"You should at least respect the man's balls in this PC era of mealy-mouthed phonies."
At 12:16 AM 7/1/97 -0700, you wrote:
>>>Patrick Buchanan: small-minded cultural warrior of the right who alienates Republicans like myself. The man has no place in the American future - back the to the 1950s already!>>>
Disagree with him if you must, but ad hominem attacks such as "small-minded" are unfair, inaccurate and hardly reflect well on your rhetorical abilities. I assure you, as a Buchanan fan, I have read much about him. Even his (informed) critics would never call him stupid. Maybe if you got over your narrow-minded (since you like to name-call) rejection of television and watched CNN's Crossfire, you would realize that few conservatives on the Earth can articulate their position as eloquently as Pat Buchanan.
I think that your rigid rejection of idealogues has led you to a position that is no more flexible than those that you castigate, like Mr. Buchanan; at least Pat Buchanan stands for something and has the balls to say it, despite being called a Nazi by those who disagree with him. You should at least respect the man's balls in this PC era of mealy-mouthed phonies.
Personally, I feel that the US reached its zenith in 1955 and has been in decline ever since: The year Einstein died and Rock and Roll was born. Your father would agree with me on this point, even if he does not care for Pat Buchanan; Then came the Sixties and assholes like Bill Clinton who toked their way through the Vietnam war. I find it amazing that you could vote for this guy, who has maybe a drop more testosterone than Mike- and is just as treacherous.
JD, small-minded, conservative supra-genius.
p.s.- If you're a Republican, I'd hate to see a Democrat.
I never said nor meant to say that Pat Buchanan is poorly educated - small-minded is not the same as stupid. Buchanan can be very eloquent and is an erudite communicator both with pen and at the podium. Where I deeply fault him is in his message: He is a polemicist. As far as I can tell or read, Buchanan has become very extreme in his political point of view to the point where - like other such thinkers on the Left like Robert Sheer - his thought lacks subtlety and nuance. His writings are akin to a soldier doing combat for his cause and to read his column is to almost read dogma. My father told me that he met Buchanan many years ago and that he was impressed but that changed as he attacked George Bush and seemed increasingly embittered and isolated in the United States; it seems he has to some degree become a hostage of the religious Right. As the country has becomes more complex, Buchanan becomes less complex. Buchanan today writes in the mode of cultural critic like William Bennet (who I very much admire), except for the fact that Buchanan has very little positive to say about anything.
Buchanan is a practitioner of politics in the mode of another humorless man that I can also never recall smiling: V.I. Lenin. It says much about the political sagacity of American culture that when people stray too far out to the political extremes, they lose credibility and become "untouchable." You may say that there is no difference between Ronald Reagan and Patrick Buchanan, but I would disagree with you. Reagan was able to articulate what he was for and articulate a message of leadership in a democratic and inclusive way with his "shining city on the hill." Buchanan will never be much more than a weapon of the far right and their message detailing how large strands of American popular culture are repugnant to them. He will only confirm what conservative Republicans already believe and influence or persuade hardly anyone else.
Why would I find reading Buchanan interesting at all? When I pick up a column written by him, I know very well I will be hearing the party line according to Pat. One has the feeling that the man has his strongly held (rigid?) beliefs and that a priori his conclusions will flow and the message will never change no matter what happens in the world or in politics. In a complex world, one should demand more from politicians than Pat Buchanan. In the literary sense, educated readers should demand more from their writers; most thinking men and women will find Pat Buchanan as little interesting as they found Lincoln Steffens' defenses of Stalinism and all things Communist in the 1930s. Steffens and Buchanan are both men who are political true believers and write for their followers instead of for humanity. They write for the age and not for the ages.
Let them both rot in disinterest and relative isolation from the main body of American political thought. I say this even as I can immediately count five or six Republican national columnists who I liked very much (Pinkerton, Huffington, Will, Buckley, etc.) and are often very interesting to read even when I don't share their point of view. I can also say the same about certain writers on the Left. But that is not something I can ever remember thinking about Mr. Pat Buchanan.
Very Truly Yours,
P.S. In other words, you are WRONG and I am RIGHT! :-) Your buddy, Rich.
Pat Buchanan for President?
If he gets elected, I am moving to Finland!
From: RonSimon@webtv.net (Ron Simon)
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 00:28:19 -0500 (EST)
To: Richard Geib (email@example.com)
Subject: Pat Buchanan
Richard, I read your polemic against Pat, and I now know why ( with a few more like you), we are destined to repeat the fabulous "successes" of 92 and 96. For the life of me, I do not why some Republicans persist in toting the liberal line. It almost appears that they want to have 2 Democratic parties( one is fine, thank-you very much) . Please, do not spout the nonsense about the "complexity" of modern life invalidating a truly conservative candidate. We heard that baloney when both Goldwater and Reagan ran , and despite being "simple", both men ended up being correct on the fundamental issues of their time.(One can only wonder how a "President Goldwater" could have done worse with the Vietnam tragedy,than the "more complex" dunce who defeated him). Times may change, fundamental principles ,however, do not. I have not heard of any speech given by Mr. Buchanan advocating the repeal of space and time, only the reconstitution of sane values,many of which have been lost in favor of the irresponsible and callous. I think we have a right to be furious about the direction of our culture without being labeled "extremist" or "mean-spirited". I have not seen any "moderate" Republicanism accomplish anything in that regard. It is time to speak LOUDER, not softer. We need to demand people see our way and not let people be deluded. That does not mean that one can not have a sense of humor about it all, and Mr. Buchanan has shown time and again that he has ( how you could miss that is beyond me!) In closing, let me hope that the Republican party can overcome its infantile Bush and Doleism, and finally nominate a visionary leader like Pat, rather than just another party hack. P.S. Have fun in Finland!
I urge you to doubt a little of your infallibility. Shouting at the deluded masses is as easy as opening your mouth; persuading others is entirely more difficult, and you do not persuade. But we live in a democratic country where you must reason and thereby persuade others to follow your lead rather than dragging them screaming and kicking by the hair toward "fundamental principles" which you claim to see so clearly. Your comments have the wild-eyed air of the true-believer which has helped make Lenin's Soviet Union, Hitler's Nazi Germany, Pol Pot's Cambodia, and Khomeini's Iran (among other places) such inhospitable places for human beings. Your e-mail is off-putting, to put it mildly.
Voices such as yours are relatively rare in pragmatic America, but you remind me there is always the seed of the ideologue -- both from the Right and the Left, the secular and ecclesiastical -- in all times and all places. I see echoes of you in radical abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison publicly burning the Constitution and in states' rights champions like John C. Calhoun urging secession at gunpoint, desiring the end of the Union if their visions of the future not be followed. Their legacy of course was the Civil War and some 600,000 men dead on the battlefield and ten thousand millions of dollars spent. I have always preferred saner, more inclusive voices more attuned to the "better angels" of our human natures in Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and Abraham Lincoln. You seem to go the other way.
Even die-hard liberals respected conservative Barry Goldwater and mourned his recent passing. Ronald Reagan had a way of charming his fellow citizens which is almost without peer in recent times. Sometimes it matters not so much what you say but how you say it; Patrick Buchanan is most instructive in this regard. Seldom have I seen a public man alienate so many so naturally! The people often have a measure of wisdom in sizing up those who would lead them. Goldwater lived a long and satisfyingly successful public life in the U.S. Senate. Reagan was decisively elected President two times. Buchanan could not win elected office as dog catcher.
Thomas Jefferson initially tried to put this country on a certain footing when he urged the importance of compromise. He defined this as such: "COMPROMISE: A government held together by the bands of reason only, requires much compromise of opinion; that things even salutary should not be crammed down the throats of dissenting brethren, especially when they may be put into a form to be willingly swallowed, and that a great deal of indulgence in necessary to strengthen habits of harmony and fraternity." William Jefferson Clinton is a leader very much in the tradition of his namesake: a pragmatic Democrat pursuing policies which often are very palatable to Republicans. But I guess this President (an elected Democrat!) is not "Republican" enough for you. You want it all. Hence your pouting.
Speak as loud as you want, but nobody listens much when you yell. The reason so many liberals in this country support Clinton so vigorously in this impeachment trial is not because they genuinely like him but because they are deathly afraid of conservatives like you gaining in his removal. They prefer a flawed Clinton to some blowhard from the extreme right. A moderate Republican, I have more in common with them than with you. (Curious how who you are against defines you almost as much as who you are for!) And that is why Clinton and other moderates win elections nowadays and why you, Patrick Buchanan, and Jesse Jackson from the fringes of the Right and Left dwell in the political wilderness. I find this to be an unqualified "good thing." It means there is still something of a consensus in this country and that serious disunity and civil strife are, despite the recent breast beating over Clinton, far away. May it remain so.
Be "furious" all you want about the "direction of our culture." I often feel furious myself. But you will not hear me barking at the electorate or hectoring my neighbors in the hoarse, dogmatic tones of strident Patrick Buchanan.
P.S. Why do I so often get the loudest, most inane e-mails from people with webtv e-mail addresses? Do webtv marketers search people like you out? Or do you go to them?
P.P.S. George W. Bush of Texas for President in 2000!
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