THE FULLNESS OF HIS MALICE
Norm has to be read to be believed, and so here he is in the
fullness of his malice:
have often denounced revisionist historians of the Cold War
for being analogously 'soft on Stalin' and so, I daresay,
has Mr. Buchanan even when they covered themselves
by calling the Soviet leader a monster or a madman. What made
the Cold War revisionists soft was their insistence on downplaying
the number of Stalin's victims, and/or their accusing the
U.S. of driving him to some of the crimes he committed. This
is precisely what Mr. Buchanan does when he denies that Hitler
had any designs on Britain or the United States. In the Buchananite
interpretation, if we had not gone to war against Hitler,
he would have been happy to leave us alone and also not to
lay a finger on the Jewish communities of Western Europe."
DAZE ARE HERE AGAIN
writes in a hateful daze a stream-of-consciousness
polemical style in which ideas are thrown out (or is that
thrown up) with cheerless abandon, and then it's on
to the next epithet. His letter is obviously intended to be
read the same unfocused way. Podhoretz does not even bother
with proof, citations from Pat's book, A
Republic, Not an Empire, nor any words Buchanan has
either written or spoken he simply makes things up
out of whole cloth. We are not concerned, here, with the "Buchananite
interpretation" of history, but the Podhoretzian interpretation
of A Republic, Not an Empire which bears not
the slightest resemblance to the book as written. Far from
saying that Hitler "would have been happy . . . not to
lay a finger on the Jewish communities of Western Europe,"
Buchanan argues that the Nazis would have been powerless
to carry out their pogroms in Western Europe. Since they would
never have occupied France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands,
but instead turned east, it stands to reason that the Jews
of Western Europe would have been spared. Now, will somebody
please tell me how or why this argument is "anti-Semitic"?
misses the whole point of a book that is, after all, about
far more than the narrow question of whether or not we should
have allowed ourselves to get dragged into World War II. Clearly,
as a nationalist, Buchanan believes in the necessity of American
power: no one mistakes him for a pacifist. The whole point
of the single chapter Podhoretz & Co. are so upset about
is that, quite apart from Hitler's intentions, whatever
they might have been, the West would have had time to prepare
a defense that is, in the event Hitler and Stalin failed
to destroy each other.
lies about everything. He makes up quotations, cutting
a few sentences from one article and pasting it into another.
He lies about Pat's book, without even bothering to cut and
paste or to even quote so much as a single word. Not only
that, but he also lies about the Cold War revisionists
and you'll notice that he doesn't name them. (Probably because
he hasn't read them.) They were historians such as William
Appleman Williams, D. F. Fleming, and Gabriel Kolko
who never "downplayed the number of Stalin's victims.
These authors never even concerned themselves with
this question, but instead sought to prove that the US and
not the Soviet Union had started the Cold War and kept it
going. Far from being admirers of Stalin, these mostly leftist-oriented
scholars painted a portrait of Stalin as a Russian nationalist
who had betrayed the old Communist principle of "proletarian
internationalism" and sought to build "socialism
in one country." This, they averred, explained his timorous
foreign policy, which invited US aggression. Whatever one
may think of this thesis on its merits is one thing, but this
is a far cry indeed from "downplaying" Stalin's
crimes. Podhoretz, however, is incapable of any objective
analysis: everything comes out as a smear, an epithet, a paroxysm
of pure malice.
from what this says about poor old Poddy psychologically,
such methods have a clear ideological purpose: for Podhoretz,
and his neoconservative comrades (some of whom we'll get to
in a minute), any form of revisionism is bad, since,
by definition, it represents a challenge to the official government-approved
version of events. Whether it is the Cold War, World War II,
or even the comic-opera tragedy of World War I: to oppose
any of these orgiastic slaughters constitutes the sin
of "revisionism." How dare anyone presume
to revise the record as set down by the court historians.
Why, they must be anti-Semites!
attempting to refute Buchanan's thesis that Hitler was intent
on moving east, and never wanted war with England and France,
Podhoretz makes a complete fool of himself one almost
feels sorry for him. Buchanan's thesis, he writes, "demonstrates
a willful blindness to the ferocity of Hitler's determination
to achieve a 'final solution' of 'the Jewish problem.'"
