A panel of top political commentators joins Diane to talk about some of the head spinning events of this last year and to get their perspectives on the challenges ahead.
Patrick Buchanan is no stranger to controversy. At the 1992 Republican national convention, he described the nation as engaged in “a religious war … a cultural war …for the soul of America.” A decade later, he wrote a book predicting the U.S. would be a Third World nation by 2050. Another ten years, two wars, a recession and a debt crisis later, he says America could now be on the verge of national suicide. He offers a plan to turn the country around, including cutting the military, freezing federal salary and benefits and a moratorium on immigration. Pat Buchanan offers his opinions about the fate of the country.
- Patrick Buchanan Syndicated columnist, former adviser to three American presidents, Reform Party's presidential candidate in 2000.
Read an Excerpt
From “Suicide of a Superpower” by Patrick Buchanan. Copyright 2011 by Patrick Buchanan. All rights reserved. Reprinted here by permission of Thomas Dunne Books:
MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. Pat Buchanan was a senior advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan. He ran for the Republican nomination in 1992 and 1996. In 2000, he was the Reform Party's presidential candidate. Now, in a new book, he argues America is in peril. The title of his book is "Suicide of a Superpower." Pat Buchanan joins me in the studio to talk about the question he poses in the book's subtitle, "Will America Survive to 2025?"
MS. DIANE REHMAnd of course, we welcome your calls, 800-433-8850. Send us your email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to join us on Facebook or send us a tweet. Pat Buchanan, you are as outrageous as ever. You and I have known each other for years and years. To see this title, what were you thinking?
MR. PATRICK BUCHANANI was looking at my country with deep concern and sharing the view of that 79 percent of Americans who said yesterday in that poll, Diane, that the United States of America, the greatest country on earth, the country of Eisenhower and Nixon, you and I grew up in, is in decline. And I think it is in grave decline and I'm not sure the United States can turn it around.
REHMWhat do you think is happening to it?
BUCHANANWell, there are some things, one is -- and you've been discussing foreign policy. The United States is certainly in retreat all over the world. I don't think that's a bad thing, but the government of the United States cannot control its borders. It cannot balance its budgets. It cannot win its wars. It cannot stop the hemorrhaging of manufacturing abroad.
BUCHANANWe lost 50,000 factories in the last decade alone and one third of our manufacturing jobs. We have a deadlock on Capitol Hill that is total and ideological and our politics are acrimonious and poisonous. But that's not the central problem to me. The central problem is our society is disintegrating. It is coming apart. We are Balkanizing, breaking down along the lines of race, culture, religion, and philosophy.
BUCHANANYou know, George Cannon, (sp?) the late George Cannon was a friend of mine and he asked me to come up to Princeton to see him before he died. And I'd come around to George Cannon's views, which I hadn't, and he wrote in that book in 2000 America's coming apart and I think that's right.
REHMDo you mean it's coming apart because people are more openly contentious or are they coming apart because we are from such different backgrounds and beliefs?
BUCHANANWell I think that the argument that diversity is a strength is a canard, it is nonsense. What makes us strong is when we rise above our diversity to national unity. When this country was born, you had the Puritans in Boston who did not like the Cavaliers in Virginia or the Quakers in Pennsylvania and the Scotch-Irish in South Carolina and Georgia disliked them all.
BUCHANANWhat happened was after Lexington and Concord, we came together. Patrick Henry said, I am no more a Virginian, there are no more New Yorkers or Pennsylvanians, we are all Americans. So when you rise above diversity to the common ground of unity behind a great cause, independence and freedom that is when a nation is strong.
REHMBut, you know, I grew up, and I think you did too, right here in Washington in a neighborhood filled with Greeks, with Italians, with Jews, with Hungarians, with a wonderful mix...
REHM...why do you think that that's any different than it is today?
BUCHANANThat's the area around Roosevelt High School...
BUCHANAN...I know that down there.
BUCHANANI grew up around the Northwest, a little further across the park. But why did we succeed in taking the Jews and the Greeks and the Italians and the Poles and the Irish all together who came here in this mixture and battling each other -- how was it that by 1960, say, we were a nation united and free? All of us spoke English. We had the melting pot, the great melting pot, the public schools of America. They taught all the kids patriotism. You are no longer just Jewish or Italian or et cetera, you are an American now.
