From- NEWSWEEK March 4, 1996 pages 21
Picture caption- "CHRISTIAN SOLDIER. Trained by Jesuits,
molded on Crossfire, Buchanan revels in certitude."
From- NEWSWEEK March 4, 1996 pages 24
"Buchanan also has the faith of the Crusader who thinks he's about to reach Jerusalem. Whatever happens, he says, he will, remain true to his image of himself: a bare-knuckled, nearsighted kid nicknamed Patty Joe, trained in combat by the Jesuits and his, own father, now grown into a fearsome foe of the powers that be."
From- NEWSWEEK March 4, 1996 pages 25
"Buchanan's bully-boy image is rooted in his upbringing in a brawling, clannish, right-wing Roman Catholic family that lived near the Maryland-D.C. Iine. But it is also carefully cultivated. While he brags in his autobiography of sucker-punching rivals ..............................."
From- NEWSWEEK March 4, 1996 pages 29
Pictures of Wallace, McCarthy, and Coughlin, and caption-
"Tapping anger: The rise of Huey Long [far left] taught Southern populist pols like George Wallace [above] how to take on elites and the big boys.
Buchanan also belongs to a Catholic tradition: [Father] Charles Coughlin [right] attacked big business, and Joe McCarthy [left] bullied suspected communists, telling Americans, I'm one of you. "
MARCH 4, 1996
HISTORY - A SWAGGERING TRADITION
BUCHANAN BELONGS TO A LONG LINE OF
FIERY POPULISTS WHO BURN THEMSELVES OUT
BY ALAN BRINKLEY
CAMPAIGNING IN THE BAYOUS several weeks ago, Pat Buchanan took to comparing himself to Huey Long - the fiery Louisiana politician of the 1930s who became a selfstyled scourge of the wealthy and champion of the little guy.
Buchanan has much in common with Long: the swagger, the sneering contempt for the "establishment," the suspicion of foreign people and foreign entanglements. But he is even more reminiscent of Long's contemporary and occasiona1 rival: Father Charles E. Coughlin, a Catholic priest in Detroit whose intensely political radio sermons each Sunday during the Great Depression made him a major national figure. [Buchanan's father was among his avid listeners.]
Coughlin is remembered today mostly for the ugly antiSemitism that dominated his later years. For a time before that, however, he was chiefly notable for his scathing attacks on capitalists and international bankers.
Buchanan may seem a suddenly new political force, but in fact he is part of a long tradition. It is one of popular anger against concentrated economic power - and of searching for enemies on which to blame problems and anxieties. Buchanan is a native of Washington, a veteran White House aide and a master of the Crossfire pundit culture, but his brawling, anti-establishment campaign descends from rougher figures like Long, Coughlin and George Wallace. Such men flame brightly for a time, harnessing hopes and resentments that more conventional politicians fear to touch. But they almost always burn out in the end when the mainstream co-opts parts of their messages - and when their cultural hostilities turn ugly and run amok.
[or until the mainstream guns them down .... JP]
Like most such figures, Buchanan draws from powerful impulses in the American past. His rhetoric echoes the agrarian populism of the late 19th century, with its harsh attacks on the railroads, corporations and banks, its suspicion of "international finance" and its deeper fears that in a new and alien economy individuals were losing control over their own fates. But Buchanan's ideas have roots, too, in an important Catholic political tradition, one that helped sustain a culture of dissent among workers in the first decades of the 20th century.
Among its sources was Pope Leo XIII's 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum [published in English as On the Condition of the Working Class ], the church's first important response to modern industrial capitalism. It argued that property rights were not absolute. Capitalists should not have unlimited freedom to do what they wish with their power; they must accept responsibility for the consequenees of their actions on their workers and their eommumities.
Buchanan's startling rise has thrust back into the center of Ameriean polities a populist language that has been almost invisible for half a century. Anti-establishment poseurs of the last 30 years [Nixon, Reagan, Perot and Gingrich among them] have vented plenty of populist rhetoric. But they have directed their fire almost entirely at government and at the liberal elites they associate with it. Buehanan has reintroduced older enemies to the language of dispossession: big business, entrenched wealth, greedy capitalists.
Jobs are disappearing? Incomes are stagnating? Don't just blame government, Buchanan says [although government trade policies are a major part of the problem]. Look, too, he demands, at the banks and the lawyers and the business leaders and the "transnational corporations whose only loyalty is to the bottom line" that trample on workers and small-business people. The anger he is tapping is born of more than 20 years of jarring eeonomie changes. More conventional conservatives have been exploiting that anger for years, but Buehanan is channeling it in directions they neither envisioned nor desired: at the corporations, whose plant closings and "downsizing" have cost many Americans their livelihoods, and at the financial institutions that have helped facilitate one of the greatest upward distributions of wealth in American history. These are arguments that mainstream Republicans denounce as "class war" and that most Democrats [with the occasional exception of Jesse Jackson] have been too timid to confront. Buchanan revels in them.
But populism has never been a purely economic impulse. It is also a social and cultural force Ñ and one that has often been harsh. Buchanan taps that tradition, too. He has the bullying, shirt-sleeve, "I'm one of you" style that Joe McCarthy [also R.Catholic] used so effectively in the 1950s. [He even bears an eerie physical resemblance to McCarthy, and seems to have the same raspy laugh that accompanied some of McCarthy's angriest statements.] He conveys the cocky, "send 'em a message" image that made Wallace a hero to the disenchanted in the '60s and early '70s. Most important, Buchanan has the same careless connection to extremism that helped sink them both.
ANGRY BIGOTS: Populist leaders have often started out with an optimistic view of a democratic future and, as thelr popularity faded, became angry bigots. Buchanan has begun with a heavy dose of homophobia, xenophobia, subtle [and at times less than subtle] ethnic and racial prejudice, anti-feminism and hints of anti-Semitism. [Has any major Amencan politician ever defended accused Nazis as zealously and publicly as Buchanan has done?] His hostility toward free trade is only in part an economic position. He attacks NAFTA and GATI for draining the United States of jobs; but he rails against them, too, because they reflect the views of what he considers an almost treasonably internationalist "establishment."
Buchanan's precipitous rise is creating a dilemma for him. The populist economic issues he has raised have the capacity to mobilize very large constituencies. But his apocalyptic cultural messages have been, through most of the long history of Amencan populism, the stuff of failure.
Pictures of Wallace, McCarthy, and Coughlin, and caption- "Tapping anger: The rise of Huey Long [far left] taught Southern populist pols like George Wallace [above] how to take on elites and the 'big boys.' Buchanan also belongs to a Catholic tradition: Charles Coughlin [right] attacked big business, and Joe McCarthy [left] bullied suspected communists, telling Americans, 'I'm one of you.' "
Sidebox- "59% of Republicans think people are voting for Buchanan to send a message supporting his ideas - not because he's the best candidate. 38% of Republican voters think Pat Buchanan has the right solutions for the country's problems. But 39% believe his answers are the wrong ones."
BRINKLEY, a professor of American history at Columbia, is the author of Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression.