In 2009: I feel bad for Pat Buchanan

I’m reposting a few of this year’s important posts during the holiday limbo. This one from July 17, 2009 came during now Justice Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings in one of the most stunningly unambiguous displays of racism I’ve seen on national television. These clips were filmed just before Birther/Teabagger madness took hold. I guess Republican leaders thought Buchanan had a good idea.

I feel bad for Pat Buchanan. I really do. I feel bad for Pat Buchanan because so many others in his generation have died and left him to defend bigotry on his own. That must be frustrating.

Buchanan appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show last night to talk about the confirmation hearings of Judge Sonia Sotomayor. It’s one of the most uncomfortable and revealing thirteen minutes of television I’ve seen in a long time. Others have chopped it into bits for easier consumption, but here’s the entire segment:

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Buchanan appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews the previous night. The last couple minutes have been making the rounds, but I find the preceding ten minutes far more edifying. Throughout the segment, Buchanan actively ignores facts and points of law brought to the show by John Payton, President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

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Some time ago I read a quote from Martin Luther King about a conversation he had with an older segregationist who said that he knew segregation was coming to an end, but that he hoped it happened after he died. Pat Buchanan is in the same place, stuck in a time when calling an African American “boy” was not just commonplace, but expected, when a Latina woman was good for washing clothes and not much else.

He’s honestly thunderstruck, with no purposeful malice intended. The thought that a recalibration of the scales of opportunity positively benefits society is beyond him, proof and reason be damned. He seriously believes that Sotomayor’s studying and improving her second-language English in college means that she was illiterate.

In fifty years, I wonder who will carry on for Maggie Gallagher. I wonder who will take to the airwaves and spew long-discarded nonsense when Sally Kern is gone. I wonder whose abject bigotry our children’s children will be surprised by when James Dobson has long since passed away.

Whoever it is, I don’t envy them.