BUCHANANYou study American literature and English literature and the English language. We share America's history and her holidays. We share the holy days, quite frankly, of a common faith, Judeo-Christianity, Easter and Christmas. So we were all basically united by this melting pot. Now what has happened is the melting pot has been rejected by the cultural elites as cultural genocide.
BUCHANANPeople are invited into the country and told keep your language, keep your history, keep your own religion, keep your separate identity. Identity, politics is in. At the same time, we're bringing in tens of millions of folks from countries and continents and places whose people have never before been fully assimilated into America and so the melting pot has cracked and we have people pouring in.
BUCHANANAnd when you see what's happening in Europe, where, I mean, diversity is just another term for multiculturalism. Merkel says that it has utterly failed in Germany. Cameron says multiculturalism has failed in Britain, when you saw those riots in London last summer, people coming out of the ethnic neighborhoods, immigrant neighborhoods and rioting all over London.
BUCHANANIn Paris, in the Van Loo north of Paris, they set 10,000 fires. These were folks coming in from Algeria, Tunisia, the Arab countries, the Francophone countries of Africa. So what's happened is they're not assimilating. Assimilation is the key, that's why you and I speak the same language. We come from very different backgrounds. But we have a tremendous amount in common.
BUCHANANI'm sure I was in high school when we desegregated the schools in D.C. It worked in D.C. There was no violence, a little trouble over at McKinley Tech. Why did it work? Look at all the common things. We were divided by race. We had in common, a common religion. We loved the senators. We read the same newspapers, listened to the same radio stations, ate the same food, danced to the same music. We had an enormous number of things in common. Unity is the key and diversity is a problem.
REHMNow one could argue with you that we are simply in a transitional period, that what you and I grew up in no longer exists in the same way, but that we are on the road to becoming a more strengthened united country because of the diversity coming into it.
BUCHANANI don't understand. Diversity means differences and diversity brings about conflict. Let me read you just a couple of quotes here, one of them, "Wars between nations have given way to wars within nations."
REHMSo do you fear that?
BUCHANANWho said that?
REHMI don't know.
BUCHANANBarack Obama, Nobel Prize speech, here's another. "Ethnic and racial conflict will now replace the conflict of ideologies as the explosive issue of our times."
REHMWho said that?
BUCHANANMy old friend Arthur Schlesinger, Pat Moynihan at the same time in 1990 wrote a book called, "Pandemonium." Pandemonium, of course, is in Dante's hell, that is the capital of hell and all the devils came to pandemonium and what he is saying and Schlesinger is saying and the president in a way is saying is that these great conflicts inside countries, that is the future of mankind all based on ethnicity, based on race, based on culture and based on religious fundamentalism. We see what's happening all over the Middle East.
REHMYou wrote a book ten years ago when you predicted that the U.S. was going to be a third-world nation by 2050 as a result of declining white populations, immigrant invasions and erosion of the Christian faith. Now you're shortening that period of time from 2050 to 2025.
BUCHANANWell, no, the white population in America will become a minority now, the census bureau says, in 2041. They've moved it up by nine years. I say use 2025 because I cite Andrei Amalrik who was a brave, young dissident in the Soviet Union in 1970 and he wrote this slim book saying, well, the Soviet Union survived in 1984 and everybody laughed him off and they threw him out of the country. That was 14 years so I took 14 years. By 1991, Amalrik was right, the Soviet Union had come apart completely.
BUCHANANNow let me ask you, Diane, on what grounds, on what fault lines did the Soviet Union fall into 15 countries? One of them was religion, religion and ethnicity and race. The Baltic Republics split free. Lithuania is Catholic and Western. The Ukraine split off. Then you've got Uzbekistan and all these other countries are more Muslim. It came apart into 15 countries.
BUCHANANYugoslavia, as soon as Communism was lifted, boom, came apart into seven countries. Why? Because they were natural nations inside a nation and what I'm saying is, this is what we are risking. One point, by 2050, we will have 135 million Hispanics in the United States, heavily concentrated in the Southwest. I think that means we will be a bi-national and a bilingual nation, Spanish and English and Hispanic and Western and mixed and the white population will be only about 46 percent then.
BUCHANANI think the American Southwest culturally and socially will be as much a part of Mexico as of the United States. I think the border will disappear.
