Sobran Column -- The Anti-Buchanan Brigade
Sobrans -- 
The Real News of the Month

The Anti-Buchanan Brigade

September 16, 1999

Everyone is teeing off on Pat Buchanan again. This time most of his critics are Republicans: Rush Limbaugh, Bill Bennett, Cal Thomas, John Podhoretz, William Safire, Charles Krauthammer. Buchanan has let it be known that he is indeed ready to leave the Republican Party and hopes to get the presidential nomination of Ross Perot’s Reform Party.

For Buchanan to join a third party would be to “declare war on the Republican Party,” in Limbaugh’s words. Like many conservatives, Rush thinks the result would probably be to take enough votes from George W. Bush to elect Al Gore (assuming that Bush and Gore will be the major-party nominees). Which he thinks is deplorable.

Rush doesn’t believe Buchanan has a prayer of winning. He argues that he could only be a spoiler, ensuring another liberal in the White House.

Since he made this argument, Rush has been inundated with angry e-mail (he calls it “hate mail”) from Buchanan supporters. But without rancor, he should be forced to answer a few simple questions:

“At what point, dear Rush, would you yourself feel compelled to bolt the Republican Party? Whom would it have to nominate in order for you to say: ‘That’s enough! I’m out of here!’? George Pataki? Arlen Specter? Wouldn’t your own logic require conservatives to support any Republican candidate, provided he’s even a millimeter to the right of his Democratic opponent?

“You think Bush is a genuine conservative who deserves the trust of other conservatives. But that’s a judgment call, and it isn’t shared by everyone. Are you saying that those who don’t trust Bush should support him anyway?”

William Safire accuses Buchanan of pushing the “dual-loyalty canard” that the Israeli lobby puts Israel’s interests ahead of American interests, thereby “stimulating anti-Semitism.” Safire too should face some basic questions.

“Are Israeli interests ever opposed to American interests? If so, should the Israeli lobby in America put America’s interests first? But has it ever done so? Isn’t the very purpose of the lobby — which comprises most Jewish organizations in this country — to promote Israel’s interests at the expense, if necessary, of those of the United States and the American taxpayer? Why is it ‘anti-Semitic’ to point out conflicts between what’s good for Israel and what’s good for America? Aren’t those conflicts the very reason an Israeli lobby exists at all?

“Or are we supposed to assume that the two countries’ interests are always identical? How often have you yourself opposed Israeli positions on grounds that they would be injurious to the United States? Or do you take the position that this is virtually impossible? Do you think we should accept growing Arab and Muslim hostility to this country, instead of cultivating good relations with the Muslim world? Is it in our interest to provoke terrorism against Americans, at home and abroad?

“You still resent Buchanan’s 1991 crack about Israel’s ‘Amen Corner’ in this country. Do you really deny that there actually is a body of opinion that meets that description — for example, those who excoriated the Bush administration for withholding loan guarantees from Israel? How about those who consider the Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard a hero or a victim of excessive punishment?

“In short, what (if any) kind of criticism of Israel do you deem permissible? At what point could you bring yourself to say that the U.S.-Israeli alliance is harmful to the United States? Or is that position, no matter how rational, taboo?”

All these questions are so obvious that they should occur to anyone who discusses our relations with Israel. Yet to raise them is to incur immediate charges of bigotry, as witness the treatment Buchanan gets. He would get kinder treatment from pro-Israel journalists if he had sold military secrets to Israel. But a jab at the “Amen Corner” has earned him the lasting enmity of — well, the Amen Corner. Their fury itself confirms his point.

By definition, foreign lobbies are loyal to foreign governments. If you support Belgian interests at the sacrifice of American interests, you aren’t practicing “dual loyalty”; you are loyal to Belgium.

In politics, as Buchanan can attest, a man may get away with many vices; but his virtues won’t go unpunished.

Joseph Sobran

Archive Table of Contents

Current column

FGF E-Package columns by Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and others are available in a special e-mail subscription provided by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Click here for more information.

Search This Site

Search the Web     Search SOBRANS

What’s New?

Articles and Columns by Joe Sobran
 FGF E-Package “Reactionary Utopian” Columns 
  Wanderer column (“Washington Watch”) 
 Essays and Articles | Biography of Joe Sobran | Sobran’s Cynosure 
 The Shakespeare Library | The Hive | Back Issues of SOBRANS 
 WebLinks | Scheduled Appearances | Books by Joe 
 Subscribe to Joe Sobran’s Columns 

Other FGF E-Package Columns and Articles
 Sam Francis Classics | Paul Gottfried, “The Ornery Observer” 
 Mark Wegierski, “View from the North” 
 Chilton Williamson Jr., “At a Distance” 
 Kevin Lamb, “Lamb amongst Wolves” 
 Subscribe to the FGF E-Package 

Products and Gift Ideas | Notes from the Webmaster
  Contact Us | Back to the home page 

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 1999 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate