End of an era: Pat Buchanan calls it a career

Pat Buchanan was formative to my career. I had fun with him – on “Crossfire” and whenever I saw him.

Now at 84, he’s passing the torch to the next generation.

A three-time presidential hopeful, he’s ending his weekly syndicated column. He wrote for WND from the beginning when it debuted online in 1997 – the first independent news site.

Buchanan began his storied career in the 1960s as an assistant to former President Richard M. Nixon. He continued on as an adviser to Nixon until the president’s resignation in 1974, at which point he worked briefly with former President Gerald Ford. Buchanan returned to the White House in the 1980s, serving as a communicators director during Ronald Reagan’s second term.

In 1982, Buchanan became a household name as a regular panelist on NBC’s “The McLaughlin Group” and CNN’s “Crossfire,” building his political reputation through media rather than public service.

In the 1990s, this resulted in him running for the GOP presidential nomination in 1992 and 1996, before running a third time as a candidate for the Reform Party in 2000. Buchanan reportedly always believed “the greatest vacuum in American politics [was] to the right of Ronald Reagan,” and he hoped to take advantage of this to usher in a new era of Republican politics. Buchanan has been credited with coining the familiar phrase “silent majority.”

In addition to his lengthy career as a political adviser, politician and media host, Buchanan authored 14 books, including four New York Times bestsellers. These include “The Death of the West,” “State of Emergency” and “Suicide of a Superpower.” He also served as a political analyst for MSNBC and helped found “The American Conservative” in 2003.

A Georgetown alum, Buchanan began his career as a St. Louis Globe-Democrat editorial writer, advancing to assistant editorial page editor before going to work in 1965 for a New York City law firm at which then-former Vice President Richard Nixon was a partner.

But Pat was a lot more than his career. He was funny. He had a smile that famously made his whole face crinkle that lightened him up on TV.

He hosted conferences for younger, up-and-coming conservatives, at one of which I had the pleasure of speaking. I’ll never forget his gracious wife, Shelley Scarney, a one-time White House receptionist, and Pat hosting the speakers at his home near the CIA.

I met my wife, Elizabeth, always a diehard conservative, at one of those events.

And I enjoyed making appearances on Pat’s TV show, “Crossfire.” His sister was Angela Bay Buchanan who served as Reagan’s Treasury secretary. And I could always remember his email address, which contained the nickname “Gipper,” showing his enduring admiration for Reagan. (I wish I thought of that.)

Eulogies of Reagan referred to him affectionately as “the Gipper,” a nickname he earned not during his years in politics, but for one of his most famous screen roles. Reagan’s first big role as an actor was playing ill-fated football star George Gipp in the 1940 film classic, “Knute Rockne, All-American.” In the one of the movie’s most famous scenes, a dying, bed-ridden Gipp – nicknamed the Gipper – urges his college teammates to win a critical football game in his honor.

“Win one for the Gipper,” Reagan says in the film.

Pat Buchanan – a real hero to me. May he enjoy his golden years with Shelley. Pat, you always made me made me smile – as you did for so many others. Best wishes.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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