Volume 2, Number 6

November 23, 1997

Buchanan Delivers "View From Washington"

By Eric Seymour

On Thursday, November 20, more than a dozen College Republicans joined a busload of Monroe County conservatives as part of Grassroots United's expedition to Wabash College to attend a speech by Pat Buchanan. The speech, entitled "A View From Washingon: Revolt Against the Beltway?" was sponsored by Young America's Foundation and The Wabash Commentary--a conservative publication by Wabash College students.

After being introduced to the standing-room only crowd in the campus chapel, Buchanan briefly reflected on his long involvement in American politics. He noted that his shortest ever introduction was when, in the wake of Watergate, he was introduced as "the only member of Nixon's cabinet who could travel this far without asking his parole officer." Buchanan then immediately began to address the main subject of his speech, the political condition of President Clinton.

Though following the latest gulf crisis, Clinton is at his highest popularity (with an approval rating of 62%) and his greatest political power, Buchanan spoke of "clouds on the horizon" for both the Clinton administration, and the nation at large. The first of these was the defeat of "fast track" authorization--the power for the President to negotiate trade agreements without direct congressional involvement. With 3/4 of his own party voting against him, this was the first time in U.S. history that a President has been defeated on a free trade issue. Buchanan asserted that this was due to backlash from the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to which some 300,000 jobs have been lost, and illegal immigration has increased. He asserted that there is currently a "rise of economic patriotism and nationalism" in the U.S.

The next cloud Buchanan spoke of was the global economy. While the U.S. economy has seemed strong in recent years, currencies in Asia have been falling since the summer, and this disturbing trend has begun to spread to South America and Eastern Europe. Buchanan said he expects this trend to continue, with Mexican-style bailouts of the political and corporate elites in those nations. This can also make foreign goods attractive to American consumers, causing the U.S. trade deficit to soar and increasing the loss of high-paying jobs.

Finally, the speech turned to the Persian Gulf crisis. Buchanan noted that the United Nations Security Council coalition is falling apart, with nations failing to stand strongly with the U.S. against Iraq. Thus, the "new world order" declared by former President Bush is collapsing, and "the U.S. will stand alone in its vital interests." Buchanan called attention to George Washington's admonition to engage in temporary, but not permanent alliances.

In closing, Buchanan predicted great success for the Republican party in the 1998 elections. Evidence for this could be found in the recent GOP sweep of gubernatorial elections, and the number of Democrats who have switched parties. Historically, the President's party has lost ground in every off-year election since 1934. Also, Buchanan pointed to the continuing scandals in the Clinton administration, including Paula Jones and members of the administration entangled in labor union and Native American gambling controversies. He quoted his sister as saying "Everyone has a skeleton or 2, but this guy has a walk-in closet!" With Al Gore no longer a shoe-in for the 2000 nomination, he sees the Presidential race as wide-open for both parties.

Also present at the rally were a number of students who opposed Buchanan's visit. Though they did not put on a visible protest, a few asked critical questions during the question-and-answer period. The surety with which Buchanan answered their questions, however, not only turned them away with their figurative tails between their legs, but brought down the house in applause.

Eric Seymour

Robert Schiener

Bryan Wilhelm

Bryant Lewis
Joel Corbin