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Book Review: The Crusader: The Life and Tumultuous Times of Pat Buchanan by Timothy Stanley

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Subttitled “The Life and Tumultous Times of Pat Buchanan,” The Crusader is a near-350 page tome tracing the life of the controversial conservative. It’s a biography that is both fascinating and revolting.

Stanley traces Buchanan’s life as a young thug in a Washington D.C.’s lower income neighborhoods through his time with the disgraced President Nixon and beyond. Buchanan is amazing survivor who spends time with the politically vile yet whose career never seems to suffer.

A historical revisionist and extreme isolationist (he considers Churchill and FDR warmongers who “dragged” the allies into WWII), Buchanan’s political and writing career has attracted admiration from neo-confederates, Nazis fighting extradition for trial, and people like David Duke. He has aligned himself with anyone and everyone he thought would help his “crusade.”

Stanley has managed to write an admirably nonjudgemental book on such a figure. However, Stanley ‘lets the side down’ a bit with misplaced attempt to compare the “Buchanan Brigades” and the Tea Party movement. In fact Stanley completely ignores the most obvious comparison for Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul. Both Paul and Buchanan (and their supporters) are isolationist, anti-free trade, anti-Israel, and anti-immigration. In fact many of Ron Paul’s senior staffers have written for and worked with Buchanan at one time or other.

Stanley’s ability to be so objective about the subject matter no doubt stems from the fact he is British. The writing style flows nicely and never bogs down. The Crusader is not a turgid biography by any manner. It will have the reader wondering how anyone could admire Pat Buchanan.

About Marty Dodge

  • Joe

    Please retract your claim that Ron Paul is an isolationist, he is a noninterventionist (There is a difference).

    Nonintervention is distinct from isolationism, the latter featuring economic nationalism (protectionism) and restrictive immigration. Proponents of noninterventionism distinguish their polices from isolationism through their advocacy of more open national relations, to include diplomacy and free trade.

  • Davis

    I would suggest that Stanley ignored this comparison because it is mistaken. Having read several of Buchanan’s articles in various media, I agree that he does come across as “isolationist, anti-free trade, anti-Israel, and anti-immigration.” He’s xenophobic, which encompasses all those things. Dr. Paul is none of these things. He’s against starting wars with other countries, but is strongly in favor of free trade. He’s not in favor of government-managed “free trade” agreements, because “government-managed free trade” is an oxymoron. He is against ILLEGAL immigration, but in favor of legal immigration. And he is the strongest proponent of Israel’s sovereignty in politics today. He’s against foreign aid to Israel (and every other nation) precisely because it comes with strings attached that amount to the U.S. telling sovereign nations what to do. In all of these ways, Dr. Paul is very different from Mr. Buchanan. I’m sure there may be similarities, as both are older, white men who identify themselves as Conservatives, but the point raised by this reviewer are entirely incorrect.

  • really?

    “Both Paul and Buchanan (and their supporters) are isolationist, anti-free trade, anti-Israel, and anti-immigration.”

    Are you completely off your rocker??? I have never heard a more absurd statement in my life. This is pure BULLSHIT!

  • http://stixblog.com Stix

    Yes, both Paul and Buchanan are isolationists. They are both on the fringe of the Conservative movement.

    Both attract the Neo Nazis and other various forms of nutjobs that call themselves conservative, but hold more policies closer to Democrats than Republicans.

  • ron paul is a loser

    ron paul is an aging anti semite and his followers are low class dirtbags

  • geodc

    So many absurdities in this article. Ron Paul is anti-free trade? Ron Paul is for global free trade and has been for decades. Anti-immigration? He is against the border wall, against requiring employers to verify citizenship, against deportation. He is isolationist? This is a common claim about Paul, which unfortunately is based on the presumption that opposition to American military actions imply isolation, despite being a proponent of free trade, free travel, migration, and diplomatic solutions to conflict. The idea that Paul is a racist also are not based on anything Paul has ever said. He is distinctly anti-racist. His philosophy is based on libertarian principles and the teachings of the Austrian school of economics, which is based on the principle of non-aggression. This is an extremely weak characterization of one of the few principled individuals in politics in the 20th century.