They made a handsome couple, sitting on the aisle of Spaulding Auditorium—too well-dressed, it seemed, to be students; though they are, in fact, Dartmouth seniors, she majoring in chemistry, he in mathematics. I asked why they had come to hear Pat Buchanan speak, and he answered, with an elegant British accent: “I just want to see a man who could say words I thought no human being capable of.” What words, for instance? He pointed to a text on the page of Buchanan sayings that had been handed out in front of the auditorium: “If we had to take a million immigrants in, say, Zulus next year, or Englishmen, and put them up in Virginia, what group would be easier to assimilate?” Why did that quote disturb him? “Because we’re Zulus,” said Mdudzi Keswa; and Chuma Mbalu nodded ruefully. I asked if they intended to put any questions to the speaker after his talk. They shook their heads no. They are too dignified to join the protesters outside, who were chanting as they came in:
Send the fucker home—
Till he’s gone we’ll bitch and moan.
“If it weren’t for real, it would be a great joke,” Mr. Keswa said. If it weren’t for real. The nine hundred people in the auditorium, and those turned away at the door, seem to indicate that Patrick Buchanan is for real. But really what? The only real conservative in the race, he contends—though most well-known conservatives deny that he is one of them. Coming into this hall, I met Jeffrey Hart, the Dartmouth English teacher who, along with his student son, launched The Dartmouth Review, famous for its mockery of blacks, gays, and indigenous Americans. Hart, a choleric redhead whose face is a conflagration, was backing Buchanan, I had just learned at the office of The Dartmouth Review. Wasn’t he disturbed by William Buckley’s claim, in National Review (of which Hart is a senior editor), that Buchanan is guilty of anti-Semitic statements? Hart focused his red eyes, volcanic coals in the conflagration, and said: “No. Bill is concerned with Pat’s protectionism—as, indeed, am I.” Then the anti-Semitic charge is just a pretense? “Mainly. The main thing he has on him is his use of the four names of kids who would do the fighting. There are no Anglo-Saxon names there, either.” (Buchanan had said the fighting in the Gulf War was cheered on by Israel’s “amen corner,” including A.M. Rosenthal, Richard Perle, Charles Krauthammer, and Henry Kissinger. He later said the fighting would be “done by kids with names like McAl-lister, Murphy, Gonzales, and Leroy Brown.”) Hart is willing to swallow his fears about Buchanan’s protectionism in order to get rid of George Bush, whose betrayal of conservatism is unforgivable. Hart wrote, in the November 20 issue of The Dartmouth Review: “As a political leader, George Bush is afflicted with heat-seeking stupidity.”
The Buckley article on Buchanan is something …
This article is available to subscribers only.
Please choose from one of the options below to access this article:
Purchase a print premium subscription (20 issues per year) and also receive online access to all all content on nybooks.com.
Purchase an Online Edition subscription and receive full access to all articles published by the Review since 1963.