Pat Buchanan was born November 2, 1938 in Washington, D.C. to Catherine and William Buchanan. His sister, Bay Buchanan, served as U.S. Treasurer under the Reagan Administration. He is a lifelong Roman Catholic. He earned his bachelor's degree from Georgetown University in 1961 and his master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1962.
In 1965, Buchanan was hired by the law firm of Richard Nixon, and the next year, as a researcher for the Nixon Presidential campaign. Following Nixon's 1968 victory, Buchanan worked as a speechwriter and White House special assistant for the Nixon Administration and the Ford Administration.
Buchanan also served as White House Communications Director during the Ronald Reagan administration, from 1985 to 1987.
Buchanan has run for President three times. In 1992, he sought the Republican Party nomination against then-President George H.W. Bush. Many conservatives were alienated from the first Bush administration's policies, especially his reneging on his "read my lips, no new taxes" pledge and his frequent use of the term, "New World Order" to describe his foreign policy goals. Buchanan offered conservatives who were disillusioned by the Bush Administration a choice in the 1992 primaries. Buchanan came in a distant second in the primaries but is remembered for his fiery keynote speech at the 1992 Republican convention.
In 1996, Buchanan sought the Republican nomination again, and pulled an upset victory in the New Hampshire primary. However, after Bob Dole emerged as the clear favorite after the Super Tuesday primaries, Buchanan suspended his campaign.
In 2000, Buchanan left the Republican Party and announced his intention to seek the Reform Party nomination for President. He easily won the Reform Party nomination over his main rival for the nomination, John Hagelin, but carried only about 1/4 of 1% of the votes in the general election, coming in fourth place behind George W. Bush, Al Gore, and Ralph Nader. Ironically, however, the placement of his name on the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County, Florida, probably provided George W. Bush with his margin of victory due to Democratic voters mistakenly selecting Pat Buchanan.
Since the end of the Cold War, Pat Buchanan has been largely identified with the paleoconservative wing of the conservative movement. As such he is an opponent of free trade, a critic of mass immigration, and a critic of foreign policy interventionism such as the Iraq War, positions which put him at odds with the neoconservatives. He has written several books on these and other topics:
- Right from the Beginning (1988)
- The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice Are Being Sacrificed to the Gods of the Global Economy (1998)
- A Republic, Not an Empire: Reclaiming America's Destiny (1999)
- The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization (2002)
- Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency (2004)
- State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America (2006)
- Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart (2007)
- Churchill, Hitler and "The Unnecessary War" (2008)
He is also a co-founder and founding editor of The American Conservative magazine.