Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Buchanan: Conservatives Have Lost Culture War

In an interview with the Washington Times, Pat Buchanan virtually announces that liberals have won the culture war--and he is right. While I disagree with Buchanan on many issues, I have often found him to be an astute commentator on current politics. Prior to the 2004 elections, Buchanan was interpreting the campaign in terms of the culture war before other journalists were talking about effect of "moral values" post-election.

In recognizing that conservatives have lost the culture war, Buchanan looks beyond the short term gains of the 2004 election and realizes that overall the majority of voters do not share their values. While Buchanan will not understand it in these terms, they were fighting against the overall trend of history since the late 1700's, which has been towards greater freedom.

Here's some of Buchanan's comments:

"The conservative movement has passed into history. It doesn't exist anymore as a unifying force. There are still a lot of people who are conservative, but the movement is now broken up, crumbled, dismantled."

There are "a lot of people who call themselves conservative but who, on many issues, I just don't consider as conservative. They are big-government people."

"I was a conservative in the Nixon White House, but there was no question that it was not a conservative White House," he says. "Nixon referred to conservatives as 'they.' He used to ask me, 'What do they want?' One time he said, 'Buchanan, you have to give the nuts 20 percent of what they want.'"

He suggests that in some respects, traditionalists might be fighting for a lost cause. "We say we won a great victory by defeating gay marriage in 11 state-ballot referenda in November," he says. "But I think in the long run, that will be seen as a victory in defense of a citadel that eventually fell."

As he later says, "I can't say we won the cultural war, and it's more likely we lost it."

The evidence? He says it was all over the tube, in prime time, at last year's Republican National Convention, which featured California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, New York Gov. George E. Pataki and former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, all social liberals.

"They are indifferent to those moral issues because they see them-- and correctly--as no longer popular, no longer the majority positions that they used to be," he says. "They say, 'Let's put those off the table and focus on the issues where we still have a majority--strong national defense and cutting taxes.' "


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