VIEWSrnFrom Household to NationrnThe Middle American Populism of Pat Buchananrnby Samuel FrancisrnIf there was any major difference between the presidentialrncampaign of Pat Buchanan in 1995 and his first run at thernRepublican nomination in 1992, it was the relative calm withrnwhich his enemies greeted the announcement of his secondrncandidacy and his rapid move last year to the forefront of thernRepublican field. Rabbi Avi Weiss and his goon platoons stillrnfound time and someone else’s money to dog Buchanan’s stepsrnfrom New Hampshire to California, and occasionally some otherrnhired thug, usually a failed neoconservative politician, wouldrnemerge from the political graveyard to moan about Buchanan’srn”fascism,” his “nativism,” or his “racism.” But in general, evenrnBuchanan’s most left-wing critics found the man himself likablernand many of his ideas compelling. Tom Carson of the VillagernVoice traveled with the Buchanan Brigades in Iowa lastrnspring, and despite the agony of enduring a couple of weeksrnslumming in the Heartland, he could not help but be drawn tornthe popular insurgency the candidate was mounting. “I’vernbeen waiting my whole life for someone running for presidentrnto talk about the Fortune 500 as the enemy,” Mr. Carson toldrnBuchanan, “and when I finally get my wish, it turns out to bernyou.”rnOf course, there was criticism. In the early stages, its mainrnthrust—from conservatives—was that Buchanan could notrnpossibly win the nomination, let alone the election, and thatrnhis image as a fringe candidate, the notorious organizationalrnweaknesses persisting from the 1992 campaign, and the lack ofrnSamuel Francis is a nationally syndicated columnist and arncontributing editor to Chronicles.rnadequate money this time would stop him from becoming anyrnmore than a divisive vote-taker from real winners like PhilrnCramm. By the end of the year, the Texas Republican hadrnlargely faded from the discussion, though his bottomless pit ofrncontributions kept him in the race. The more recent polls showrnBuchanan leading or matching Cramm in key early states likernNew Hampshire and Iowa, and by last summer Pat’s fund-raisingrnwas outstripping that of the Texan’s opulent money machine.rnIt was beginning to look as though the boys who putrntheir dollar on Mr. Cramm had backed the wrong pony.rnBut despite Buchanan’s emergence as a major candidate,rnmost serious observers believed he could not win the nomination,rnlet alone the election, and that belief itself, widespreadrnamong conservatives preoccupied with getting rid of Bill Clinton,rnthreatened to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For thosernon the right who want only to oust the incumbent resident ofrnthe White House or impress their friends with invitations tornthe court soirees of the next Republican successor to the presidentialrnpurple, winning the election is all that matters, andrnBuchanan’s supposed unelectability was enough to make themrnlose interest. But the courtiers and professional partisans missrnthe larger victory the Buchanan campaign is on the eve of winning.rnIf Buchanan loses the nomination, it will be because hisrntime has not yet come, but the social and political forces onrnwhich both his campaigns have been based will not disappear,rnand even if he does lose, he will have won a place in history asrnan architect of the victory those forces will eventually build.rnThe importance of the Buchanan campaign lies not in its capacityrnto win the nomination or the national election but in itsrn12/CHRONICLESrnrnrn