Eternal Pat 

Pat Buchanan
The Beltway
Washington, D.C.

Dear Pat,

I heard all your staff left to work for that dreadful moneybags, Steve Forbes. Tough luck, killer. Please find enclosed a check for $10. I know it’s not much, but it’s the thought that counts.

And I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. Like how nicely my boot would smash through the telly the next time I see Slick Willie trying to look contrite and stately. No wonder I’ve been suffering from a serious bout of insincerity fatigue. Marilyn Manson, the Academy Awards, rap videos, pro wrestling – one sham after another. Then I see you holding forth on the political gab circuit and for some reason I feel at ease, like I can relax and not have to worry about what kind of bullshit you’re going to try to peddle. You talk straight, you’re comfortable in your own skin and you don’t care about polls – a rare bird indeed.

Not like Al Gore or Shrub Bush. Pragmatic idealism? Compassionate conservatism? What the devil kind of talk is that? Lamar Alexander got it right. Those are the weasel words of micromanaged stiffs trawling down the middle of the road. Don’t worry, though – I don’t like the looks of Lamar. He’s tired, Bob Dole tired, whereas you seem to get more energized the longer you’re on the scene.

They don’t call you Beltway Buchanan for nothing. What was it? Undergrad at Georgetown, grad school at Columbia. Eight years with Nixon and another three with Dutch? No doubt you know where all the skeletons are buried but, like the gentleman you are, your lips are sealed. Then you got yourself on TV and have prospered beyond belief. I see the way guests and fellow commentators engage you. They may not like you or your positions but, goddamn it, they respect you.

I must admit that I have a hard time with some of your positions which, frankly, seem lost in time between Eisenhower and the last ice age. What’s wrong with immigrants, especially educated immigrants? And with the stock market cruising near 10,000, protectionism would seem to be a tough sell, even in New Hampshire where the rust is still heavy. Unless, of course, the bubble bursts and the market corrects itself right into the toilet. Ditto for the Balkans. Now that Clinton has charged in there with his white hat and steed, what if Mom’s little darlings start dying and the whole thing turns into a bloodbath? You’re going to look like a wizard.

You don’t buy any of this "New World Order" crap, which to your mind is really just a stalking horse for the global economy, another one of your least favorites. What did you call NATO? The imperial army for the global economy? Very catchy. And quite subversive, I might add, considering how deeply most of us have bought into the 21st century therapeutic rhetoric of the Clinton-Gore braintrust.

No plain populist are you, not like John Kasich who, if you haven’t noticed, is trying to steal your act. When CNN commentator Bill Press baited you on the culture wars, you smiled knowingly and quoted T.S. Eliot?! – "There are no lost battles because there are no won battles." That one little quip told me you’re a man who knows history moves in cycles, not a straight line. What goes around, comes around.

You knew that impeachment was a waste of time for Republicans and, even though you huffed and puffed now and again, you didn’t make a spectacle of yourself. Tolerance about blowjobs is one thing, cheap labor in Red China is another. If those baby boomer hypocrites could vote for Reagan a decade ago, why can’t they vote for you now, right?

But, Pat, as much as I like your style, I think the GOP is gunning for ya. There’s a coronation planned and you won’t be on the guest list, especially after you’ve sunk your teeth into the crown prince during debates. What’s the 11th commandment again? Don’t slag a fellow Republican. Fat chance. You can’t wait to hit them all – Forbes, Lamar, that pantywaist Dan Quayle, Gary Bauer, Kasich, but especially Bush.

Libby Dole is a problem because she’s the first serious diversity candidate for president the Republicans have scared up in 145 years. If you get evil on her, you’ll come off looking like the erudite caveman you are. Still, if you trip up Bush in New Hampshire and Iowa, and Al Gore starts stiffing, it’s going to be ’72 all over again, only this time the Republicans and the Democrats will both have to deal with lackluster front-runners.

So here’s hoping that come this time next year, you and Bill Bradley will be the respective front-runners and we’ll actually have an election worth watching. Of course, minorities, women, gays and youth will flock to Bradley, leaving you with your usual constituents. But I have a feeling that won’t faze you, will it? You’re our voice in the wilderness, if only to tell us how much further we need to progress to escape it.

Sincerely, Timothy Dugdale

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