Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Politics of Scapegoating

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Politics of Scapegoating

Article excerpt

GOP presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan has been busy divesting his campaign of people with racist and militia connections. "We don't want anybody in our campaign who's associated with any organization today that is racist or has any ties to these groups which I find deeply offensive," Mr. Buchanan declared the other day.

Mr. Buchanan has dropped from his Florida organization a woman who is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of White People and dismissed the former state chairman of David Duke's 1992 presidential campaign from his steering committee in South Carolina. Earlier, Larry Pratt stepped down as one of the co-chairmen of Mr. Buchanan's campaign after reports that he was among the speakers at rallies sponsored by hate groups like the Aryan Nation.

As commendable as it was for Mr. Buchanan to distance himself from these people, one wonders how it is that they were attracted to him in the first place. There must be something in what he has said that makes them think he shares their intolerance of blacks, Jews and other minorities. There is. He has questioned the authenticity of the Holocaust and indicated that those who are not white Christians have less claim to being Americans.

His dislike for foreigners is evident in his proposal to stop all immigration for five years. He focuses mainly on Mexicans, saying they are engaged in an invasion of the United States.

And his views on social issues are, to say the least, primitive. He doesn't want evolution taught in the schools, and he has heaped scorn on people suffering from AIDS, saying "they could not or would not control their suicidal appetites." The same could be said of cigarette smokers who develop lung cancer, though Mr. Buchanan is not likely to say so.

So it is no surprise that the bellicose former columnist and presidential speech writer should attract disgruntled Americans, especially those in search of someone to blame. …

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