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Tonight Ron Paul's Rally for the Republic takes off. As Matt wrote, the Ron Paul people had a great affect in Nevada on that state's participation at the presumptive Republican convention.
The final count this morning on sold tickets is 9,785, so the total number of people could surpass 12,000. I've been interested in whether there will be any press coverage, and originally, Lou Dobbs was supposed to be a presenter there, but no longer. On his web page, it says that he'll be covering it nightly during his show, but his picture has been taken off the Rally site, and he is no longer listed as a performer, as the Rally refers to all its presenters. I've looked for live feeds, but I cannot find a live link. If I find one later, I will post it.
I'm interested in this for three reasons: first, I find Ron Paul and what he stands for, fascinating. While almost all of the positions are diametrically opposed to my own, there are Libertarian points of view (like getting out of Iraq, and legalizing pot for personal use) that I agree with. Second, this is America, where Freedom of Speech is a dearly held concept, and finally, this group is really a splinter from the presumptive Republican Party.
The Republicans split in 1964, and the two sides never made peace. Had the Rockefeller side held sway that year, there is the potential that the evangelical right would never have risen to hold sway over the mainstream GOP. So here we are 40+ years later, and I want to know what the Paul people have to say.
And as an aside, I think it's cute that they have "performers" in lieu of "speakers" or "presenters" and that buses bringing people there yesterday are called "Ronvoys".
So what is going on there?
Today is training school: a nine-hour course on grass roots organizing.
Tomorrow is three parts: one part Ron Paul book signing, one giant all-day concert to thank the people who participated in Paul's campaign throughout the primary season, and a "leadership summit" about which I can find no information, except that if you bought a ticket to the Tuesday program, you get one ticket to this.
Finally, Tuesday is the real deal. This is their list of performers:
11:30 - Doors open
12:30 - Intro: Tucker Carlson
12:40 - National Anthem: Matt Colvin
12:50 - Invocation: Barb Davis White
12:55 - Howard Phillips
1:10 - Doug Wead
1:30 - Tom Woods
1:50 - Grover Norquist
2:10 - Lew Rockwell
2:30 - Bill Kauffman
2:50 - Special Guest
3:10 - Bruce Fein
3:35 - Gov. Jesse Ventura
4:05 - John Tate‚ Campaign for Liberty Presentation
4:25 - Gov. Gary Johnson
5:00 - Aimee Allen
6:00 - Break
7:00 - Intro: Barry Goldwater Jr.
7:05 - Ron Paul
8:05 - Sara Evans
9:30 - End of Program
9:30 - Jimmie Vaughan After Party
I'll be reporting on the information that comes out from the Rally. What I'll be looking for is how much of the Republican base wants to migrate from the McCain-Palin ticket over to write-in Ron Paul (and perhaps as another option, vote for Bob Barr.)
On the Democratic side, we talk often of this being a transformational year, and of the great enthusiasm we have for our ticket and our ideals. I suspect that the Paul people are equally passionate, although far lower in numbers. But if they can get a foothold, 2008 becomes as much a transformational year for the Republicans as it does for us. Could it be that 2008 is 1964 redux?