How? Again, let Poddy speak for himself:
Mr. Buchanan really not know that Hitler gave so high a priority
to this objective that he removed much needed military transport
from combat zones in 1944 and diverted it to Hungary for the
sole purpose of ensuring that the Jews who were still there
would wind up in the ovens of Auschwitz?"
Podhoretz refutes himself, and makes the case for Buchanan.
To begin with, Podhoretz is talking about the war's end,
or at least its final stages, whereas Buchanan's scenario
of a war averted takes place in 1939, before the Holocaust
really went into high gear. We can never know what might have
happened if the West had not guaranteed the territorial integrity
of Poland, but surely the outcome, whatever it might have
been, could not have been worse than what actually happened
the towering horror of the Holocaust. Secondly, if
we are to take Hitler's antipathy to the Jews as overriding
every other consideration in formulating Germany's military
strategy, then surely this argues for Buchanan's thesis
that Hitler really intended to strike out at the Soviet Union,
and only turned westward when he had no choice. For if we
are talking about sheer numbers, then surely the highest concentrations
of Jews were in the ghettoes of Eastern Europe and Russia,
not to mention the remnants of the ancient Jewish community
in the Caucasus and the Middle East. It is Podhoretz, not
Buchanan, who is willfully blind even to the implications
of his own statements.
HUMOR: THE BEST KIND
humor is the best kind, and Poddy provides plenty of it in
this latest installment of his unending "Hate Pat, Hate
the Buchananites" serial: he admits that perhaps he was
wrong about the exact author of Reagan's remarks at
Bitburg, but insists that Buchanan "gave Reagan the idea"
for the speech in which he praised the bravery of German soldiers
and portrayed them as victims of Nazism. "Though he has
by now repudiated Mr. Reagan's ideas on almost every other
issue," writes Poddy in a huff, "he singles out
this one this one to defend." Why Podhoretz
continues to raise this phony issue is beyond imagining. In
his original screed, he wrote that Pat "put the words
in [Reagan's] mouth," but this is absurd: if Reagan spoke
and perhaps even ad libbed the words, then why doesn't this
make him an anti-Semite? That Podhoretz seems completely
unaware of the implications of his own argument is proof positive
that the man has really lost it.
IT BE ALZHEIMER'S?
poor old Norm is getting senile could it be Alzheimer's?
seems confirmed by the fact that he (again) brings
up the matter of the list, enumerated by Buchanan, of "kids"
who will die in a war against Iraq, all with names like O'Reilly
and Leroy Brown; as Poddy puts it,
a breath does he emit to challenge my carefully documented
account of the anti-Semitic garbage he threw at American Jews
in the debates over the Gulf War: that they were conspiring
with the Israeli Defense Ministry to send non-Jewish American
kids to die in a war in which they themselves were too cowardly
to fight and in which the United States had no national interest."
HIM UP FOR HIS OWN GOOD!
documented? Poor Poddy, he's really at the end of his
tether. Buchanan has already set the record straight in his
own response, and the "cut and paste" hoax Podhoretz
tried to pull off has also been thoroughly exposed in this
column. The quote about ethnic types who will not fight and
die in a war for the Emir of Kuwait was from an article in
the London Economist, and was meant to convey the absence
of a single British name. Pat was telling the Brits
your boys won't be dying out there, it will be Americans
who will pay the price, so why don't you stop beating the
war drums? The Jews did not even enter into his argument.
What is "carefully documented" by this letter is
not Pat's anti-Semitism, but Poddy's complete moral and mental
degeneration. If he has any friends left and this is
the author of a memoir entitled Ex-Friends
they ought to take him firmly in hand before he embarrasses
himself any further.
DECLINE OF A GENRE
growth of the Pat Smear as a literary genre continues apace,
but while the quantity has increased the quality seems to
have sadly declined. From the scholarly heights (relatively
speaking) of contending that Pat is stealing his ideas from
Father Coughlin, an obscure radio commentator of the 1930s,
we are descending rather giddily to the depths of an article
in the Nation whose author is shocked, shocked
that Buchanan qualifies for federal matching funds, and that
some campaign expenditures were "redundant." Wow!
What a scoop! In Buchanan
Inc.: How Pat and Bay Built an Empire on Our Money,"
[November 22, 1999]
author Monte Paulsen comes out with some real whoppers, such
A bias toward extremism is inherent in the Buchanans' 'join
the fight' style of direct-mail solicitation. Donors don't
respond to letters that cry, 'All is well.' Rather, they whip
out their checkbooks in response to emergencies. So in order
to keep the money rolling in, the Buchanans reduce every complex
issue to a black-and-white crisis."
IN THE VILLAGE
Are liberals, then, exempt from the inflexible rules of direct
mail marketing, which, according to Paulsen, give rise to
the language of "extremism"? Why aren't they afflicted
with this same "inherent bias"? In the same vein
Tattered Army," by Jason Vest, in the Village
the theme of which is the outlandish idea that this is just
a financial scheme by Pat, a "permanent campaign"
in which 'riding to the sound of the guns" really means
laughing all the way to the bank. As if someone who gave up
a career as a well-paid television commentator and columnist
for the uncertain future of a political organizer and movement-builder
could possibly be in it for the money! Someone should
tell those yuppies down in the Village that saints and martyrs
are not the exclusive property of the Left. Pat is our Norman
Thomas, our Big Bill Haywood, the Sojourner Truth of the "isolationist"
Right. The gist of these two pieces is: how dare Buchanan
even try to organize a political movement? Surely this must
be a hate crime!
but not least, we come to David
Horowitz, the ex-Commie turned conservative who was recently
smeared himself by an article in Time magazine that
accused him of being a racist. With Horowitz we come to a
completely new, and indeed probably unique, sub-genre of the
Pat Smear the "he's not a racist but . . ."
school of invective. Now, in other hands, this could
be very effective: not a tirade, but a "more in sorrow
than in anger" scolding, all the more convincing for
its obvious lack of malice. But Horowitz is not up to it:
malice pours out of him like juice out of a squeezed lemon.
Instead, he utilizes an awkward device, the Author's Introduction
in Italics, as a kind of disclaimer:
NOTE: This column appears in Salon magazine today under the
heading 'Good Riddance to Buchanan: Now he can cavort with
his fellow racists on the left.' I do not call Pat Buchanan
a 'racist' in this article, nor do I think he is one. The
headline and a 'teaser' using the word 'racist' were supplied
by an editor at Salon without my knowledge or approval."
since 1992, when Pat first took up the cause of America First,
Horowitz has been smearing him as a bigot: at a National
Review conference in the summer of 1993, which I attended,
Horowitz denounced "Pat Buchanan and the path of intolerance."
Just what did he mean intolerance of what or
whom? Episcopalians? Armenians? Irish Catholics? Horowitz
did not elaborate. Now, in the interim, Horowitz himself has
been moving rapidly rightward, particularly on the race question,
and has recently authored a book with the provocative title
of Hating Whitey. One particular screed by Horowitz
reminded Time columnist Jack E. White that "bigotry
is alive and well." ["A
Real, Live Bigot," August 30, 1999] "So many
racists," quipped White, "so little time!"
Stung by this accusation, Horowitz went ballistic and threatened
to sue Time for slander, then backed off his bluff,
but kept ranting about the incident for weeks on end. Of course
the White column was a hit piece, as unfair and twisted as
any attack on Pat Buchanan, and so, newly sensitized to the
issue of smear-mongering, Horowitz sought to separate himself
from his leftist friends at Salon while still
endorsing the rantings of Norman Podhoretz to the extent of
running the original piece on his website, along with several
others, some staff-written, but all centered around a central
theme: Buchanan's alleged anti-Jewish bigotry.
FIRST: A CONSPIRACY OF ANGLOS?
is even more bizarre is that Horowitz's protestations that
he isn't out to smear Buchanan as a racist would be far more
convincing if his article didn't start out like this, and
many other Republicans, I was not sorry to see Pat Buchanan
leave the Republican fold and go for the Reform Party gold.
For years, Buchanan has pushed agendas tribalist, protectionist,
isolationist that one associates with the old America
First movement (whose slogan he has actually revived) America
Firsters felt that the Axis powers were not really our enemy
(a thesis Buchanan has recently rehashed) and that the salvation
of America depended on the preservation of its Anglo-Saxon
complexion. It is the face of what some have called an American
A STRAIGHT FACE
does Horowitz think he's kidding? (Yeah, sure, David,
like the editors of Salon really wrote that headline
without your knowledge or approval!) For if we take his protestations
of innocence seriously, then we have to believe that he is
saying the following: no, Pat is not a racist, but he is
a neo-Nazi. It is hard to believe that anyone, even
Horowitz, could make the case with a straight face.
how he gets that little smear about America First in there:
but what an ill-informed oak he must be, you are thinking,
ill-read as well as ill-bred. Don't believe it for a minute.
Horowitz knows perfectly well that this is an outrageous lie,
a terrible slander on some very distinguished and even noble
Americans, such as John T. Flynn, Charles A. Beard, Robert
A. Taft, and others who made up the old America First movement.
BLURB THAT CAME BACK TO HAUNT HIM
this may seem like a parenthetical remark, but I must point
out that all of these forgotten heroes are written about by
Ronald Radosh in his book, Prophets on the Right.**
Radosh, by the way, is a friend of Horowitz's
who came to his defense against the Time stinkbomb.
We have been giving that book away to our donors, and I have
been doing the packing. And what I noticed, while packing
one the other day, was something I had never really looked
at before, aside from a quick glance: the blurbs on the back
cover. Anthony Lewis found the book "fascinating."
Noam Chomsky called it "a penetrating and very useful
study." And none other than David Horowitz is quoted
as exulting that this is "an eye-opening book, a valuable
contribution to the historiography of the Cold War."
CASE OF SPLIT PERSONALITY?
so Horowitz is not smearing out of ignorance if he
read even a small portion of the work he praises, he knows
that the America First Committee had nothing to do with preserving
any kind of "complexion," Anglo-Saxon or
otherwise. Far from presenting the America Firsters as a bunch
of WASPy reactionaries obsessed with preserving the white
Anglo-Saxon "complexion" of America against the
rising tide of color, Radosh depicts them as noble crusaders
for a peaceful foreign policy who made a thoughtful, valuable
and much neglected contribution to the American political
debate. Did the same person endorse the Radosh book and
write the above-quoted compendium of lies?
While Podhoretz probably believes
his own bile, Horowitz is a self-conscious liar. Both of these
pompous windbags are busy smearing Pat Buchanan the
difference is that the former doesn't mind being known as
a hater, while the latter is too cowardly to admit what he
is doing. Podhoretz is a transparent fraud, but Horowitz has
cleverly avoided much comment on the subject of Buchanan until
now, leaving others to do the dirty work. His coming out of
the closet as a Pat Hater, however tentative and fearful,
tells us everything we need to know Horowitz. All too many
well-meaning conservatives of the hardcore variety have been
taken in by his brand of "compassionate conservatism"
spiced up with warmongering, China-baiting and a vague conspiracism
involving Beijing payoffs to the DNC. Now that he has joined
the lynch mob howling for Pat's blood in his own oddly
wimpish way perhaps conservatives will have second
thoughts about David Horowitz. Perhaps they will begin to
hope that he will defect back to the Left which
is, unfortunately, far better off without him.
had planned on making this column a kind of Encyclopedia
of Anti-Buchananiana, and hoped to also discuss at least few
more examples of this fast-growing literary phenomenon. The
bloviations of the libertarians certainly deserve some comment,
as they are in their way unique to the idiosyncrasies of that
somewhat exotic species. Virginia Postrel, who has discovered
the amazing fact that Things Change, has her own "dynamist"
approach to the Buchanan Question and it is as dreary
and lifeless as Reason magazine itself. And so, out
of pity for my readers such as they are, at this point
in what seems like a very long column not to
mention my Webmaster, I will save it for another installment
of this ongoing serial, which I suppose will become known
as "The Perils of Pat."
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