GOP presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan promises to bring his campaign all the way to the Republican convention in San Diego in August. If Sen. Bob Dole gets the nomination, and chooses a pro-choice running mate, speculation persists that Buchanan may walk out with all the anti-abortion delegates.
On "Face the Nation" (Sunday, March 10, 1996), Buchanan said that if he received the Republican nomination he would form a coalition consisting of the U.S. Taxpayers Party, the Right-to-Life Party, Ross Perot's Reform Party, and New York's Conservative Party, and go on to beat Bill Clinton. In the likely event that he won't get the Republican nod, he could conceivably attempt to build the coalition anyway.
Howard Phillips, a powerful Washington operative, heads the U.S. Taxpayers Party. His party is holding its convention in San Diego on the heels of the Republican National Convention. We asked him about the Buchanan campaign.
Do you hope to place Pat Buchanan on your ticket as its presidential candidate?
Let's put it this way. Pat would be our strongest candidate. He could be elected in a multi-candidate race. Or, if he got the Republican nomination, we could co-endorse him as the Republican nominee. We also could instruct our party's electors to vote for him — it is the electors who vote in December. I would recommend drafting Pat as our candidate of choice.
Well, most likely, Buchanan won't get the Republican nomination, so what will happen to him at the Republican National Convention?
I would guess that the Republicans would realize it as a mistake if they didn't recognize him at the convention, and acknowledge that he has a place at the table. I think Pat will support the Republican nominee no matter who it is — with a varying degree of enthusiasm. He could adopt a "golden silence" position. Now, if Dole chooses Engler [governor of Michigan], who has a pro-life reputation, as a running mate, that would keep Buchanan from bolting from the party.
Dole can't get majority support in primaries because he personifies 'business as usual'. I think Pat could win if he would run as an independent.
We are in a period of political realignment. People are disappointed by the Republican Party's performance in many areas. With its control of both houses, it should have been able to accomplish more of the conservative agenda than it did.
Chuck Colson recently spoke highly of Pat, and he spoke about the impending breakup of the Republican Party [on Cal Thomas's February 25, 1996 CNBC television show]. The Republican Party has betrayed the hopes of many.
We're in a moral crisis, but we're also in a fiscal crisis. With the new European Community, I believe the dollar will cease to be the reserve currency. We must solve this economic crisis. Not a single candidate is addressing this.
As a former Jew, what do you think about allegations of Buchanan's anti-Semitism?
I think he's been falsely accused of being anti-Semitic. I've known him well since 1971; there's not an inch of bigotry in the man. I don't like anti-Semitism; I don't like racists, and I believe that Pat has been very mistreated. He's a civil libertarian, he's loyal to his friends. There's nothing phoney about Pat. I support Pat with enthusiasm."
If you're supporting Buchanan, why is your name on the ticket of the Taxpayer's Party?
My name is being used as a stand-in candidate to get ballot access. I'm not a household word!
In how many states is your party on the ballot?
As of April 15th, we'll have met the requirements in 30 states. We're striving to reach 50, plus DC, by the end of the year.
Has Jim Dobson [of Focus on the Family] indicated any support?
I met with Jim Dobson. I think we share many of the same concerns. He is concerned about his 501(c)(3) tax status. I think he will soon begin to express his concerns on the issues.
What is the goal of the U.S. Taxpayers Party?
Our goal is to bring a government to power that will restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical principles. To limit the Federal government to its constitutional boundaries. To elect a president who will use his constitutional veto authority — with the support of one-third-plus-one of the members of the House — to terminate all federal activities which transgress the delegated, enumerated functions prescribed in the Constitution. The better we do in 1996, the closer we come to realizing these objectives.