TAMPA -- He lost the Ames straw poll by a whisker, he peaked too early in Iowa's caucuses, he missed the big headlines by not winning Maine's preference poll. Finally, today, Ron Paul came into some luck. The threat of Hurricane Isaac was scrapping the first day of the Republican National Convention. Reporters who had planned to preview day one were screwed. Editors suddenly remembered that Ron Paul was supposed to do something or other. And off they went to the Sun Dome, the arena at Southern Florida University, where 7000-odd people would join the "We Are the Future Rally."
It was Paul's second attempt at an "alternative convention." In 2008, he brought supporters to Minneapolis for the "Rally for the Republic." Tucker Carlson, in his pre-Daily Caller says, emceed the proceedings. I should say: He emceed them until Jesse Ventura spoke and started talking about 9/11, which scared Carlson (and Willie Geist) the hell out of there. Gary Johnson spoke at that rally, when he was a retired politician. Now that he was a Libertarian presidential candidate, he was absent. This was a Ron Paul show, a kind of tribute, and the candidate would use it to say all the things people never let him say. "I don't do it out of sacrifice," said the candidate. "I do it out of self-interest. I do it because it's good for me."
They say "Osama bin Laden would still be alive if we listened to you," said Paul. "You know what I say? So would the 3000 people killed on 9/11!" That, and every sticking-it-to-the-neocons comment, got huge cheers. When America's agressive, said Paul, "it's easier for them to kill us over there than to come over here, where the Second Amendment is alive and well."
Look at Slate again in a little while for another, longer look at the Paul movement.
(Photo by David Weigel)