"What happened to make America so vulgar and coarse, so uncivil and angry? Collapse of religious beliefs; years of imbibing a culture polluted with raw sex and violence; the breakdown of the nurturing institution, the family; a morally cancerous welfare state? All contributed; but another reason we are beset with racial conflict is that, since 1965, a flood tide of immigration has rolled in from the Third World, legal and illegal, as our institutions of assimilation -- public schools, popular culture, churches -- began to fail."
Dispute over Israel
His comments on Israel and Jews attracted the most attention.
"Although I very rarely use the word, 'anti-Semite,' " wrote Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor, "I must say [Mr. Buchanan] comes very close to fitting that category."
A thorough examination was done by prominent conservative William F. Buckley Jr. in a 1991 issue of the National Review devoted to anti-Semitism. Mr. Buckley studied the language Mr. Buchanan used in criticizing American involvement in the Persian Gulf war.
Mr. Buchanan's position was that Israel's national interest, not that of the United States, was at stake in that conflict. Congress, he said, is "Israeli-occupied territory," and he spoke of an "amen corner" for Israel in the United States. Those he named as being in this corner all were Jewish.
Mr. Buchanan also wrote that if the nation went to war, the fighting would be done "by kids with names like McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales, and Leroy Brown."
"There is no way to read that sentence," Mr. Buckley wrote, "without concluding that Pat Buchanan was suggesting that American Jews manage to avoid personal military exposure even while advancing military policies they engender." Mr. Buckley also criticized Mr. Buchanan for naming only Jews in the "amen corner" when thousands of other policy-makers shared the same view.
"I find it impossible to defend Pat Buchanan against the charge that what he did and said during the period under examination amounted to anti-Semitism," Mr. Buckley concluded.
In this presidential campaign, Mr. Buchanan has softened his language, if not his policies. He is still calling for immigration curbs. He also said last week that openly gay people could not serve in a Buchanan administration.
Asked about having African-Americans in his Cabinet, however, Mr. Buchanan said he wouldn't rule it out and would "probably" rule it in.
Some critics say that even if Mr. Buchanan is careful not to offend with words, his racially conscious policies tend to attract intolerant people on the fringes of politics.
When the Pratt story broke, it was revealed that at a meeting Mr. Pratt attended, a former running mate of Klansman David Duke listed aloud prominent Jews in the Clinton administration.
Mr. Pratt is gone from the campaign now, but the Rev. Donald Wildmon remains.
In a 1985 speech, Mr. Wildmon asserted that one reason for violence and sex on television is that Hollywood is "anti-Christian."
He then cited studies on the percentage of Jews in the industry.
This time, the scrutiny on Mr. Buchanan focuses most on his remarks about immigration.
He speaks nostalgically of "our European ancestors" at a time when many immigrants trace their ancestry to Asia or Latin America.
In Tucson, Ariz., this week, Mr. Buchanan was booed with shouts of "Racist!" and "Kick him out!" by a largely Hispanic crowd.
But curbing immigration is popular with many working-class whites, whose inflation-adjusted incomes have generally declined over the past 20 years. Mainstream Republican leaders, however, say Mr. Buchanan is embracing short-term solutions and damaging the party.
"This is not the time for intolerance," Gen. Colin L. Powell said. "This is the time for inclusion."
Added Jack Kemp, an enthusiastic apostle of the Republican "big-tent" philosophy:
"Not only does [Mr. Buchanan] turn Ronald Reagan's ideas upside down, but he is turning the ideas of, in my opinion, Abraham Lincoln upside down. Lincoln was a healer; he saw America as one family, one nation, one people. Pat, bless his heart, keeps talking about a war."
But defenders of Mr. Buchanan have turned up in unlikely places as well. Barry Lynn, director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, defends him as a man with a good heart.
"This is not a man who is looking for the support of white supremacists," he says. "This idea that they have no place in his camp sounds like the Pat Buchanan [I know.]"