The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPat Buchanan Archive
A Left-Right Convergence?
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Something Here
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

Last summer, in this capital of gridlock, a miracle occurred.

The American people rose as one and told the government of the United States not to drag us into another Middle East war in Syria.

Barack Obama was ready to launch air and missile strikes when a national uproar forced him to go to Congress for authorization. Congress seemed receptive until some Hill offices were swarmed by phone calls and emails coming in at a rate of 100-1 against war.

Middle America stopped the government from taking us into what even the president now concedes is “somebody else’s civil war.”

This triumphal coming together of left and right was a rarity in national politics. But Ralph Nader, in “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State,” believes that ad hoc alliances of left and right to achieve common goals can, should, and, indeed, shall be our political future.

To call this an optimistic book is serious understatement.

Certainly, left and right have come together before.

In “Those Angry Days,” Lynne Olson writes of how future presidents from opposing parties, Gerald Ford and John F. Kennedy, backed the America First Committee to keep us out of war in 1941, and how they were supported by the far-left Nation magazine as well as Colonel Robert McCormick’s right-wing Chicago Tribune.

Two decades ago, Ross Perot and this writer joined Ralph and the head of the AFL-CIO to stop NAFTA, a trade deal backed by America’s corporate elite and its army of mercenaries on Capitol Hill.

Congress voted with corporate America — against the country.

Result: 20 years of the largest trade deficits in U.S. history. Transnational corporations have prospered beyond the dreams of avarice, as Middle America has seen its wages frozen for a generation.

In 2002, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry joined John McCain and George W. Bush in backing war on Iraq. Teddy Kennedy and Bernie Sanders stood with Ron Paul and the populist and libertarian right in opposing the war.

The Mises Institute and The American Conservative were as one with The Nation in opposing this unprovoked and unnecessary war.

The left-right coalition failed to stop the war, and we are living with the consequences in the Middle East, and in our veterans hospitals.

As America’s most indefatigable political activist since he wrote “Unsafe at Any Speed” in 1965, Ralph is calling for “convergences” of populist and libertarian conservatives and the left — for 25 goals.

Among these are many with an appeal to the traditionalist and libertarian right:

–Break up “Too Big to Fail” banks. Further direct democracy through use of the initiative, referendum and recall.

–End unconstitutional wars by enforcing Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which gives Congress alone the power to declare war.

–Revise trade agreements to protect U.S. sovereignty. End “fast track,” those congressional surrenders of constitutional authority to amend trade treaties negotiated by the executive.


From the subtitle, as well as text, of his most recent book, one may instantly identify whom it is Ralph sees as the main enemy. It is megabanks and transnational corporations without consciences whose highest loyalty is the bottom line, the kind of men Jefferson had in mind when he wrote: “Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.”

Where such men see a $17 trillion economy, we see a country.

Undeniably, there has been a growing gap and a deepening alienation between traditional conservatives and those Ralph calls the “corporate conservatives.” And it is not only inside the conservative movement and the GOP that the rift is growing, but also Middle America.

For America never voted for NAFTA, GATT, the WTO, mass immigration, amnesty, or more H-1Bs to come take the jobs of our workers. These votes have been forced upon members of Congress by leaders carrying out their assignments from corporate America and its PACs, which reward the compliant with campaign checks.

Both parties now feed at the same K Street and Wall Street troughs. Both have oligarchs contributing tens of millions to parties and politicians who do their bidding.

In 1964, a grassroots conservative movement captured the Republican Party and nominated Barry Goldwater. In 1972, a grassroots movement of leftist Democrats nominated George McGovern.

Neither movement would today survive the carpet-bombing of big money that would be called in if either came close to capturing a national party, let alone winning a national election.

Because they have principles and visions in conflict, left-right alliances inevitably fall out and fall apart. Because they are almost always on opposite sides of disputed barricades, it is difficult for both to set aside old wounds and grievances and come together.

A social, moral, and cultural divide that did not exist half a century ago makes it all the more difficult. But if the issue is keeping America out of unnecessary wars and restoring American sovereignty, surely common ground is not impossible to find.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”

Copyright 2014

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Ralph Nader 
Hide 4 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. I supported NAFTA, because I thought it was a coming together and enabling of the interests of the ordinary people of the United States and Canada – those who are touted at northern border parks as “People of a Common Mother.” How sad and tragic the betrayal then of all the millions on both sides of the border, to serve only elite interests, far way from North America – in the corporate offshored bank accounts of the elite corporatists.

    How sad that elite donorist banksterism means nothing less than complete betrayal of the interests of the common folk of North America, who represent the American people’s true interests.

  2. Rod1963 says:

    Be afraid, be very afraid when you see the Congresscritters go bipartisan on certain issues, you know they don’t have your best interests in mind but that of a elite group who bankrolls it behind the scenes. NAFTA, PNTR with China, killing Glass-Stegall, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act all had bi-partisan support and more importantly the support of the rich and powerful on Wall Street and ended up wrecking this country economically and industrially.

    But they did make a select group very, very rich.

    The Immigration Reform movement currently making it’s rounds in D.C. is another bi-partisan monster. Promoted by liberals and Conservatives like the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, the Chambers of Commerce this has all the makings of a deal from Hell. You know the American people will pay a horrible price for it when you get a unholy alliance like this.

  3. Gordon says:

    I would disagree with one aspect of your conclusion as to why Obama did not go forward in bombing Syria behind the saran gas fiasco (“The American people rose as one and told the government of the United States not to drag us into another Middle East war in Syria”).

    Despite all of the bluster from President Obama about going it alone if all else failed, it seemed apparent that this was an operation that was only going to go forward with at least a fig leaf of support from other western countries – Britain in particular.

    Cameron thought that he had a walkover in the British parliament and that approval to go along with the bombing was a done deal. On this issue he suffered a stunning defeat.

    There is no question that Putin as well played a significant role in cutting a back channel deal that allowed Obama the opportunity to save face after it was obvious that he would have to go it alone or not do so and suffer great humiliation at home and abroad. Putin also – in my thinking – saved Obama from certain impeachment if he had bombed Syria. The Republican Congress would have eaten him alive.

    However, the sequence of how things played out indicates the courage of the British parliamentarians – and not public pressure nor President Putin alone – saved the day on a situation that would have been a bigger disaster than what is happening over there at this moment .

  4. AshTon says:

    People like Sanders and Nader could easily be Left-ish partners of Principled Conservatives. I do get a sense that they care deeply about real issues. An alliance is overdue.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments have been licensed to The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Commenting Disabled While in Translation Mode
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Pat Buchanan Comments via RSS