VIDEO: The McLaughlin Group – January 7, 2017

We are extremely pleased to announce The McLaughlin Group, “The American Original” for over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, and hardest talk, returns on Sundays at 12:00 Noon on ABC7-WJLA beginning January 7 – and on Pat’s website, right here on Buchanan.org!

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John McLaughlin mentee Tom Rogan will be taking over as moderator, joined by iconic panelists Eleanor Clift, Pat Buchanan and Clarence Page. Rogan, in his early 30’s, has been working in Washington DC as a respected political journalist and national TV commentator, and is not shy about expressing his opinions on major issues of the day. A weekly rotating guest panelist will also join the group. This week’s guest panelist is Evan McMullin, former independent presidential candidate in 2016. This is the time, now more than ever, for balanced debate.

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McLaughlin Group Returns to the Airwaves in 2018!

McLaughlin Group

From Buchanan.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP RETURNS TO THE AIRWAVES IN 2018!

THE ICONIC “AMERICAN ORIGINAL” RELAUNCHES ON ABC7-WJLA

MCLEAN, VA – The McLaughlin Group, “The American Original” for over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, and hardest talk, returns on Sundays at 12:00 Noon on ABC7-WJLA beginning January 7.

John McLaughlin mentee Tom Rogan will be taking over as moderator, joined by iconic panelists Eleanor Clift, Pat Buchanan and Clarence Page. Rogan, in his early 30’s, has been working in Washington, DC as a respected political journalist and national TV commentator, and is not shy about expressing his opinions on major issues of the day. His cool demeanor will drive a lively yet respectful debate amongst his esteemed panelists.

A weekly rotating guest panelist will also join the group. This is the time, now more than ever, for balanced debate.

Tom Rogan:
“John McLaughlin was my mentor and a very close friend. I can never fill his shoes, but I believe The McLaughlin Group’s unique blend of unfiltered news and unrestrained analysis has never been more necessary. With determination and mutual respect, the panel and myself will deliver for our viewers.”

Pat Buchanan:
“From Spring 1982 to August 2016, John McLaughlin never missed a weekly “McLaughlin Group” show, giving America some of the most spirited public debates since the early Reagan years. The New Year will see the reunion and the return of “The Group” with the entire cast that was there when The Leader passed on. Look for us.”

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Eleanor Clift:
“John helped me find my voice. We didn’t agree on much, and he valued debate, so it was a good match. In that spirit that he embodied, the Group returns to do friendly battle in the clash of ideas in the Age of Trump. Game on!”

Clarence Page:
“I’m delighted by the many people who tell me they miss our program in these polarized times — for its ‘civility,’ of all things. I miss it, too. I’m eager to get the old gang back together again.”

The broadcast deal was brokered by Seth Berenzweig and Tod Castleberry of BL Sports & Media Group, a full service media agency located in McLean, VA.

For additional information contact:

WJLA/NewsChannel 8/WJLA.com BL Sports & Media Group
Dan Mellon Tod Castleberry
General Manager Director of Broadcast & Digital Media
1100 Wilson Blvd 8300 Greensboro Drive Suite 1250
Arlington, VA 22209 McLean, VA 22102
O-703-236-9300 O-703-940-3301
dmellon@sbgtv.com tcastleberry@blsportsandmedia.com

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Pat Buchanan and his Christian Vision of America

By Dr. Boyd D. Cathey at The Remnant Newspaper

Politico Magazine, in its May/June 2017 issue, featured a long essay by writer Tim Alberta about Pat Buchanan and his role in American politics and culture, and in particular, the role he has had in sustaining a vision of a more Christian nation, and what that means during the Trump Era. And Alberta highlights one very central element in Buchanan’s life: his strong Catholic faith. He and his wife, Shelley, are regular communicants at the Saint Mary Mother of God Church in Washington. His Catholic faith has influenced him throughout his seventy-eight years, beginning with his childhood as one of nine children in an archetypical Catholic family of the 1950s, through his experience in parochial school, and then at Georgetown University and at the Columbia School of Journalism, on into writing, serving two American presidents, and running for president three times.

