Buchanan: McCain 'Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi'

     Former Nixon and Reagan aide-turned media pundit Pat Buchanan has a unique take on the Sen. John McCain’s success in running for the Republican presidential nomination.

     What does Buchanan think will happen if McCain succeeds as the GOP nominee for the upcoming 2008 presidential election?

     “He will make Cheney look like Gandhi,” Buchanan said.

     Buchanan participated in a panel with former Bill Clinton political adviser Paul Begala and liberal Air America radio talk show host Rachel Maddow on NBC’s February 6 “Today.” Buchanan told “Today” host Matt Lauer that McCain will have to shift focus from the economy to other issues.

     “If McCain wins – Iraq, foreign policy, Islamo-fascism, the war – he has to make those the issues, I think, given the economy tanking and the rest of the Republican problems, that’s the only card he’s got to have a divisive election” Buchanan said.

     Buchanan appeared to have been sold on comments from Begala that the economy was really in trouble, despite not having any evidence the economy is in a recession.

     “Economic change and voters who are concerned about the economy, health care prefer Hillary,” Begala said. “The two of them are just about half a degree off of right where the voters are. They want change like Barack suggests but they want economic – look at the stock market yesterday. The Democrats certainly believe we’re in the tank and that we need somebody who can fix the economy.”

     The economic “doom-and-gloom” spiel falls in line with what many in the media have been emphasizing. However, earlier in the broadcast, CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo warned “Today” viewers that type of rhetoric will only make things worse.

   “[T]he truth is, [“Today” co-anchor] Meredith [Vieira], it doesn't matter if we’re in a recession,” Bartiromo said. “We can talk ourselves into a recession, and that seems to be what we’re doing right now and that certainly begets more weakness.”