trump before Trump. During his Republican campaigns he stood strongly against immigration reform, opposed gay rights. The Anti-Defamation League called him an “unrepentant bigot” who “repeatedly demonizes Jews and minorities and openly affiliated with white supremacists. He denied the Holocaust, writing it was “impossible for 850,000 Jews to have been killed at Treblinka.” He said that camp was “just a transit point” where Jews stayed before being shipped to other locations. After losing in the 1992 Primaries he gave a speech at the Republican Convention now referred to as the “Culture Wars” speech. While that speech didn’t go over well then. It might well be the basis for Bill O’Reilly’s popularity and his positions were a preview of Donald Trump. Despite his views, Pat was well liked. He returned to CNN after the 1992 Election. Founded “The American Cause,” a conservative education foundation. He spread out to radio, spreading his positions throughout the land.
During his 1996 campaign; it was reported his campaign co-chair had attended two meetings organized by white supremacists and militia leaders. He won four primaries but ultimately lost the nomination to Bob Dole. Pat was well liked, and returned to CNN and his radio shows.
In 2000, he won the Reform Party nomination. Among his positions were the withdrawal from the United Nations and elimination of Affirmative-Action Programs. He chose a black female retired educator as his Vice-Presidential pick. She had stalwart right-wing and family values credentials. Not that it would matter. He was unable to expand his base beyond white conservatives and got less than 1% of the vote. After the election; CNN didn’t take him back but he found a home with MSNBC where he was given a show, “Buchanan and Press.” Later, he became a frequent guest on “Morning Joe” and “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
In 2012, Pat was suspended from MSNBC after an uproar over his book, “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025.” The network was shocked, shocked to find he’d written chapters like, “The End of White America” and “The Death of Christian America.” Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski issued a statement disagreeing with the network’s action and noted that, “Everyone at Morning Joe considers Pat Buchanan to be a friend and a member of the family.” He soon found a home as a contributor at Fox News. Now that his suspension is over. He’s welcome again (although less frequently) on Morning Joe and the Rachel Maddow Show where she continues to acknowledge him as “Uncle Pat.”
In 2016, Pat Buchanan has been tarnished by a false story quoting him as saying, “Back in the ‘50s everyone knew their place, whites over here, blacks over here, Mexicans over here and the women were at home raising the kids,” said Buchanan in an interview with the Conservative Chronicle. “Things functioned better when everyone understood where they needed to be.”
To be clear, Pat Buchanan never said these things in the interview referred to that never happened. He’s still a “traditionalist” and the statements he did not make are consistent with those he has. Pat Buchanan has shown us who he is over a lifetime. Being deliberately misquoted is wrong but the fact he was slandered in this case does not absolve all he’s said and done over his lifetime. Pat’s paleo conservative views, association with white supremacists and Holocaust Denial have been overlooked throughout his career. He’s been looked on as “Harmless Uncle Pat,” “He’s just set in his ways.” “Everybody likes him.” That’s why racism is so hard to eradicate. It often comes in the form of family and friends.
Feature Photo: Meetthepress.com