He has recounted that active life in his autobiographical work, Right from the Beginning. In that volume (1988), Buchanan devotes a significant portion to his abiding faith and belief as a Catholic. That faith provided him—and continues to provide him—he relates, with “a code of morality, a code of conduct, a sure knowledge of right and wrong, a way of acknowledging personal guilt and of seeking out and attaining forgiveness and absolution.” Growing up, he continues, “We had a hierarchy of values; we knew where we were going and how to get there; even in childhood, we were not confused. We had certitude.” (pp. 77-78) And for Pat Buchanan, this was a unique grace that came to him and his family from Our Lord and membership in His Church.

The radical changes that resulted from Vatican II, he believes, have been disastrous:

“‘The smoke of Hell has entered the vestibule of the Church.’ In the last quarter-century, the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has been utterly demystified—as a prelude to the establishment of an American Catholic Church. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as prescribed by the Council of Trent has been replaced by a communal meal celebrated in the vernacular. The Latin is gone; the Sacred Liturgy has been transformed; a banal English is the lingua franca of the American Church; many of the new churches look on the inside like assembly halls, college classrooms, or off-Broadway theaters. The Douay-Rheims version of the Old and New Testaments, a rival to the King James Bible in the majesty of its prose, has been re-written again and again by tin-eared clerics who never learned that language is the music of thought, that tone-deaf people ought not to re-write Mozart.” (p. 78)

Now, fifty-two years on since the end of the Council, we echo what Buchanan—his faith still strong—said in 1987: “We need another Council of Trent.”

For younger millennials and those below the age of thirty, Buchanan’s name may not ring as familiar as it does to those a bit older and with longer memories. Yet his importance politically and, even more so, culturally during his fifty years in the public eye cannot be gainsaid.

Over the years, Buchanan’s brisk prose and his ability to encapsulate concisely and pinpoint exactly the significant questions of the day have made him one of the country’s leading and most perceptive writers and thinkers. His faith undergirds that ability; he understands that at the base of every political issue, there is a religious question, however remote. As Tim Alberta indicates, in a way Buchanan has been a kind of a combative precursor of Donald Trump, foreshadowing the advent of an agenda that arguably reflects the older beliefs, faith, and traditional morality of millions of citizens who have been marginalized by unelected managerial elites and the Washington and Wall Street establishment. That is, 2016 represented a kind of—perhaps unfocused—counter-revolution by the under-siege middle class, by the out-of-a-job Rust Belt workers, by underemployed and depressed agricultural folks, by those who see what is left of “Christian America” destroyed by a rampant and anti-Christian secularism, by those deeply affected by bad trade deals, and by those who simply want to reclaim an America that they believe once existed.

patbuchannan1I have called Pat Buchanan a friend for over twenty-seven years; I hoped he would run for president in 1988. Then, in 1991 I hosted his second campaign event which took place in Raleigh, NC, when he flew directly here from his campaign announcement in New Hampshire (December 10, 1991). I was proud to serve as his North Carolina chairman, in what was to prove eventually a losing cause (it was not or nor would it be my last losing cause!).

Yet, in that campaign, as again in 1996, and then as the Reform Party candidate in 2000, Pat offered a vision that would not disappear, despite the intense and massive assault from the media, the political class, Hollywood, and academia. I still have hopes that that fragile vision may come to fruition.

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As Pat expresses it, even in the Age of Trump the signs are troubling, and there are indications that the hoped-for counter-revolution of 2016 may have possibly come too late, that the managerial elites and their termite-like destruction of America may have advanced too far for real restoration. Indeed, the Neoconservatives, who hold Pat’s views of America First as anathema, continue their efforts to surround the president and subvert the “Trump Agenda,” while the Left wing of the Deep State establishment and their media allies continue their frontal assaults to derail and overthrow him.

I think Pat would agree: we must always have Hope, indeed, the conviction that everything we do on behalf of our ideals and our beliefs has value. Each of us in our spheres of action is tasked with obligations; each of us is granted specific “talents,” as the Parable of the Talents in the Gospel of St. Matthew tells us.

