Principalities & Powersrnby Samuel FrancisrnThe Buchanan VictoryrnWhether a full-scale nuclear war betweenrnmodern superpowers would lastrnquite as long as the three-week blitzkriegrnamong this year’s candidates for the Republicanrnpresidential nomination is anrnintriguing question that neither militaryrnnor political scientists seem to havernasked, but whatever the answer, a duelrnwith nuclear weapons might well be lessrnbloodthirsty than the GOP’s recentrnshoot-out at the OK Corral of Americanrndemocracy. Rousseau remarked that thernEnglish people were really free only oncernevery seven years when they were allowedrnto vote for a new Parliament, andrnto judge from the foolishness, lies, andrnchicanery in which most of the leadingrnRepublican contenders engaged, Americansrnmight be better off if we gave up thernpretense of freedom entirely and contentedrnourselves with the benign and pacificrnOriental despotism of Suleiman thernMagnihcent.rnThe fraudulence of the Republicanrnprimaries was transparent from the first,rnwith the most insipid of the candidates,rnLamar Alexander, running around therncountry banging on a piano in his increasinglyrnmalodorous plaid shirt. If thernRepublican rank-and-filers who had tornendure his clowning had any self-respect,rnthey would have pelted him from thernpodium with rotten fruit and dead catsrnfor coming before them with his insultsrnto their intelligence. But few of the otherrnne’er-do-wells who presented themselvesrnfor the mandate of the people’srnwill were any better.rnYet the star of the Republican primaries,rnand most likely of the whole election,rnwas Pat Buchanan, whose early victoriesrnseemed to promise a politicalrnrevolution that would elevate Americanrnpolitics above the level of mind-numbingrnpiano-playing and the triumph ofrnhigh-rolling backstairs intrigue. Buchananrnwas by far the most interesting andrnthe most substantive candidate the Republicansrnor the country had to offer,rnand for those Americans who havernglimpsed the full depths of the depravityrnto which our political culture has sunk, itrnwas no surprise that his early successesrnwere greeted by the concerted onslaughtrnof mendacity and character assassinationrnthat played a major role in turning hisrnsuccess into failure.rnBuchanan’s victory in New Hampshirernelicited much the same mentalityrninside Washington, on both the rightrnand the left, that must have prevailed inrnParis when the Germans swung aroundrnthe Maginot Line, and one can easilyrnimagine such spokesdogs of the old orderrnas Sam Donaldson and George Willrnhoofing it to Casablanca to wheedle forrnletters of transit to some safer climate.rnThe old order did not crumble, ofrncourse, but stood and fought with thernonly weapons it has left, and for the lastrntwo weeks of February and well intornMarch, the court media raked up and rehearsedrnevery conceivable flaw, foible,rnand florid passage remotely associatedrnwith Buchanan, from provocative sentencesrnin his columns a decade earlier tornconfidential memoranda he had writtenrnfor Richard Nixon in the early ’70s; to thernschoolboy tricks he and his brothers mayrnor may not have played on the neighborsrnof their parents in the 1950’s; to thernfriends with whom he occasionally hasrndinner today; to the way he pronouncedrnsupposed “code words” like “GoldmanrnSachs.” If the last one was part of a code,rnnone but the Ruling Class itself understoodrnit, since most Americans probablyrnthink Goldman Sachs is the name of arnManhattan department store.rnUndoubtedly the smear-krieg was onernof the principal reasons for Buchanan’srnsubsequent loss; even if Republican votersrndidn’t believe it, they knew it was onlyrna foretaste of what would be unleashedrnif Buchanan won the nomination, andrnthey also figured (perhaps inaccurately)rnthat a nominee subjected to such a mendaciousrnNiagara could not win the election.rnSince winning the election is thernonly principle the Stupid Party caresrnabout any more, it seemed to follow thatrnthe harmless and decrepit Bob Dolernrather than Buchanan should be the party’srnchoice.rnBut there is another reason for Buchanan’srnfailure besides the smear-krieg byrnleft and right, and that has to do with arnfundamental flaw of his campaign. Thatrnflaw was probably not the fault of therncandidate himself, at least not in anyrnsense larger than that the man in chargernis always at fault for whatever goesrnwrong, and it may be a flaw that is inherentrnin the nature of any populist crusadernof the right in contemporary Americanrnpolitics. But it remains a flaw, and itrnneeds to be made clear to anyone whornseeks to pick up the Buchanan mantle inrnthe future.rnPrecisely because Buchanan chose tornchallenge the power structure of Americanrnpolitics, he was never able to attractrnthe high-dollar contributions from thernplutocrats that constantly fed the campaignsrnof his rivals. By the time of thernArizona primary, the turning point ofrnthe campaign, Buchanan had spent a totalrnof about $ 10 million, compared to thern$25 million spent by Mr. Dole and MalcolmrnS. “Steve” Forbes, Jr. Mr. Forbes, ofrncourse, spent his own monc)’ in order tornavoid federal spending limits, and by doingrnso he was able to buy the Arizona primary,rnone of his few victories. Dole,rnAlexander, and even Phil Gramm, preciselyrnbecause they mounted campaignsrnintended to serve the plutocracy, werernable to pull far more money into theirrncoffers and to deck out their campaignsrnwith all the bells and whistles needed tornmake good Republicans believe that therncandidates before them and the choicesrnoffered them are real.rnBecause of the financial limitations ofrnthe Buchanan campaign, Buchanan wasrnunable to build the kind of organizationrnhe needed. His strategy from the firstrnwas to concentrate his whole effort onrnearly states like Louisiana, Iowa, andrnNew Hampshire, and in those states hisrnorganization was sound and his effortsrnwere victorious. The problems arose immediatelyrnafterwards, when the lack ofrnpreparation in Arizona, South Carolina,rnand Georgia began to cause the campaign’srnbottom to fall out.rnNot only was the campaign unpreparedrnin those and other statss, butrnBuchanan failed to make use of the issuesrnthat could have brought him grassrootsrnvotes there. He failed to make affirmativernaction a major theme in thern42/CHRONICLESrnrnrn