Last month, Pat Buchanan announced that he was retiring as a newspaper columnist, an event that went strangely under-noticed in the mainstream press. The simple fact is, Buchanan is one of the most influential writers and thinkers on the American right since World War II. He’s had a long career as not just a newspaper columnist and TV pundit but also as an adviser to presidents such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan and as a perennial presidential candidate.
As historian Nicole Hemmer persuasively argues in her new book, Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s, Buchanan’s political agitation was instrumental in the emergence of a new nationalist and populist right that replaced the earlier Cold War anti-communist consensus (which was much friendlier to immigration, trade agreements, and international alliances). Buchanan, in other words, was the essential bridge between Reagan and Trump.
Since Buchanan’s long shadow is ignored by the media, I was happy to have Nicole on as a guest on this week’s episode of The Time of Monsters to discuss his history. We take up his roots in conservative Catholicism, his life-long anti-Semitism and racism, his friendliness with media elites who helped soften his image, and his lasting impact on American politics.
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