REHMWe have not been a perfect nation. We have had our problems as we have grown. What is to say we cannot become a more perfect nation as these various groups are part of this wonderful country?
BUCHANANI think that we are risking the end of the greatest country the world has ever seen and I don't know why we're doing it. But as you look around the world, Diane, and often the best way I think to look at America is look what's happening around the world. Scotland wants to break away from Great Britain. Catalonia wants to break away from Spain. The Northern League wants to break -- they say, we're Celts. They want to break away from Italy. Belgium is breaking away from Wallonia and Flanders. They're all breaking up all over the world.
REHMPatrick Buchanan, his new book, "Suicide of a Superpower." Short break, right back.
REHMAnd before we go to the phones, where I know many of you have comments you'd like to make, I want to ask you about Roman Catholicism. I know you are a devout Roman Catholic. The question about the demise or the loss of followers of the Roman Catholic Church within this country, is not that the fault of the Church and not the country?
BUCHANANI think it's a -- I wouldn't use the word fault but I would use the fault certainly of various Bishops and others and certainly the priests who molested children and then they were covered up. That scandal has been certainly the worst of my lifetime for the Church, and maybe the worst in almost the whole history of the Church. It's appalling but I think, Diane, it's -- I'm not sure that's the entire explanation for what has happened to Catholicism.
BUCHANANWhat happened is the country went through a cultural, social and moral revolution in the 1960s and it converted a lot of people to it. And it was antithetical to Christianity and especially traditional Christianity. And many of the young were captured. Look at the statistics on Catholicism. There were 4.5 million kids in Catholic parochial schools when I was growing up. It's 1.5 million now.
BUCHANANYou've got high schools shutting down, seminaries shutting down. I think the Christian Brothers or St. John's High School right over here, they've gone into bankruptcy I believe. The Jesuits have one-tenth the seminarians they used to have. Churches are shutting down. One in every three Catholics has left the faith and one in every ten Americans is a lapsed Catholic.
BUCHANANNow this is one of the -- and the same thing has happened to the Episcopal Church and the mainstream Protestant churches as well. And this is a sign, I believe, of what Newsweek called the end of Christian America. I think we're moving into a post-Christian era. So, in other words, the moral authority of Catholicism and the moral authority of the Protestant faith simply is not what it was anymore.
BUCHANANAnd -- but that was one of the things that united a significant slice of America. Ninety-five percent of us were Christians. It's now down to 75 percent but that gave us a moral code and an ethical code and a moral consensus by which to live. The consensus has collapsed.
REHMAll right. So let's see where you're taking this. You cite Yugoslavia, you cite other countries that have since broken up. Do you expect the United States to break up?
BUCHANANI think that by 2050 -- as I say, I think the southwest, because it's contiguous to Mexico, will socially and culturally be as much a part of Mexico as it is the United States. Politically I think the United States will stay one. What is happening though, Diane, is this. Americans are -- we're vulcanizing. Americans are moving into enclaves of their own kind by race, ethnicity and even politics.
BUCHANANYou know, Eric Holder, in that speech he gave in 2009, he called us a nation of cowards. Now, he shouldn't have done that because that took the headline and everybody responded to him. But the point he made was valid. He said, we are socially segregated now as we were in the 1950s. I mean, I go to Catholic churches in inner city and the pass I go to is all white. And they say the most segregated hour in America is Sunday morning.
BUCHANANNow that's true, but you read this book by – I didn't read the whole book -- by Rich Benjamin, he calls it "Searching for Whitopia," and he said where the whites are retreating to places like Bend, Oregon and things like that. And while it's certainly absurd in some ways, there is truth in other ways. You know, Robert Putnam of Bowling Alone fame. He was the one that said of diversity, he said, diversity destroys social capital. By social capital he means that tenancy of Americans which is great to associate one with another and do things and get together in community form.
BUCHANANHe said, the greater the diversity the less the social capital. And social capital he found less in any -- than in any other place in the world in Los Angeles, the most socially diverse city in America. He said, people in super diverse cities tend to retreat. They tend to behave like turtles and pull in. They not only don't trust the mayor, they don't trust their own kind.
BUCHANANThey sit in front of TV sets.
