There can be no doubt, reasonable or otherwise, that Patrick Buchanan, the erstwhile ultra-right wing presidential candidate and senior official in the Nixon and Reagan White Houses who is now an extremely well-paid political commentator on MSNBC, is a hard-core anti-Semite. I previously listed highlights of his extensive anti-Semitic record in "Patrick Buchanan: What Else Is New?" May 25, 2010; "The Nazi War Criminal and Jesus: Patrick Buchanan's Obscene Comparison," April 29, 2009; and "Patrick Buchanan Quacks Like a Nazi Sympathizer," September 3, 2008.
It is often overlooked, however, that Buchanan is an equal opportunity bigot. At different times, he has also disparaged African Americans, women, and gays, among others. Jamison Foser provided an extensive inventory of Buchanan's incendiary comments in his well-researched June 9, 2009, article on Media Matters for America, "What would Pat Buchanan have to say to get himself fired from MSNBC?"
Nuggets of Buchanan's greatest hits taken from his syndicated columns, over and above those cited by Foser, include:
• "The War Between the States was about independence, about self-determination, about the right of a people to break free of a government to which they could no longer give allegiance. How long is this endless groveling before every cry of 'racism' going to continue before the whole country collectively throws up?" July 28, 1993.
• "Rail as they will about 'discrimination,' women are simply not endowed by nature with the same measures of single-minded ambition and the will to succeed in the fiercely competitive world of Western capitalism." November 22, 1983.
• "Homosexuality involves sexual acts most men consider not only immoral, but filthy. The reason public men rarely say aloud what most say privately is they are fearful of being branded 'bigots' by an intolerant liberal orthodoxy that holds, against all evidence and experience, that homosexuality is a normal, healthy lifestyle." "The New Morality and Barney Frank," September 3, 1989.
• With 80,000 dead of AIDS, our promiscuous homosexuals appear literally hell-bent on Satanism and suicide." October 17, 1990.
According to Pitchfork Pat, Old Dixie was the good side in the Civil War, women are genetically inferior, and gays are promiscuous proponents of Satanism. Alongside these Neanderthal tenets, his anti-Semitism is positively enlightened.
Moreover, as Foser accurately observed, "the most extraordinary thing about MSNBC's continued employment of Pat Buchanan is that all of this barely scratches the surface. Anyone willing to devote a few minutes can easily find dozens, if not hundreds, more examples of flagrantly over-the-top rhetoric targeting racial and ethnic minorities, women, gays, and immigrants, among others -- from the '60s through the present day."
On an ongoing basis, Buchanan is far more offensive than Don Imus, who was dumped by MSNBC for his racially insensitive remarks about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, ever was. MSNBC also suspended David Shuster after he had made a single vulgar and inappropriate comment about Chelsea Clinton's role in the 2008 primary campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. In sharp contrast, Buchanan has never even been publicly chastened by his employers at the cable news channel.
A letter writing campaign last year by the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants after Buchanan was outed for sponsoring a Holocaust denial forum on his official website had no apparent effect. More recently, the National Jewish Democratic Council launched a petition asking Creators Syndicate, which syndicates Buchanan's columns, to drop Buchanan as a client, but this effort also does not seem to have caused any ripples at MSNBC.
It is high time for more drastic measures.
An Internet petition calling on MSNBC to sack Buchanan - which can be found here - has so far gotten 1,500 signatures. That is woefully inadequate. If even a fraction of Huffington Post readers, their friends and their friends' friends were to add their names to this petition, this might at long last get the attention of Phil Griffin, MSNBC's president. Similarly, if members of synagogues, churches, mosques, as well as Jewish, African-American, gay rights and women's rights groups, and all others who are offended by Buchanan's rants, were to do likewise, and if this petition were also to be sent to MSNBC's corporate sponsors, the good people at MSNBC might at the very least be moved to make Buchanan's toxic views a topic of on-the-air discussion.
Readers of this article who consider Buchanan's continued appearances on MSNBC distasteful are asked to sign the petition and to forward its link - http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/ask-msnbc-to-fire-pat-buchanan - to their friends, relatives, members of religious congregations and civic groups, and anyone else they think might be receptive, with a personal request that they, too, sign on to the petition, and to ask them to pass it on in turn.
As it happens, I don't really care if MSNBC decides to keep Buchanan on its roster. He has an absolute First Amendment right to be a racist, misogynistic, homophobic anti-Semite, and MSNBC has an equally absolute right to employ him. What MSNBC should not be allowed to get away with is passing him off as a respectable analyst rather than identifying him as its bigot in residence.
Menachem Z. Rosensaft is General Counsel of the World Jewish Congress, Adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, and Vice President of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants