Friday, April 28
A major speech today in San Diego on US-Mexican relations, focusing chiefly on immigration and the border issues. The contrast with George W is telling - so I'm naturally curious about press coverage, and turnout at the various rallies and fundraisers held afterwards.
As the political world knows, Pat is low in the polls now. Main reason why: all the campaign's energy and money gets put into ballot access - we have something like 50 people working in Texas now.
But there are constantly signs of real upside potential. Yesterday the switchboard transferred a call to me - somebody wanted to know something about a "petition about CHINA MFN." We have ballot-access petitions, and have also urged on the web site (http://www.buchananreform.com) that people sign debate petitions and fax them in so we at some point can deliver them to the Federal Election Commission. But I knew there was no petition about China. Probably something one of the outside direct mail firms does - to galvanize a response. (As the recipient of pounds of direct mail every week, most of it from various GOP fronts, I know something about the tricks of the trade.)
Anyway, I took the call, a diversion from writing up a briefing update about Kosovo for Pat's fundraiser next week. Turns out to be this guy in northern Florida had picked up off the parking lot in a shopping center a piece of Buchanan direct mail - something about MFN for China, which asked the recipient to sign a petition and let Congress know their views. The guy wanted the petition to sign. Also wanted name and address of Florida HQ, and address to send Pat a check. Said he was a McCain supporter, didn't really know Pat was running or what he stood for, but liked the letter.
I gave him the name and address of our Florida chair, and the campaign address to send a check - telling him that would get him in the database and he'd henceforth receive future mailings. (Hope I'm right about that.) He isn't online, so can't go the web site - but sounded reasonable, educated, average Republican guy with a bit of a rebellious streak. The issue match of Pat and McCain is not all that significant, but I suspect he was supporting McCain without knowing or caring too much his particular positions. Now, on the basis of the one position he knows about (learned through a piece of litter picked up in a shopping mall) he's sending money to Pat.
How many more are there like this - folks who basically agree with Pat on trade, immigration, foreign policy, (or two of the three) - who viscerally like someone challenging the established Beltway parties, but who are just not paying much attention to politics?
I now inhabit a world where people have most mornings at least glanced at The Hotline by noon (the online political junkie newsletter, published at 11:40AM). But it pays to always remember that out there are lots of people (100 million? 200 million?) who DON'T EVEN KNOW PAT IS RUNNING.
When we no longer have to spend all our resources on ballot access and the Byzantine Reform Party nomination quest, when we have some money to CAMPAIGN - those people, or a lot of them, will know Pat is running and what he stands for.