"The conservative movement has passed into history," says the one-time White House aide, three-time presidential candidate, commentator and magazine publisher.Is he seeing something that I don't? Or is he just trying to spark a conservative kerfluffle to help his new book sell?
"It doesn't exist anymore as a unifying force," he says in an interview with The Washington Times. "There are still a lot of people who are conservative, but the movement is now broken up, crumbled, dismantled."
"We say we won a great victory by defeating gay marriage in 11 state-ballot referenda in November," he says. "But I think in the long run, that will be seen as a victory in defense of a citadel that eventually fell."
As he later says, "I can't say we won the cultural war, and it's more likely we lost it."
The evidence? He says it was all over the tube, in prime time, at last year's Republican National Convention, which featured California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, New York Gov. George E. Pataki and former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, all social liberals.
"They are indifferent to those moral issues because they see them — and correctly — as no longer popular, no longer the majority positions that they used to be," he says. "They say, 'Let's put those off the table and focus on the issues where we still have a majority — strong national defense and cutting taxes.' "
So, Mr. Buchanan concludes, Republicans have "abdicated from the cultural war. They've stacked arms."
Mostly, I just hope that he's right, for the sake of the future of the country.