REHMBut look back. Look at what happened when the Irish immigrated. Look at what happened when the Arabs came into this country. Look at what happened in terms of anti-Semitic behavior when Jews occupied certain areas of New York. It's happened throughout our history. Why is this any different?
BUCHANANBecause one, I mentioned, the melting pot which is the public schools that brought us all together. And also the elites in the country demanded these people assimilate and become Americans. That has been rejected. Secondly, just what we're talking about, we mentioned Catholicism, but it's Christian America that's dying.
BUCHANANNow look at -- what did Martin Luther King invoke? I was at the March on Washington. I was in the Lincoln Memorial when Martin Luther King was there and Peter, Paul and Mary were there. He invoked -- he said, this country's got to live up to the meaning of its creed. He meant not only the constitutional creed but its Christian Creed to treat one another, I mean, without regard to race to treat one another as Christians are supposed to and we're not doing that.
BUCHANANThat is what made his message so powerful and even acceptable in many areas of the south.
REHMWhat would you do if you had the authority to do it, to prevent what you call the "Suicide of a Superpower?"
BUCHANANI think the solution's -- James Burnham had a great statement. He said, where there are no solutions there is no problem. I don't think there is a solution to what I'm describing. To turn around the thinking of people after the cultural, moral, social revolution of the '60s has changed the fundamental thinking of people.
BUCHANANI mean, we have two countries inside America morally, culturally and socially. We can see them all clashing over right to life, abortion, gay rights, all these things, stem cell research, God in school, prayer. We're fighting with each other over that. That's beyond politics. That's beyond even a great political leader like Ronald Reagan. It is beyond politics. Politics can deal with our fiscal problem and all that but, Diane, we are two countries.
REHMHow would you feel about having a Mormon president?
BUCHANANIf he's a conservative, I'm all for it.
REHMSo you would have...
BUCHANANBut there aren't any other kind of Mormons, are there?
REHMYou would have no problem.
BUCHANANCourse not, course not. My sister's a Mormon.
REHMYour sister is a Mormon.
REHMSo therefore you feel an identity.
BUCHANANWell, no, it's not that. It's just that I feel the Mormons are the fourth largest religion in the United States and just about the fastest growing, along with Muslims. And I do think the Mormons -- if you look at the products of the religion and the people they produce, they're very upstanding citizens, they're stalwart. And they're good families and they're large families and they're successful. And they're very good Americans.
BUCHANANAnd so I think it's a very -- it looks like from the results of it it's a very positive influence upon people.
REHMAll right. Let's open the phones, 800-433-8850. First to Syracuse, N.Y. Good morning, David.
DAVIDGood morning. I'd like to say two points in regard to Mr. Buchanan's jeremiad here today. First, Mr. Buchanan, I understand that your ancestry, your ethnicity is Irish. Anything and everything you're saying about all these different groups of people was said about your ancestors basically by my ancestors 200, 250 years ago. This attitude in America has been one of our responses to ethnicity and to the assimilation of diverse groups.
DAVIDSecond, I think you're taking -- you're looking at the process of assimilating these new groups too early and with too much disdain and too much concern. We are better in America at assimilating diverse groups, as yourself, as Diane, as myself and everyone else who comes from all over the world to be in this country have proven. The problems we see in Europe are people who are not assimilated because they wish to exploit them economically. They don't offer them the economic opportunities that were given to our ancestors and are given to people from all over the world now.
DAVIDAs long as we continue to be able to do that we will not decline and we will succeed in assimilating the people who are coming here now.
BUCHANANWell, I think you're -- I think you're very hopeful and that's good. But, you know, my ancestors are Irish, but they're also Scotch Irish. My great-grandfathers, two of them fought in the Civil War against the Union and one was killed and one wound up in a prison. And the other ancestors are from the Lemon Valley (sp?) of Pennsylvania and they're 100 percent German.
BUCHANANBut that's the point. We did have -- all the events of those years, the depression and World War II, four of my uncles, my mother's all four youngest brothers served in Europe. We did have -- when we were growing up, we were converted into Americans by this melting pot I've described. Let's take the history of the United States. We were taught it was great and glorious and we were steeped in that history in parochial schools. We loved the country.
BUCHANANBut since the cultural revolution of the 1960s there is a school of thought that America has a -- American history has been a catalog of crimes, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, racism, xenophobia, you name it. And that is what is being taught to awful lots of children.
REHMHow do you mean that?
