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Pat Buchanan Kicks It Old School on Rachel Maddow

I was going to post this video with the description "Rachel Maddow exposes Pat Buchanan as a huge racist." But that's not quite right. It's more that she re-exposes him as a huge racist. It's a good reminder of how weird it is that a caveman like Buchanan has been normalized as a valued and sage political commentator in recent years.

Watch Pat Buchanan on that clip. This is man who got his start helping Nixon divide and demoralize this country. Who helped destroy the Republican Party in 1992 by running one of the most noxious presidential campaigns in recent memory. Today, he is a name-brand political commentator who draws a paycheck from NBC.

Not all forms of affirmative action benefit the dispossessed. Some benefit the powerful. And affirmative action for the powerful goes a whole lot further back than affirmative action for the powerless. The futile assault that Jeff Sessions and Pat Buchanan mounted against Sonia Sotomayor was a rearguard defense for the system of privilege that has served them so well, and so faithfully. But Sessions fell short in his struggle. And Buchanan ended his week being dismissed as "dated" on Maddow's show. They are losing, and they know it.

By Ezra Klein  |  July 17, 2009; 10:49 AM ET
 
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Comments

The real irony, of course, is the fact that Buchanan owes his own job to an affirmative action policy of sorts. There is absolutely no way MSNBC would have hired Pat Buchanan if it wasn't to provide some semblance of balance to their typically left-leaning coverage.

Posted by: josh4 | July 17, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

There are faux whiners and real whiners, and Pat B is the real thing.

I used to view having Pat's rants being given such media prominence as tragic. Now it seems more funny/laughable.

One positive seems clear: At least Bay Buchanan appears to have slid down the sewer grating and disappeared. So only one of the Buchanans afflicts the public discourse. That's progress.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | July 17, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

He's one of the reasons I no longer watch Morning Joe. Besides the fact that the show is all about giving Joe Scarborough a platform for his right-wing views (with nary a peep from "co-host" Mika the whitewasher token supposed "democrat"), they also give "Old Uncle Pat" a platform from which to spew his prejudiced/racist views.

What he said on the show offended me. I even showed it to my wife. It was like watching a slow motion train-wreck. It reminded me of watching a really old documentary where white men explain how justified their treatment of minorities is, and how their death grip on all power in this nation is a god-given right.

As Rachel said, his views "dated" him. Which was a nice way of saying he's an old fossil of when white men (notice Pat never says "white women") thought it was nice and ok to infuse hatred towards those different than themselves into their very souls.

Pat Buchanan is a sad excuse for a human being, and it's time for the world to tune him out.

Posted by: JERiv | July 17, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Ezra...your correct regarding a re-exposrue. Why the MSM let's Pat get away with his racist, mysognistic viotrol is beyond me. And if you think he was doing his caveman routine last evening, witnessing the cave sister, Bay, on MSNBC today was enough to make one scream. Thanks to you and Rachel maybe that wise smile will finally be recognized as the devil's grin by those who continue to allow him to spew. I emailed MSNBC after Rachel's show last night...last straw after his act on Joe earlier this week and then this tripe.

Posted by: NoMoreFour | July 17, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

John Stewart's peeps assembled a very funny set of clips of Lindsey Graham at the hearing... check it out if you haven't seen it.

Oh the sorrows of the old white dudes! Hard to be new millennial when you grew up in the days before the flood (of women and minorities into the workplace.)

Posted by: anne3 | July 17, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

My what short memories we all have.

I'm not excusing Buchanan's mindless, vile attacks on Sotomayor in the least. He deserves all the criticism being heaped on him over it and more -- though it will likely fall on deaf ears.

But let's remember that we all tolerated Pat over the last few years because he a) was among the harshest of Bush's critics; b) opposed the Iraq war from the start; c) was lukewarm in his support for McCain and balanced in his criticism of Obama. He has openly praised Obama's foreign policy to date, and been supportive in other areas as well.

Some of these redeeming qualities have raised him to "useful idiot" status.

But where he is merely an "idiot" is in his bigotry and anti-Semitism. Israel, we should all note, has never done anything right in his eyes.

And those who know him since he was growing up in Washington say he has always been a bigot and anti-Semite, since his high school days. This will never change, apparently.

Posted by: Rick00 | July 17, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Not all black people are dispossessed, and not all the dispossessed are black people. Just keep that in mind when you discuss affirmative action.

That said, Buchanan is a nutjob. Or at least he plays one on TV.

Posted by: bluegrass1 | July 17, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Buchanan should never be barred
From spewing his racist canard;
Do not disavow him:
Let Maddow allow him
To hoist himself on his petard.

News Short n' Sweet by JFD8
http://twitter.com/JFD8

Posted by: jd121 | July 17, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Pat Buchanan's speech to the '92 GOP convention was exactly this. "It sounded better in the original German." Molly Ivins.

Buchanan's appearance is 100% the mindset of the conservative movement. Not the racism--that is merely a tool--but the belief they are right, absolutely right, and will not tolerate a single moment of doubt about their righteousness. God made them right. We are the fools who cannot see. If not yet, then soon, and in the future, they will be proven right, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Now at 21% and falling, The Republican Party.

Posted by: PoliticalPragmatist | July 17, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

What a joke. Buchanan is no racist. In the video he simply explains that affirmative action discriminates by race, to the detriment of white males. This is undeniably true. It is Maddow who has no legitimate argument, which is why she gives up and resorts to name calling - telling Pat that he's "dated" and so forth. When affirmative action was put in place by the Johnson administration, it was explicitly designed to redress the historical grievances of blacks (slavery and de jure segregation.) At the time, America was approximately 90% white, and priveleging the %10 black population was considered doable. At this point, most of the beneficiaries of affirmative action are recent immigrants or their children, who have no historical grievance with the U.S. There is no reason for these people to benefit at the expense of the descendants of the founders and the pioneers.

