Pat Buchanan

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Not to be confused with James Buchanan, who managed to be so much worse.
Pat Buchanan, 2008.
God, guns, and freedom
U.S. Politics
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Starting arguments over Thanksgiving dinner
Persons of interest
We disagree so violently on almost everything that it's a real pleasure to drink with him. If nothing else, he's absolutely honest in his lunacy — and I've found, during my admittedly limited experience in political reporting, that power & honesty very rarely coincide.
Hunter S. Thompson, in a letter to Garry Wills (October 17th, 1973)[1]:550
David Duke is busy stealing from me. I have a mind to go down there and sue that dude for intellectual property theft.
—A quote straight from Buchanan himself.[2]
While arguing with Buchanan on CNN’s Crossfire one day in 1988, I had no doubt that I was sitting next to someone with pro-fascist inclinations.
—Norman Solomon[3]

Patrick Joseph Buchanan (1938–) is a fascist[4] and paleoconservative "reformer" who ran for the Republican nomination for president of the United States a few times, foreshadowing the hard-right bent the party was about to take. He began his career in politics ratfucking for (who else?) Tricky Dick,[5] and went on to work for Ford and Ronnie as an advisor.

He then built himself up as something of a pundit on the newly-minted venue of cable news, becoming the first man to be seen on national television seven days a week.[6] Beginning with the television show Buchanan-Braden in 1982, he became a rotating talking head for CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. He seemed reasonable but kooky until February 2012, when his employers got fed up with his racism and gave him the boot, kicking him off of the Morning Joe Show (though he remains friends with his co-workers).[7]

Political career[edit]

The first time he ran for president in 1992, he challenged George H. W. Bush for the Republican party nomination, and after he failed, he gave a speech at the convention that hit every single culture war target. In fact, he was the one of the first to use the phrase "culture war" in that very speech. Many have suggested that the speech he gave so frightened moderate Republicans that they swung to either Perot or Clinton. He was essentially a Trump Republican before it was popular. (Although Molly Ivins did admit "it probably sounded better in the original German."[8])

In his second run for the Republican nomination in 1996, he managed to eke out a victory in the New Hampshire primary along with three other early contests. This gave the Republican establishment a brief scare but Bob Dole easily steamrolled him in "Super Tuesday."

His third run was on Ross Perot's Reform Party ticket in 2000. There was much controversy over his run, as many said he essentially took over the party in a coup, lured by the prospect of $12 million in federal matching funds, then left the party in a shambles. He did very poorly, though the design of the "butterfly ballot" ended up giving him quite a lot of votes in certain liberal, predominantly Jewish precincts in Florida. He was willing to acknowledge that those votes were not likely for him, especially given that he is seen as very antisemitic by Jewish advocacy groups,[9][10] and even by fellow conservatives (e.g., William F. Buckley).[11] That and the fact that he rants about the "Israel lobby" every chance he gets.[12][13]


Buchanan comes from a very different place ideologically than old Southern racists. He’s a hyper-conservative Catholic, part of an intellectual movement that admired the Spanish and Portuguese fascist regimes. His racism happens to line up more or less with the opinions of segregationists, but he gets there from a different route. That same fascist/authoritarian ideology is why he admires Putin so much.
Chris Ladd[14]

What does Pat Buchanan stand for? Well, most famously, his opposition to free trade (which FAIR speculated was the main motivating factor for the mainstream media's opposition to Buchanan during his 1996 Presidential Campaign[15]) and immigration, both legal and illegal. This has given him some VERY unlikely bedfellows, such as when future Socialist Party USA candidate Brian Moore endorsed him in 2000. However, other free trade critics have not been as open to Buchanan, with many noting that his criticism of free trade appears to be more because of his desire to appear as a populist than because he actually cares about the issue. In his book Downsize This: Random Threats from an Unarmed American,[16] Michael Moore writes the following about Buchanan's opinion on free trade:

He doesn't really believe in anything except himself. He's changed his positions so many times, I'm surprised few journalists have called him on it. When I appeared on Crossfire with him a few years ago, he was a rabid supporter of Corporate America and demeaned all the people who complained about losing their jobs. Then suddenly last year, the guy is standing in front of closed factories declaring himself the Working Man's Hero.[16]:25


He is, along with Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark, and a handful of other people, among the only categorical anti-war voices since the end of the Cold War. (As opposed to people like Howard Dean who was only against the second Iraq War but supported the first, John Kerry who was against the first and for the second, and Pat Robertson who was only against the NATO bombing of Serbia but supported bombing everyone else.) Of course, this is because Buchanan describes himself as neo-isolationist. By this, he does not mean that the US should not involve itself in other people's disputes; rather, he seems to believe that the US government should have no foreign policy, period. That means no UN, no NATO, no NORAD, etc. To a layperson, he could easily be considered an "economic nationalist" — but his isolationism and hatred of anyone who isn't a heterosexual WASP make it more likely he is just xenophobic. Buchanan's rationale, of course, is that American lives are much too precious to be wasted on pagan filth.

