The Magazine

Put Away Your Pitchforks

Buchanan fizzled, but at least he took the Reform party with him

Nov 13, 2000, Vol. 6, No. 09 • By MATTHEW REES
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Buchanan's choice of Ezola Foster to be his running mate heightened the air of desperation. There had been talk of selecting someone with experience in Congress, like Republican Tom Coburn or Democrat Mary Rose Oakar. Picking Foster, an obscure black right-winger from California, only trivialized his candidacy, and brought him nothing in the way of votes. ("He probably consolidated his support with the John Birch Society," quips Howard Phillips, the Constitution party's presidential candidate.)

So what's next for Buchanan? Asked at the press conference whether he planned to run again, he replied he'd decide after the election. In the past, he's compared himself to Frederick the Great, who after repeated defeats eventually won a great victory. If Buchanan runs again, the more apt comparison will be to another American political figure: perennial presidential candidate Harold Stassen.

After his press conference, Buchanan walked a half block down Central Park South to get to his minivan, and no one he passed gave him a second glance. As I waited for him to drive off, a stylish thirtysomething woman approached me and, pointing to the two-car motorcade, asked, "Who is that?" I told her it was Pat Buchanan. Her reply: "Who's Pat Buchanan?"

Matthew Rees is a staff writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.