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Cross Pollinating Politicians


Hugh McInnish

Hugh It's unfortunate that voters can't hybridize candidates the way botanists can flowers, because a cross between Pat Buchanan and George W. Bush would produce a rare and beautiful political bloom. Pat is a genetic Republican who has the right issues in his blood, but lacks the financial muscle needed to win. George W. expresses the issues weakly, at best, but otherwise comes from good stock and has the money, position, and power to win. If there were a way to combine the best of each we could not only elect a Republican president, but elect one whose stand on the issues is uncompromising, and who would be pleasing to philosophical Republicans. Then both the power seekers and the thinkers in the Republican Party would be happy.

In his announcement speech Buchanan, whose rhetorical skills decisively surpass all other prospective candidates, touched every nerve and emotion a dedicated conservative could possibly have. His first volley evoked memories of George Wallace and his oft-quoted phrase, "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats." Pat said it this way:

Today, candor compels us to admit that our vaunted two-party system is a snare and a delusion, a fraud upon the nation. Our two parties have become nothing but two wings of the same bird of prey. On foreign and trade policy, open borders and centralized power, our Beltway parties have become identical twins. Both supported NAFTA and GATT and the surrender of our national sovereignty to the WTO. Both supported the extension of nuclear war guarantees to the borders of Russia. Both supported the illegal war on Serbia. Both support IMF bailouts of corrupt regimes. Both vote for MFN trade privileges for a Communist Chinese regime that today targets missiles on American cities. The appeasement of Beijing is a bipartisian disgrace, and we will not be a part of it.

Buchanan is clearly and intensely sincere. He said that he would play no role in the upcoming "sham" election being staged by the two parties, and he believes that "this year is our last chance to save our republic, before she disappears into the godless New World Order that our elites are constructing in a betrayal of everything for which our Founding Fathers lived, fought, and died."

His conservative checklist is complete. He will keep us out of war, "unless our country is attacked or our vital interests are imperiled." he will restore our national sovereignty, and if Kofi Annan makes good on his threat to cut off our vote at the UN he will advise him that his "lease on Turtle Bay is in jeopardy." Buchanan promises to abolish racial preferences, to promote the English language, to impose a moratorium on immigration, and restore "the old constitutional division of labor" between the federal and state governments. Calling the IRS tax code "an insult to a free people," he promises to cut taxes and to return education money to the states. Finally he will restore the "old patriotism" which undergirded the values of faith, family, and country."

In an especially compelling and emotional passage he called for the overthrow of our present "tyranny of judges." "We need a new Supreme Court," he said,

where only constutionalists need apply, a court that will respect both states rights and human rights, that will begin to undo the damage done this nation by judicial aggressions, beginning with that abomination they call Roe v. Wade.

We need a President and a Congress that will pick up the whip the Founding Fathers left in Article III of the Constitution-- to herd the justices back into the narrow stalls to which they were first consigned by Hamilton and Madison.

What is a self-governing people doing, waiting meekly each week for nine jurists to tell us how we may govern ourselves? As our fathers threw off a tyranny of kings, let us throw off this tyranny of judges-- and let America be America again!

These are stirring words, which is no surprise since it is with words that Buchanan is at his best. If these words and those of other candidates were seen in parallel columns, those of the others would seem vapid in the comparison. Where is the Bush equivalent of Buchanan's cry for our throwing off "this tyranny of judges" just as our forefathers threw off "a tyranny of kings"? He can only speak of "compassionate conservatism," a pretty phrase that could mean anything, including nothing-- the latter being the most likely meaning. The dime, George Wallace's measure of the distance between one politician and another, is no gage for Pat Buchanan. And if he should get to a nationally televised debate he will outshine the other debaters no matter who they are.

But in the end the question is how much support will Buchanan get from conservatives, and what will be the effect if a sizable number move from the Republican nominee, presumably George W., to Buchanan? The latter is what haunts, and should haunt, the sleep of all who wish for a saner country. A cross between Bush and Buchanan can be imagined but not attained. And that being so the conservatives will have to make the proverbial agonizing reappraisal: Do they go for the man with the right issues and risk defeat by a liberal who, if he wins, will probably have the opportunity to reconstitute the Supreme Court in his own image during his tenure? Or do they hold their noses and vote for the non-liberal, but not-so-conservative, candidate as the best achievable compromise?

In deciding what to do conservatives will be hampered by a great disadvantage of theirs: They are wedded to principles. They have an unfortunate tendency to vote with their hearts, rather than with a hard-headed pragmatism. So what will happen? We shall see. Oh, if only we could cross-pollinate politicians!

(See the full text of Pat Buchanan's speech)

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