- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2000

When Pat Buchanan left the Republican Party and joined the Reform Party, he had an extraordinary chance to provide leadership to a broad movement for political reform. When I endorsed him and signed on as a co-chair of his campaign, it was to reach out to Americans with many different ideological views to create a left/right coalition to take on the corporate special interests.

Mr. Buchanan, however, soon made a decision to narrow his campaign to appeal only to his social conservative base. In doing so, he lost an opportunity to bring a broad populist movement together.

In my opinion, Mr. Buchanan had every right to attempt to recreate the Reform Party in his own image. However, I have every right to disagree and to respond. The party he seems intent on creating is a narrow, social conservative party. I don't support that vision. The majority of American independents don't support it, either. Consequently, I have resigned my position as campaign co-chair and withdrawn my endorsement of his bid for the Reform nomination.

In a letter responding to my resignation, Mr. Buchanan raised the issue of morality saying the deepest problems in our society are not economic or political, but moral. I agree. There is a profound moral crisis in America today. But Mr. Buchanan and many social conservatives misunderstand it.

It is not that we have lost our moral grounding. The American people do have strong moral principles. Central among these is that no one has the right to impose his particular morality on other people's lives. Social conservatives often lose sight of this. And it is no small part of why the movement and its ideology are increasingly marginalized in American political life. Mr. Buchanan would be a much more significant leader if he understood this.

The American people are extremely sensitive to the moral positions of politicians. And they are particularly sensitive to whether there is any hypocrisy involved.

In Mr. Buchanan's case, he has tried to dismiss the issues I have raised about the narrowing of his campaign and his rejection of the left/right coalition we set out to build, by saying that I resigned as campaign co-chair because he wouldn't support me for the position of party chairman, something I asked him to do as a signal that he still intended to invest in the party's left/right coalitionist roots. My question to him is this: If you appointed me co-chair of your campaign for the presidency if I was good enough for that position how is it that I am not good enough to be chair of the Reform Party? The answer must be that it served Mr. Buchanan's interests to make me a chair of his campaign back in November a position I did not ask for, but which he gave me but now that he is in the midst of a social conservative takeover of Reform, he no longer has need of me.

This kind of hypocrisy the hypocrisy of the politician is the fundamental immorality in American politics and in American history.

Thomas Jefferson deplored slavery, but he owned slaves. Bill Clinton preaches humanitarianism and feels people's pain, but he drops bombs on Eastern Europe and supports a corporate globalism that perpetuates worldwide poverty.

Hypocrisy is imbedded in the tradition of American politicians. It is that tradition that American independents across the ideological spectrum want to break. It was my hope that Mr. Buchanan and I could do that together. It appears now that he won't. Yet, the American people still hunger for an end to the politicized divisions that trouble our nation. Mr. Buchanan may have given up on that moral goal. I have not.

Lenora B. Fulani twice ran for president of the United States as an independent and chairs the Committee for a Unified Independent Party.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide