I can understand why some of my friends dislike Pat Buchanan. Pat talks about what he considers to be threats to white civilization. He blames African-Americans for their problems. He has questioned details of the Holocaust. And that’s the tip of the iceberg
And, while my friends may have different opinions about Islam, I’ll refer to a problem that I have with Pat’s approach to that issue. In my opinion, Pat does well to recognize the existence of blowback and to realize that Muslim extremists are reacting to American intervention abroad and what they believe to be an immoral Western culture. (Whether or not you see that as the whole story, it should at least be recognized as a part of the story.) Pat has referred to the time when the United States and the Muslim world had a relative degree of peace with each other, which was before our policies of foreign intervention, and he has advocated a foreign policy that is tough and yet wise and reflective—-as opposed to the neo-conservative policy of war. But, when it came to the so-called Ground Zero Mosque, Pat glorified the prejudices of Middle America. Pat may not have bought into the pro-war Republican spiel during the Bush years, but, when push came to shove, he sided with Middle America, with its prejudices.
But there are times when Pat really shines, when his love for America leads him in a positive direction. I talked here about Buchanan’s praise for Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Pat said: “What made King’s oration so powerful and affecting was that it was a passionate appeal to the best in America, delivered without rancor or malice or warning of retribution for past wrongs. King had evoked pictures of an America everyone knew and loved.” And here, Buchanan in 2008 praises Barack Obama’s convention speech on account of its Americanism, to the applause of the Obama supporters behind him.
There have been things that Pat Buchanan has said that have struck me as insensitive and bigoted, and those remarks should be opposed within the context of debate. But I will still miss his presence on MSNBC.