Advising Nixon

The White House Memos of Patrick J. Buchanan

Lori Cox Han

In 1966 Richard Nixon hired Patrick J. Buchanan, a young editorial writer at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, to help lay the groundwork for his presidential campaign. Fiercely conservative and a whiz at messaging and media strategy, Buchanan continued with Nixon through his tenure in office, becoming one of the president’s most important and trusted advisors, particularly on public matters. The copious memos he produced over this period, counseling the president on press relations, policy positions, and political strategy, provide a remarkable behind-the-scenes look into the workings of the Nixon White House—and a uniquely informed perspective on the development and deployment of ideas and practices that would forever change presidential conduct and US politics.

Of the thousand housed at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, presidential scholar Lori Cox Han has judiciously selected 135 of Buchanan’s memos that best exemplify the significant nature and reach of his influence in the Nixon administration. Here, in his now-familiar take-no-prisoners style, Buchanan can be seen advancing his deeply conservative agenda, counterpunching against advisors he considered too moderate, and effectively guiding the president and his administration through a changing, often hostile political environment. On every point of policy and political issue—foreign and domestic—through two successful campaigns, Nixon’s first term, and the fraught months surrounding the Watergate debacle, Buchanan presses his advantage, all the while honing the message that would push conservatism ever rightward in the following years. Expertly edited and annotated by Han, Advising Nixon: The White House Memos of Patrick J. Buchanan offers rare insight into the decision-making and maneuvering of some of the most powerful figures in government—with lasting consequences for American public life.

“A welcome addition to the literature on the American presidency.

—Congress & the Presidency

Advising Nixon will appeal to readers interested in Nixon as a politician, in the rise and remaking of conservatism, and in Buchanan himself, who continues to be a voice of the right.

—H-Net Reviews
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About the Author

Lori Cox Han is a professor of political science at Chapman University. She is the coauthor, with Diane J. Heith, of Presidents and the American Presidency and the editor of Hatred of America’s Presidents: Personal Attacks on the White House from Washington to Trump, among many other works.