Republican Convention 2008

Ron Paul's Rally: Kirchick Bait

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MINNEAPOLIS - Yes, that's a brochure for the John Birch Society, festooned with Paul quotes in favor of the group and advertising his coming appearance at their convention. No kookery has been turned away from the Target Center, and you can pick up merch from the late Aaron Russo's Restore the Republic (like his film From Freedom to Fascism) to copies of USA Tomorrow (cover story: "Two Innocent and Patriotic Citizens Dodge 64 IRS Lethal Bullets in a Triumph for Justice and the American Way").

This stuff stands out in an otherwise boisterous, busy rally, with a surprising number of reporters, bloggers like Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald, and Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr was mobbed outside talking to sign-waving Paul people.

The content of the speeches: All over the map. I walked into the arena to hear Constitution Party founder Howard Phillips demand that Paul backers nail down John McCain "and Barack Hussein Obama" over the North American Union. "This is the biggest threat to our liberty since the war of Northern Aggression," he rumbled. But he was followed up by presidential historian Doug Wead, waxing kindly about how nice young people are and how Paul "spoke up for me" at the debates.

But back to that brochure. It's truly weird to see a (former) presidential candidate photoshopped into a photo of Robert Welch* by people who like him.

*Fixed this.