Cultural Revolutions

Fell Out of Ranks

Patrick J. Buchanan had not even formally announced his candidacy for the White House last November than a platoon of the Beltway right suddenly fell out of ranks to denounce him and his challenge to George Bush. Divisive, polarizing, protectionist, nativist, xenophobic, anti-Zionist, anti- Semitic, ultra-nationalist, racist were the predictable sobriquets that buzzed from their muzzles.

Abe Rosenthal immediately compared Mr. Buchanan to David Duke and urged the organisation of the same kind of national boycott against him and his supporters that had been launched so effectively against Louisiana. Neoconservative Charles Krauthammer joined the chorus soon after in a column shuddering with fear over what he called Mr. Buchanan's "ravings" of the last couple of years.

Why was this so? Why, with George Bush sinking in the polls and perhaps unlikely to keep the White House next year, were the Beltway right and its friends on the left so frightened of a challenge to the mollescent ooze seeping from the executive mansion that may wash the White House out of Republican hands for the first time in 12 years? Not only has Mr. Buchanan never worn an arm band or a bed sheet, but he happens to be perhaps the most popular political columnist in the United States, the publisher of one of the country's fastest growing newsletters, and a ubiquitous star on nationally broadcast talk shows. The normal response...

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