Pat Buchanan's new book, "Day of Reckoning," is a tour de force, expanding on and combining the arguments and evidence he presented in three previous books ("The Great Betrayal," "A Republic, Not an Empire" and "State of Emergency") to make a powerful case that free trade, multiculturalism and imperial overreach threaten to put America on the dustheap of history.
As my friend always does in his books, brother Patrick combines shrewd analysis and his own crisp and passionate words with wonderful quotes from others. He quotes George Orwell's observation that "ideology animates 'the streamlined men who think in slogans and talk in bullets.'" That description remains as fresh as this evening's cable political talk shows and news reports.
I cite that quote because, for me, one of the strongest elements in "Day of Reckoning" is Buchanan's remorseless assault on ideology -- whether being used by imperialists, free traders or cultural manipulators. This may sound surprising to some because these days, many people both on the left and right proudly support their respective ideologies.
But like Buchanan, I was educated in an age when conservatives proudly asserted that conservatism was, by definition, the absence of ideology. Ideology was -- and remains -- the product of intellectuals who substitute for the wisdom of the ages, the organic unfolding of their institutions, the teachings of their faith and common sense their own fanatical belief that their ideas can (in Russell Kirk's words) convert our world "into a terrestrial paradise through the operation of positive law and positive planning."
Or as Pat writes: "Ideology has one foot grounded in reality, but the other is ever on quicksand. For no one can know the future. Yet the True Believer has moral certitude, for his ideology foretells a future certain to come if the sacrifices are sufficient and the anointed leaders are faithfully followed."
And with that bit in his teeth, Pat runs riot through the ideologies of free trade, Bushian wars-for-democracy arguments and open borders theories. It is not only honest, solid historic reporting but also splendid, angry prose.
Although by both instinct and experience Pat Buchanan is a respecter of presidents, incapable of public rudeness to an American president, in this book, Pat barely disguises his contempt for the sometimes-foolish ideological words of President Bush -- which he quotes often (and in context) to the detriment of the president.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.