History is a fickle mistress: who would have suspected that the German High Command sending exiled Vladimir Lenin back to St. Petersburg in a blinded box car in 1917 would eventually create the conditions for the overthrow and end of the world’s largest empire? What might have happened had not those poor North Carolina Confederate troopers mistaken Stonewall Jackson for an enemy in the darkness at the Battle of Chancellorsville (1863) and he had lived to command at Gettysburg? We can think of countless other “what ifs” and “if nots” that populate the existence of humanity….

As Catholics and believers we have one powerful weapon that cannot be taken away from us, and that is prayer, and with it, confidence in Providence. But prayer and faith impel, necessarily, the requisite action, even if the “talent” employed seems small in comparison to that of others around us. Yet, as C. S. Lewis once wrote, no good act, however small, is ever wasted. And if God so wills it, and we serve as His vessels, history may produce the most unimagined and miraculous of results.

More than a century ago St. Pius X prophesized this future:

“…that the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer. […] Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists.”

And our response must be that of St. Pius’s predecessor, Leo XIII: “Christians are born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God willing, the triumph: ‘Have confidence; I have overcome the world’.”

Reading about Pat’s fascinating life and career assists us, perhaps, to see ourselves better, to understand maybe a bit more about our recent history and about who we are as a people. And, more, about what extreme and difficult challenges that now confront us….and the hope we have to overcome them. We shall be not abandoned. Buchanan answers by citing the Holy Scriptures, that like St. Peter, when asked by Our Lord, “And will you, too, leave?” we respond, “Where else shall we go, Lord? Thou hast the words of Eternal Life.” (p. 79)

I think my friend Pat understands this; his life richly illustrates it in big ways. I deeply regret that he did not become our president in 1993. But then, perhaps, it was his witness and his critical role to keep a vision of a better America, a more humane and more reverent nation, alive, to keep it sustained, and to pass on that vision to newer generations.

For that, and for a life well-lived, we should be grateful!

Read more at The Remnant Newspaper…

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VIDEO: Buchanan and The McLaughlin Group Pilot Episode!

The McLaughlin Group
One year ago we lost our leader John McLaughlin. We honor him and hope he is smiling. Here’s our pilot. Issue one!

Thanks to all for the kind words of encouragement and support of our pilot episode. We are in discussions with various media outlets to get the show back on the air and your support helps the cause.

During this crucial time in our country we hope to be back on the air on a full time basis in the very near future, so as we like to say, stay tuned!

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Rod Dreher and the Politics of Betrayal

By Tom Piatak at Chronicles Magazine

The past week or so has been a sad one in American political life. The reason for this, of course, is Charlottesville, where a woman lost her life and people proudly carried flags no Americans ever should, the swastika of the Nazis and the hammer and sickle of the Communists. The emotions unleashed after Charlottesville portend further turmoil and discord, with a few even seeming to long for another American Civil War. The unraveling of America that some see as a hope would in fact be a tragedy, since America was the first country where large numbers of ordinary people were able to achieve a decent life and even attain a level of prosperity that their ancestors could only dream of. Yes, for too long the descendants of those brought here as slaves were prevented from fully sharing in that prosperity, but the notion that the America that elected and reelected Barack Obama and that idolizes numerous black athletes and entertainers is defined by pervasive racism is absurd. I strongly believe that we should honor the brave men who fought on both sides in the Civil War, but no one should wish for a second American Civil War.

The period following Charlottesville has also been marred by many attempts to score political points. Most have been at the expense of President Trump, whose election has never been accepted by many in the mainstream media, the entrenched bureaucracy, or the left. But some of these attacks hit closer to home. On Friday, Rod Dreher used his perch at The American Conservative to attack one of the men who founded that magazine, Pat Buchanan. Dreher charged that Buchanan’s column from the previous Tuesday, “If We Erase Our History, Who Are We?”, was a “shameful defense of white supremacy,” “abhorrent,” and “disgusting, racist, indefensible.” From Buchanan’s statement that the belief that all men are created equal is “ideological,” Dreher concluded that “Buchanan repudiates not only the founding principle of our Constitutional order, but also a core teaching of the Christian faith, which holds that all men are created in the image of God.” To bolster his attack, Dreher then cited a similar attack on Buchanan by neocon Mona Charen.

