Ron Paul’s plan to host a “mini-convention” in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 2 to counter the GOP’s nominating confab for John McCain — the man he won’t endorse — is an excellent idea, although the Texas congressman isn’t thinking big enough.
Why doesn’t isolationism’s master of ceremonies use the occasion to inaugurate a new third party with himself and Dennis Kucinich slated as running mates? The real dream ticket to be had in this election, at least in certain overlapping quarters of the political fever swamps, consists of the gaunt doctor and the diminutive vegan.
Just think of the news coverage this Platonic ideal of bipartisanship would engender. The far left and the far right find a common foothold in the 21st century that is enabled by two separate but interwoven phenomena. First, the Internet, where no paranoid conspiracist need ever blog alone, and secondly, the Iraq war, which has supposedly finished off liberal interventionism, despite the fact that both major party candidates for president are avowed adherents to it (even if one of them uses “neoconservative” as a slur).
Both Paul and Kucinich want for unity despite grassroots efforts to get the vote rocked in their respective favors. And they have more to agree on than they do to fight about. Both are against regime change, the Patriot Act, NAFTA, the World Bank, capital punishment, the War on Drugs, Guantanamo Bay, the cancellation of the X-Files, FISA, and letting George W. Bush leave office temporally. Both tend to be pro-life on principle, but are opposed to any federal legislation that might make inroads into Roe v. Wade.
Even points of division between them aren’t so terribly stark and may actually prove complementary. The Paul imprimatur has been lent to hysterical racism and homophobia, while Kucinich is a huggable one-worlder who nevertheless cozies up to Bashar al-Assad and a Latin America generalissimo who bears about as much resemblance to a socialist as Paul does to Leo Strauss.
Both enjoy a wide range of celebrity backers that might make for memorable photo ops during a joint caucus: Gore Vidal calling Tucker Carlson a blow-dried crypto-fascist, Viggo Mortensen looking especially dedicated to the Ohio hobbit with the leggy wife, Taki Theodoracopulos asking if anyone’s seen his blow.
Never has the culture been more poised for a synergy of the fringes. In reviewing Patrick J. Buchanan’s latest offering in the small but persistent historical subfield of World War II revisionism, Adam Kirsch noted the “delicious irony” that a reactionary white supremacist would launch an attack on Churchill and Roosevelt in the same publishing cycle that gave us Nicholson Baker’s pacifist polemic Human Smoke:
When they look back to the 1930s, Mr. Baker’s role models are the Quakers and pacifists who believed it was better to lie down for Hitler than take up arms to fight him; Mr. Buchanan’s are the isolationists who believed that Nazi Germany was a necessary bulwark against the real menace, godless communism.
Travel far enough down the political spectrum and you’ll eventually meet your soulmate coming from the opposite direction. Who knows? Buchanan and Nicholson might also share in nostalgia for the gold standard, whispers about the Trilateral Commission, and soppy-stern tributes to the legacy of Charles Lindbergh. We have here the brain trust of a new Unpopular Front.
One has already read about the swelling favor movement-conservatives feel for Barack Obama, and everyday it seems as if another tranche of Hillary Clinton supporters say it doesn’t matter what the old girl tells them, they’re casting a “protest” vote for McCain come November.
Yet if ever there were a marriage of convenience waiting to be licensed, it is between the two long shots with a shared talent for keeping their names in the headlines and their slavish votaries hoping against hope.