Buchanan and the Fascists
Jude Wanniski
November 11, 1999


Your excellent November 8 essay on Pat Buchanan -- a friend of mine for 30 years -- was precisely on the mark in acquitting him of charges of "fascism," most recently in the New York Post. Buchanan's political philosophy is exactly the opposite of the fascist model, which you correctly note began in Italy early in this century around the "syndicalist" idea. This meant an attempt by the elites to manage an economy through the cooperation of Big Government, Big Labor and Big Business. In that sense, Pat Buchanan is anti-fascist, a democratic populist. He is accused of "fascism" because the elites who wish to maintain their control over the status quo -- Big Government, Big Business and Big Labor -- are wary of his potential as an agent of change on behalf of ordinary people. By equating him with Hitler, because he has from time to time disagreed with the policies of the Israeli Defense Ministry, the Israeli Lobby in the United States finds it convenient to slander him in this fashion -- to drive away his sources of support. The fact that Buchanan has been a lifelong Zionist carries no weight with the Israeli Lobby because it prefers unconditional support, with no more than minimal sympathy for the interests of the Arab world in general and Palestinians in particular. It is of course not in the interests of the United States to ignore the interests of one billion Muslims, which only ignites the outrage of the most extreme among them into acts of terror against us -- and against Israel itself.

You also make the interesting point that you would never vote for Buchanan because Pat cannot govern. He is a writer and commentator, not a political executive. You may be right about that, although if he somehow gets himself elected in a three-way race, he will have satisfied the electorate that he is capable of governing, not merely scribbling opinions on this or that. We have no idea if he understands how to build coalitions, which always require giving up something you would like to do or not do in order to broaden your base. We also do not know if he is capable of delegating authority. He seems to want to do everything himself. This would be an unacceptable weakness in the Oval Office. A President has so many demands upon his time, he must rely on the Cabinet he chooses. We have no indication from him thus far how he would intend to govern, although he has said there would be Democrats, Republicans and Reformers in his Cabinet. If he cannot demonstrate these qualities, the electorate will not take him seriously as a potential President. We would have to assume he is simply running as a statement candidate, preparing to lose from the outset in order to achieve secondary objectives.