Friday, July 17, 2009

Good old Uncle P[F]a[scis]t

So Rachel Maddow, bless her, allowed Pat Buchanan to display some of his true white starched colors on her show.

ETA 7/20: and now Maddow has a follow-up post-mortem of that discussion, correcting some of his erm creative "facts."

As per the level of his sheer paleolithic racism, the only surprise is why anyone is surprised. Here's a sampling of Unca Pat's most shining moments over the years, okay:

After Sen. Carol Moseley Braun blocked a federal patent for a Confederate flag insignia, Buchanan wrote that she was "putting on an act" by associating the Confederacy with slavery: "The War Between the States was about independence, about self-determination, about the right of a people to break free of a government to which they could no longer give allegiance," Buchanan asserted. "How long is this endless groveling before every cry of 'racism' going to continue before the whole country collectively throws up?" (syndicated column, 7/28/93)

On race relations in the late 1940s and early 1950s: "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." (Right from the Beginning, Buchanan's 1988 autobiography, p. 131)

Buchanan, who opposed virtually every civil rights law and court decision of the last 30 years, published FBI smears of Martin Luther King Jr. as his own editorials in the St. Louis Globe Democrat in the mid-1960s. "We were among Hoover's conduits to the American people," he boasted (Right from the Beginning, p. 283).

...In a memo to President Nixon, Buchanan suggested that "integration of blacks and whites -- but even more so, poor and well-to-do -- is less likely to result in accommodation than it is in perpetual friction, as the incapable are placed consciously by government side by side with the capable." (Washington Post, 1/5/92)

...In a column sympathetic to ex-Klansman David Duke, Buchanan chided the Republican Party for overreacting to Duke and his Nazi "costume": "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." (syndicated column, 2/25/89)

Trying to justify apartheid in South Africa, he denounced the notion that "white rule of a black majority is inherently wrong. Where did we get that idea? The Founding Fathers did not believe this." (syndicated column, 2/7/90) He referred admiringly to the apartheid regime as the "Boer Republic": "Why are Americans collaborating in a U.N. conspiracy to ruin her with sanctions?" (syndicated column, 9/17/89)

...In a 1977 column, Buchanan said that despite Hitler's anti-Semitic and genocidal tendencies, he was "an individual of great courage.... 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." (Guardian, 1/14/92) ...

...and so on.

Oh yeah, about that earnest fist pumping for the white working class:

Given his attacks on scapegoated minorities, his sympathy for fascist heroes like Francisco Franco and his striking distaste for democracy as a system of government--he once described "democratism" as an idolatry that "substitutes a false god for the real, a love of process for a love of country" (Patrick J. Buchanan: From the Right newsletter, Spring/90)--Buchanan could justifiably be seen as a descendant of the political tradition of fascism. But that's not a term that was often applied to Buchanan: While supporters frequently complained about people labeling Buchanan a "fascist," no prominent commentator seems to have actually done so.

Instead, the political philosophy that Buchanan was most often associated with was "populism"--a designation that uncritically accepts Buchanan's self-portrayal as the friend of the working class....

On examination, Buchanan's "populist" agenda doesn't go much beyond "It's the Mexicans, stupid." ...

While his economic nationalism and ties to trade- threatened industrialists like Milliken may lead him to oppose trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT, Buchanan has done little to demonstrate any real concern for workers themselves. In fact, back when he was a regular host of CNN's Crossfire, Buchanan used to argue that it was high union wages, not trade pacts, that were weakening U.S. industry (Crossfire, 7/3/91).

As Crossfire co-host (7/3/91), Buchanan vehemently opposed workers' right to strike. "Listen, the job does not belong to the guy who walks out of it," he argued. On the same show he celebrated the 1981 firing of the striking air traffic control workers, gloating that "Ronald Reagan's approval rating soared."

Of course, even if Buchanan did support a broad economic program that would benefit workers, his bigotry would disqualify him as a true representative of all the people. But many of the same elite media who were utterly distressed at the idea that someone like Buchanan might lead a major party seemed quite happy to let him play the role of the leading workers' spokesperson. In many ways, Patrick Buchanan is the perfect "populist" for the corporate press: a charismatic reactionary who channels workers' grievances into the dead end of xenophobia and scapegoating.

There is, of course, a term for this kind of extreme right-wing appeal to the white lumpenproletariat via nationalism and racist scapegoating; and, despite fatuous asses like Jonah Goldberg attempting to Humpty Dumpty the term, it still makes a lot more sense to apply it to a man who praises Franco and apologizes for Nazi war criminals and Klan leaders than to any liberal:


Attacking what he considers the "democratist temptation, the worship of democracy as a form of governance," Buchanan commented: "Like all idolatries, democratism substitutes a false god for the real, a love of process for a love of country." (Patrick J. Buchanan: From the Right, newsletter, Spring/90)

In a January, 1991 column, Buchanan suggested that "quasi-dictatorial rule" might be the solution to the problems of big municipalities and the federal fiscal crisis: "If the people are corrupt, the more democracy, the worse the government." (Washington Times, 1/9/91) He has written disparagingly of the "one man, one vote Earl Warren system."

...Buchanan, shortly before he announced he was running for president in 1995: "You just wait until 1996, then you'll see a real right-wing tyrant." (The Nation, 6/26/95)

So, he didn't make it as a presidential contender. Instead, he's got a comfy position on MSNBC, influential as he's been for at least the past 30 years or so. Lovable old Unca Pat. Yeah. By the way, here's one of several online petitions for MSNBC to at least stop paying him and giving him a soapbox.

ETA: All About Race does a quick debunk of some of Pat's more risible claims from the Maddow clip.

Meanwhile, on the same day Maddow lets him display himself in all his paleolithic but ultimately impotent (at least as regards opposing Sotomayor's inevitable confirmation) splendor in front of a mass audience, the nation's first black president addresses the NAACP:

As Obama noted, there's still work to be done. And no, Obama himself is far from perfect. Still, it is worth looking at the two videos side by side if one needs a reminder of...perspective.


Nell Gwynne said...

Thanks for the petition link.

I understand MSNBC's desire to have a host of pundits with diverse opinions, but do not understand why they continue to give this epic waste of time, space, and resources a paycheck.

belledame222 said...

I figured Maddow's referring to him as "Uncle Pat" is probably a sarcastic allusion to the way he's treated by the station in general.

Mostly I guess they figure he brings in the ratings. :/

Eye-rate said...

Just the sweetest writing and thinking going on. Thanks

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Excellent post, Belldame!

EthylBenzene said...

Hmmmm I was going to leave a comment about the NYT's headline on the Obama speech, which originally read "Obama Tells Fellow Blacks: 'No Excuses For Any Failure," but when I go over to NYT's website, it now reads "Obama Give Fiery Address at NAACP."


Nick said...

Whew! So much raised by this post. I am going to have to be concise and to the point. I am not sure that Hitler appealed to the lumpenproles as much as middle class Germans. In fact, I am pretty sure he tried to appeal to everybody ~ the Nazi's 25 point platform is relatively socialistic in its proposals. There is eve support for profit sharing arrangements. The Nazis did elaborate on what they viewed socialism as ~ the whole nationalist socialist thing. Hitler liked to contrast it with the Bolshevik brand of communism.

On Pat's conservative fascist tendencies:

Eh I've got no problem with associating both the right and left of America's establishment with fascism or neo-fascism ~ a term Libertarian scholar Chris Sciabarra uses to describe autocratic systems of power with formal democratic n liberal trappings. Progressives lose me when they start treating the Democrats as their tribe. The Obama admin will never be my true friend ~ at best; a tactical bulwark against the religiously colonized Republican Party.

FDR really did speak admiringly of Mussolini and used strongman tactics to pack the Supreme Court ~ thus negating the whole point of an independent judiciary. Woodrow Wilson was a racist who deported Emma Goldman for anti-draft work during WW1. He also created corporatist war boards and basically centralized control of the economy to fight a pointless war. The establishment friendly labor leader Samuel Gompers fit himself into the Mussolinian corporatist mold and gleefully watched the unconstitutional crushing of the anarchist IWW. The guy behind FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps saw it as a way to impose military discipline on a civilian populace. I could go on and on.

