Pat Buchanan and the Grumpy Old Men

In the world of punditry there’s a man by the name of Pat Buchanan.    He’s been around a while. He’s kind of like the informal representative of the always vocal Grumpy Old Men contingent.The most common reaction to his writing is something like: “They still let you publish that kind of stuff?”     Yes, his style and ideology are old school, and he represents a brand of conservatism that in many ways predates the current model.  No one can accuse him of going with the grain.    While most conservatives have a special place in their hearts for laissez faire economics and free trade, Buchanan is arguably the most outspoken opponent of NAFTA amongst well-known pundits.    While most conservatives have embraced an interventionist foreign policy, Buchanan is an avowed isolationist. However it’s certainly not from any desire for peace and love. His isolationism is of an older variety. It’s of the stripe that deplores foreign wars because, after all, they usually involve people of different colors.     Buchanan likes to keep the words “involve” and “people of color” in distinctly different sentences.     Oh yes, he also ran for president in 2000 — much to the confusion of many Floridians.      I bring him up because of a somewhat controversial article he wrote recently.  Like most people related to modern politics, he felt the need to address the populist anger against Obama.     You can probably guess whose side he was on.    If you can’t, here’s a hint: after his article lists of a number of America’s alleged ills — including affirmative action, immigration and the secularization of America’s schools — the article concludes with an ode to Middle America: “America was once their country. They sense they are losing it. And they are right.”     That’s straight out of the Grumpy Old Men playbook. It’s also flat out wrong.    America has gone through many distinct waves of immigration, each with its respective anti-immigrant sentiment. It was founded by some of the most secular men of its time on some of the most secular principles.  And African Americans have been part of literally all of America’s history — suffering for the majority of it.     None of that really matters to the Grumpy Old Men contingent though. They’re the type of people who love to believe that America is irrevocably changing for the worse. You won’t convince them otherwise.    It’s also sort of humorous the way they’ve become obsessed Middle America in the process. They treat it like environmentalists treat the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — they’ll never actually spend time there; they’re just comforted to know it exists.    In the end, Buchanan and company will probably always think they’re losing something. I’m not convinced. Although I do sincerely hope that their prospects are as grim as the Washington Redskins’.