Pat Buchanan, the part-time news commentator and full-time demagogue, has sure stirred a bellyache in the Grand Old Party.
Buchanan has awakened to the reality that he will never get the GOP nomination for the presidency of these still-sane United States, so he now threatens to run as a third-party candidate. And that has provoked even the most conservative Republicans to discover that he is an egotist, loser, isolationist, provocateur, anti-Semite, racist and admirer of Adolf Hitler -- to mention just a few insults being thrown at the former aide of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan by his fellow conservatives.
This business of one bunch of troglodytes savaging a once-preferred member of their club is a great new sport, and I haven't enjoyed anything like it since my Washington Redskins rolled up 50 points against the New York Giants.
I'd just go on laughing were there not some serious questions involved about why it has taken so long for so many Republicans to discover what Buchanan really is; and why the man most likely to become the GOP presidential nominee, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, wants to win so badly that he is embracing Buchanan, despite the latter's bigoted views of America and the world.
While many Republicans are so offended by Buchanan's views about Hitler, race and religion that they are urging him to leave the party, Bush says he needs "every vote I can get," and he wants Buchanan to stay on as a GOP soul brother. That is very worrisome.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who just declared formally for the GOP nomination, says "there is no place in the Republican Party" for Buchanan's view that it was "not noble" for the United States to fight Hitler in World War II. Buchanan has written a book in which he argues that the United States should have stayed out of "the titanic clash between the Nazis and the Bolsheviks," in which case the "first great blows of Hitler's war machine would have fallen on Stalin's empire, not the Western democracies."
Buchanan's revisionist views of Hitler and Nazi Germany may come as a shock to Republican leaders, but surely they have had ample opportunity in the past to see his anti-Semitism, his contempt for blacks, and more. He has written in a column that Ivy League colleges should reserve 75 percent of their slots for "non-Jewish whites" -- as though he is unaware that they once practiced quotas in which almost all of their slots were reserved for Gentile Caucasians.
Three years ago I documented in my book, "The Coming Race War in America," Buchanan's long history of actions and utterances that caused the Anti-Defamation League to say that his policies were "defined by prejudice and rancor, if not outright hate" -- and left me with no doubt that he was a devout bigot.
In the Nixon years, Buchanan had railed against the Supreme Court decision outlawing racial segregation in public schools and had counseled Nixon against doing anything to facilitate integration. He threw out racist code words about "Zulus," people beating "bongo drums" and a "no way, Jose" wall to block Mexican immigrants -- his way of expressing his contempt for the minorities he suggested were ruining Washington and America.
Every Republican leader has known for years that Buchanan was an egotist, a racist and an anti-Semite. Yet, they found it politic to pretend that he was what Oliver North, the infamous former Marine and now radio talk-show host, called him: "the savior of the overworked, underpaid, God-fearing, much-maligned, oft-criticized, rarely commended, unappreciated, sexually harassed, reverse discriminated, censured, chastised, condemned and demeaned American hard-working family."
Clearly at Bush's urging, the current Republican chairman, Jim Nicholson, is trying to keep Buchanan in the GOP fold, fearing that if he runs as a Reform Party candidate, he might take enough conservative votes to enable a Democrat to win.
I watch this GOP drama play out and ask myself, "Dear God, is Gov. George Bush really that insecure, or has he been talking to Oliver North?"