The Dark Side of MSNBC’s ‘Crazy Political Uncle’

Noting that, “for the last decade or so, Washington has indulged Pat Buchanan as a sort of crazy political uncle” by having “agreed to forget about his long track record of racially questionable commentary and writing,” TPM Muckraker‘s Zachary Roth and Justin Elliott (4/24/09) have caught a column “for the far-right web magazine, Human Events,” that doesn’t quite jibe with the image portrayed on Buchanan’s “frequent MSNBC appearances, where he plays a mostly well-mannered, if hardline, conservative.”

The commentary in question asserts that “family-and-faith, God-and-country” America “does not comprehend how the president could sit in Trinidad and listen to the scrub stock of the hemisphere trash our country–and say nothing.” Taking a closer look at the “scrub stock” descriptor in that sentence, Roth and Elliott find a definition no less offensive in its connotations for being so archaic:

There’s no record of it appearing in the New York Times since 1943. (Hey, no one ever called Buchanan hip!) Until then, it was almost exclusively used to refer to an inferior breed of farm animal, usually cattle or horses, as when the paper reported in 1907: “Financial Disturbance Forces Cattlemen to Sell ‘Scrub’ Stock to Hold Prime Grades.”…

In other words, “scrub stock” essentially means an inferior breed.

It’s worse than that, though. There’s evidence that theorists of racial and genetic superiority–an area of pseudo-scientific “scholarship” that was in vogue even among mainstream intellectuals in the late 19th and early 20th century–explicitly extended the use of the phrase beyond animals and into humans. In short, the phrase has been used by both eugenicists and racial segregationists to argue for the superiority of the white race.

See FAIR’s regrettably still-relevant article: “In His Own Words: The History Book on Patrick Buchanan” (10/3/99) by Jeff Cohen