Sunday, June 4, 2000
A short week for me – I cut out early for NYC to see my wife and son graduate (from law school and high school respectively). PJB turned in petitions in North Carolina for the Reform Party, then flew west to California for what I figured would be an acrimonious Reform Party convention.
The Buchanan forces have put the Reform Party on the ballot in nearly a dozen states with dozens more to come. PJB got on in Texas as an independent (just as Perot did in '96, incidentally.)
USA Today's Tom Squitieri, the country's only journalist to actually do some real digging into internal Reform Party politics, published this week a story showing how the Buchanan forces had been winning delegates in most of the state conventions.
There is no great mystery to the process: the campaign calls up Buchananites in the various states, and says look, we're building the Reform Party into a strong vehicle for a trade policy that puts a premium on American jobs, an American First foreign policy, a more serious effort to control our borders, and we'd like you to be a part of it.
Spent the rest of the week working on various speech drafts to be delivered in the late summer and fall. Since there are people in our office who are on the phone all the time, I imagine I have a reputation as something of a slacker. Usually I am sitting there, a half finished text on the screen, reading City Journal, or American Outlook or The American Prospect, looking for some fresh idea to borrow - usually with attribution - and insert into the political process. It doesn't look like work to most people, and in a way it's not really.
I have to admit there is still a lot of good writing in the neo-con universe: too bad they're so wrongheaded on the big questions of war and peace and immigration. (I recall several years ago at a fancy Southampton party when Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz introduced me to A.M. Rosenthal, telling him "Scott's views are very good, except on immigration." That was before the U.S. attacked Serbia, and before I began to question whether it was wise to have a foreign policy based on inflicting vast suffering on civilian populations who had never done America any harm.)
That said, many of the neo-con publications are a delight to read, and Norman perhaps would shudder at the thought at how many ideas I first came across in Commentary or some kindred publication work their way into Buchanan drafts.
June 4, 2000