BUCHANANI mean that in the Susan Sontag sense that she said the white race is the cancer of human history. And a lot of people, quite frankly, have come to believe America is not a great and good country and the greatest and best on earth. There are constant critics of their own country.
BUCHANANTake Barack Obama's own mother. I think she was an alienated individual just as Susan Sontag -- what I would call an ethno masochist in this sense. Her Indonesian husband wanted to know why she refused to meet with the American businessmen coming to Indonesia. And he said, please come and meet with these businessmen. These are your people. She said, they are not my people. In other words, her ideology had alienated her from her own country.
REHMBut why do you use that one example?
BUCHANANBecause it's very powerful and effective and representative of some -- look, I'm not saying that's the majority, but you can pick up this -- Diane, you're at these microphones and you get these calls and you get in there -- people calling up and saying dreadful things about the United States. It is simply not the country we grew up in. Now, the caller is right about our history. It is marvelous. He is right about America has done better than any other country at assimilating and Americanizing folks.
BUCHANANAnd the Europeans, is it because the French didn't try? Is it because the British didn't try? Why was it that the Turks in Berlin the day of 9/11 were firing off bottle rockets out of their own neighborhoods in celebration? Now, that tells me they were not assimilated to the West. That they looked upon this as an Islamic victory over the United States. And they're right inside Western countries. So I just -- you know, it's sort of a wake up and smell the coffee hour.
REHMPatrick Buchanan. His new book is titled "Suicide of a Superpower." And you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Here's an email from Pat who says, "You recently received criticism for appearing on the Political Cesspool Radio Program which describes it's ideology as pro-white and has been criticized by the Anti-Defamation League as being anti-Semitic and white supremacist . Do you regret appearing on the program? And does MSNBC, where you're employed, approve of your appearance there?"
BUCHANANWell, this is -- Abe Foxman runs the Anti-Defamation League. And I think he's called me even worst names than he's calling this radio station. So I really don't credit -- I think there's an awful lot of smearing being done by the Anti-Defamation League frankly over the years of individuals who simply disagree maybe with a U.S. policy towards Israel, and a lot of name calling.
BUCHANANNow, on the radio shows I've been on, Diane, 100 radio shows directly and probably thousands through Shawn Hannity and Laura Ingram. Am I supposed to go and vet all the people on these shows and get the list from Abe Foxman on what shows I can go onto? Now, I remember that show, I think it was Saturday night, and I listened on that because I'd heard things about it. And they had one of the best prolife ads by Ron Paul I've ever seen on that radio station. And they also had an advertisement for the Mormon Church, which you have just been, in a way, defending and rightly so.
BUCHANANIt was a very -- and the Mormon Church -- and I'd listened carefully to see -- and the individual was very interested in the race issue, but it was done -- I thought it was not done in -- I wouldn't be on a program if somebody started calling racial or ethnic names -- or I rather might be on it, but I would say that's the last time we're going on that one.
REHMAnd another question, you've written in your columns of homosexuality that in a healthy society it will be contained, segregated, controlled and stigmatized. You've also called homosexuality a disorder that can be handled with therapy. Do you still stand by those statements?
BUCHANANWell, the statement that homosexuality is disordered is a statement from Pope Benedict in Rome as well. It's the view of the Catholic Church.
REHMAnd you accept that.
BUCHANANWell, I believe that homosexuality is -- that it is a natural activity -- a natural and a moral -- I realize individuals are maybe born or nature or nurture, I don't know what it is. I assume nobody actually gets to be 13 or 14 and suddenly chooses this. But I do think -- and people may not be able to control their orientation, but I do believe as a Catholic that people can control their conduct.
BUCHANANAnd that is where I think I would say that kind of conduct should be discouraged in a good society, in a healthy society. And it used to be discouraged. And I do think that the idea that men can marry men and women marry women in the USA is a sign of a civilization in its final throws. I mean, we saw things like this at the end of the Weimar Republic, things like this at the end of the Roman Empire. And they are attendant to a declining nation and a declining civilization.
REHMSo if you were in charge somehow you would outlaw these behaviors?
BUCHANANNo, I would -- I think the way we did it in -- and we did it for 200 years in this country, this great melting pot country was we left it to the states to decide and that's what I would do.
REHMLeave it to the states to...
