Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Buchanan Paradox

Al Jazeera English has just posted an interview by Riz Khan, another in his One on One series. The subject of this particular interview is none other than Pat Buchanan.

Pat is an old man these days, being well into his eighth decade, and the years have taken a visible toll. He wanders a bit at times, as old men will, and gets a bit long-winded with stories that could interest only a historian.

But in the 25 minute interview, there are about eight minutes of material that are very worth watching.

For example, drag the slider on the video to 1:40 and listen to Riz Khan ask Pat about the rise of the Neo-Cons, and listen carefully to the answer he gives.

Then drag the slider to 18:20 and listen to Pat answer a question about what caused him to become disillusioned with the Republican Party. He talks again about the end of the cold war and the beginning of the current interventionist foreign policy, and how that was a Neo-Con policy not at all in line with traditional Conservative thinking. Then he talks about the exodus of good jobs, and admits he was wrong about Free Trade. "But American workers cannot be made to compete with workers in Singapore and Malaysia who are making one dollar or two dollars an hour"

In fact, if you have the patience to suffer through a brief bit about the Reform Party bid in 2000, the rest of the interview from that point is worth watching.

There are many people who loathe Pat as simply one more Conservative asshole, but that opinion does the man a serious injustice.

When Pat Buchanan talks about being against an interventionist foreign policy, that's not a typically conservative opinion. In fact, it's very much the opposite.

When he speaks against Free Trade, and against the outsourcing of jobs, and says that US workers cannot be made to compete with the cheap labor markets in Asia, that's not a typically Conservative opinion. In fact, it's very much the opposite.

I disagree vehemently with Pat Buchanan on a very great number off issues. But I do not dismiss him as simply one more Conservative asshole. Like it or not, for better or for worse, he is a unique American.

But he can be an asshole at times.

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