sophistication that tie down modernnpublic discourse and to rely upon fundamentalnprinciples in his columns,nspeeches, and television appearances.nFor this we should be eternally grateful.nBuchanan tells us that while serving innthe White House he ghostwrotenNixon’s “Silent Majority” speech andnVice President Agnew’s famous illuminationnof the sinister power of thenmedia. These, so far, were certainly thenhigh points of American rhetoric in thensecond half of the 20th century,nthough they have as yet borne no fruitnin policy.nBuchanan gives us occasional tidbitsnlike these from his years seated near thenmighty. His recollection of his first twonmeetings with Nixon, for instance,nshould be of interest to every futurenstudent of that phenomenon. However,nthose who hope for a politicalninsider’s memoirs of 20 years (on andnoff) in the Nixon and Reagan WhitenHouse — including the explosions ofnWatergate and Iran-Contra—will bendisappointed by Right From the Beginning.nThat, Buchanan tells us, is fornthe next book. This is not a politician’snshow-and-tell but a conservative’snBildungsroman.nHe does give us two concludingnchapters of political prescription for thenfuture, beginning with an account ofnhis brief presidential precampaign inn1987, humorously entitled “Is ThatnChurchill Under the Bed?” Buchanannwithdrew, he tells us, because he couldnnot hope to win and would only havendetracted from the strength of Kempnand Robertson. Those words werenwritten before Pat Buchanan’s belovednconservative movement was left with anchoice between a Rockefeller Republicannand a Ford Republican (both, as hencomments in another context, cowboysnwho are all hat and no cattle).nI wonder if he thinks differentlynnow? What might a principled andnhard-hitting conservative candidacynhave done to transform the campaignninto something from which some hopenor value might have been salvaged?nBuchanan, it is true, has no politicalnbase in the traditional sense. He hasnmade his career in the media, and as annappointed official in the executivenbranch. He does not come, exceptnspiritually (which is after all the mostnimportant way), from the grassroots. Itnis amazing how old-fashioned andnbackward our political party system is.nOur society is now almost totally centralizednand consolidated in everynsphere, and it is nearly impossible tonrise or to have any influence unless younbegin near the top, whether in business,nprofessions, culture, or communications.nOnly in the instance of thenpolitical parties (and organized crime)ndoes one still have to begin near thenward-heeler level to build a “base.”nWithout such a political base, PatnBuchanan was justified in his hesitation.nOn the other hand, as he clearlynrecognizes, the key to political leadershipntoday is communication. Buchanannis certainly able to communicate,nnot because of some magic articulateness,nbut because he has somethingnhonest and deeply felt to say (likenRonald Reagan before he began tonsound like Ike or Gerald Ford).nHe is probably the only person innsight who could really carry out hisnprescription for the next RepublicannPresident: to accept the need for ancontinuing principled confrontationnwith the media and their Democraticnnnallies. We do not know if this will worknbecause it has never been tried withnperseverance. Why is it that whenevernit has been tried and seemed to work itnwas hastily abandoned for a policy ofn”go along and get along”? That—thenavoidance of principle except on thenhard left—is, I suppose, a part of thenmuch-touted “genius of American politics.”nThese are my conclusions, not PatnBuchanan’s, but he ought to agree withnthem. He is loyal to his former bosses,nNixon and Reagan, a loyalty quitenold-fashioned and commendable undernthe circumstances. I would notnhave it any other way. But it takes onlyna little reading between the lines to cullnout of Right From the Beginning annindictment of stupendous and tragicnfailures of principle by these flawednleaders, despite protestations to thencontrary.nOur era is not like the 50’s, henobserves, rightly. “Our political andnsocial quarrels now partake of the savagerynof religious wars because, atnbottom, they are religious wars. ThenJULY 1988129n