Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Buchanan Remains a Back-Alley Bully

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Buchanan Remains a Back-Alley Bully

Article excerpt

Blade Buchanan scares me. I mean Pat Buchanan, but that's what he was called in our neighborhood. He was awarded the moniker by a friend's mother who dismissed him as a "gay blade." These days, he is an un-gay blade.

But back in the '50s, he and his brawling brothers were the scourge of Washington's Catholic community. Boys at parochial schools all over the city would huddle on Monday mornings to whisper about the latest Buchanan hooliganism. Did you hear how they crashed a party and beat everyone up? Did you hear how they stuffed a hapless drunk in Ocean City into a garbage can and rolled him into the sea?

"We regarded the Buchanan Boys with the same awe and fear that Romanian peasants spoke of vampires," said my brother Michael.

Buchanan did not recall the Ocean City incident - perhaps it was apocryphal - but he fondly reminisced about how he and his brothers gave sucker punches to guys who stole their girls, or more important, their beer.

I wondered about that swagger. Sure, his speeches are full of war - Revolutionary, Civil, cultural, religious - but he's also skittish about swimming with jellyfish and driving in the snow. He presents himself as a rough-and-tough populist, but his idea of a good time is sitting in his McLean, Va., pile, with his gingery cat, Gipper, in his lap, while he sips chardonnay and peruses a tome about tariffs in the 19th century.

My brother Martin - who fled into the night when Pat's brothers asked for help in throwing a motorcycle over a wall - assured me: "Some bullies are cowards, but the Buchanans were not. They were extremely intelligent and a little crazy. You knew if you got into a fight with them, you'd better be ready to fight."

This is precisely what Bob Dole and Phil Gramm are discovering.

Unlike Dole, Buchanan does not treat conservatism as an out-of-body experience. He connects with audiences who enjoy the spectacle of a man who means what he says.

He called the delegates at the conference in Beijing "elitists, socialists, hard-leftists and radicals. …

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