The Real Convention

(Page 3 of 3)

There were those who regretted the split. One was carrying a sign on the convention's first day: "NOMINATE JIMMY CARTER TO UNITE THE REFORM PARTY."

And Doris Haddock spoke to both conventions, giving followers of Buchanan and Hagelin alike a chance to catch up on their sleep. Haddock, a 90-year-old folk-hero wannabe better known by the pretentious sobriquet "Granny D," is famous for walking across America to promote campaign finance reform. I don't know what she told that Hagelin convention, but her speech to the Buchananites was a semi-coherent ramble through American history, focusing mostly on Theodore Roosevelt, who Haddock imagines was a defender of small business and farmers. Granny D also described the Reform Party as "the consciousness [sic] of America" and defended the pro-choice cause, albeit in language so abstruse that it gathered applause from people I also saw clapping at another speaker's denunciations of abortion. Haddock's voice bears a strong resemblance to Margaret Dumont's, but no Groucho was willing to climb onstage and puncture her balloon.

Well, no matter: Haddock was treated respectfully, but is as irrelevant to the future of the Reform Party as (FEC willing) the Hagelinites. This is Buchanan's party now, and it's devoted itself to Buchananism.

There may, however, be some room for compromise left in Pat's camp. At the Buchanan forces' Saturday night party, the band played a set that ranged from Hank Williams to the Grateful Dead...to "La Bamba."

The intrusion of Mexican music didn't seem to disturb the nativists. Some started dancing; some clapped in time. And I clutched the elastic instrument the party had given me to hold my press badge in place, fingering a little tag attached to it. MADE IN CHINA, it read.

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