The Crusader tells the fascinating life story of Pat Buchanan, the three-time presidential candidate, Nixon confidant, White House communications director during Iran-Contra, pundit, and bestselling author.
Buchanan is one of America’s most controversial conservative rebels. After serving Nixon and Reagan, he led a revolt against the Republican establishment that was a forerunner for the Tea Party. In 1992 he tried to take away his party’s nomination from the incumbent president, George H. W. Bush. Although he lost, Buchanan set the tone for political debate for the next two decades when he declared a “cultural war” against liberalism and a jihad on Republican moderates. Throughout the 1990s, his radical, rollicking presidential campaigns tore apart the GOP and articulated the hopes and fears of a new generation of Middle American conservatives.
This balanced, and often funny, biography explores the highs and lows of Buchanan’s career, from his stunning victory in the 1996 New Hampshire primary to his humiliating “grudge match” against Donald Trump in the 2000 Reform Party contest.
At its heart is a man who embodies the contradictions of the conservative movement: a wealthy bookworm who branded himself as an everyman reactionary, a Republican insider who became a populist outsider, a patriarch whose campaigns were directed by his sister, a socially unacceptable ideologue who won the affection of liberals and conservatives alike—Rachel Maddow, Ralph Nader, Eugene McCarthy, Ron Paul, even Mel Gibson.
Timothy Stanley tells the intimate story of the man who defined the culture war for a generation of Americans with outrage and wit; the man who, when asked what he thought about gun control, replied, “I think it’s important to have a steady aim.”