Most of my life I have been a political junkie and while I have shifted ever rightward on the political spectrum from normie conservative to a brief dabbling in libertarianism to the dissident right, one figure has reliably held a place of esteem for me: Patrick Joseph Buchanan.
Pat is someone I watched on various political chat shows as a teen and young adult, and I read his columns and books over the years. He isn’t 100% on the money on every issue but he was generally the most correct major political for decades. While others are more attuned to my general beliefs on a wide range of topics, none of those men had a platform as extensive as Pat Buchanan, a man who was on CNN and PBS talk shows, wrote syndicated columns carried by major newspapers around the country and who posed a major threat to incumbent President George H.W. Bush in the 1992 Republican primary, being given a prime time speaking slot in the 1992 Republican national convention in what is the best speech given in that venue in my lifetime, Pat’s famous “Culture War” speech. You can watch the whole thing here….
….or you can read the transcript here: 1992 Republican National Convention Speech
Some choices quotes that would never fly in a the modern GOP.
Mr Clinton, however, has a different agenda.
At its top is unrestricted abortion on demand. When the Irish-Catholic governor of Pennsylvania, Robert Casey, asked to say a few words on behalf of the 25 million unborn children destroyed since Roe v Wade, he was told there was no place for him at the podium of Bill Clinton’s convention, no room at the inn.
Yet a militant leader of the homosexual rights movement could rise at that convention and exult: “Bill Clinton and Al Gore represent the most pro-lesbian and pro-gay ticket in history.” And so they do.
Friends, this is radical feminism. The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America–abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat–that’s change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America wants. It is not the kind of change America needs. And it is not the kind of change we can tolerate in a nation that we still call God’s country.
In New York, Mr Gore made a startling declaration. Henceforth, he said, the “central organizing principle” of all governments must be: the environment.
The central organizing principle of this republic is freedom. And from the ancient forests of Oregon, to the Inland Empire of California, America’s great middle class has got to start standing up to the environmental extremists who put insects, rats and birds ahead of families, workers and jobs.
My friends, this election is about much more than who gets what. It is about who we are. It is about what we believe. It is about what we stand for as Americans. There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself. And in that struggle for the soul of America, Clinton & Clinton are on the other side, and George Bush is on our side. And so, we have to come home, and stand beside him.
Can you imagine a Republican today talking about “the homosexual rights movement” as a terrible thing? Pat also talked a lot about something that would echo in the 2016 election, the need to reach the working and middle class Americans, the people who maybe didn’t read Edmund Burke or Adam Smith but …
They share our beliefs and convictions, our hopes and our dreams. They are the conservatives of the heart.
They are our people. And we need to reconnect with them. We need to let them know we know they’re hurting. They don’t expect miracles, but they need to know we care.
Those were the same sort of things Donald Trump would also talk about in his clumsy and often goofy manner. Were it not for Ross Perot, George H.W. Bush might have won in 1992 and I think a lot of what Pat said during the campaign drove Bush toward what could have been a winning ticket. This is a magnificent speech in almost every way.
But just recently Patrick J. Buchanan announced that at age 84, he would no longer publish his column and instead hopefully enjoy his final years in retirement. A Facebook friend I have known via social media for years, Tom Piatak, wrote an excellent column at VDare commemorating the career of Pat and I commend it to you: Patrick J. Buchanan, Christian Gentleman, Hangs Up His Pen
If nothing else, Patrick Buchanan was a man who knew what he believed and wasn’t afraid to say it. His positions were the result of conviction and contemplation, not the ever shifting winds of popular opinion. Pat and I wouldn’t agree on everything but at least where we disagree I would know for certain that his disagreement was based on principles, well thought out and reasoned, and not based on what would get him the most likes on social media.
In what should be his golden years, Pat has the somewhat unenviable privilege of being proven right on almost everything he warned us about. Some might see that as something to be proud of but Pat Buchanan loves this country and I am sure he hates what it has become and is still in the process of becoming. I am also sure he would rather have been proven wrong and cheerfully accepted the jeers if it meant that this once great Republic still stood.
Enjoy your retirement Mr. Buchanan. You have done an incredible service to the people of this country even if very few know your name. Many of us do and admire you for what you have written and said for the last half century.