Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Book Review: Day of Reckoning by Patrick J. Buchanan.

Patrick J. Buchanan sounds the alarm in Day of Reckoning. A sample: "The fuse is lit and is burning towards the dynamite." (p. 240).

He has been sounding the alarm for at least his last four books with St. Martin's Press.

In fact, these books sound remarkably similar, and I think passages have been repurposed from his earlier writings. For example, Buchanan's line about the 9/11 attack occurring "over here because we were over there" I'm sure I've read before. (p. 250.)

Sounding the alarm can be useful and sometimes salvific. See Paul Revere.

Sounding the alarm repeatedly can become, well, alarmist.

Categorization here will ultimately depend on how history unfolds.

In Day of Reckoning, Buchanan returns to familiar themes. He (again) warns about immigration, "free trade," interventionist foreign policy, entangling alliances, and rampant pluralism. He argues these singularly and collectively are "deconstructing America." He suggests a national suicide. (p. 235.)

George W. Bush receives much of Buchanan's blame: "George Bush seems fated to go down in history like Wilson, a failed and tragic figure. After the 9-11 attack, he tried to do the right thing for the right reason. But between September 11 and his axis-of-evil speech in 2002, he embraced an ideology based on a misreading of reality and an ignorance of history. It drove him into the greatest blunder of presidency--and denied him the sight to see his way back home." (p. 99-100.) Buchanan isn't Monday-morning-quarterbacking. From the right, he has been ardently criticizing Bush's Iraq policy for many years.

In this sense, Buchahan is more aligned with Sen. Obama than almost all Washington politicians in the Republican party. This fact brings to mind Secretary Robert Reich's humorous comment to Patrick Buchanan when they were both on a cable talk show: "Pat, you're so right, you're left."

I suspect Buchanan is writing another book as I write this. Perhaps a slip, Buchanan dated his acknowledgments as "October, 2008." (p. 266.) Since Day of Reckoning was published in late 2007, and I read those words long before October, 2008, either he meant 2007, or he provided the acknowledgments section for his next book.

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