The Old Right

Present-day conservatism is obsessed with killing Muslims, which has put it in alliance with Israeli nationalism in a way that’s at odds with the American right’s traditional anti-semitism. But after promising to balance the budget by eliminating aid to Israel it seems that the McCain campaign has been looking for other ways to get back in touch with these kind of roots. In particular, in her introductory speech Sarah Palin quoted an oldtime conservative populist named Westbrook Pegler. She didn’t, however, use his name, presumably because whoever dug the quote up for her knew who the source was and knew that the source was disreputable. Ben Smith explains:

It’s an odd source because Pegler, who moved further right as his career went on, ended up very, very far out. Frank notes that he talked hopefully of the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt.

He was also known for what Philip Roth described as his “casual distaste for Jews,” which had become so evident by the end that he was bounced from the journal of the John Birch Society in 1964 for alleged anti-semitism. According to his obituary, he’d advanced the theory that American Jews of Eastern European descent were “instinctively sympathetic to Communism, however outwardly respectable they appeared.”

According to Smith the likely source of the quote was a 1990 Pat Buchanan book that seems to be the only easily available online source.