Adios Pat!!!

Nothing really for me to add, but here’s an interesting piece by Alterman on Pat Buchanan:

The triumph in the 1980s of Buchanan over William F. Buckley Jr. as the most influential voice of the conservative movement was a significant one. While the political philosophies expressed by the two men were quite similar, their cultural differences spoke volumes about the transformation of American politics between the late 1950s and the early 1980s, as well as the changes of the role of the punditocracy.

Buckley, the grandson of a Texas sheriff, was a self-styled aristocrat. Though he hoped to reconfigure and repopulate the important elite institutions in America, his bottom line was protecting the privileges of the privileged. The movement Buckley spearheaded was as much about skiing in Gstaad or yachting in the Caribbean as killing commies.

Buchanan’s politics, however, were steeped in the cultural resentment of the New Right. The working-class Catholic boys of Washington’s Gonzaga High School were not recruited by Yale and could not have afforded the tuition anyway. Buchanan’s conservative movement was not about teaching the liberals at Yale to repent; it was about dynamiting the place to Kingdom Come. It was an angrier, less sophisticated movement than Buckley’s but was one that had learned the lessons of mass political organizing and political intimidation from its enemies in the antiwar, feminist, and civil rights movements. It was one, moreover, whose spokesman in the punditocracy participated in politics not at its periphery, as Buckley had, but at its center, literally displacing the politicians whom Buckley had sought only to influence.

Today, it’s sad to say, we are living in Buchanan’s world, at least insofar as conservative pundits and candidates have been able to define “morality” in their narrow, backward-looking fashion that reverses all the gains of women, minorities, and the dispossessed that have been achieved since Pat’s dad first held his finger underneath that flame.

–Uncle Eb/John

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