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Tuesday, 4 January, 2000, 15:03 GMT
Pat Buchanan: Firebrand of the right

He's the no-nonsense, straight-talking, virtual gun-slinger of America's right, who says he is standing up for the honest working man.

Two failed attempts to take the Republican presidential nomination have done little to dent Pat Buchanan's zeal.

Few believe that his spirit will have been dimmed after his decision to switch to the Reform Party.

Religious views

Born in Washington in 1938, Buchanan's deeply-held Roman Catholic views developed during his Jesuit education.

He trained as a journalist and swiftly entered the higher echelons of Republican politics as an advisor to the future president Richard Nixon in 1966.


What about the forgotten Americans, those who this Goldilocks economy has left behind?

Pat Buchanan
Buchanan returned to journalism in the mid 1970s and developed a reputation as an arch right-wing commentator on television and the airwaves with a string of controversial political talk shows.

These allowed Buchanan to spread his political message of "economic nationalism" to the wider electorate as he argued that the political elite had lost touch with real America.

Buchanan's critics say that his policies could be characterised by the word "no"; no to abortion, no to more immigration and no to free trade.

He calls for a new morality in favour of the ordinary family and in February he chose a steel mill which he said was threatened by imports to launch his presidential campaign.

Charismatic and outspoken, even his campaign website's name - www.gopatgo2000.org - draws on the style of his popular political meetings.

Free trade isn't free

Buchanan tells Americans that it is time to claw back sovereignty relinquished to free trade. While Wall Street has boomed, he says, there has been a blood letting of jobs in the industrial heartland.


He doesn't like the blacks, he doesn't like the gays. It's just a wacko vote

Donald Trump on Pat Buchanan.
Buchanan's first attempt to take office shocked the party. Standing against President George Bush in 1992, he took almost 40% of the votes in the crucial New Hampshire primary.

Four years later he won the same contest, humiliating Bob Dole, the eventual nominee.

While Buchanan has failed to translate early victories into votes elsewhere, his supporters shifted the centre of the party to the right.

Foreign withdrawal

Late last year, he faced calls to leave the party after his latest book questioned America's involvement in the Second World War.

Arguing that Hitler had been no "physical threat" to the United States when it entered the war, he claimed that "by 1950, Americans were asking what it (the war) had all been for.

One former senator suggested that if Buchanan was not anti-Semitic, he was doing a "wonderful imitation".

His opponents say that Buchanan heads a decades-long shift among the Republican Party towards an isolationism which would leave the US reliant on crude gunboat diplomacy and trade wars.

At home, they say his administration would be socially and racially divisive.

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