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Commentary | Perspectives on Election 2000

Pow! Zowee! Now That's a Convention

Reform Party: The pit bull of the right battles a physicist who wants to run the country by harnessing the laws of nature.

August 11, 2000|ROB SULLIVAN | Rob Sullivan is the head writer and assistant editor of Move, an online magazine that will debut in October

You've got to hand it to the Reform Party--they really know how to put on a show. An uppercut to the jaw and a jab to the chin--pow pow blam blam!

Now this is democracy in action. None of that namby-pamby compassionate conservatism so cheerily on display at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. And none of that union politicking and working-class pandering that will soon rouse us into nonaction from the Democratic National Convention at the Staples Center. This is the real thing. Lock and load, as then-GOP presidential contender Pat Buchanan liked to say when he was still in the tired old rut of traditional politics. Fisticuffs! Pugilism! This is how the West was won! This is how our forefathers carved their way through the wilderness! They didn't chart a cautious way through platforms, vet issues with focus groups, discuss voting demographics with pricey consultants. They took out their muskets and killed people who disagreed with them. They didn't glad-hand voters and slap them on the back; they poked them in the eye and karate-chopped them until they begged for mercy.

The battle for the soul of the Reform Party pits that pit bull of the right, "Irish" Pat Buchanan against "Battling" John Hagelin, a Ross Perot ally, physicist and former professor at the Maharishi University in Fairfield, Iowa. I don't know about you, but somehow the image of a former professor from the Maharishi University duking it out with Irish Pat puts a warm patriotic glow in my belly. Buchanan's "brigadiers" scuffled with the professor's followers as the media ogled and snapped photos at a meeting purportedly called to work out the seating of the delegates at Thursday's opening of the Reform Party Convention in Long Beach.

Some cynics in the media are convinced the hubbub is just a greedy scramble over the $12.5 million that will be available from the Federal Election Committee to the Reform Party candidate. I believe it's a true case of real politics as it really should be played. Not may the best, but may the strongest man win. And to the victor goes the spoils. Isn't this what George Washington had in mind when he camped in the winter chill of Valley Forge? Isn't this what Abraham Lincoln envisioned when he sat down to compose the Gettysburg Address? What did FDR have in mind when he spoke his famous words, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself"? They were thinking about war, certainly not about peace. Isn't our anthem about a bombardment? Doesn't it celebrate explosives? What's more American than a knee to the groin or a fist to the eye?

And speaking of boxing, aren't we way off course in our selection of political candidates? Instead of picking through the batches of disgruntled vice presidents and overly ambitious governors who litter the democratic scene, shouldn't we be looking through Don King's rolodex? I say nominate Oscar de la Hoya or Mike Tyson or Evander Holyfield. We'll show those snobby Europeans how to play this game! We'll give the masses something to cheer about. And, who knows, perhaps people will actually get interested and vote. But until that happy day, bring on Irish Pat and Battling John. Let 'em fly, guys. This is the real thing.

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