Bill Steigerwald

Pat Buchanan’s latest book, “Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart,” paints a gloomy picture of America at home and abroad.

At home, Buchanan says, our political leaders can’t get it together to protect our southwestern borders from an invasion of illegal immigrants and because they nearly all idolize the ideology of “free trade” we can’t preserve our jobs and industries.

Meanwhile, overseas, our forces are stretched thin and the Bush administration, which he says has learned nothing from the fiasco of Iraq, is still worshipping at the altar of what Buchanan calls “democratism” – the idea that using military force to democratize the world is both good and doable. I talked to Buchanan Thursday while he was on his book tour in the Washington, D.C., area.

Q: Give us the 60-second synopsis of what “Day of Reckoning” is about?

A: What it is about is that are a series of crises heading down the road to the United States which are almost a perfect storm. They’re coming toward America at the same time. You’ve got an over-extended empire -- if you will, imperial overstretch -- where we’re committed to defend countries all over the world with an army the size it was in 1939. You’ve got two wars that appear to be without end. You’ve got a fiscal crisis with Social Security and Medicare really heading for the cliff. You’ve got a border crisis with 12-to-20 million illegals in the country who are not being assimilated.

Also, we’re in the middle of a cultural civil war, where one half of America and the other half disagree about the fundaments of right and wrong and morality and immorality, and we’re also balkanizing and breaking down into ethnic and racial and cultural enclaves, so that we’re ceasing to be one nation and one people.

All of these together are hitting at once, and I think it comes down to an existential crisis of the nation. Two big questions loom: Are we really going to be able to retain the Southwest if we don’t get control of our borders and stop this limitless invasion from the Third World and from Mexico into the southwestern United States? And secondly, are we going to be one nation and one people, the way we were at one time, if the Melting Pot is cracked and broken and we really cannot control mass immigration. That is a summary of what you’re saying and each chapter deals with it.

Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald, born and raised in Pittsburgh, is a former L.A. Times copy editor and free-lancer who also worked as a docudrama researcher for CBS-TV in Hollywood before becoming a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a columnist Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Bill Steigerwald recently retired from daily newspaper journalism..