[Scott McConnell is moonlighting for the Buchanan campaign but we intend to get some first-person writing out of him – a worm's eye view of how the media reacts to a campaign, particularly one that raises the National Question. VDARE, needless to say, does not endorse any candidate for political office. We are eager to have and hereby invite Karl Rove or personnel from other campaigns to join in this series.]
Friday, February 18. Spent the morning writing a brief squib for the Buchanan web site on the remarkable passage in the Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot's column, where he praises "Dubyah" for ignoring popular pressures on the immigration issue. Astonishing young fellow, that Gigot – knows what really counts. "Family Values don't stop at the Rio Grande," Gigot quotes Bush as saying. We dub this stand on principle a "Great Moment in Non-Populist Conservatism." When I see it up, I make a note to tell the web-master to change it to "Great Moments in Establishment Conservatism"—but it really doesn't matter.
Time this morning to write a brief note for the website about the trade deficit, $270 billion this year. Later, at lunch with a Wall Street guy I know, he says the only cloud on the horizon is the trade deficit, which has to come in and crunch us sometime. I know Peter Brimelow is dubious, given that we have floating exchange rates. However….
My computer is full of e-mailed stories about the Perot "boomlet," which consists of some Reform Party activists planting stories about a "Draft Perot" movement, and how Perot is going to step in and take the Reform Party nomination. Could happen I guess, but not very likely from what I can see.
The operative image in everyone's mind is what happened to former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm last time around: Perot encouraged him to run, and then at the last moment decided he didn't want someone else being the standard bearer for the party he created after all. Visualize Lucy snatching the football away right before Charlie Brown kicks it.
I'm a big fan of Lamm's — whom I know from numerous FAIR [Federation for American Immigration Reform] meetings. But the difference is that Pat Buchanan as been working the Reform Party for months, and for months thousands of Buchananites have been joining the party. To a not inconsiderable extent, Reform has already become a Buchanan party—not entirely by any means, and I'm not sure it be a good thing if it were.
But several times I've been with Pat before audiences of old line Reform Party activists. One advantage of having so many enemies among the prestige columnists in the press, (Tom Friedman, William Safire, Norman Podhoretz, etc) is that it creates such low expectations—and thus it's even easier for Pat to do better than expected.
What hasn't been covered in the press is that Pat has been attending these small Reform gatherings and conventions every weekend for months. Ross Perot barely campaigned last time he got the Reform nomination, and it's far from clear he would pursue the matter any more zestfully this time around. I suspect that many of Perot's admirers deep down know this.
The other deus ex machina who is supposed to step in and stop Pat is John McCain. Trouble is, the folks who think the Reform Party is going to nominate McCain don't understand U.S. election law. At one point I was thinking our campaign should put out a statement explaining this, (the Supreme Court's ruling on cross-endorsement, the fact that running on two lines is only allowed in ten states, etc.) but then we figured, why not let the anti-Pat people jerk themselves around with this meaningless fantasy.
One of my political consultant friends (a liberal Democrat) is perpetually astonished at the ignorance and laziness of journalists. Seeing the legs of this McCain-as-nominee-of-two parties idea, I'm beginning to see his point.
I've been writing politics for years. It's a big change to be involved in it. On the whole, I'd rather be with my family! But……