Skip to main content Accessibility

Selling Racism

Since the start of his latest book tour, Patrick Buchanan has appeared on just about every major television and cable network in the country, often more than once.


Pat Buchanan's latest book is a white nationalist screed. But that hasn't stopped it from climbing the best-seller charts.

By Alexander Zaitchik

 Since the start of his latest book tour, Patrick Buchanan has appeared on just about every major television and cable network in the country, often more than once. He's been on NBC's "Today" show, the three most watched news programs on FOX, CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight," HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," and countless radio programs. During one four-day period in late August, the author was welcomed on no less than five NBC-affiliated programs. Together, these appearances have made Buchanan's new book, State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, a runaway bestseller.

The three-time presidential candidate is no stranger to the major media, being personally acquainted with many of those who interviewed him. A veteran columnist with the Creators Syndicate and an analyst for MSNBC, Buchanan was a founding member of three prime-time network or cable channel talk shows and has written for many of the nation's major newspapers and magazines. That might explain the kid-gloves treatment he got from virtually all his interviewers, most of whom did not seem to have read or understood the book they were helping to publicize.

In fact, the book reflects racial views that have now veered to the extreme. White America is changing color, Buchanan argues -- "one of the greatest tragedies in human history." The Mexican government is involved in a plot to take over the Southwestern United States, and parts of this country already look like the "Third World." The segregated South wasn't all bad "culturally" -- blacks and whites were united, after all. America, despite what its founders wrote, was a nation formed not on the basis of creed but rather a homogenous ethnic culture. To put it plainly, State of Emergency is a white nationalist tract. The thesis is that America must retain a white majority to survive as a nation. It is rooted in a blood-and-soil nationalism more blood than soil. The echoes of Nazi ideology are clear and chilling. As Buchanan helpfully explained to John King, who was interviewing him in one of his several CNN appearances: "We gotta get into race and ethnic questions."

State of Emergency unapologetically reflects Buchanan's insistence on the centrality of race to the United States and its culture. "This idea of America as a creedal nation bound together not by 'blood or birth or soil' but by 'ideals' that must be taught and learned ... is demonstrably false," Buchanan writes in the book.

Simply put, America is not a nation of ideas. It is a nation of people -- white people. Buchanan is especially overt in making this case when he endorses the view of his late mentor and editor Sam Francis, that American and European civilizations could never have been created without the "genetic endowments" of whites. He goes on to describe discussions of race as "the Great Taboo"; to ignore the role of race, he adds, is "like not telling one's doctor of a recurring pain that could kill you."

None of this seems to bother Buchanan's cheerleaders.

"Congratulations on the response to your book," said Lou Dobbs, the CNN anchorman who has made a profession of attacking illegal immigration in story after story after story, as he introduced his old CNN colleague. Dobbs then offered up his own view that President Bush was carrying on an "outright war" against middle-class Americans by allowing illegal immigration. Wrapping up the interview, Dobbs concluded: "The book is State of Emergency. It's No. 3 on the best-selling list. ... I'm going to repeat it one more time. The book is State of Emergency. Pat Buchanan, always good to talk to you. ... [Y]ou've got a lot of readers, so keep it rolling."

Dobbs isn't the only one helping Buchanan keep his book rolling.

James Edwards, a former volunteer in Buchanan's 2000 presidential campaign and current host of the Memphis AM radio show "The Political Cesspool," did his part, too. But this show was no mainstream broadcast. It has featured an array of past and present Klansmen and neo-Nazis, a veritable "Who's Who" of the radical right. In an exultant E-mail sent out by the radio show after Buchanan was featured, long-time white supremacist Winston Smith celebrated.

"Don't ever let anyone tell you that this broadcast doesn't matter, my friends," he wrote, "because when the likes of Pat Buchanan agrees to be on your program, he does so only after his people have researched the program and decided it's in their interest."

State of Emergency is not the first book to reflect Buchanan's racialist philosophy. In 2002, Buchanan's The Death of the West warned white Christendom against a looming demographic tipping point. (The book's message so energized former Klan leader David Duke that Duke fantasized on his own radio show last year about winning the presidency with Buchanan as his running mate.) It was in that book -- edited by Francis, chief ideologue of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens -- that Buchanan first began using the explicit language of white nationalism. In his footnotes to The Death of the West, the former Nixon speechwriter even cited the late William Pierce, author of the race-war novel The Turner Diaries (the blueprint for the Oklahoma City bombing) and the founder of America's then-leading neo-Nazi group, to back up his own arguments.

Once again, to make his case in State of Emergency, Buchanan relies on a trove of extreme-right sources. His urgent call for thwarting the "invasion" of non-European immigrants leans heavily on material written by hate group members or postings on hate sites, with citations to nearly every sector of the hate movement, from neo-Nazis to neo-Confederates. He cites the work of white supremacist James Lubinskas; Edward Rubinstein, of the white nationalist think tank National Policy Institute; Clyde Wilson, a board member of the racist and secessionist League of the South; and Wayne Lutton, a veteran immigrant- and gay-hater. Buchanan also quotes Lutton's anti-immigrant hate journal The Social Contract.

Buchanan is equally schooled in hate from abroad, mentioning work of British white supremacist Derek Turner published in the American hate journal The Occidental Quarterly, which argues "the civilization and free governments that whites have created" will collapse as they become a minority. And Buchanan knows the oldies-but-goodies, quoting English politician Enoch Powell approvingly at the beginning of his final chapter. Powell was dumped by the Tory leadership in 1968 for claiming that non-white immigration would cause "rivers of blood" to flow in Britain; he has been a white nationalist icon ever since. (In the book, Buchanan claims Powell was essentially correct in his analysis of the problem, but that his "Rivers of Blood" speech was taken out of its original context and distorted.)

Buchanan is especially enamored of his deceased friend Sam Francis, the white supremacist who was fired in 1995 by The Washington Times for breaking the "race taboo" and went on to a 10-year career editing the Citizens Informer, a bimonthly newsletter put out by the Council of Conservative Citizens, which grew out of the segregationist White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and '60s. Far more than Buchanan's friend and editor, Francis was his mentor. Buchanan knows Francis' racist oeuvre inside and out, citing some seven Francis pieces. Buchanan's basic argument in State of Emergency - America should be a white country and dark-skinned immigrants threaten it - was made by Francis for years.

Now, through his old friend Buchanan, Francis continues to be heard from beyond the grave.