Reprinted from www.libertylobby.org, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive
An Interview With Pat Buchanan
The Sun: Mr. Buchanan, are you in the process of reforming?
Buchanan: It's a long process, as you can see. This is very much a strong Buchanan delegation. Of course there were some dissenters there, but Maryland is one state -- I think we've probably done 14 states in the same fashion -- where we come and take all or most of the delegates. We're in the process of building a new Reform Party and in many cases it was like an old mansion left unattended for a good while.
The Sun: Has it hurt that your most visible and highest elected official has turned his back on you?
Buchanan: [Minnesota] Gov. [Jesse] Ventura disagrees with me so profoundly that I'm surprised he walked away from the party. That has certainly removed probably a major opponent I have in the path of the nomination. And it was followed by Pat Choate replacing the chairman who was close to Ventura. Ventura said the body was dysfunctional to him. But it's been functioning just terrifically in the past three weeks.
The Sun: The other thing it seems that the party has had -- I'm not speaking as an expert but as someone who reads the newspapers -- the party has had something of a libertarian bent to it.
Buchanan: There's a libertarian cast to it.
The Sun: And you're coming in with a much more social/conservative agenda.
Buchanan: It's libertarian, but it's also populist. When I spoke down at the Perot convention in 1995, the issues I spoke on were sovereignty, immigration, trade, and the reception was just tremendous ... And I did not speak on taxes and budgets, which were Perot's issues. But clearly I am a believer in the libertarian downsizing of government and cutting the taxes dramatically and dispensing power to the states. And we'll have an agenda that's very different from the other two parties on that because I think the Republican Party has become a big government party.
The Sun: And you weren't going to get the media support because you weren't the fresh face?
Buchanan: Well, I'm not the fresh face. And last time I got tremendous media attention. But today's "no media attention" is because they say: "My goodness, that guy can win it.... Good heavens, what have we done?" (laughter) So they came down on me with both feet ...
The Sun: I think you're right. I thought your media strategy was ingenious.
SPOTLIGHT (SL): When will the Reform Party have a vote on the candidates?
Buchanan: The convention is in early August, but they vote by ballot sometime in mid-summer.
SL: Where will the convention be?
Buchanan: Currently it's scheduled at Long Beach, [Calif.].
SL: Will the ballots they send during the summer determine who the candidate is?
Buchanan: The ballots which come back will determine who the candidate is.
SL: And you're on that ballot?
Buchanan: I will be on that ballot because I will have qualified by having gone out and gotten the Reform Party on the ballot in a number of states. And having gotten myself on the ballot in a number of states, I will be qualified.
SL: Who will your main competition be on that ballot?
Buchanan: I don't know who it is now, but no one else who has my national name recognition has gotten into the race.
SL: Have you made any polls ...
Buchanan: We don't do polls! (laughter)
SL: You don't believe in polls?
Buchanan: I don't believe in polls. I have a sense of what the American people think, but I have a greater sense of what I believe is good for the country. And that's what determines where I stand.
SL: What is your strong point with the American people?
Buchanan: I think the people understand I mean what I say and I say what I mean and that I'm a man of conviction and I have political courage. I do have the best interests of my country at heart, and when I say I will restore American sovereignty and negotiate trade deals that are more in the national interest and bring our troops home from places in the world where they don't belong. I think they believe me because I've stood by those convictions. And I've even challenged the president of the United States in my own party on that basis and took the beating we took in 1992 for those convictions.
SL: I just came from a meeting of rabid liberals. They say that although you've been almost completely excluded from the mainstream media, they say that you are still dangerous to them.
Buchanan: I certainly hope so. (laughter)
[photo caption] Liberty Lobby's congressional liaison Andrew Arnold meets with Reform Party presidential Patrick J. Buchanan at a Reform Party conference in Greenbelt, Md., March 3. Arnold hands Buchanan a copy of The SPOTLIGHT's Buchanan2000 report, of which 15,000 copies have already been distributed. "I've already read it. I've got a copy at my house," responded the appreciative Buchanan. Over 150 Reform/Buchanan supporters showed up to hear the popular populist speak on issues such as American job security, U.S. foreign policy and the recent shakeup in the Reform Party.
Buchanan is truly a candidate that Americans can look up to. Buchanan speaks briefly with another future "reformer," nine-year-old Christina Lipovsky, who attended the confab with her parents and her brother. Buchanan discussed the important issues with attendees at the modest-by-today's-standards $50 per head Reform Party meeting. Unlike the other candidates, namely George W. Bush and Albert Gore, Americans believe that Buchanan has the best interest of the country at heart and has the integrity and experience to steer the country right. A strong turnout for Buchanan -- win or lose -- could set the groundwork for future, even stronger challenges to the Democratic and Republican stranglehold on politics in America.