Declaring a “truce of San Diego,” Pat Buchanan urged his disappointed followers Sunday night to set aside their battles with other Republicans and work for the party’s victory in November.
In a speech before 1,500 supporters, Buchanan said he would not bolt the Republican Party and run on a third-party ticket, as many of his backers had hoped. But in a clear reflection of Buchanan’s resentment at being cold-shouldered by the party elite, he pointedly avoided even the mention of Bob Dole’s name and never directly said he supports the Bob Dole and Jack Kemp ticket.
Citing truces for Lent in the Middle Ages, Buchanan said: “Today, this disputatious party of ours needs such a truce, a truce of San Diego. Let us, at least for the next 10 weeks - nobles and knights and, yes, even the peasants with pitchforks - suspend our battles with one another and join together in common cause to defeat Bill Clinton and Prince Albert, and dispossess them of all their holdings east of the Potomac River.
“It is time for a party truce, in the name of a Republican victory.”
But many of his supporters who came to pay him tribute at a reception here 40 miles north of the convention center said they never would vote for Dole and his vice presidential pick, Jack Kemp. They said they do not consider the ticket committed to the party platform that conservatives fought hard to have reflect Buchanan’s views.
“Dole and Kemp are liberals,” said Frank Tyree, a laid-off defense worker who, when asked his profession, replied, “Unemployed white male.”
“They say they’re conservatives, but they’re frauds,” he said. “What good is the platform if the candidates aren’t going to run on it?” Dole has said he has not read the platform and does not feel beholden to its positions.
But Buchanan portrayed its planks as a victory in the effort to push the party further to the right. On issues from abortion to immigration, the platform has Buchanan’s stamp on it, he said.
“Our rivals may be waving from the podium, but it is our ideas that now reflect the grass roots of this party, our ideas that are fixed firmly within the Republican platform,” Buchanan said in the text of his speech.
Buchanan got almost three million votes in this spring’s GOP primaries, and Dole has since tailored his remarks to address issues the Buchanan voters care about, such as never having American soldiers serve under the command of the United Nations.
Buchanan said that to bolt the GOP for a third party would be turning his back on voters who wanted to see the Republican Party reflect their conservative views.
“America does not need a third party,” he said.
“America needs a fighting second party. A party that means what it says, and says what it means, that not only preaches but practices a conservatism of the heart.”