BUCHANANYeah, I would -- I disagreed with the Supreme Court decision. I -- was it Lawrence, I believe, was the name of the Supreme Court decision that struck down 17 state laws? I disagreed with that decision and I agreed with Judge Scalia's decent.
REHMPatrick Buchanan. His new book is titled "Suicide of a Superpower," subtitled "Will America Survive to 2025?" We'll take a short break here. When we come back, more of your questions, your comments. I look forward to hearing from you.
REHMAnd welcome back. If you've just joined us, Pat Buchanan is with me. He, of course, was in the White House's of Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, who else?
REHMGerald Ford. And he...
BUCHANANA happy memory.
REHMHere goes a question on that very issue from Bill, in Indianapolis. Good morning to you.
BILLGood morning, Diane. Hey, Pat, just a couple points about this. You worked for Richard Nixon, who took part in what was -- became known as the Southern Strategy. You worked for Ronald Reagan and kicked his campaign off in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman were killed, where Ronald Reagan had that despicable welfare mom campaign.
BILLThen in 2008, I saw you day after day with Joe Scarborough doing the Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright bit. And I just wonder, after you traveled in hate, bigotry and intolerance for an entire career, why we should believe anything you say.
BUCHANANUm-hum. Thank you for that excellent question. Let me say this, look, I worked for Richard Nixon and helped him with his political strategy and it was called a southern strategy, but actually it was a national strategy where we won narrowly 43 percent in 1968. By 1972, we won 49 states, as did Ronald Reagan in 1984. Reagan kicked off his campaign in '80 at the Neshoba County Fair down in Philadelphia, Miss. I think is the capital in Neshoba county. But look, I don't think that's righteous.
BUCHANANI was in Neshoba County when Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were in that earthen dam before their bodies had been found. I went down there as a journalist to take a look at that. I was over there at the -- those things that were done were evil, but the idea that Ronald Reagan was in any way signaling or doing what they call a dog-whistle by going down to that county fair in Miss. I think, sir, is really an outrageous suggestion.
REHMHe's not the first one to make that suggestion, Pat.
BUCHANANWell, I -- Diane, there's a lot of suggestions made. And what I'm saying, anybody that thinks that Ronald Reagan was in any way racist -- let me say this, the caller is representative of one of the points I make in the book, which is our politics are poisoned. I mean, I -- we're -- I'm at MSNBC, but you cannot listen to cable all day long without hearing repeatedly people called racist in a way they were not 50 years ago. Even though the civil rights revolution triumphed in the 1960s, we are, as I write, we are at each others' throats in this country. And that is a specific example of it in that question.
REHMAnd of course the reason he is asking that question is because you were associated with Richard Nixon...
REHM...who was the only disgraced, thrown-out-of-power president we've had.
REHMA man who lied.
REHMA man who got what he wanted through deception, who lied all the way out the door.
BUCHANANWell, let me tell you, Richard Nixon was also a man who had an election stolen from him in 1960 by the Illinois crooks, against John F. Kennedy. Nixon was a man who had the courage to come back. The way he did -- he was a man that put together the greatest political coalition in the country with my help and with my advice and there is nothing wrong -- why was it okay, Diane, for the Democratic Party to put segregationists on the ticket virtually every year from 1928, 1932, Jack Nance Garner of Texas, there -- great sainted Adlai Stevenson, put on his ticket, John Sparkman, a signer of the Southern Manifesto, saying we're going from massive resistance to segregation -- this he did in 1952.
REHMAnd why did Richard Nixon begin a campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas that was totally outrageous?
BUCHANANIt -- what Richard Nixon did against Gahagan Douglas was take the attacks on Gahagan Douglas by her Democratic nominee opponent, whom she beat in the primary and turn them and use them on her. I mean, what was wrong with a -- if look, if she was quote, as they say, soft on communism, as many people were in the 1940s and '50s, is it illegitimate to say so? I mean, here's -- who's the judge, the judge is the American people.
REHMBut was it the truth?
BUCHANANOf course it was.
REHMI'm not sure of that.
BUCHANANWell, it was...
REHMI'm not sure.
BUCHANANMurray Chotiner told me it was the truth.
REHMMurray Chotiner is somebody I would not be happy to quote.
BUCHANANBut who's the final judge, Diane? It's the American people.