Posted by: washboy | July 17, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to have to say that Buchanan's griping is authentic and does speak to some white middle and working class anxiety. It isn't PC and he doesn't see the big picture...but the lack of UNIVERSAL entitlements in this country and the strategy of the liberal left over the last 30 years to selectively help the neediest rather than EVERYBODY exposes an ongoing vulnerability. This is why I call myself a social democrat rather than a liberal. We need a much better universal entitlement system within which redressing racial and ethnic wrongs will be less of a problem, at least on a rational level. Until the liberal left addresses this they will continue to be vulnerable (and Buchanan does not look THAT ridiculous to the white working class) to the politics of resentment as typified by Buchanan. I'm sorry Ezra, but Buchanan, as hard as he is to listen to, belongs on TV at this moment in time. And yes, he did stump Maddow at the end of their dialogue with regard to the INDIVIDUAL injustices not the SOCIAL justice of affirmative action.

Posted by: michaelterra | July 17, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

How does Uncle Pat square his opposition to Affirmative Action with his beloved Dick Nixon creating the Philadelphia Plan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revised_Philadelphia_Plan

which explicitly required gov't contractors in Philly to use quotas and timetables, something far beyond LBJ's or today's Affirmative Action in which race is a factor but not the only factor when it comes to hiring and school admissions.

Posted by: MerrillFrank | July 17, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the Republicans did anything really out of bounds. I thought these hearings were low-key but the Supreme Court confirmation hearings standard. The Republicans went after Sotomayor's weakest plank. She admitted the "wise Latina" comment was awkward and so did the president.

Posted by: deckard1982 | July 17, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I love the statement, "White men built this country". This country was built on the backs of Blacks, Bhinese and Latino slaves and migrant workers!

Posted by: GTFOOH | July 17, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Buchanan was absolutely right, White people did build this country. However, the reason they built this country is because the Blacks in America were brought against their will and enslaved, preventing them from building up the nation or their own personal fortunes. Even after Blacks were freed, they were kept from bettering themselves or the country by institutional discrimination. It seems to me that affirmative action is meant to compensate for this history. If you have a White and a Black applicant for a school or job, and the White applicant is better, he may only be better because he received resources from his ancestors that enabled him to succeed. Affirmative action is discrimination, but its justified, ethical discrimination designed to compensate for the injustices of the past.

This leaves a question: why should Hispanics receive affirmative action? Unlike Blacks, they were not brought here against their will, they (or their ancestors) chose to leave their original country and start from scratch here. The disadvantage of their history is of their own choosing. Why then should they receive compensation for it?

Posted by: Testudo001 | July 17, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

It's ironic that many liberals cite Justice Clarence Thomas as being unqualified for the Supreme Court and having been chosen by the first Pres. Bush because of Thomas' race.

Yet here you have Pat Buchanan making essentially the same point about Judge Sotomayor, yet HE is a racist for having done said it.

Buchanan cites Harriet Myers as an example of another person (rather than a race or gender) he feels was unqualified for the bench and cites Miguel Estrada as a MAN (rather than an ethnicity...) who, in his opinion, was qualified.

Buchanan cites the recent and particularly pertinent legal decision regarding the Connecticut firefighters, who have put a human face to his very point and a case he says Republicans should be making.

For THIS he's labeled a racist? For merely having the temerity to suggest that Judge Sotomayor was hired for her externals, the way it's been suggested that Sarah Palin was selected for hers? Or that Clarence Thomas was chosen for his?

I'm telling you, there is a double standard built around the discussion of race and gender that is absolutely stifling and utterly dangerous to anyone who dares venture out of a particular narrative wholly defined by one side.

It's not logical, it's not reasoned, and it's not fair.

Posted by: cecelia929 | July 17, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"In the video he simply explains that affirmative action discriminates by race, to the detriment of white males. "

Yes, it's definitely kept middle-aged white Catholic Irish-American males off NBC.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | July 17, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Buchanan is hated not so much for his views on affirmative action, but for his heresy on Israel, for his correct assertion that (mostly Jewish) neocons have directed our Middle East policy to suit the goals of the Jewish state.

American Jews whether of the left or right will never forgive him for outing and criticizing our unconditional support of the racist Zionist regime. That's what it's all about isn't it Mr. Klein.

Posted by: Wpcomment | July 17, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I wish people who support affirmative action would look at how it works in practice. This is an anecdote but the statistics out there suggest it's representative (there was an article "The New Affirmative Action" or something in New York Times Magazine a while back).

I went to a middle of the road high school where a lot of people go to college, a lot don't, and hardly anyone goes to a good, private college. I knew people who got a 3.9+ GPA and 1300+ on the SAT who couldn't get into UF and 1400+ who couldn't get into an Ivy league school, and I knew a person who decided for the purpose of admissions she was Hispanic and got into a top-10 school with a 1150 SAT. Remember, everyone involved here is in the middle class (income around 50-80k) and goes to the same school. That is leveling the playing field?

It's beyond me why affirmative action isn't based on parents education, school quality, income, etc. since these are substantive disadvantages while race is just correlated with these things, but I suspect it had to do with trying to win votes with identity politics. (Is it only wrong when Pat does it or can Democrats be wrong too?) It also blows me away that its people like Ted Kennedy and other Democrats who are the ones preventing the government from doing something about legacy preferences. This is the issue that more than anything makes me sad to be a Democrat.

Posted by: steve10c | July 18, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

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