Principalities & Powers

The Buchanan Revolution, Part I

Nothing churns the entrails of the professional democracy priesthood more than the rancid taste of a little real democracy. Since one of the main dishes on the 1992 political menu has been a generous serving of authentic popular rebellion, the sages have spent a good part of the last year lurching for their lavatories. The very same Brahmins who demand democracy in all its terrors in Peru and South Africa turned green at the prospect of Americans actually beginning to think about and support candidates, parties, and ideas all by themselves, and the self-appointed caste that tries to make sure nobody gets to see the wizards who run the country in the Emerald Cities of Washington and New York put their noggins together to keep the masses at bay.

Having worked themselves into a lather over David Duke all fall, the Brahmins were disappointed that the former Klansman failed to provide more sport once the campaign actually began, but the venom they had stored in their fangs for Mr. Duke they spent instead on what they took to be a reasonable facsimile in the person of Patrick J. Buchanan. Perennial Men of the People such as Jerry Brown and Tom Harkin inspired only amusement, but Mr. Buchanan's candidacy unleashed a flood of poison that rose higher every time he kissed another baby.

Though Mr. Buchanan never won a primary, he was the undoubted star of the presidential campaign, and what he did accomplish is something that...

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