Without Pat Buchanan, The American Conservative would not exist. Thus, Dreher’s attack on Buchanan is an example of treachery and ingratitude, as well as Dreher’s customary hysteria. (Charen is an ingrate too, since Buchanan helped her in the Reagan White house and after). It is also false: Buchanan’s column merely points out, as suggested by its title, that if Robert E. Lee must go, so too must many other central figures in American and Western history. This may shock Rod Dreher, but Christians from antiquity on did not deny any core teaching of the Church by accepting or even defending the feudal hierarchies that characterized their societies, including the hierarchy the Church defended against the egalitarianism of the French Revolution. It may shock Dreher even more to learn that the phrase “all men are created equal” appears nowhere in the United States Constitution, which actually is the foundation of “our Constitutional order.” As a respected conservative author wrote to me after Dreher’s attack, “What Pat was clearly saying is that if we are to wipe the Confederacy from the historical record, so should we erase all the previous history of the West.[Dreher’s] misreading of the column is plainly willful. He’s playing some sort of political game or another, but who really cares?”

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Actually, I do, for two reasons. I am honored to call Pat Buchanan a friend. Anyone who knows Pat knows that he is an honorable and decent man, a Christian gentleman who is far more forgiving of the many political figures and writers who have attacked him than I would be. He deserves better than being denounced as a white supremacist in a magazine that would not exist without him. In today’s climate, such a denunciation risks tarnishing or even ending a public career, or at least getting a mob baying after the accused. To use an analogy that the American left should appreciate, being called a white supremacist today is the equivalent of yelling “Communist!” in a Congressional hearing room in 1952.

There’s no need to take my word about Buchanan’s decency. When Buchanan was fired by MSNBC for an earlier transgression against political correctness, Andrew Sullivan, who had often sparred with Buchanan, wrote that Buchanan is “a compassionate and decent man in private and an honest intellectual in public.” Sullivan told his readers that he was “moved beyond words” when Buchanan sent him a hand-written note assuring him of his prayers after Sullivan had been diagnosed with AIDS. As Sullivan noted, at the time a diagnosis of AIDS was seen as a death sentence, and only one other Washington figure bothered to extend to Sullivan the type of sentiment Buchanan did. It is not hard to find tributes to Buchanan’s decency from political opponents, if one is inclined to look for them.

The second reason is this: I think America is harmed by efforts to silence interesting public voices. I also think this general principle is supported by a bit of history surrounding Buchanan, Dreher, and the magazine Buchanan helped to start. One of the reasons The American Conservative was founded was to warn American conservatives of the dangers posed by intervention in the Middle East. And Buchanan did indeed use the new magazine to sound cogent warnings about the great damage to America and Iraq that would flow from the invasion. But those warnings had a relatively small audience, thanks to an earlier effort to silence Buchanan in which Charen participated. Dreher, who was writing for National Review at the time…

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VIDEO: Pat Buchanan: Nation Focused on Russia Like Watergate in ’70s

Newsmax TV’s “The Howie Carr Show”
Americans are as focused on the Russia investigation “as they were on Watergate in the final days,” former Nixon aide Patrick Buchanan told Newsmax TV on Wednesday.

“The lynch mob is almost as rabid now,” Buchanan, the former Republican presidential candidate told “The Howie Carr Show” in an interview that occurred on the 43rd anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

“But by 1974, it was two years and two months after the break-in” at the Watergate Hotel, “and you had all kinds of folks fired and indicted and convicted and gone to prison.

“Everybody, the whole Watergate crowd, had been convicted within the first year,” Buchanan said.

By contrast, with Russia, “the FBI’s been investigating a year. They said they knew the first day the Russians had done the hacking.

“But in one year, they haven’t been able to trace it to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin or the Kremlin or Trump’s campaign.”

“You’ve got this machine that is working to dig and dig and dig and roam through the West Wing and Trump’s history,” Buchanan said.

“To dig up something where they can find what they would call criminal acts, filing wrong statements, misleading people, not telling the truth — where they can really almost paralyze his White House and eventually bring him down.”

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The Father of Trumpism Looks Back

The Father of Trumpism Looks Back

By Matthew Scully – National Review

In a new memoir, Pat Buchanan tells the story of the Nixon White House as only he could.