When liberals embrace gun control, "sin" taxes, and public-private partnerships; they send me running to Barry Goldwater. I contend he was far less of a fascist than all of America's "Progressive" usually racist warmongering presidents combined. Goldwater's politics were more classically liberal, but the rise of "social liberalism" or left-liberalism made classical liberals into conservatives in relative terms.

Pat is a different conservative story ~ altho I don't think criticizing affirmative action from an individualist perspective makes you a racist. Nonetheless, he's a premodern Catholic theocrat, so his racialist colors aren't surprising. The stuff quoted here is pretty damming and reminds me why my grandfather n I are at odds lol. It's more than a bit disconcerting to hear someone say that he wants the blacks to get a good education, but they need to get off the drugs and out of the gangs first. As oft repeated by drug war reformers; the statistics tend to show either more whites on illicit drugs or about equal.

Good riddance to Pat B and his volkish tendencies. The same for "Progressive" icon Woodrow Wilson.

Good antidotes to conventional history about the mainstream "liberals" of America's halls of power:

As for good illustrations of conservatives gone fascistic; keep reading this blog ( :

Nick said...


I meant FDR tried to pack the court ~ wasn't successful

Alon Levy said...

BD, MSNBC is moving in a more liberal direction - hence Maddow and Olbermann. Buchanan is a conservative, but he brings in ratings, and he makes everyone who's not a Southern revanchist loathe him. He thinks the US and UK should not have fought Hitler, for fuck's sake.

Nick, the Nazi Party evolved over the 1920s from its 25-point program, which has a lot of socialist planks like nationalizing trusts, to an alliance with conservative corporate interests. By about 1930, Hitler already disparaged leading Nazis who took the socialist stuff seriously, especially his number two, Gregor Strasser, who called him a capitalist for refusing to nationalize large corporations. When he came power he ignored all the socialist promises and concentrated on the nationalist ones, and in 1934 he had Strasser killed.

Buchanan's opposition to affirmative action is not individualist. Neither is the Libertarian Party's. Both oppose affirmative action as part of a package opposing anti-discrimination laws. Someone truly concerned about individualism would be screaming about legacies and athletic admissions, which take a far larger proportion of college students than affirmative action students.

I can understand the connections between Wilson and authoritarianism, but with FDR it's more complicated. There's no doubt he was trying to increase executive power, but he didn't jail political opponents or use his power to deprive blacks of whatever rights they still had. If anything, his Supreme Court appointments laid the foundations for Brown.

littlem said...

Reading post (brilliance). Reading comments. Too angry to make sense in actual substantive comment.

"Obama Tells Fellow Blacks: 'No Excuses For Any Failure," but when I go over to NYT's website, it now reads "Obama Give Fiery Address at NAACP."


belledame222 said...

I don't know of anyone politically serious who considers Wilson some sort of progressive icon, or don't know about his racism ("like writing history with lightning"); the only people I've ever heard something like that from are right wingers setting up a straw liberal, tbh.

belledame222 said...

There's no doubt [FDR] was trying to increase executive power, but he didn't jail political opponents

erm. What was Manzanar, then?

belledame222 said...

and yes, obviously Japanese-Americans who went to the camps weren't -actually- politically opposed to FDR, but that doesn't really make the arguments against creeping authoritarianism any better...

belledame222 said...

All that said: the current right wing yapping about "liberal fascism" is generally meant to, well, whine about halp halp I'm being oppressed by not being able to be as publicly racist as I want to be; or the suggestion that zomg a public health care option is a good idea.

And yeah, the fact that Hitler referred to it as "National Socialism" means about as much as his putative appeal to the "working class" (there -was- an aesthetic/rhetorical appeal early on, at least; that's where a fair amount of the on-the-street energy came from in the early days, anyway, and traditionally has done, disaffected youth from the lumpenproletariat, even if the actual votes and money come from much higher). Sure, economically he was to the left of a number of current U.S. rightwingers (obviously socially he was off the scale ion the authoritarian axis). It still doesn't mean "socialism"="liberal"="fascism"="anything I don't like" which is what the foaming classes here-n-now are yapping about.

belledame222 said...

"The actual power," not "votes," I'd meant to say there.

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