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Writer and politician Pat Buchanan is a nationally syndicated columnist and American conservative political commentator who has served under three presidents.
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In the summer of 1992, after his supporters threatened a revolt, he was granted the opportunity to address the Republican national convention. He ran again in 1996, but garnered even less support.
In March 1999, Buchanan announced his third bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Building on his 1992 platform of "America First," he criticized U.S. attempts to broker peace around the globe and denounced what he saw as the undue influence of Israel on American foreign policy. A staunch opponent of abortion, feminism, and the homosexual rights movement, Buchanan also chastised fellow Republicans for moving too far to the middle of the ideological spectrum and called for a return to traditional conservative policies.
On October 25, 1999, with his campaign stalled, Buchanan announced that he was leaving the Republicans to join the Reform Party, a third party created by the Texas billionaire Ross Perot in 1992. Calling the two-party system "a snare and a delusion and a fraud upon the nation," Buchanan presented himself as a decidedly right-wing alternative for conservative voters who viewed the Republican nominee, Texas Governor George W. Bush, as too liberal. If he wins the Reform Party nomination, Buchanan will be eligible to receive $12 million in federal campaign funds, based on Perot's favorable showing in the past two presidential elections.
Buchanan's party-switching maneuver provoked conflict within the Reform Party, as many of the particulars of his "America First" platform, especially his demands for antiabortion and anti-affirmative action legislation—run counter to the more liberal leanings of many party members. Minnesota Governor (and former pro wrestler) Jesse Ventura, the party's major elected figure, publicly disapproves of Buchanan's switch to the Reform ticket.
By the Reform Party's national convention in August 2000, Buchanan had worked determinedly to take over the party organization state by state. Anti-Buchanan party members charged him with fraud and broke from the party to support their own candidate, John Hagelin. As his running mate in his eventually unsuccessful campaign, Buchanan chose Ezola Foster, an African-American public school teacher from Los Angeles and the founder of the right-wing Association for Family Values.
Buchanan is the author of five books, including The New Majority (1973), in which he introduced the idea that the beliefs of so-called Middle Americans represent the real majority viewpoint, and not those of the media. Most recently, he articulated his views on foreign policy in the bestselling A Republic, Not an Empire, published in the fall of 1999.
Since 1971, Buchanan has been married to the former Shelley Ann Scarney, whom he met while working in the Nixon White House, where she was a receptionist.
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