USA Today, September 22, 1999
To the editor:
The recent actions and words of Pat Buchanan have troubled me deeply. Buchanan seems to be leaning toward abandoning the Republican Party and seeking the Reform Party nomination for President in 2000. This is a terrible idea. If Buchanan garners enough support, we would have Al Gore or Bill Bradley as President. Or, if he garners little support, conservatives will be discredited as a major force in the Republican Party. Both outcomes would be disastrous to conservative values.
But what troubles me more is that Buchanan has hinted that if he gets the Reform Party nomination, he will have to "downplay" social issues like abortion to fit in with a party that doesn't really care about social issues.
Besides being politically stupid - virtually Buchanan's entire support base comes from social conservatives - Buchanan's abandonment of his social conservatism would be a betrayal of the entire reason Buchanan is discontented with the GOP. If Buchanan abandons unborn children to America's abortion mills, he is no better than the moderates in the Republican Party he has been so critical of.
Voting third party as a protest vote is one thing when the Republican nominee has no chance of winning. But when victory is in our grasp, conservatives must work within the party to promote our values.