Ironically, victory in the Cold War generated a crisis of confidence in the US government that had successfully prosecuted it. For decades, Republicans told voters that government was virtually useless except for fighting communism. According to E. J. Dionne Jr., the Anxious Middle is thoroughly disaffected with the status quo, pragmatic in its expectations of what government can and cannot do, and longing for successes—both economic and patriotic—that defined the United States during the heyday of World War II and the Cold War. Throughout the Cold War, presidential elections were frequently fought over the corpse of the Democratic party. The Dole experience may prove emblematic for the Republican party's prospects in the post-Cold War era. Patrick J. Buchanan's anticommunism drew him into the Republican ranks—first as a special assistant to President Richard Nixon and later as President Ronald Reagan's White House communications director.