FOR a Republican to woo the labor vote isn't new: A significant minority of union members has always voted for the GOP. But Pat Buchanan has added a new twist: Campaigning for the GOP nomination with a Democratic program.
For several months now Buchanan has often sounded more like a Democrat than a Republican: He opposes free trade, which his party supports; he wants high tariffs, which his party repudiates; and he opposes the US membership in international organizations and alliances that his party has battled to strengthen and maintain ever since World War II. He rails against "Wall Street" and corporations that are traditional bastions of GOP support. Sure, he has a tough pro-life stance on abortion, but so do many Democrats, such as former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn or former Pennsylvania Gov. Hugh Casey.
This analysis got another boost the other day when Mr. Buchanan told ABC's "This Week With David Brinkley" that the Republican Party ought to reconsider its stance on the use of replacement workers by companies struggling with union strikers. During the interview, Mr. Buchanan was sitting in a union hall just prior to marching through a heavily Democratic Chicago Irish ward in the St. Patrick's Day parade. (He got a mixed reception - not surprising in a town where political machines still rule the roost.)
Whether companies ought to be allowed to hire replacement workers is a fair issue for debate. But to argue that they should not seems an odd position for someone who claims to be a conservative Republican.