LOS ANGELES -- I live with the young Patrick Buchanan as I watch an older one run for president for the third time. To explain: I am writing a book about the Nixon presidency, and so I am ankle deep in memos, notes and such written by Mr. Buchanan when he was in his early 30s.
He was a tough, opinionated and zealous young man. And he was devoted to President Nixon.
But even "the Old Man," as Mr. Buchanan called Nixon, sometimes wanted to rein in his young writer's bent toward aggressive class warfare. Nixon judged people and groups by whether they voted for him. Mr. Buchanan judged them, then and now, by what they really believed.
When Mr. Buchanan was running Nixon's daily summary of the news, the president sent out a memo to his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, saying:
"[Tom] Huston and Buchanan are presently determining what I see with regard to news and also are furnishing the only news analysis I get. Both tend to be advocates rather than being objective. . . . During the campaign both tended, because of their innate conservatism, to approach subjects somewhat negatively."
Those were the days that Mr. Buchanan was the focal point of a secret White House staff group called the Middle America Committee. The minutes of the first meeting on Oct. 16, 1969, included these thoughts:
"We came to the conclusion that the large and politically powerful white middle class have lost control of [a] complicated and impersonal society, which oppresses them with high taxes, spiraling inflation and enforced integration, while rewarding the very poor and very rich. . . . The feeling of this group is that we must determine what percentage of the Black vote we can reasonably expect to get by any actions we take. . . . We must not drive away the Middle America vote . . ."
On his own, Mr. Buchanan told Nixon: "The second era of Re-Construction is over; the ship of Integration is going down; it is not our ship; it belongs to national liberalism -- and we cannot salvage it; and we ought not to be aboard. . . . Compulsory mixing of the races in the United States right now would be about as wise as compulsory mixing of Greeks and Turks on the island of Cyprus -- we would have bloodshed -- and for what?"
Mr. Buchanan also passed along to Nixon articles on heredity vs. environment as measures of intelligence and potential. On Aug. 26, 1971, he gave the president an article from Atlantic magazine with these comments:
"Basically, it demonstrates that heredity, rather than environment, determines intelligence. . . . It is almost the iron law of intelligence that is being propounded here -- based on heredity. If correct, then all our efforts and expenditures to provide an `equal chance at the starting line' are guaranteeing that we wind up with the intelligent ones coming in first. And every study we have shows blacks 15 IQ points below whites on average."
Mr. Buchanan, though educated at Georgetown and Columbia universities, hated the Ivy League and Ivy Leaguers -- a consistent strain in the Nixon White House -- and would keep the boss informed on that war of classes by sending in lists, such as how many U.S. ambassadors were Ivy Leaguers. One of them was an analysis of 64 U.S. ambassadors. Some 35 were from Ivy League schools; 14 were from state or city universities, 13 from non-denominational private universities, one from a Roman Catholic university and one from a black university.
Finally, in a long memorandum after Nixon's landslide re-election in 1972, Mr. Buchanan said: "A small, ideological clique has managed to acquire monopoly control of the most powerful medium of communication known to man; and they regularly use threat unrivaled and untrammeled power to politically assault the President and his Administration.
"This is not a question of free speech, or of free press -- it is a basic question of power. We should move against it the way TR moved against the financial monopolies. Our timing should be right, but we should be unapologetic about what we are doing."
If Mr. Buchanan has changed his mind about any of those things, I have not noticed. This is a consistent politician.
Richard Reeves is a syndicated columnist.