Saw Pat yesterday for the first time since his hospitalizations. Though clearly still weak from last week`s second gall bladder operation (he may have lost 15 pounds) he is champing at the bit, eager to get out and campaign.
Was at his house with a notary, getting his signature on "veep substitution" papers. The campaign is now under an avalanche of paperwork, FEC filings, state filings etc. It is a bit like having 50 house closings going on simultaneously, with different rules for every one, while at each closing another bidder works to undermine the contract - though having no real ability or interest in buying the house himself. Thus Reform Party politics, in the age of the Wrecking Crew.
But people whose businesses depend on it have no difficulty in making decisions based on who is going to get the FEC money. Yesterday three advertising companies visited the campaign in Tyson`s, showing us mock commercials, pitching their ideas for a media strategy. Clearly they had gone to considerable effort and expense for their presentations - and a shot at a $10 million account. Bay has not yet notified the "winner," so I`ll be vague about the outcome.
I sympathize with outsiders who can`t understand who the Reform Party nominee is. I am reminded of a Village Voice piece I read decades ago, about a qualifying match at the US open. One contestant came back to the scorers` tent and said, "I won, 4 and 3. Then his opponent said "No, I won 4 and 3." (This story, if not apocryphal, evidently took place before the USTA had referees for its pre-tournament qualifying rounds.) The frustrated USTA official simply sent out the players to play the match again.
In this case, the courts and election officials will decide plainly enough. In North Carolina, where election officials took sworn testimony from Reform Party delegates for four hours, they had little difficulty making a decision, giving the Reform Party ballot line of course to Pat - despite the fact that the Wrecking Crew controlled all the top party posts in the Tarheel state. I petitioned down there in May; we got no help at all from the existing Reform Party organization. Without PJB, the party consisted of several people who could fit around Dot and Herb Drews` coffee table.
One North Carolina board of elections official likened the situation to "a tear-down" - a mountain term for when part of a congregation walks out of a church. True enough, but both sides clearly know who is the majority faction, and who are the schismatics.
I try to keep an objective mind about the Wrecking Crew. The impulse to try to destroy an organization you no longer control is not unique to Russ Verney, Jim Mangia, Donna Donovan, or - whom I imagine is their paymaster - Ross Perot. The "rule or ruin" mentality is a perennial in politics. Still, it would be easier to deal with real opponents, people who simply believed something very different. Why can`t they be militant Muslim fundamentalists, black communists, Wall Street Journal style open borders types - some group of people who at least believed in something? In this case, the old guard of the Reform Party believes in nothing but their own sinecures. But for all that, they are willing to put all their energies into an effort to destroy a party.
Hagelin at least believes in levitation!