Communion

It is a warm and silent night in October 1972. Pat Buchanan, a young speechwriter in the Nixon White House, walks along an abandoned Connecticut Avenue, stopping occasionally to gaze at the crescent moon. Suddenly the sky cracks open, a beam of pink light strikes Pat in the face, and the temperature drops 20 degrees; a figure with the body of Francisco Franco and the face of the Virgin Mary materializes on the sidewalk, speaking through a wall of static:

"This is a transmission from the year 2-0-0-6. Repeat: This is a transmission from the year 2-0-0-6. Come in, Pat Buchanan. Come in, Pat Buchanan."

Startled, Pat says, "That's me." And then: "You say you're calling from the year 2006?"

"Yes," replies the entity.

"What will I be doing for a living then?" Pat asks.

"You're a newspaper columnist, a TV pundit, and an editor at a magazine you helped to found, The American Conservative."

Pat considers this. "That sounds plausible," he says. "What sort of stuff do I run in this magazine?"

The entity coughs. "Conservative stuff. You know."

"Well, could you give an example?"

The entity sighs. "The current issue has a cover story about the abuse of executive power."

Pat brightens. "Nixon's still around?" he asks.

"Only in spirit," says the entity. "But, actually, the story comes out against the abuses."

Pat mulls this for a moment. "Hmm. Well, what else is in the issue?"

The entity gets testy. "I didn't beam in to talk to you about your magazine," it says. "I have an important message about FBI associate direc--"

"Come on," says Pat. "What piece comes after the cover story?"

The entity looks uncomfortable. "It's a warm profile of-- um, of George McGovern."

"Come again?"

"McGovern. And the campaign he ran in 1972. It-- Where are you going?"

But Buchanan has walked directly through the sputtering spirit, laughing at the lies of the creature from the future. Within half an hour he is downing his third glass of whiskey and convincing himself the encounter never took place.

(The McGovern profile, written by the libertarian journalist Bill Kauffman, is well worth reading, though it might confuse any reader who believes the whole country can be reduced to the colors red and blue. The same goes for Scott McConnell's paleoconservative appreciation of Eugene McCarthy, published in the same issue.)

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  • ||

    Politics is a circle, not a line.

    There always was a little topology problem with red-blue.

  • ||

    Was...

    Was that a reference to John Carpenter's "Prince of Darkness?"

    Wow.

  • ||

    It looks like I need to peruse AmCon more frequently. Those are well-written articles.

  • MP||

    Was that a reference to John Carpenter's "Prince of Darkness?"

    That's what I thought of. That movie had the best ending of any John Carpenter movie, and that's saying something.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Yes, one of the allusions is a shout-out to Prince of Darkness. A good horror movie that would have been great if they'd dropped a few extraneous, obnoxious characters.

  • ||

    What a beautiful and insightful article on McGovern! I had the distinct pleasure of campaigning for him as a college student, and this article brings back som very nice memories (despite the lopsided loss).

    Ah, if only being a good person and being able to successfully run for President weren't so often mutually exclusive.

  • Jeff P.||

    My future self once appeared to me. All he told me was that I should renew my Reason subscription.

    Mu future self is a shilling libertarian whore.

  • ||

    I am a big fan of Buchanan's magazine. It is consistently the most suprising political magazine out there, along with Reason. One can really not geuss what will be in it. Last year they had a pro-vegetarian article, a defense of mass transit and defenses of free speech. Its consistently one of the most thoughtful magazines around.

  • ||

    As a South Dakotan who was raised my McGovern Democrats, I must say that I've never seen an article that has understood McGovern better than that one. McGovern basically blended the Christian "Social Gospel" with Jeffersonianism in a way that, while not entirely my cup of tea, was refreshingly honest; a characteristic few politicians today possess. South Dakota's other Democratic productions haven't learned their lessons quite as well- Daschle's ego got the best of him, and Tim Johnson, while one of the few senators I have much of any respect for, is too much of a wonkish back-bencher to ever really claim McGovern's mantle. Stephanie Herseth, SD's lone representative, is the future of the party; she manages to touch the libertarian streak of South Dakota dems, independents and republicans in a way that neither of the state's Democratic senators since McGovern could (including Johnson, Daschle, and Abourezk)...

    To believe that such an article could come from a publication run by a character as loathsome as Buchanan... I might have to give AmCon a few more looks...

  • ||

    Cognitive dissonance....my head may explode......

  • R C Dean||

    If my future self appeared to me and didn't pass on a few stock tips, I'd be pissed.

    Plus I'd doubt that it really was my future self. I know if I could go back to 1986 to impart words of wisdom, I'd damn sure have something to say about Microsoft. And shorting the market big-time in October 1987 and again in February 2000.

  • ||

    PAt Buchanan is one of those people who I always want to either applaud or throttle. He is always interesting either way. It makes sense that I would find his magazine equally as intriguing/aggravating.
    For example, noone more effectively came to the defense of Richard Clarke when the Bushies were attempting to smear him. I begrudgingly had to give him props for that.

  • fyodor||

    The article seems to blame his fellow Democrats like Scoop Jackson primarily for painting him soft on defense, but of course Nixon's campaign played no small part in that. Maybe that was understandable since Nixon was running against the guy, but then so was Jackson. Another factor was where McGovern got the bulk of his earliest support, from the far-left and the anti-war movement, most of whom gave the impression they wouldn't likely have been as adept as George at manning a B-24. Not saying that's fair, just saying it wasn't just all Scoop Jackson's doing.

  • ||

    Big fan & faithful reader of AM here. However, I am not sure i would want any of their ilk in power. I mean, the Weekly Standard used to be an interesting magazine back when Bill Clinton was saving the world - now it looks like The Manifesto.

  • Dave W.||

    Or you could recommend KBR stocks to yourself. Why try to prevent 9/11 when there is a profit to be made, eh RCD?

    RCD: "minarchist" or war profiteer -- you make the call.

  • ||

    Dave, have you stopped beating your wife?

  • Jeff Smith||

    Speaking of Bill Kauffman, how come reason never published any more of his stuff after he moved on from being an editor? He has always been a fantastic writer. He was at Reason when I was a summer intern back in 1984 and would tell me great stories of conversations he had had with offbeat characters around Santa Barbara. He is sort of a working man's libertarian - which is part of what makes him interesting. It would be great to see him in Reason again.

    Jeff

  • joshua corning||

    That's what I thought of. That movie had the best ending of any John Carpenter movie, and that's saying something.

    what the hell are you talking about? hello, "The thing"!

    Two guys freezing to death in antarctca drinking thier last drink while still not sure if one of them is an alien.

    and then there is the the end to "escape from LA" when snake ends civilization with a click of the button.

    what friggin planet are you on?

    Oh some evil guy coming out of a church ooooh so scary...crap!

  • Dave W.||

    I understand that RCD would prevent 9/11 and Okla City if he could do that trick from the Dick Hell song. I just found it revealing that he wanted to attend to his stock tips first.

  • ||

    Was that a reference to John Carpenter's "Prince of Darkness?"

    So, in some run-down Catholic church somewhere, there is a huge bottle filled with liquifid Richard Nixon?

    Why are the locks on the OUTSIDE???

  • Kevin Carson||

    Reminds me of that scene in Illuminatus! where Drake tells somebody in the late '40s that "conservative" will soon mean supporting unlimited executive power and foreign adventurism. Of course, he didn't believe it.

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