REHMWell, who's the -- absolutely.
BUCHANANAnd what did they do? They rewarded Richard Nixon with 49 states and 61 percent of the vote. And they rewarded Ronald Reagan after four years with 61 percent of the vote and 49 states. I'm not saying Richard Nixon did not make mistakes, but as I've told other folks, he may have rustles a few ponies, but he was hanged by the biggest horse thieves in the county.
REHMAll right. Let's go to Boston, Ma. Good morning, Joe. You're on the air.
JOEGood morning. Thank you. A quick question and a comment. My question comes from Mr. Buchanan's Catholicism and his political conservatism. The Vatican recently came out with a recommendation of substantial reform of the world's financial institutions. And even recommending regulations that I think most political conservatives would chafe at. And in fact, undercutting the basic philosophical premise to laissez-faire kind of economic philosophy that the pursuit of individual wealth leads to, you know, all ships rising. And I’m curious to know what you'd say about the Vatican's position there.
JOEThe comment is that I really reject Mr. Buchanan's either/or characterization of diversity and common values and national identity. Many of the ethnic groups, the communities that I'm aware of who are very proud of their ethnic heritage, also consider themselves proud Americans.
JOEAnd this is particularly true in the Mexican-American communities that I encounter. And I think that one can have diversity and unity.
BUCHANANAll right. All right. Well, let me respond. The Mexican-American community, of course they -- anybody can be a good American. And there are millions of Hispanic folks and Mexican folks who came here and who are good Americans, who love this country, but it is also true that in coliseum, in Los Angeles, they had 90,000 people out there in the soccer game between Mexico and the United States. And not only was Mexico cheered, but the United States team was booed. And the United States team has been trashed repeatedly. And you have -- do have folks marching in American cities under Mexican flags. I don't think that is patriotic.
BUCHANANLet me talk about the church, though, because you got a good point. I am not absolute laissez-faire, myself. I think there's a lot in the social encyclicals of the Catholic Church, "Rerum Novarum," and Quadragesimo Anno," but I disagree profoundly with the Holy Father on a global -- if you will, a global federal reserve. I would disagree profoundly on a transnational institution being constructed over Europe, the so-called United States of Europe, because I think these are separate peoples. They have separate cultures, separate identities. And they ought to remain separate. They ought to cooperate, but the best way, I think, to cooperate -- I believe in de Gaulle's vision of basically a Europe of nations from France to the Urals. So I disagree with the Holy Father. He was not speaking on faith and morals.
REHMSo even as a devout Roman Catholic you would take disagreement with the Holy Father.
BUCHANANThe Holy Father doesn't speak infallibly on faith and morals anymore than he would speak infallibly about who's gonna win the Alabama-LSU game.
REHMLet's go with Manchester, N.H. O'Neil, you're on the air.
O'NEILHi, Mr. Buchanan.
BUCHANANHow you doing?
O'NEILI'm calling to try to switch the conversation to a more intellectual edge. I'm writing a book right now. It's a philosophical work on how a country is formed. It starts with somebody's disposition, which is arguments that are posed to an individual. It goes towards unity, which creates culture, which creates leaders and then creates countries. I think I agree with what you're saying. I do think we're in decline. And I'd just like to take my comment off the air and see what you think of that. Thank you.
BUCHANANI think you're on the right track. I would suggest you read John Jay in "Federalist 2," when he describes the country we have become and how blessed we have become. And he defines the things that we have in common that enable us to become one people and one nation. And one of the reasons we could, of course, is because we had that glorious victory of the first nation to break away from the British empire and succeed after six years of fighting.
BUCHANANI think you're exactly right. There are many things that make a country. And I think culture, common faith and the -- basically a common people, too. You know, the -- this is this fellow I quote from, excuse me, Catholic University, who wrote this book on ethno-nationalism, Diane. It was his view that the wars of the 20th century in Europe were basically ethno-national wars, I mean, breaking up countries, Germans in Alsace-Lorraine, all the rest of it. And that peace came and unity came and cooperation came when each of these countries basically was composed of a single people.
REHMAll right. Let's go to Orlando, Fla. Good morning, Zack. Zack?
REHMAre you on a...
ZACKI'm sorry. Hi.
ZACKI just have a little real quick comment. To me, Pat sounds like a mullah of the Middle East, who preach the division -- seriously. I'm not joking. I'm very serious.