Reading the various accolades directed lately at Pat Buchanan, including a New York Times column declaring the author of A Republic, Not an Empire nothing less than “the most influential public intellectual in America,” who will deny him a claim of vindication? Long ago, elite opinion had written him off as irrelevant, never mind that here was the only Washington pundit ever to set his name on a ballot and earn a single vote in national politics. In his best run he earned 3 million, and we now know he was on to something with far greater possibilities than one big night in New Hampshire. Sam Tanenhaus, the biographer of National Review’s founder, writing recently in Esquire, gives the man his due: “Buchanan begat Trumpism as his former ally William F. Buckley Jr. begat Reaganism.”

For his own part, since declaring in a November column that the old Republican order is “a dynasty as dead as the Romanovs,” Buchanan has left it for others to collect laurels. Perhaps a scribe who has been around long enough to recall working for Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew when they were riding high knows better than to revel too much in the victories of the moment. Nixon's White House WarsEvery majority — even “the great Silent Majority,” a phrase we owe to Buchanan — can be undone. Stunning reversals have been known to follow stunning political triumphs. An illustration for the ages unfolded in the early 1970s, when the mandate of a 49-state reelection triumph vanished into nothing. Buchanan was right in the middle of all that, too, and shares the story in his new, late-arriving memoir, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever — the fifth White House remembrance by a Nixon speechwriter, and a rival to the first one, William Safire’s classic Before the Fall (1975), as the best.

Nixon’s White House Wars picks up where Buchanan left off three years ago in The Greatest Comeback, his engrossing account of signing up with Nixon in early 1966, when Ike’s VP looked like yesterday’s man, and serving on his staff in Manhattan until the day he became president-elect. Older readers will enjoy the retreat back into an era of simpler dividing lines in Republican affairs: Though a “two-time loser” after the 1962 California governor’s race, Nixon in 1964 “had been a portrait in loyalty when others abandoned Goldwater.” Having campaigned for the nominee in “that Pickett’s Charge of the American Right,” while rivals Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney kept their distance, he had earned support from conservatives, including Barry Goldwater himself, that would make a crucial difference in 1968. Plus, as only Buchanan would put it, those establishment guys didn’t have the stuff to survive “the Iroquois gauntlet that is a presidential campaign.”

Though not yet 30 during the ’68 campaign, the speechwriter had a friendship with Nixon that permitted frank advice, appealing usually to the candidate’s less calculating side. They had first met one day in the mid 1950s, when the future foe of Country Club Republicanism caddied for the vice president at a course near Washington, a story hilariously told in Buchanan’s 1988 autobiography, Right from the Beginning. A decade later, finding Pat as an editorial writer at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Nixon was no doubt taken by the combination of sharp, well-stocked mind and unprivileged background, and clearly liked his company. (“Buchanan,” he would later say, “you’re the only extremist I know with a sense of humor.”) With memos all through the general-election campaign, and rhetoric for both Nixon and Governor Agnew bearing his distinctive mark, Buchanan made sure the ticket kept its populist edge. Examining a race won by a margin of 0.7 percent of the popular vote against Hubert Humphrey, and with a few southern states that George Wallace nearly got or else might easily have handed to Humphrey, you could make the case that, without young Buchanan’s influence, Nixon would have gone down again.

And yet, he tells us, “the ten weeks from election to inauguration were the most dispiriting of my years with Nixon.” Given what the final weeks were like, that’s saying something, but veterans of victorious presidential campaigns will appreciate the particular torments of transition intrigue and of awaiting word, as Buchanan did, on one’s fate in a new administration. He was asked at one point to “hold off” on joining the White House staff and instead write a book about the campaign, probably someone’s attempt to get rid of him.

It was also the familiar story of an incoming Republican administration too anxious about offending liberal sensitivities: The assistant for domestic policy was Pat Moynihan, the Democrat who would go on to unseat Senator Jim Buckley, and on January 20, 1969, “there was not an ideological conservative among Nixon’s West Wing assistants or cabinet officers.” Buchanan received the lesser title of special assistant and an office in the speechwriting shop at the far end of the Old Executive Office Building, manning what NR publisher William Rusher called “the conservative desk” at the Nixon White House. “By the time the Nixon administration had set sail, the Right had been routed in the struggle for position and power and relegated to the galleys.” (Among the lasting consequences of that loss, Buchanan reminds us: Of the seven Court votes that gave America Roe v. Wade, “three — Blackmun, Burger, and Lewis Powell — were Nixon justices.”)

