When I was in St. Paul, Minnesota for the Republican National Convention in the fall of 2008, my blog guy, Phil, insisted that I had to take myself over to the Target Center to attend the Ron Paul Rally for America that was going on there, at the exact same time that the old-looking, white, Republican hordes were nominating John McCain and Sarah Palin in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota.
What I knew about Ron Paul you could put in a pea and it would rattle, but I had seen him on television during the caucus season, and I felt he was getting the short end of the stick most of the time. He often seemed the only Republican up there who actually made a little bit of sense. And soon after he was allowed to appear for a few debates, the PTB shut him down and we saw less and less of old Ron, although his supporters became more and more vocal and active, appearing at nearly every big campaign event.
Dr. Paul doesn’t make sense all of the time, but he certainly got my attention with his comments about spending more than you take in being a bad thing. He could was eloquent when talking about the crime that he thinks was committed when America left the gold standard (for backing our currency) and began printing money up like worthless scrip. I even remember my banker father taking a few gold dollars (uncirculated) and putting them away in a safety deposit box, telling me that these would, some day, become collectors’ items. (And, boy, was he ever right!)
When I entered the Target Center in Minneapolis (St. Paul’s twin city), which most people had paid $17 a head to enter (press got in free), I was amazed at the fact that the place was full and, also, at the diversity of the audience members. There were many spectators walking around wearing delegate badges to the “real” Republican convention across town in St. Paul. When I asked one of the delegates to the RNC why he was here (Minneapolis) rather than there (St. Paul) he said, “This is where the real action is.” And I felt he was right. I got a sense of enthusiasm, of supporters who were not just rich fat cats or old white men, but a diverse group cutting across all segments of the nation. Why, I hadn’t had a feeling like that since I was present in Denver at the DNC at the Pepsi Center!
Now, the Ron Paul Rally for America action was odd action. I was sandwiched between 2 economists from Germany who tried to give me a crash course on Libertarianism and seemed to think that Ron Paul represented the second coming. (I was afraid one of them might accidentally give an unfortunate salute at any moment, such was his unbridled enthusiasm.) I felt I was having an out-of-body experience when, onstage, appeared (at one time) Barry Goldwater, Jr. (looking just like dear old Dad), Tucker Carlson, Jesse Ventura (former professional wrestler, actor and Governator of Minnesota), and Ron Paul. When the conversation took off on legalizing hemp, I began to really feel I had wandered into an alternate universe. It was surreal.
But the one thing that you could say for and about the St. Paul “Ron Paul Rally for America” is that it had youth. It had vigor. It had action. It had a feeling of some life and some commitment to the cause. I had some hope that the elephant might survive, IF it could find a way to get these radical rascals back into the herd. And I don’t mean the herd of old white fat cats with no visible diversity at all. This year, in Bush Jr.’s absence the party had even given up the display of token inclusion they attempted during the second of “W’s” conventions.
Imagine my surprise to pick up the December 14 (2009) issue of Newsweek magazine and belatedly read Howard Fineman’s article “Is There a Doctor in the House?” in which he says (among other things), in a discussion of Ron Paul, “No one thinks Ron Paul is going to lead the G.O.P, let alone be president. He’s 74 years old and just too…out there. He is an obscure guy who waited patiently (if not quietly) for the cycle of history to come back around his way, and finally it did. We have been arguing about money, credit, and banks since the first days of the republic. Paul is a bargain basement Jefferson for our time.”
Wow! My ears perked up at these words of praise for the old warrior. I read on, because what Howard Fineman said next is what I have been telling everyone everywhere since the Republican National Convention in Minnesota and I want to thank Phil (my blog guy) for making me go hear Ron Paul and the Libertarians, who seem(ed) to much more fully capture the zeitgeist and spirit of America than the Gestapo-like horde of old white guys downtown in St. Paul.
Said Fineman in his article: “Still, the GOP needs to study Ron Paul and learn. No one has better captured the sense of Main Street outrage over secret insider deals and Wall Street bonuses. No one has been more consistent about sticking to core conservative values—including the one that says the government shouldn’t spend more money than it takes in.” [At this point, I’m sure, were my own dear father alive, he’d be chiming in, shaking his head in assent and saying, “That’s right!”]
Fineman went on to say, “If the GOP is going to appeal to independent voters, it has to confront its own corporate allies…The good doctor, of all people, is showing Republicans the way. What they need is a candidate who embodies the spirit of Ron Paul. Just so long as it isn’t Ron Paul.”