By Luke Brinker
Bill Carter of the New York Times reports that conservative pundit Pat Buchanan’s future as an MSNBC analyst is up in the air. The impetus? Network president Phil Griffin says that racially and religiously divisive language in Buchanan’s recently released book is cause for serious concern.
In his book, Suicide of a Superpower, Buchanan writes that the “European and Christian core of our country is shrinking.” One chapter laments “The End of White America.”
For a network that professes to “Lean Forward,” such language is undeniably problematic. The question is not whether MSNBC is right to reconsider giving Buchanan a platform to air his bigoted views. It’s why the network gave him that platform in the first place.
An adviser to President Richard Nixon and a presidential candidate in 1992, 1996, and 2000, Buchanan has a long track record. Buchanan may be most remembered for his “culture warrior” speech to the 1992 Republican National Convention, in which he denounced Bill and Hillary Clinton in inflammatory terms:
The agenda Clinton & Clinton would impose on America — abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat units — that’s change, all right. But it is not the kind of change America needs. It is not the kind of change America wants. And it is not the kind of change we can abide in a nation we still call God’s country
Overwrought and hyperbolic? Undoubtedly. But this rhetoric actually pales in comparison to some of Buchanan’s other statements over the years. The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) dossier on Buchanan is especially devastating. Most disturbing are Buchanan’s ties to white supremacists and anti-Semites. Buchanan wrote the foreword to a book of collected writings by white supremacist Sam Francis. He contributed an essay to a book by the anti-Semitic John Sharpe. He cozied up to the vigilante anti-immigrant group the Minuteman Project. As Jake Tapper reported in 1999, Buchanan “made a pet cause of defending World War II Nazis, often engaged in his own form of Holocaust denial and had once praised no less than Adolf Hitler, calling him ‘an individual of great courage, a soldier’s soldier in the Great War, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him.’”
In 2012, the nation’s premier liberal cable news network employs a man who has said that “[t]he rise of women to power in a civilization is often the mark of its decline.” Even more appalling was Buchanan’s take on AIDS. In 1983, he declared that gays “have declared war on nature, and now nature is extracting an awful retribution.” In the nearly 30 years since he uttered that contemptible remark, Buchanan has shown no signs of reconsidering his homophobia.
A network that rightly took Ron Paul to task for his racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and conspiracy-minded newsletters was in quite the awkward position having Pat Buchanan on its payroll. It now appears that Phil Griffin has come to his senses about this sordid character. I suppose we can now look forward to Buchanan’s Juan Williams-style sympathy tour, in which he will whine about how the intolerant liberal elite muzzled his sage voice.