ZACKWho preached the division to give power and to make money by catering to certain segment of the population. And that's why I call. People like Pat Buchanan, American mullahs just like Middle East mullahs. I think people like Pat are scared that in their old age they will not be able to differentiate some human by their color...
REHMOkay. All right. Pat?
BUCHANANWell, no. I've been talking the whole program, I think, that my concern with diversity is that we don't have unity. That people say diversity, per se, is a strength, but it is not the strength that makes America great. E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one. I've been preaching that this whole program, but at the same time, you say I represent a segment. And then you are trashing that segment. So who here is preaching disunity and division?
REHMAll right. Here's an email from Zack in Charlotte, N.C., who reminds us -- and I heard this segment on NPR this morning was a wonderful report on a bilingual school in Miami called Coral Way. "The graduates at this school are completely bilingual. Some even go on to learn other languages. The school itself scores very high on its academic accomplishments.
REHMOur Presbyterian Church is being enriched by the integration of Hispanics in the neighborhood.
REHMMy own learning of Spanish at an older age is very rewarding. Are we shooting ourselves in the foot by not giving our children the advantage of children in most developed countries in which children are multilingual?"
BUCHANANOh, listen, this sounds like a terrific school. I assume these children speak English. Look, I speak -- I mean, us, we spoke English. Look, I took French in high school. I took Greek, I took Latin. I later studied Middle English and I've studied Russian. But our language that makes us one nation, one people, Diane, when your ancestors came over here they didn't arrive getting here speaking English. It was -- when we both spoke English, okay, then we can understand. You and I can communicate with each other. My guess is some of your great-grandparents or grandparents and mine couldn't even talk to each other. And what they had was diversity, but they didn't have the unity of a common language.
REHMAll right. To Kings Mountain, N.C. Good morning, Ellie.
ELLIEGood morning, Diane. I'm calling about the acquisition of language by immigrant peoples.
ELLIEYou know the first generation very seldom speaks English fluently. Second generation is bilingual. Third generation speaks English fluently and knows very little of the native language.
ELLIEBack as early as 1850 there were several cities in this country where most of the schools were bilingual or they were either German schools or English schools.
ELLIEAnd that did not disappear until World War I. It was a consequence of WWI.
ELLIEAnd many of the things that Mr. Buchanan is saying today were said back in the 1800s about our German immigrants.
BUCHANANRight. Well, I'm -- let me say, my, again, my mother's family, the Crum family of southeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, 100 percent German. And that is exactly right. But what I'm saying is what worked here was the melting pot we had, the schools and the institutions, the demands of people like Wilson and T.R., that they become Americanized folks. And it took decades and decades and decades before it was done.
REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." As for those of you who are asking about Helen Gahagan Douglas, just who she was, she was an actress who turned to politics. She ran for the Senate in California against Richard Nixon in 1950. Democrats accused Nixon of running a smear campaign against her. He called her the pink lady and he alleged communist ties. She, in turn, is the one who nicknamed him tricky Dicky. So I want to say to you, Pat...
BUCHANANYou have to say, Diane, that Richard Nixon won California, that race, by the largest margin any candidate had ever won California.
REHMBut was it, you know...
BUCHANANIt was a rough campaign.
REHMA rough campaign. And that kind of campaigning, it seems to me, with the kinds of name-calling and insinuation is not helping the country one bit.
BUCHANANWell, look, even good people have said bad things. Martin Luther King in Berlin said he detected Hitlerism in the United States, referring to Barry Goldwater. We all know that was outrageous. Okay? They've all been tough campaigns on all sides and Nixon was no slouch at it, but let me say, he wasn't up against a bunch of school girls, Diane. Harry Truman and his crowd -- what Harry Truman said Dewey put pitchforks in the back of the American farmer.
REHMAnd finally, Pat, it does seem to me, at least I believe, that this country is strong. It will hold. It will take in many, many people from many cultures and it will become stronger along the way. I realize you have great concerns about that, but I just wanted to get my opinion in, too.
BUCHANANAll right. And I hope you're right and I hope I’m wrong.
REHMI hope. Pat Buchanan, his new book, "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" That's the question we're left with. Thanks for being here.
BUCHANANThank you, Diane.
REHMAnd thanks to all of you for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.
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