A Tale Of Two Conservatives, Not Two Countries

If you haven’t heard, Pat Buchanan, an old-time über-conservative and analyst on not-so-liberal MSNBC, has a new book out that basically pronounces America dead.

While I didn’t catch his appearance on white nationalist radio (a talk show called “The Political Cesspool“), I did listen for a bit to the hard-core Buchanan on The Diane Rehm Show.  She asked him about the title of his book, Suicide of a Superpower, to which he replied:

I was looking at my country with deep concern and sharing the view of that 79 percent of Americans who said yesterday in that poll, Diane, that the United States of America, the greatest country on earth, the country of Eisenhower and Nixon, you and I grew up in, is in decline. And I think it is in grave decline and I’m not sure the United States can turn it around.

Now, before we go on, notice that Buchanan’s “the greatest country on earth” happens to be “the country of Eisenhower and Nixon.” In between those two Republican presidents was, of course, Kennedy and Johnson, but as we shall see, those times weren’t America’s greatest moments, in Buchanan’s reckoning.

Pat explained why America is in an irreversible decline, which I will, as a public service, summarize:

♦ Our society is “disintegrating…”breaking down along the lines of race, culture, religion, and philosophy.”

♦ The idea “that diversity is a strength is a canard, it is nonsense.”

♦ We used to all speak English and be Judeo-Christians (it is okay to be a Mormon because they are a lot like Judeo-Christians, especially their complexions.) Only about 75 percent of us are now Christians, which means, of course, that we no longer have “a moral code…by which to live.”

♦ We all used to “read the same newspapers, listened to the same radio stations, ate the same food, danced to the same music,” and now we have that nasty diversity thing going on.

♦ The American Southwest will soon essentially become a part of Mexico.

♦ White people will soon become a minority. (Chapter 4 of his book is titled, “The End of White America,” and he suggests that we have therefore “imperiled our union.”)

And on and on.

Buchanan was asked what could possibly be done to prevent this doomsday scenario for America, and he replied using my all-time favorite James Burnham quote:

I think the solution’s — James Burnham had a great statement. He said, where there are no solutions there is no problem. I don’t think there is a solution to what I’m describing. To turn around the thinking of people after the cultural, moral, social revolution of the ’60s has changed the fundamental thinking of people.

Now it is apparent why Buchanan earlier used the phrase, 

the greatest country on earth, the country of Eisenhower and Nixon…

Those two presidents bookended those nasty 1960s, when the country went to hell by expanding the rights of all our people and making them a little more comfortable in the white’s America.

 He went on: 

I mean, we have two countries inside America morally, culturally and socially. We can see them all clashing over right to life, abortion, gay rights, all these things, stem cell research, God in school, prayer. We’re fighting with each other over that. That’s beyond politics. That’s beyond even a great political leader like Ronald Reagan. It is beyond politics. Politics can deal with our fiscal problem and all that but, Diane, we are two countries.

Don’t you see? If those of us who disagree with Pat Buchanan and the conservative movement would just change our minds and agree with them on all those divisive issues, or perhaps better still, pack up and move, they could have their country back and America could be great again.

As it is, out of the mouth of Pat Buchanan, we just can’t live together in a powerful America.

But I won’t let Pat Buchanan have the last word on this one.  Please take the time to read the following 1990 remarks by none other than Ronald Reagan, whom very few conservatives dare to contradict.  The remarks, for this former fan of Mr. Reagan, still give me chills:

And now, let me speak directly to the young people and the students here. I wonder yet if you’ve appreciated how unusual—terribly unusual—this country of ours is?

I received a letter just before I left office from a man. I don’t know why he chose to write it, but I’m glad he did. He wrote that you can go to live in France, but you can’t become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Italy, but you can’t become a German, an Italian. He went through Turkey, Greece, Japan and other countries. but he said anyone, from any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American.

Some may call it mysticism if they will, but I cannot help but feel that there was some divine plan that placed this continent here between the two great oceans to be found by people from any corner of the earth — people who had an extra ounce of desire for freedom and some extra courage to rise up and lead their families, their relatives, their friends, their nations and come here to eventually make this country.

The truth of the matter is, if we take this crowd and if we could go through and ask the heritage, the background of every family represented here, we would probably come up with the names of every country on earth, every corner of the world, and every race. Here, is the one spot on earth where we have the brotherhood of man. And maybe as we continue with this proudly, this brotherhood of man made up from people representative of every corner of the earth, maybe one day boundaries all over the earth will disappear as people cross boundaries and find out that, yes, there is a brotherhood of man in every corner.