His support for anti-war activism put together with his presence in the media was the bane of many anti-war activists, who thought he was only being propped up in hopes of smearing all critics of United States foreign policy as similar to him.[17]

Buchanan's support for past imperialism before switching to isolationism led many to question his anti-war credentials. Christopher Hitchens, while reviewing his 1999 book A Republic, Not An Empire,[18] noted the following:

I must say that I had no idea, when I watched Buchanan flacking for Nixon in Vietnam and shouting for Reagan in Grenada and positively sobbing with ecstasy over Col. Oliver North (his Lindbergh surrogate)[note 1] that he had been such a closet stay-at-home all along. It would certainly have been impressive if he'd said so at the time. But his latest effort is not presented as any kind of re-think or self-criticism. Rather, it shows how highly compatible the concepts of expansionism and racism are with the ideas of the parochial and the nativist. . . I myself would vastly prefer a republic to an empire, which is why I wrote so much against the Buchanan-North campaign against Nicaragua and El Salvador -- a campaign that knowingly involved imperialism abroad and subversion of the Constitution at home. It's depressing to see liberal commentators -- even some Nation contributors like Benjamin Schwartz and Christopher Layne -- falling so easily for such demagogy and excusing Buchanan because he doesn't like NAFTA or because he doesn't care about Kosovo. The blunt fact is that the tradition of Lindbergh and Buchanan would not have kept America out of war, or innocent of overseas adventures. But it would have pledged a not-so-surreptitious neutrality to the other side in that conflict, and perhaps come by its empire that way.[20]

Springtime for Putin[edit]

Following the Russian annexation of Crimea, Buchanan declared that God was on Russia's side and "the West is Gomorrah."[21][22] He also spoke in favor of Putin's anti-Gay law, calling on Americans to implement similar bulwarks against "gay propaganda".


Despite being against the "War on Terror", he has supported the use of torture on potentially innocent people suspected of terrorism.[23]

Holocaust diminution[edit]

Buchanan has enjoyed a long psychic and sexual relationship with Adolf Hitler,[24] whom Buchanan called:

… an individual of great courage, a soldier’s soldier in the Great War, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him. But Hitler’s success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path.[25]

He crystallized his views in his 2008 book Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, wherein he basically takes a pro-German view of World Wars I and II, says that the US shouldn't have gotten involved in WWII, that Churchill helped provoke Japan to attack Pearl Harbor, and that Hitler could have been contained. Naturally, historians,[26][27] pundits[28] and non-Nazis generally[29] took strong exception.

Unsurprisingly, it had some fans on the far right.[30]

Buchanan has long flirted with downright Holocaust denialism, writing in 1990 that "Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody".[31] This is wrong, as diesel fumes do emit enough carbon monoxide to kill people in high enough concentrations.[32] When George Will asked Buchanan to defend this statement on live television, Buchanan never replied.[33] He did later defend the claim by saying, regarding how he came to this conclusion, “Somebody sent it to me.”[34] ("Much of the material on which Buchanan bases his columns is sent to him by pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic cranks," wrote Jacob Weisberg in The New Republic.[35])

While serving as Communications Director for Ronald Reagan, Buchanan asked the President to visit the cemetery in Bitburg, Germany, where Nazi SS troops are buried, even being behind a line where Reagan said Nazi war criminals were “victims just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps.”[34]


A Traditionalist Catholic, Buchanan is an evolution denialist, to the surprise of nobody.[36]


Buchanan has gotten into much controversy over the years for his views on race, specifically those on black people. Back when Buchanan was an aide to Richard Nixon (who found Buchanan abnormally extreme on race issues[37]), he would write about how Nixon should be careful not to offend those who thought Martin Luther King Jr. "was a fraud and a demagogue and perhaps worse."[38] These views were not softened as Buchanan got older, as seen in a 2008 column discussing the Jeremiah Wright controversy where he wrote:

