Pat Buchanan has a new book, Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart, that has been getting attention in conservative circles these days. Buchanan's previous books have also gotten a great buzz because it seems as though Buchanan is on the cutting edge, seeing issues that escape people until they're on top of us.
Yet, I'm not quite so eager to proclaim Buchanan as a forward-thinking conservative as of yet. Back in my youth, I supported Buchanan and worked on his 1996 Presidential campaign. At that time, he was what I considered to be a true conservative message. Small government, lower taxes, morality paramount in the culture, everything my ideological side was hoping to find.
Then, both of us changed. After voting for Bob Dole and being disappointed with Congressional Republicans, I left the GOP for the Libertarian Party in 1998. On the other side, Pat changed, also. He went from being the rock-ribbed conservative I respected into something of a turncoat to conservatism. When he ran as a Reform Party candidate, I listened to his platform and was shocked. The man I admired now sounded a lot less conservative than I remembered.
Since then, I've considered Buchanan to be the male version of Arianna Huffington: only conservative when it suits his needs, and his needs all revolve around whatever will get him the most attention. He may have been right on immigration, but I'm not sure it's because he actually did the homework to come to that conclusion or if it's for some other less noble reason. Plus, it's no secret that he's had serious objections with the Bush Administration, bordering on or even jumping headlong into Bush Derangement Syndrome. At times, he's even sounded like a faux liberal drooler.
That's why I can't completely trust Pat Buchanan, no matter how accurate his "predictions" have been. And that's why I won't read Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart. I simply cannot separate the man who is making the rounds on conservative talk radio and television shows from the man who turned his back on conservatism and continues to do so except when he's hawking a book. And as far as his "predictions" are concerned, there's only one thing I can say.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day.