In the most bizarre sidelight of the most bizarre day in a century of presidential politics, Pat Buchanan took the morning to try to throw the election to Gore. Not just “in effect” but actually.
First, he embraced the entire Democratic baloney about the confusing ballot, and was just cocksure that 3,000 voters in Palm Beach couldn’t possibly have intended to vote for him. “I don’t want any votes that I did not receive and I don’t want to win any votes by mistake,” Buchanan told the Today Show. “It seems to me that these 3,000 votes people are talking about — most of those are probably not my votes and that may be enough to give the margin to Mr. Gore,” he said. And he said the same thing many times different ways.
Joy in medialand! They hadn’t love Pat so much since he came out for unemployment insurance and union control of industry. And, so, the media ran with this nonsense the entire day. No longer a Nazi attempting to take over America, he was suddenly treated as a great political sage of our day: even Pat Buchanan agrees that these votes should be disqualified. This is proof that the ballots were deliberately confusing.
While he might have enjoyed the accolades, Pat might as well have punched every one of his supporters and voters and contributors in the gut. For months, people have pointed out that a vote for Pat is a vote for Gore; most Pat supporters felt very queasy about this aspect of voting for him. But who could believe that he would intervene to work to make this literally true?
In the end, that’s what it comes down to? All the money, all the hard work, all the efforts over the years by people who stuck by Pat through thick and thin? They could have saved it all and just voted for Gore? And what to make of Pat’s confidence that he has no supporters in Palm Beach?
It took his former campaign spokesmen Terry Jeffries, now at Human Events, to point to how nuts this theory was. It turns out that West Palm Beach is in fact a hotbed of Buchananism, as National Review pointed out. “Over 8,000 people cast a symbolic vote for Pat and his message after he was eliminated from competition in 1996,” said Jeffries.
As the day progress, whatever Buchananites still exist went into overdrive fury. Say what you will about Nader, but at least he is anti-Gore! Whatever happened to the claim that Buchanan believed that both parties are the same?
Meanwhile, as the demographics of the election have come under a microscope, it has become clearer than ever that the Gore supporters constitute the most dangerous political forces in this country. How can any red-blooded American do anything but boo Gore at this point?
But wait! Now, it’s 5:00 eastern time and Buchanan is on Fox News, and he is reversing himself. Now he says Gore should do the honorable thing and concede to Bush. He further says that he has no idea whether those votes were for him or not. Then why did he make his initial statement? Well, whatever the motivation, it is the stuff of history and can’t be reversed.
The next time you decide to put your trust in a politician, remember the upshot of Pat Buchanan’s final imprint on American political life.