Former Nixonite and coonskin cap-wearing sometime presidential candidate Pat Buchanan has always been a racist relic who appealed mostly to those caveman-like Americans anxious for a return to the Andrew Jackson era. Always. There has never been a time, during his long career as a smiley pundit, in which he was not a racist. So. Although it's kind of nice that he's been suspended by MSNBC, it's the media equivalent of giving all the homeless people in your city a one-way bus ticket just as long as the Olympics are in town.
The group Color of Change has been waging an ongoing campaign against Buchanan since his latest provocatively racist book was published. (There is a chapter entitled "The End of White America." There is another chapter called "The White Party." Those are two separate chapters.) Yesterday, the Daily Caller reports, the group emailed its members to tell them that "MSNBC President Phil Griffin just confirmed that Buchanan is suspended indefinitely because some of his ideas aren't ‘appropriate for national dialogue on MSNBC.'" Buchanan gave an appropriately outrageous quote in response.
We just finished the New Hampshire primaries. The 2012 presidential race is now officially in full swing. For a cable network like MSNBC, this is its Olympics, a ratings bonanza whose bounty sustains it through all those long, desolate years in which airtime must be filled with celebrity baby news and car chases. The next ten months will be MSNBC's big moment. They need to sweep the floors, dust the corners, and put all the dirty laundry out back where the visitors can't see it. You, Pat Buchanan, are the dirty laundry.
Anyone less racist than, say, the average Ole Miss Athletic Booster Club member has known for years and years that Pat Buchanan is—not to suggest that we can sum up the entirety of a man in a few mere words—a racist shit. His ideas have never been "appropriate for national dialogue," if you consider raw racism to be inappropriate for that purpose. If, on the other hand, you want our national dialogue to be wide-ranging and to embrace the entire range of crazies (and it should), then Pat Buchanan is completely appropriate, as a spokesman for the enemy.
Either way, Pat Buchanan's views have not evolved in the past 30 years. MSNBC knew exactly what it was getting when it hired Pat Buchanan long, long ago: a smiling guy who looks like one of your grandfather's breakfast buddies who is good at doing TV political talk shows and is a big, big racist. MSNBC is not separating from Pat Buchanan (momentarily) because of his views. They knew all about those already. It just happens to be a touchy time for cable political networks, PR-wise.
Pat Buchanan will be back on all the cable shows as soon as people forget about him. He'll still be a racist fuck. And everyone will still be smiling when they talk to him.