I'm sitting here on my futon, watching the postgame on MSNBC after the Democratic debate. There was lots of good stuff in the debate, with some distinctions made between the candidates' various positions on issues like Iraq and Social Security and even Iran. On Iraq, Edwards said that, if he is the nominee,
When I am on the stage with the Republican nominee, come the fall of 2008, I'm gonna make it clear that I'm for ending the war, and the debate will be between a Democrat, who wants to bring the war to an end, get all the American combat troops out of Iraq, and a Republican who wants to continue the war.Well, yeah, actually we have been waiting for somebody higher in the polls than Kwhocinich to say it in that kind of unequivocal language. Hillary clarified that she might continue a combat presence on a strictly anti-terrorism mission against al Qaeda, but would bring home "the vast majority of our combat troops."
But there's a reason my headline names Pat Buchanan instead of one of the actual candidates....
Firstly, a couple of quick references on Pat Buchanan, for those few readers to whom his name is anything less than nauseatingly familiar: his own website and blog, and his Wikipedia entry. In brief, he was a speechwriter for Nixon, ran for President in 1992, 1996, and 2000, and set the Republicans off on the wrong foot in the '92 campaign by giving a speech that introduced the phrase "culture war" into watercooler conversations. He was anti-feminist, anti-gay-rights, anti-abortion, and decidedly pro-religious-Right; chaaaaaarming.
After the debate tonight, Buchanan and Chris Matthews ("Tweety" as many on DailyKos call him, although I think that's unfairly dismissive) were dissecting the statements, the motivations, the who scored a point with what segment of the audience. They specifically addressed a question from the debate about the designation of not just the Iranian Quds Force, but the entire Revolutionary Guard, as a terrorist organization; Buchanan pitched his case that Edwards is running too far to the left, in hopes of catching the support of the Base, but endangering his prospects next fall in the process. It is absolutely beyond me that anyone thinks that Pat Buchanan stands at a good vantage point for assessing the views of the great political Center, the expanding waistline of America's fast-food politics. You'd need somebody to the Left of Lenin to properly "balance" Buchanan. But then, he revealed his dirty little secret: Pat Buchanan is actually a Leftie!
Matthews: But was Edwards right that [the Kyl–Lieberman amendment] was just another version of the Iraqi Liberation Act, another prelude to war?So, let's recap the recap. John Edwards is going too far to the left for the broader American public. He's chasing after that Liberal, Leftie, MoveOn, DailyKos kind of voter, but thereby hurting his chances with Joe Average. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is putting forward the right balance of hawk and dove, politically speaking, to get her elected President. However, Pat Buchanan, who clearly thinks he is Mr. Right in more ways than one, not only agrees with Edwards, but believes that the alternative — the bizarre marriage of convenience between the neocons and the more timid Democrats, cheerfully giving Dubya yet more power — is a threat to our national security.
Buchanan: Look, I agree with Edwards' position.
Matthews: Isn't his main argument that this is setting up an excuse to go to war —
Buchanan: Oh, he's exactly right!
Matthews: — We're declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, which gives a justification to the President to act.
Buchanan: They're moving incrementally to give the President a blank check to attack Iran, correct. Politically she's still helping herself in the center, and Edwards is helping himself on the Left.
In short, by his very own logic, Pat Buchanan is a part of that Leftie base to whom John Edwards is pitching. (Either that, or it's further proof that the Left and the Right have ganged up to crush the Center.)
P.S. The answer I was waiting to hear to the last question of the night (Sox or Yankees?): "I honestly don't have a horse in that race. They're both fine teams, but one lesson from the Iraq War is, Don't go running into the middle of some historic rivalry. I'll let the score of the game settle the question of which team is better."
...obligatory plug for my own blog, "The Third Path"
Technorati tags: Pat Buchanan, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Democratic Debate, Chris Matthews, MSNBC, Iran, Iraq War
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