America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known. Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.[39]

Buchanan has also looked back fondly on the segregation of his childhood, writing in his autobiography:

There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The "negroes" of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours.[38]

During the Civil Rights Movement, Buchanan would publish FBI smears against Civil Rights leaders in his columns.[38]

As a Nixon aide, Buchanan supported the nomination of Harrold Carswell, a self-described white supremacist, to the Supreme Court and believes that he was only not confirmed by the Senate because he was "smeared".[37]

When segregation ended, he said those who were in favor of it continuing had "a legitimate grievance".[38]Defending segregation has been a staple of Buchanan's political career wherever he can find it, with him defending Bob Jones University's infamous policy against interracial dating in 1989.[37] That same year, he wrote on David Duke “Take a hard look at Duke’s portfolio of winning issues and expropriate those not in conflict with GOP principles, [such as] reverse discrimination against white folks.”[38]

Buchanan has also defended apartheid South Africa, and in the process criticized those who believe “white rule of a black majority is inherently wrong," because "The Founding Fathers did not believe this."[38] This culminated in actual White House policy when Buchanan, as an advisor to the president, supported Reagan's veto of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act,Wikipedia even as there was internal debate within the administration. The veto was ultimately overridden by Congress.[40]

Buchanan's memos to Nixon were often racially charged, with one of them using the n-word to describe conservatives who he felt that President Nixon was not acting loyal to.[37]


Quite possibly the thing Buchanan is most infamous for is his stance against immigration. Back in 1991, Buchanan infamously said:

I think God made all people good, but if we had to take a million immigrants in, say Zulus, next year, or Englishmen, and put them in Virginia, what group would be easier to assimilate and would cause less problems for the people of Virginia?[2]

This is not the only time Buchanan has expressed his opposition to immigration in regards to race. Writing in 1984, Buchanan said “The central objection to the present flood of illegals is that they are not English-speaking white people from Western Europe, they are Spanish-speaking brown and black people from Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean.”[15]

If the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting, Buchanan wrote a column blaming it — and by extension the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 9/11 terrorist attack — on increased amount of immigration into the country.[41]


Buchanan wears his homophobia as a badge of honor, writing that “A visceral recoil from homosexuality is the natural reaction of a healthy society wishing to preserve itself,” and “A prejudice against males who engage in sodomy with one another represents a normal and healthy bias in favor of sound morality.”[15] Although this did not stop him from defending Senator Larry Craig when he was caught engaging in sexual actions with another man in a public restroom[42] and criticized John Kerry for bringing up Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter (using "the cold, hard word" as he put it on MSNBC[43]) during a 2004 Presidential Debate in order to make a point about George W. Bush's homophobia.[44] (It seems Buchanan softens his homophobia whenever the homosexual in question is a Republican, although he still couldn't resist a little gay bashing by saying on his closeted buddies “To some of us, homosexuality is an affliction, like alcoholism, and hellishly difficult to control.”[45])

Buchanan's stance on homosexuality was best seen during his various writings from the AIDS epidemic. In one 1983 column, he wrote:

The poor homosexuals. They have declared war on nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.[46]

Buchanan later referred to this statement as a "throwaway line",[47] but that does not mean he doesn't stand by it. In fact, he even defended the statement in 2006, while defending his fellow homophobe Robert J. Smith.[48]

Buchanan's hatred of gay rights was satirized in the 1992 video game GayBlade, where the player is asked to defeat several homophobic people as enemies, with Buchanan serving as the final boss.[49]


Buchanan is not a fan of democracy, once saying in defense of the government of Iran "I put democracy far down the line. I think a devoutly Christian, conservative, traditionalist country—even if it’s a monarchy—is fine with me.”[50] He has also written that "quasi-dictatorial rule" could be the solution to the problems of the United States.[51]


While arguing against the United States going to war in the Persian Gulf, Buchanan specifically felt the need to go after four advocates for the conflict: A.M. Rosenthal, Richard Perle, Charles Krauthammer, and Henry Kissinger, all four of whom are Jewish.[34]

During a 1995 interview with Norman Lear (who is Jewish), Buchanan felt the need to twice tell him that Jesus Christ was “the greatest man who ever lived” and told him “You folks have control of the minds of children. And you are corrupting these children.”[52]

During his 1996 Presidential Campaign, Buchanan blamed Mossad for the death of Vince Foster, while also claiming both Foster and Hillary Clinton were spies for the Israeli intelligence agency.[38]

When Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court in 2010, Buchanan complained that this would mean "Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats."[53]

Second career[edit]

He worked a stint at MSNBC, despite all of the racist, horrible things he has said publicly and the station's "liberal" slant (although it's likely that MSNBC kept him around for precisely this reason, in the hopes that he'd say something embarrassingly bigoted and make the right look bad. Two can play at that game![54][38][55][56][57] Though they eventually fired him.)[58]

Fake populism[edit]

Throughout his political career, Buchanan has attempted to express populist sentiments on issues like free trade and immigration. However, many have pointed out that he has to have little desire for economic populist past the point where he can push an isolationist and nativist agenda. A 1998 article from Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting put it this way:

From corporate America’s vantage point, Buchanan is just about ideal as a national candidate waving the populist banner. Buchanan is hobbled by heavy far-right baggage — which he grips with white-knuckled defiance as he equivocates about Nazi Germany and routinely denigrates people for failure to be white, heterosexual, and Christian (as he defines Christian).

Meanwhile, Buchanan mouths anti-corporate rhetoric but doesn’t support basic union rights of American workers. Significantly, he opposes a raise in the minimum wage. And he scorns the environmental movement as an affront to holiness. "Easter’s gone," Buchanan declared angrily a few years ago. "Now it’s Earth Day. We can all go out and worship dirt."[3]

Stopped clock[edit]

Buchanan called out Sean Hannity on his show in an interview when they discussed dealing with Iran. Hannity repeatedly called for war, but Buchanan called him out and stated "we have to make peace even with our enemies" and also pointed out that the Iranian government and Hezbollah are fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. He also mentioned that Israel was rearming itself whilst Iran was not.[59]

Buchanan has also come out in support of medical marijuana.[60]

During his 1996 Presidential Campaign, Buchanan wrote an actually pretty good criticism of the flat tax proposed by his fellow Republican candidate, Steve Forbes. In it, he correctly notes that a flat tax rate would not only disproportionally benefit the rich, but would also greatly increase the national deficit due to the decrease in revenue.[61]

Just after 9/11, Buchanan was one of the first columnists to call out George W. Bush for basing his foreign policy decision less on what would actually make sense to achieve his goals and more on wherever his already existing biases led him. Furthermore, he correctly acknowledges that much of the problems Americans had to deal with regarding terrorism are less due to the blind "they hate our freedoms" narrative pushed by Bush and more because of blowback from various engages in expansionism. (Albeit he also adds some fear mongering about illegal immigrants in the mix.)[62]

In popular culture[edit]

In the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episode on the movie The Beast of Yucca Flats, the two villains do a bit called "Proposition Deep 13" which was a reference to Buchanan's infamous "culture war" speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention.[63].

In the BoJack Horseman episode "Our A-Story is a 'D' Story," a member of a neo-Nazi prison gang asks Todd "Why in the name of Pat Buchanan are you dressed like a Latin King?"[64]

See also[edit]


  1. FAIR had previously noted that "During a Crossfire episode on Iran-Contra, Patrick Buchanan ferociously defended Reagan as a victim of a plot cooked up by liberals and left-wingers."[19]


