Commentary by PAT MURPHY
The name of who said it escapes me, but not the words.
"Reform parties," the sage said, "are like bees: they
sting, then they die."
And so it is with the slow political death of Pat Buchanan, who stung the
U.S. body politic, and who may have caused the death of the Reform Party which hes
tried to wrest from Ross Perots die-hard faithful with strong-arm tactics suggestive
of an infamous German beer hall putsch of the 1930s.
Blame others as he will, Buchanans death will be suicide by his own
Among other things, public opinion polls in this, his third attempt to
become U.S. president, tell the story.
Hes down to one or two percent, less than the less celebrated Green
Party candidate, Ralph Nader. And Buchanans negatives are at a record 51 percent.
His loony strategy is turning off even onetime followers.
Just how much can people take of Buchanans rustic view of voters as
a "peasant army" and "pitchfork brigade," as though he yearns to lead
18th century rabble, not a democratic nation.
As the U.S. economy depends more on global trade, Buchanans Fortress
America isolationism shows unvarnished contempt for the 21st century.
His recent threat that as president hed send 10,000 Marines to help
the United Nations move out of the United States reveals an ignorance of the UNs
diplomatic real estate as well as a diminished capacity for diplomacy and statesmanship.
Finally, as if hed closed his eyes and picked a name from the Los
Angeles phone directory, Buchanans vice presidential running mate, 62-year-old
African American Ezola Foster, turns out to be a one-time California schoolteacher who
went on welfare after claiming a mental disorder.
What a fine team theyd be to run the United States. One candidate
who talks cockeyed nonsense, the other a documented mental case.
Sometimes, theres a simpler way to explain a problem than the
complicated reasons offered by too many people, if you follow what I mean.
Take the problem of why Idahos salmon population has suddenly and
drastically declined, along with construction of four Lower Snake River dams between 1964
Over the weekend, at a seminar on salmon sponsored by Idaho Rivers United,
biologist Dave Cannamela of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game enunciated the most
sensible and obvious explanation.
Salmon, Cannamela said, simply are dying from stressthe stress of
trying to survive the trip to the Pacific Ocean through hydroelectric turbines and
spillways of four dams; or the unnatural experience of being scooped up as captives and
barged past the dams.