With enthusiasm for Barack Obama's candidacy showing no signs of abating, right-wing pundit Pat Buchanan has declared that Democrats have brought a dangerous form of inter-racial "tribalism" to U.S. politics. Offering the observation in his March 7, 2008 syndicated column,"How...
With enthusiasm for Barack Obama's candidacy showing no signs of abating, right-wing pundit Pat Buchanan has declared that Democrats have brought a dangerous form of inter-racial "tribalism" to U.S. politics. Offering the observation in his March 7, 2008 syndicated column,"How Liberals Play Race Politics," (link), Buchanan suggests that the close Democratic nomination contest has triggered the kind of ethnic division that tipped Europe into "violent and bloody" conflict.
Buchanan's column exemplifies a new tendency by right-wing politicians and pundits to use violent rhetoric and logic to frame the 2008 Presidential election.
In the column, Buchanan claims that "dominant minorities" in the Democratic party have been pitted against each other. Buchanan suggests that support for Obama amongst Africa-American voters is evidence of mounting tribal tension in the Democratic Party. Citing foreign policy literature to bolster his case, Buchanan argues that the Democratic nomination contest displays the same kind of dangerous tension that led to civil wars in Europe, ultimately dividing "multi-ethnic nations and empires into homogeneous states."
Buchanan's column is not only racist, but is part of a new effort by right-wing pundits and politicians to frame the Presidential election with violent rhetoric by arguing that a Demotic victory will bring lead to violent consequences for the United States.
Buchanan's arguments are not new, but his column represents the first time the popular right-wing pundit has applied his ideas about tribal violence in such a direct way to the 2008 Presidential election.
Buchanan first predicted that America would be destroyed by racially-motivated tribal violence foisted by blacks and latinos on whites in his 2001 best-selling book Death of the West.
When political debate is taken over by violent language and logic, the effect it has on the public sphere is poisonous and debilitating. Conversation itself shuts down, opening up the door for the return of a pre-modern form of politics antithetical to the free and open exchange of ideas through words.
Pat Buchanan is a syndicated columnist and political commentator who appears regularly on MSNBC, CNN, and FOX.
Since the publication of his Marcy 7 column, Buchanan has not been asked to apologize or withdraw his remarks.
© 2008 Jeffrey Feldman, Frameshop