Perot and Pat: A Match Made in Limbaugh Land

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At least Pat Buchanan won’t be going where he’s not wanted. According to the New York Times (and common sense), Reform party mad scientist Ross Perot has let it be known that when it comes to the Reform party nod in 2000, Buchanan is the man for him. It’s no surprise, except for the part about Perot not running himself. The two are kindred sprits on free trade (they’re agin it), fixing government (chuck everything and put the farmers in charge) and the Bushes (they don’t like 'em), and not a little alike in persona, with Buchanan a sort of somewhat civilized, talking-head version of Perot’s own nut-job populist shtick. The alignment puts Buchanan in the pole position for the Reform nod — and Jesse Ventura on the phone to Donald Trump.

All this, of course, is if Pat can bear to walk away from the Republican party he loves so much. OK, that was a joke; Buchanan is obviously champing at the bit. Indeed, officials in the New Hampshire Reform party have had to postpone their convention this weekend because, it said, Buchanan’s henchmen were trying to take it over and install "individuals of their choosing into state leadership positions." Many see his already infamous new book –- in which he questions the need for U.S. participation in World War II –- as a bid to get publicly shouted out of the GOP in the interests of good political theater (though only John McCain has taken him up on it so far). No such thing as bad publicity? Not for Buchanan. Anti-immigrant, anti-trade, vague and not-so-vague bursts of racism and anti-Semitism –- this stuff is catnip to a significant and vocal portion of the Reform party’s disgruntled grunts. They’re the constituency that has kept Perot’s hand deep in party affairs the past few years, despite his split with new standard-bearer Ventura. And if they like Perot, they’re gonna love Pat Buchanan. Heck, he’s even got a job on TV.