What saved him then, not for the last time, was sheer talent and force of mind. “Crucially, I had been given by the good Lord a gift, developed in three years of editorial writing and three years of working intimately with Nixon. I could write swiftly, tersely, wittily, and well memos that Nixon loved to read, on matters he cared about most: politics, policy, and personalities.” At the president’s direction, and despite a senior-staff mania for control and access, these memos would go unfiltered to the Oval Office, often returning with enthusiastic notes from “RN” jotted in the margins. They became “our primary means of conversation,” and by August 1974 there were a thousand memos, none of which we could mistake for the work of anyone other than Buchanan.

Composed in a time of war, riots, and such general uneasiness that at one point soldiers from the 82nd Airborne were brought in to defend the White House complex if need be, the memos return again and again to one theme: “Build the majority we failed to win.” Nixon and Wallace together had received 57 percent of the vote, “a rejection of LBJ and Great Society liberalism,” and soon Democrats would nominate George McGovern, “the pet of the national liberal establishment.” Therefore, Buchanan counseled Nixon in 1970, “it should be our focus to constantly speak to, to assure, to win, to aid, to promote the President’s natural constituency . . . the working men and women of this country, the common man. . . . When in trouble, that is where we should turn, not try to find common ground with our adversaries.” As for outreach to minority constituencies and other likely Democratic voters in the reelection effort, he advised in 1972, it was a nice thought, but “the name of the game is the white working class.”

In the news one day in 1970 was a rough encounter by college-age anti-war demonstrations, who had desecrated the flag, with some New York City construction workers. “The most insane suggestion I have heard about here,” advised Buchanan, “ . . . was to the effect that we should somehow go prosecute the hard hats to win favor with the kiddies.” Why not send in Vice President Agnew with a straight-on defense of policies trying to end the war Nixon’s predecessors had left him? Such a message “would have hit every blue-collar worker in the country and these are our people now — if we want them — and frankly they are better patriots and more pro-Nixon than the little knot of Riponers we have sought to cultivate since we came into office.”

In all of the memos, quoted extensively throughout the book, what comes across is an extremely industrious presidential aide entirely free of any angles or personal agendas of his own; no posturing for the record, only heartfelt, invariably sound, and occasionally brilliant political advice. My personal favorite is a memo complaining to Nixon about a list of prospective candidates for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, drawn up mostly by counselor Leonard Garment, a New York liberal partial to jazz music. The medal is intended for distinguished Americans in recognition of contributions to national life and culture, and, surveying Garment’s recommendations, Buchanan detected too many “jazz musicians, artists, writers, dancers, academics, labor leaders, and progressive businessmen.” Why not instead, he urged the president, “pass over the Margot Fonteyn’s and Rudolf Nureyev’s . . . and lay one on Roy Acuff, founding father of country and western music, a Nixon supporter with a special niche in the hall of heroes at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.”

Then there is “Agnew’s Hour,” a chapter recalling those glorious few weeks in the fall of 1969 when Ted Agnew was the biggest draw in American politics, turning what Buchanan calls “the siege gun” on the arrogance and elitism of the print media and network news, in a plan Buchanan had conceived. After a New Orleans address in which Agnew described the liberal press as an “effete corps of impudent snobs,” Buchanan, author of that phrase, reported to the president that it “had roughly the effect of dynamiting an outhouse next to a Sunday school picnic.” More was in order, Nixon agreed. What followed were two speeches in Iowa and Alabama, drafted by Buchanan (with light edits from Agnew and refinements from the president, silently touching up drafts “like a rim man on a copy desk”) and unequaled to this day, by any national office holder, in their mix of wit, perfect tone, unanswerable argument, and commanding delivery. “For me,” he writes, “these were the best of times,” and those speeches “among the best I wrote,” with lasting impact — though a still more impressive achievement was to keep Garment, Moynihan, and others from ruining the Des Moines and Montgomery drafts or killing them altogether.

It was a time when the second highest officer in the land — in subsequent remarks, after two Senate Democrats had lamented that “the best of our young people” were fleeing the draft to Canada — could actually say:

Let Senator Fulbright and Senator Harris go prospecting for their future party leaders in the deserters’ dens of Canada and Sweden; we Republicans shall look elsewhere. Indeed, as for those deserters, malcontents, radicals, . . . SDS, PLP, Weatherman I and Weatherman II, . . . yippies, hippies, Yahoos, Black Panthers, lions and tigers alike — I would swap the whole damn zoo for a single platoon of the kind of Americans I saw in Vietnam.

Agnew was “a man with guts and humor,” an opinion shared by all who knew him well. Facing his doom in the fall of 1973, he would learn the truth of a Nixon saying: “Count your friends when you’re down.” That story and the Watergate stretches of the book, including the few months of Buchanan’s service under President Gerald Ford, are still depressing and galling to read all these years later. How much happier the outcome had Nixon disregarded Garment (who later regretted his own counsel) and instead followed advice from both Buchanan and John Connally to burn every tape not yet subpoenaed, brave the firestorm, and be done with it. That sounds rash, until we recall a tragedy that hardly even comes up in Watergate histories, the catastrophe abroad that Nixon and Henry Kissinger, as the mob closed in, sought to prevent for as long as they could. “Nixon’s enemies,” Buchanan writes, “who would vote to strip him of the authority and power to come to the aid of Saigon, and Hanoi and its allies, would see to it that the peace he and [President] Johnson had so long sought would last but two years.” A few million people in South Vietnam and Cambodia were left to a horrific fate, the truly monumental scandal of that era. Yet we’re still supposed to tremble at the mention of the “Saturday Night Massacre” and toast the names of martyrs who dined out on their Watergate fame for decades afterward.

In Washington, as Buchanan’s speechwriting colleague Ray Price observed, the Nixon enemies lists “were called the new Social Register.” Buchanan wrote to Nixon at the time, in a reference to the Washington Post publisher and the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers: “One of the great tragedies of Watergate is that it has enabled the likes of [Katharine] Graham and Daniel Ellsberg to pose as victimized moral heroes of the age. This indeed is a painful purgatory for our sins.” When special prosecutor Archibald Cox was relieved of his duties and the preening attorney general, Elliot Richardson, resigned, Buchanan recalls, “NBC’s John Chancellor said ‘It may be the most serious constitutional crisis in [U.S.] history,’ passing over the secession of eleven states and the Civil War.” Cox, Richardson, Ellsberg, Graham, Ben Bradlee, Bernstein and Woodward, Mark Felt, Sam Dash, Lowell Weicker — the whole cast of insufferable and self-satisfied people comes back to mind. The book’s epigraph, a line from The Great Gatsby, offers fitting judgment on Nixon and on them: “‘They’re a rotten crowd,’ I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth more than the whole damn bunch put together.’”

Memo to President Donald Trump and his team: Remember, when it comes time to bestow those Medals of Freedom, to lay one on Patrick J. Buchanan, with distinction.

It was the author of Nixon’s White House Wars who, for one day at least, put the sorry lot of them to rout in a storied appearance before the Senate Watergate committee, inspiring Bill Buckley to praise his “singular poise” and “enormous forensic ingenuity.” We have seen those and other fine qualities many times since, in a venturous career that includes service to President Reagan as well, in a half century of speeches, columns, and books by a master wordsmith, and in cheerful and great-hearted devotion to his country’s cause. Memo to President Donald Trump and his team: Remember, when it comes time to bestow those Medals of Freedom, to lay one on Patrick J. Buchanan, with distinction. No one except Trump himself did more to give us the Trump years. And if the aim is to fill those years with achievement and steer clear of trouble, there’s not a man in America with more wisdom to offer.

Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared in the June 12, 2017 issue of National Review. It is reprinted in emended form here.

— Matthew Scully is a former literary editor of National Review. He served as a special assistant and senior speechwriter to President George W. Bush. 

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