Thank you all and God Bless you all.



  1. This is a powerful post indeed, Duane. Well done. As I was reading it, an image flashed in my mind for some reason. It was the image I have seen on one of the TV networks several times this year (can’t remember which, ABC or NBC) of a tall, handsome young Vietnamese reporter, last seen reporting from Louisiana. He had a Vietnamese name, but from his mouth issued clear English, as colloquial as mine or any native’s.

    Vibrant immigration has always been one of the U.S.A.’s prime strengths, a powerful base of labor and ambition. Until the 21st century, that is. I fear that Buchanan may be right about our decline, but he is terribly wrong about the nature of it, and about its cause.


    • That is a nice image, Jim.

      As you know, I don’t share, at least at this time, your pessimism regarding our national decline. I tend to look at our standing compared to the rest of the world, and I see no reason to believe that we aren’t and won’t remain the strongest nation on earth, and we still represent its best hope for stability.

      Speaking of images, here is a photo I took on a San Diego pier last year, which made me proud to be an American:


  2. King Beauregard

     /  October 26, 2011

    Buchanan makes a lot more sense all of a sudden, if I see him as buying wholly into the “tribe” model of American-ness. He simply can’t see that people can be different from him, or that times and customs can change, while still being fully American. All he knows is “his” tribe, “his” America.


    • King B,

      I hate to admit this, but I was once a staunch supporter of Buchanan for president, when he was running the first time against George H.W.
      I followed his career fairly closely at the time and he has always been something of a tribalist, and a rather pugilistic one at that. He has always been a part of that tribe of folks who long for the good ol’ days of the 1950s, when everything was white with the world.

      Sadly, he misses the entire point of the American experiment, which at least for all of his faults, Ronald Reagan well understood. And Reagan was no gloom-and-doomer, which may be why I still have a small soft spot in my heart for him to this day.



      • RDG,

        A good point about Ronald Reagan. Although I had — and still have — fundamental disagreements with his political philosophy (especially in the area of organized labor), Reagan believed he offered a constructive small government/civil liberties alternative to what was perceived as federal government overreach. Reagan compromised with Congressional Democrats, allowing the wheels of
        government to turn without abandoning core principles. To the detriment of modern conservative political thought — and the nation — Reagan is now mythologized as an anti-government, never-tax, liberal-loathing zealot. In today’s hyper-partisan environment, the real Ronald Reagan would be vilified by The Club for Growth as a tax appeasing RINO. In short, Reagan kept the right-wing fringe at arm’s length. Hopefully the Republican party can rediscover conservatism’s optimistic small government/civil liberties message and reject the destructive mutation expressed through talk radio demagogues and cynical protectors of crony capitalism.


        • John,

          A very good summary of the Reagan myth. One of his great achievements, in political terms, was his ability to keep the wingnuts of his day appeased without actually doing everything they wanted.

          I remember how instead of actually appearing at the annual anti-choice, anti-Roe rallies in D.C. (which would have provided plenty of photos) he would merely speak remotely from off-site.

          He was good at that sort of thing.



  3. RDG<

    I can't figure out what value Pat brings to MSNBC. Besides, he appears much more relaxed chatting with Sean Hannity.


    • John,

      No doubt palefaced Pat is much more at home on Fox, but he is getting paid, handsomely I presume, by MSNBC, so he has to serve as that network’s Crazy Uncle Chester.

      Actually, Buchanan is quite knowledgeable in his version of history and from time to time does offer some interesting historical tidbits, due to his extensive service to Republican presidents. He’s also a pretty good analyst of conservative politics, and sometimes politics in general. And besides that, if Pat weren’t on MSNBC, who would supply the “your boy” comments about President Obama? Do you think they would hire our local Boy Sue?



      • RDG,

        I met Pat in the Birmingham, AL airport back in ‘98. We were the only two hanging around the Crown Room soaking up freebies. After I figured out who he was, I went over and introduced myself.

        A few moments into conversation he said, “You don’t look Irish.” And I replied, “You’ve never seen my liver.” He was a pleasant guy, and a big fan of Crown Royal.

        That said, I’d rather the network hire Bruce Bartlett to provide conservative analysis.

        As for Boy Sue, he might be too colorful for Faux News.


  4. Yes! Finally something about #2 electrical wire for sale.


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