  1. Fear and Loathing in America by Hunter S. Thompson (2000) Bloomsbury. ISBN 0747549648.
  2. 2.0 2.1 IN BUCHANAN'S WORDS
  3. 3.0 3.1 Spinning Populism In American News Media
  4. Buchanan Explained by Charles Krauthammer (March 1, 1992) The Washington Post.
  5. Ratfuckers, Crybabies, and Schoolmarms: The Dave Weigel Affair by Tom Scocca (June 27, 20107:58 PM) Slate.
  6. A Global Pro-Democracy Movement
  7. Pat Buchanan booted from MSNBC four months after being suspended over controversial book by Aliyah Shahid (February 17, 2012, 11:22 AM) New York Daily News (archived from February 17, 2012).
  8. A wild ride on the left
  9. Patrick Buchanan: Unrepentant Bigot (February 27, 2012) Anti-Defamation League (archived from October 30, 2012).
  10. Who's afraid of Pat Buchanan? by Jake Tapper (September 4, 1999 4:00PM EDT) Salon.
  11. The Enmity Within by Nathan Glazer (September 27, 1992) The New York Times.
  12. Pat Buchanan: Hitler apologist by David Gorski (oracknows) (September 3, 2009) Science Blogs.
  13. On Pat Buchanan’s Holocaust denial by Josh Rosenau (tfk) (April 22, 2009) Science Blogs.
  14. The myths and realities of the Southern Strategy by Chris Ladd (February 7, 2015) GOPLifer. See comment dated February 9, 2015 at 7:29 pm.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 It’s the Mexicans, Stupid
  16. 16.0 16.1 Moore, Michael (1996). Downsize This! Random Threats from an Unarmed American. New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN 0-06-097733-7.
  17. Media on the March
  18. Buchanan, Patrick J. (1999), A Republic, Not an Empire: Reclaiming America's Destiny, ISBN 0-89526-272-X.
  19. Television’s Political Spectrum
  20. An empire after all
  21. Vladimir Putin, Christian Crusader? by Patrick Buchanan (April 4, 2014|12:00 am) The American Conservative.
  22. Is Putin One of Us?
  23. The case for torture by Patrick J. Buchanan (March 10, 2003; 1:00 a.m. Eastern) WND (archived from August 26, 2004).
  24. "All Donald Trump should worry about is being the president" by Shifflet (January 30, 2000) The Free-Lance Star. Pages E1, E3.
  25. "Pat Buchanan In His Own Words: On Nazis and the Holocaust" Anti-Defamation League.
  26. The Bad War? by Victor Davis Hanson] (Jun 05, 2008 12:01 AM) Townhall.
  27. Necessary Evil book review of Buchanan's book Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World by John Lukacs (June 2, 2008) The American Conservative (archived from November 21, 2008).
  28. WW2, a War Worth Fighting by Christopher Hitchens (6/14/08 at 11:36 AM EDT) Newsweek.
  29. Churchill and His Myths by Geoffrey Wheatcroft (May 29, 2008) The New York Review.
  30. Was the 'Good War' Unnecessary? by Anthony Gregory (June 27, 2009) (archived from June 29, 2009).
  31. "Ivan the Terrible" - More Doubts
  32. Diesel fumes do kill: a case of fatal carbon monoxide poisoning directly attributed to diesel fuel exhaust with a 10-year retrospective case and literature review*
  33. Is Pat Buchanan Anti-Semitic?
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 In His Own Words
  35. The Heresies of Pat Buchanan
  36. What are the Darwinists afraid of? by Patrick J. Buchanan (August 08, 2005) The American Cause.
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 What would Pat Buchanan have to say to get himself fired from MSNBC?
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 38.4 38.5 38.6 38.7 Pat Buchanan in His Own Words
  39. A Brief for Whitey
  40. (October 3, 1986). "White House blunders led to defeat". The Washington Post, syndicated to The Courier (Prescott, Arizona).
  41. The dark side of diversity
  42. Friends of Larry Craig
  43. Buchanan: Kerry's use of “cold, hard word 'lesbian'” like “saying ... 'my friend's daughter had an abortion'”
  44. With Respect to Mary Cheney
  45. Pat Buchanan: "Homosexuality is an affliction, like alcoholism"
  47. Pat Buchanan on Civil Rights
  48. Is Catholicism now 'unacceptable'?
  49. GayBlade
  50. Save Pat Buchanan!
  51. Buchanan and Duke
  52. SoundBites
  53. Buchanan complains that with Kagan, Supreme Court will have too many Jews
  54. Pat Buchanan: "This has been a country built, basically, by white folks" From the July 16 edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show (July 17, 2009 11:23 am ET) Media Matters for America (archived from July 18, 2009).
  55. Pat Buchanan: ‘Both sides were right’ in the Civil War by David Edwards and Daniel Tencer (April 9, 2010 11:30 EDT) Raw Story (archived from September 24, 2012).
  56. Pat Buchanan Appears on Political Cesspool, a White Supremacist Radio Show (June 30, 2008) Anti-Defamation League (archived from July 6, 2008).
  57. Pat Buchanan's Racist Rant by Isaiah J. Poole (March 24th, 2008 — 5:07pm ET) Campaign for America's Future (archived from September 19, 2008).
  58. Narrowing of the American mind? by Mark Mardell (17 February 2012) BBC.
  59. Hannity in Heated Argument With Pat Buchanan Over Iran: "You Sound Like Obama!" Real Clear Politics, 2 April 2015.
  61. A Flawed Flat Tax and the Way Out
  62. U.S. Pays the High Price of Empire
  63. MST3K 621 - The Beast of Yucca Flats
  64. Our A-Story is a "D" Story/Quotes