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Coalition aiming to derail Buchanan

  • The strange tale of how the Establishment will stop at nothing to derail the biggest threat to its strangle-hold on power: Pat Buchanan.
By Mike Blair

A faction of far-out members of the Reform Party, joined by far-left environmentalists, feminist extremists, gay rights activists and anarchists, are hoping to derail the campaign of Pat Buchanan and capture the party's nomination at its August convention in Long Beach, Calif.

Gathering behind John Hagelin, the founder and the 1996 presidential candidate of the little-known Natural Law Party, the group is planning to turn the convention into a raucous mob scene that will be portrayed as a party of disorganized rabble by the Establishment media and thus destroy Buchanan's chances in November.

That's the fallback plan if Hagelin is not nominated, as seems likely.

Hagelin has an odd personality. He believes transcendental meditation, or TM, is the key to solving all human problems. According to his own literature, Hagelin's trances have produced these positions:

• "Reduce crime by rehabilitating offenders and reduce the dangerous build-up of stress that pervades our cities and the nation as a whole." Hagelin criticizes "more prisons, stiffer sentencing, more police."

• "Improve education through programs that develop the inner-creative genius of the student." He cites no source for the conclusion that inside every student is a genius struggling to get out. Under the Constitution, education is a state -- not federal -- responsibility.

TM is an offshoot of the Hindu religion led by a "guru" called the Maharishi. Its leaders once argued that TM is not a religion but merely a form of meditation that cures the body's ills without the use of medicine -- establishment or alternative -- while solving all social problems.

TM's argument was once so successful that public schools used federal funds to teach its "meditation." But when The SPOTLIGHT revealed TM's religious nature in stories on Oct. 18 and Nov. 8, 1976, things began to change.

A year later, on Oct. 20, 1977, U.S. District Court Judge H. Curtis Meanor ruled that TM is a religion and cannot be taught in public schools.

The Newark, N.J., judge cited information contained in The SPOTLIGHT stories about students being forced into "incense-filled rooms" barefoot to worship the so-called "Geru Dev," a "Divine Master." They had to sing Hindu chants (SPOTLIGHT, Nov. 7, 1977).

The Maharishi ordered his followers to enter politics to reshape the "world consciousness" by means of government institutions. Hagelin is following his master's orders. Those who follow Hagelin are also following the Maharishi's orders, although most are unaware of this.

Most political pundits believe at this point that Buchanan has the Reform Party presidential nomination about wrapped up. However, the big danger seen by Buchanan's followers is that the funny people backing Hagelin will destroy the party's credibility at the Long Beach convention and thus destroy the party nominee's chances at the polls.

The Hagelin crowd is accusing Buchanan of promoting a "message of exclusivity and intolerance," which has been trumpeted by those within the Republican and Democratic parties who are trying to limit his presidential chances.

On July 5, Reform Party members started mailing in their primary ballots to nominate the presidential candidate of their party.

The party's selection of a presidential candidate is a complicated process.

State parties have been holding conventions to name delegates, which required Buchanan followers to go into the state parties in many states and elect their own people.

However, the party must nominate whoever wins the mail-in primary unless two-thirds of the delegates at Long Beach vote to override the mail-in results which would be a public relations nightmare.

The party has mailed out a million ballots to party members as well as to anyone who has ever signed a party petition. The ballot must be mailed back by Aug. 4.

Buchanan and his followers are convinced that they can win the primary and defeat Hagelin with an overwhelming number of delegates at the Long Beach convention.

Buchanan is also convinced that the courts will overturn the current stranglehold the Republicans and Democrats have on the nationally televised presidential debates, in which "good ole boy" rules currently allow only the GOP and Democrat candidates -- Tex. Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore -- to participate.

Buchanan backers are certain that their candidate, a master of debate, will easily overshadow the lackluster "Gush and Bore" and awaken the American public to the righteous cause of the Re form Party candidate.

Recently, following Bilderberg, Lenora Fulani, the far-left political activist who had become the national co-chairman of the Buchanan campaign with the hope of making Buchanan's bid a right-center-left coalition, abruptly changed her mind and backed away from her support of Buchanan's candidacy.

Hagelin's followers view this as a plus for their man. But most Buchanan supporters, who were concerned that their political hero, Buchanan, had allied himself with Fulani and her socialist followers, view her defection as a bonus.