The "Inside Politics" Interview: Pat Buchanan
April 14, 1998
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Now, a man who has plenty of experience with presidential challenges and politics: Pat Buchanan, former G.O.P. White House hopeful and co-host of CNN's "CROSSFIRE". He has a new book spelling out the evils of the global economy, among other things, and it's entitled "The Great Betrayal."
Pat Buchanan, thank you for being with us.
PAT BUCHANAN, HOST CROSSFIRE: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: "The Great Betrayal," this evil global economy. People look around and we're being told the economy's in great shape. Is there a disconnect here?
BUCHANAN: There is a disconnect. The American economy is in good shape and 40 percent of us in the stock market, it's in great shape. But there are American workers and middle class folks who haven't seen a real pay raise in 20 years, and they're the people whose factories jobs are being sold out in this economy, Judy.
Judy, I'll tell you, when you got people making t-shirts in Rayne, Louisiana, women working for six and eight bucks an hour and you force them to compete with women making 50 cents and hour in Honduras that's un-American and it's happening beneath this global economy or beneath this great surface American success story. Europe, they got unemployment 12 to 13 percent. Asia's in the tank. America is living right now off a bit of a bubble.
WOODRUFF: What do you say -- what do you argue in this book that should be done to make things better for these people?
BUCHANAN: Stop exporting American jobs. Stop exporting American factories, and stop exporting American sovereignty and independence to global institutions like the World Trade Organization. That basically is the argument, and I have a program on how to do it.
WOODRUFF: Now, you talk in here, among other things, a 15 percent tariff. Some people would say a Republican arguing for tariffs?
BUCHANAN: Judy, tariffs, protectionism was written into every Republican platform from 1880 to 1944, all the way from Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt to the late 1940s. The Republican Party was a party of economic nationalism.
That's the party that built America into the greatest industrial empire that we've ever seen. Now, we got 53 percent imported manufacturers are equal to 53 percent of production in America. You can keep that up for a while. We are selling off the family estate, and we're having a high old time doing it.
WOODRUFF: I found some in getting ready for this interview, some very critical reviews of your book from some prominent conservatives. "The Weekly Standard," "The National Review." Bob Bartly (ph), who's the editorial page editor for "The Wall Street Journal," writes "before conservatives follow Pat Buchanan in jettisoning the free market they should look carefully at the others who are marching behind his banner." And he mentions John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO.
BUCHANAN: Well, there's nothing wrong with working people wanting to keep their jobs in the United States, Sweeney is right on there. Mr. Bartly is a bogus conservative. The folks at "National Review" and the folks at "The Weekly Standard" march under a conservative banner. Their passports are forged, Judy. They have embraced a free trade ideology that goes back to FDR, and Cordell Hull, and Woodrow Wilson to 19th century folks whom Spiro Agnew would have called radical liberals.
The American tradition of Washington, and Hamilton, and Madison, and Lincoln, and TR, and Pat Buchanan is of economic nationalism -- making America an independent, self-sufficient, sovereign forever country that's able to stand on its own feet. We are following the British example of global free trade and these fellas are in the vanguard.
WOODRUFF: But don't you feel odd being in a minority on the conservative side of the ledger?
BUCHANAN: Look, you mean a minority. How did we beat fast- track? When the whole establishment, including the "conservative establishment," Clinton and Newt and the rest were about for it? How did we beat it if we didn't have the people on our side. I was in a minority in 1991, but economic nationalism is the belief and conviction now of a majority, a plurality of Republicans at the grassroots level, and 80 percent of the members of the Democratic Party in the House.
What we need is a new party, frankly, which will represent America first and economic nationalism, because the elites of both parties right now are internationalists-globalists.
WOODRUFF: Two quick questions about the year 2,000. Does Senator John Ashcroft have the religious right sewed up now that he's Pat Robertson's endorsement?
WOODRUFF: And second, is Pat Buchanan running in the year 2000?
BUCHANAN: Pat Buchanan is not running right now. He's on "CROSSFIRE" at 7:30 in the evening.
No, I haven't done anything to get into this thing. I'm not going to make any decisions until after November. I've got this book "The Great Betrayal" and coming up a book on foreign policy, a companion piece called "America First."
WOODRUFF: And we will want to talk to you when that comes out. Pat Buchanan -- but when you see these polls, like the ones that we just cited from Iowa, do they mean anything at this point?
BUCHANAN: They mean zip. Bob Dole had 55 percent in Iowa at this point and I had five percent and we came within three points of beating him. That's pretty much the frontier guys that you see, but I don't think it means a thing.
WOODRUFF: Pat Buchanan, "The Great Betrayal." Thank you very much for being with us.
BUCHANAN: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.