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Marcus In Minnesota—St. Paul, Ron Paul, Palin, Police Horses
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September 03, 2008, 05:00 AM
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Random thoughts from the Republican Convention in Saint Paul:

When I was trying to hail a cab in the rain, employees who were opening up a bar let me in, and gave me a free cup of tea while they called a cab. They both were both white teenagers whose parents owned the bar. I`ve never had an illegal alien busboy do the same.

When you take a cab in Washington D.C., which is where I live, you are likely to have an immigrant driver who will spend the entire ride talking on his Bluetooth in a foreign language.  Every single cab I`ve taken here was driven by an American and they were all eager to strike up a conversation. In fact, the only thing that suggested a lack of "Minnesota Nice" was an African American cab driver who was from Mississippi . He told me that everyone up here thought that he was fleeing the racism of the South, but he said whites down there were even "nicer."

One of my cab drivers was a traditionalist Roman Catholic. We talked about how the American Bishops are betraying their members by promoting mass immigration. When he found out that I work for Pat Buchanan, he gave me a discounted rate.

  • Speaking of Pat, Sarah Palin has gotten a great deal of grief over her possible support of Pat Buchanan in 1996 (Pat carried Alaska in 1996), and the fact that she wore a Buchanan 2000 pin when he spoke at a fundraiser for a mutual friend in 2000. (She now says she was just making him feel welcome.) It is amazing, though not surprising, that this is considered more scandalous than Obama`s connection to left-wing terrorist Bill Ayers.

Honestly, it`s not clear exactly how much of a Buchananite Palin is. My guess is that, insofar as she supported him, it was most likely more over the pro-life issue than patriotic immigration reform. But still…

Somewhat amusingly, I`ve heard that the GOP is now passing out talking points defending Pat Buchanan—who has gotten the silent treatment from the Republican Establishment ever since his marvelous Culture Wars Speech in the 1992 convention. Bay Buchanan should have a piece in the NY Times soon explaining that Pat`s speech was supported by Bush I—and boosted his poll numbers.  It was only after Jack Kemp, and other ostensible "conservatives",, went after Pat, and Bush distanced himself from the speech, that Bush`s poll numbers went down.

  • Speaking of Bay, while much has been made of the police reaction to the protestors, but she actually had a run-in with the police. When she went into the wrong area (to which she had been directed by the police,) a police horse bucked into her and she was bruised.

In fact, Paul was nearly banned from attending at all. He was told not he could not have a single staffer on the floor and that he would have to surrender his credentials when he left. Under these circumstances, Paul simply refused to go.

In semi-fairness to the GOP, Paul would no doubt have given a blistering speech critical of McCain. And I wouldn`t be surprised that, if a few of his supporters were on the floor, you might even have seen them chanting antiwar and anti-McCain slogans. If you are trying to show "party unity" with the goal of getting McCain elected—which is the whole point of the bland informercials that modern Conventions have become—it would make sense to keep Paul on a leash.

Of course the GOP is not united. It needs a kick in the ass like that.

  • I decided to attend Paul`s Rally in lieu of the "real" convention. The first half was MCd by MSNBC`s Tucker Carlson. I saw Carlson interviewed by my friend Dave Weigel of Reason Magazine. I was very impressed with what Carlson had to say: he seemed to have an extremely acute sense of the strengths and weaknesses of the Paul movement. When Weigel asked if Paul threatened the Establishment, Carlson said that, to most leftists, Paul was just some guy with weird ideas about money whom they may agree with about the War and Drugs. He said that the way Paul is treated is far better than Pat Buchanan, who did truly threaten the "limousine liberal" mentality.

Weigel followed up by suggesting that this meant that Paul needed to distance himself from people like Lew Rockwell, Chuck Baldwin, and the John Birch Society so as to stay more respectable. Carlson dismissed this. Of course, the people who made up the grassroots of the Paul movement (and who were clearly the majority of the attendees of the Rally) were followers of people like Rockwell and Baldwin, not Reason Magazine.

Talking to Carlson afterwards, I brought up that the one aspect of Paul that truly threatened the Left`s world view: the material in the Ron Paul Letters—which, however, the movement quickly distanced itself from. Carlson said he agreed (although I would not take that as meaning he necessarily agreed with the Ron Paul Letters!)

  • The question on the mind of VDARE.COM readers is: Where was patriotic immigration reform?  It was definitely there among the crowd. When Grover Norquist made a very veiled defense of open immigration, he was booed. Copies of the VDARE.COM Special Issue of The Social Contract magazine were distributed throughout the rally.

At the beginning of the campaign, Paul said some sensible things about immigration. But then he let the issue slip through his fingers, so much so that at the end John McCain was beating him among voters who professed to want patriotic immigration reform.

Unfortunately, there is no indication that Paul intends to return to the patriotic immigration reform cause. His speech did not mention immigration at all. Instead, he made typical left-libertarian noises about Martin Luther King and Gandhi.

The huge turnout at the Target Center is just another showing of how Paul has started a serious movement. It will continue even though his campaign is over. I encourage all VDARE.COM readers to get on board.

But I also encourage them to press Paul to take up the cause of patriotic immigration reform.

Marcus Epstein [send him mail] is the founder of the Robert A Taft Club and the executive director of the The American Cause and Team America PAC. A selection of his articles can be seen here. The views he expresses are his own.