There are two Pat Buchanans.
There’s the curmudgeonly right wing rascal who yuks it up with the gang on Morning Joe. This Pat is certainly a right winger, but is treated as a mainstream commentator. Then there’s the Pat Buchanan who compares an accused Nazi war criminal to Jesus Christ. Somehow, by posting his rantings (including truly loony criticisms of Darwin and evolution) on his “The American Cause” website, this second Pat manages to stay under the radar.
I think it’s time for the other Pat to get a bit more exposure. He wrote an interesting piece yesterday, putting an extremist anti-government group called the Oath Keepers in a favorable light and declaring that the group’s leader (or “founding father” as Pat calls him) is headed for “cable stardom”. (To be fair, I guess Pat might know what it takes for a right wing extremist to make it on cable).
Who are these Oath Keepers who have caught Pat’s eye? In a “nut”shell, they are a group preparing to fight a second American Revolution if the Obama administration comes for their guns and imposes martial law.
The group’s website describes itself as an organization of active-duty or veteran military and law enforcement personnel pledged to uphold their oath to defend the Constitution against “all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Those “enemies” include a “federal government…bent on taking away people’s rights and freedom.” The Oath Keeper’s site lists a number of orders they will not obey, including any order to “turn American cities..into giant concentration camps.” The idea is that Oath Keepers in the military and law enforcement may be the only thing standing between democracy and an authoritarian state imposed by the Obama administration.
The “founding father” of this group who Pat has pegged for cable stardom explains that “the whole point of Oath Keepers is to stop a dictatorship from ever happening here.” The head Oath Keeper pledges to fight alongside the American people if they decide it’s time for a revolution, and his group’s website features supporters who compare President Obama to King George III and claim President Obama’s America is like Hitler’s Germany.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, says the Oath Keepers “may be a particularly worrisome example of the Patriot [militia] revival.” Mark Potok of the SPLC notes that “what’s troubling about Oath Keepers is the idea that men and women armed and ordered to protect the public in this country are clearly being drawn into a world of false conspiracy theory.
Well, these conspiracy theorists who are telling active duty troops and law enforcement personnel to get ready for an attempt by the Obama administration to impose martial law and force Americans into detention camps are getting some cover. Good old Pat Buchanan has given his blessing. It would be interesting to hear more from Pat about his views on this group–why he refers to the group’s leader (“Brother Rhodes”, Pat calls him) as a “founding father” and why he leaves the concentration camp stuff out of his puff piece.
Buchanan suggests that the real problem isn’t groups like the Oath Keepers, it’s political and media elites who seem to have “lost touch with the nation and to be wedded to a vision of America divorced from reality.” That’s interesting–I’d have thought the people fantasizing about the Obama administration imposing a dictatorship are the ones “divorced from reality.” It would be interesting to hear Pat Buchanan explain why a group telling its members to be prepared to fight a second American Revolution are the clear-eyed realists in this equation.