The name-calling has already started. Rather than debate Patrick Buchanan on his ideas, Alan Dershowitz starts up with his tired and old phony charge that some of Pat's writings are anti-Semitic (Column Left, March 5). Dershowitz and the other nitwits on the extreme left have cried "wolf," i.e. racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism, one too many times. It's not going to work anymore.
What really scares Dershowitz and others is that Buchanan is a man who stands for something. There are no ifs, ands or buts when it comes to Pat and his convictions. The left doesn't like those ideas, can't debate them, so they have to try and demonize Pat. The same tactics were tried against Ronald Reagan in 1980. They failed then and they're going to fail again in 1996.
* Although I agree with Dershowitz concerning Buchanan's reactionary views, I believe Dershowitz is raising the storm flag a little too early. Sure, Pat is going to make another run for it, but the odds are clearly against him. The Republican Party is in the most enviable position in 40 years, with solid control of the Congress and a clear shot to depose a President who has the moral stature of a used-car salesman. If the Republicans permit themselves to be hijacked by the extreme right, they are clearly suicidal and don't deserve the White House. However, as a conservative Republican who knows the history of my party, I am not naive enough to totally dismiss this possibility.
As to the issue of Buchanan's anti-Semitism, that's not really a political problem. If a Jewish conservative happens to be self-hating and blithely dismisses Buchanan's Jew-baiting tactics as innocuous, such a person doesn't need moral or political re-education, but rather long-term psychotherapy.