Joe Klein at the New York Times:
Patrick J. Buchanan is a merry troglodyte, a naughty provocateur. He still calls homosexuality “sodomy,” just to get the goat of a community he will only reluctantly call “gay.” He writes that he wanted to be named ambassador to South Africa by President Ford so he could support the apartheid government. He thinks public television is “an upholstered playpen” for liberals. He considers “The New York Times” an epithet. His stump appearances in his outlaw 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns were a guilty pleasure for the reporters who followed him, a hilariously clever, and prescient, exhibition of right-wing populism. “Buchanan,” Richard Nixon once told him, “you’re the only extremist I know with a sense of humor.”
And it is Buchanan, not Nixon, who emerges as the central — and most intriguing — character in “Nixon’s White House Wars,” an entertaining memoir of that benighted presidency. Buchanan’s Nixon is a familiar figure: distant, awkward, smart, defensive and damaged, caring a bit too much what the Establishment — a word Buchanan uses frequently — thinks of him. The not-so-tricky president is a policy moderate; he has surrounded himself with brilliant, if mainstream, experts like Henry Kissinger and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. There is also a retinue of traditional moderate Republican aides like Ray Price and Leonard Garment, and technocrats like H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman. Buchanan, the house wing nut, finds all this moderation frustrating; he began as a peripheral figure in the Nixon White House, a political gunslinger perhaps a bit too hot for the high-rent nuances of governance.