Random thoughts from the Republican Convention in Saint Paul:
When I was trying to hail a cab in the rain, employees who were opening up a bar let me in, and gave me a free cup of tea while they called a cab. They both were both white teenagers whose parents owned the bar. I've never had an illegal alien busboy do the same.
When you take a cab in Washington D.C., which is where I live, you are likely to have an immigrant driver who will spend the entire ride talking on his Bluetooth in a foreign language. Every single cab I've taken here was driven by an American and they were all eager to strike up a conversation. In fact, the only thing that suggested a lack of "Minnesota Nice" was an African American cab driver who was from Mississippi . He told me that everyone up here thought that he was fleeing the racism of the South, but he said whites down there were even "nicer."
One of my cab drivers was a traditionalist Roman Catholic. We talked about how the American Bishops are betraying their members by promoting mass immigration. When he found out that I work for Pat Buchanan, he gave me a discounted rate.
Honestly, it's not clear exactly how much of a Buchananite Palin is. My guess is that, insofar as she supported him, it was most likely more over the pro-life issue than patriotic immigration reform. But still…
Somewhat amusingly, I've heard that the GOP is now passing out talking points defending Pat Buchanan—who has gotten the silent treatment from the Republican Establishment ever since his marvelous Culture Wars Speech in the 1992 convention. Bay Buchanan should have a piece in the NY Times soon explaining that Pat's speech was supported by Bush I—and boosted his poll numbers. It was only after Jack Kemp, and other ostensible "conservatives",, went after Pat, and Bush distanced himself from the speech, that Bush's poll numbers went down.
In fact, Paul was nearly banned from attending at all. He was told not he could not have a single staffer on the floor and that he would have to surrender his credentials when he left. Under these circumstances, Paul simply refused to go.
In semi-fairness to the GOP, Paul would no doubt have given a blistering speech critical of McCain. And I wouldn't be surprised that, if a few of his supporters were on the floor, you might even have seen them chanting antiwar and anti-McCain slogans. If you are trying to show "party unity" with the goal of getting McCain elected—which is the whole point of the bland informercials that modern Conventions have become—it would make sense to keep Paul on a leash.
Of course the GOP is not united. It needs a kick in the ass like that.
Weigel followed up by suggesting that this meant that Paul needed to distance himself from people like Lew Rockwell, Chuck Baldwin, and the John Birch Society so as to stay more respectable. Carlson dismissed this. Of course, the people who made up the grassroots of the Paul movement (and who were clearly the majority of the attendees of the Rally) were followers of people like Rockwell and Baldwin, not Reason Magazine.
Talking to Carlson afterwards, I brought up that the one aspect of Paul that truly threatened the Left's world view: the material in the Ron Paul Letters—which, however, the movement quickly distanced itself from. Carlson said he agreed (although I would not take that as meaning he necessarily agreed with the Ron Paul Letters!)
At the beginning of the campaign, Paul said some sensible things about immigration. But then he let the issue slip through his fingers, so much so that at the end John McCain was beating him among voters who professed to want patriotic immigration reform.
Unfortunately, there is no indication that Paul intends to return to the patriotic immigration reform cause. His speech did not mention immigration at all. Instead, he made typical left-libertarian noises about Martin Luther King and Gandhi.
The huge turnout at the Target Center is just another showing of how Paul has started a serious movement. It will continue even though his campaign is over. I encourage all VDARE.COM readers to get on board.
But I also encourage them to press Paul to take up the cause of patriotic immigration reform.
Marcus Epstein [send him mail] is the founder of the Robert A Taft Club and the executive director of the The American Cause and Team America PAC. A selection of his articles can be seen here. The views he expresses are his own.