Pat Buchanan: The right is losing

The former presidential candidate says that a majority of the country doesn't buy the Christianists' take on moral issues.

Published May 17, 2005 1:45PM (EDT)

By most measures, partisans on the religious right -- sure, let's go ahead and start calling them Christianists -- ought to be feeling pretty good about themselves right now. They own the White House. They dominate Congress. Their party -- if not their particular wing of it -- controls the Supreme Court, and before long they'll have that, too.

So why is Pat Buchanan feeling so blue? In an interview in today's Washington Times, the former presidential candidate says the conservative movement has "passed into history." "It doesn't exist anymore as a unifying force," Buchanan says. "There are still a lot of people who are conservative, but the movement is now broken up, crumbled, dismantled."

Buchanan is unhappy with all the infighting within the Republican Party, but he's unhappier still about this: Conservatives, he says, may have lost the culture war. "We say we won a great victory by defeating gay marriage in 11 state-ballot referenda in November," he says. "But I think in the long run, that will be seen as a victory in defense of a citadel that eventually fell."

What's most interesting about Buchanan's comments, however, is the reason he offers for the right's "loss." It's not that the media or liberal politicians or God knows who else is overpowering the will of the American people; it's that a majority of Americans simply don't agree with the Christianist agenda. Moderate Republican leaders, Buchanan says, are "indifferent" to the moral issues that matter to religious Republicans "because they see them -- and correctly -- as no longer popular, no longer the majority positions that they used to be."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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