Scott McConnell's Buchanan Diary
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Sunday, April 9, 2000

An oddly empty office by the end of the week, with a van full of young staffers flown down to Texas Thursday to gather signatures. The biggest reason there aren't third or fourth parties in the United States is the sheer difficulty of getting on ballots - some states require huge numbers of signatures, which in turn require large networks of volunteers and paid workers.

It's set up that way to maintain a duopoly - and this year, it seems like the purpose is to have an election where the only issue on the table is which candidate wants to pour more money into the Department of Education.

Flying up the Chicago Thursday, PJB noticed that Bill Safire in the New York Times (April 6) had criticized Israel for selling advanced weapons to China and chided US presidential candidates for not about it.

But PJB remembered (as I did not) that he directly addressed this issue last year—in a Washington Times op-ed, making essentially the same points as Safire — but unlike Safire putting the greater onus on the White House instead of the Israeli government. I duly wrote the briefest possible letter to the editor of the Times pointing this out. Which I expect the Times to ignore.

One question I left out of my letter: why does Safire think that that all the US presidential candidates (besides Pat) are so reluctant to raise the issue?

The weekend, PJB was bound for Reform Party events in Wisconsin and Minnesota, plus a stop at a Minneapolis elementary school—the kind of sweet and cuddly campaign stop Pat has done very little of this year.

I haven't yet heard, having spent the weekend in NY, but I hope it went well. Two weeks before, the fourth grade teacher called and said, please, if there's any chance you're going to cancel this please do it now, cause the kids are so excited, and will be so upset if it's cancelled nearer the appointed time. It wasn't cancelled, but there was a major snowstorm last Friday in Minneapolis—I'm scared almost to ask what happened.

This week, the Left is in town to protest the IMF. Pat will talk briefly at a Teamster rally. Very curious how it will go. The anti-globalist coalition of Left and Right is the most interesting thing in contemporary politics, but as yet it consists mostly of quite different people saying somewhat parallel things—with little real coordination between them.

Much office buzz about the Long Beach convention site — chosen I don't know why by the Reform Party barons, but a weak selection for logistical and other reasons. But it's locked in as they say, and we'll make it work.

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