Something has awakened this past week seemingly out of nowhere and is so far unnoticed, but it is something which the ages could recall as the beginning: The beginning of the new century, the beginning of the millennium, the beginning of a new political reality. This week, Libertarianism will no longer be seen as the esoteric avocation of a brilliant but enigmatic Massachusetts Governor like Bill Weld, or the life persuasion of cranky New Hampshire wood burners and shamanistic survivalists in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula taking pot shots at government planes flying overhead. This week, three Libertarians and Independents from the very mainstream of politics have suggested they would run for President on a third-party ticket: Bob Barr, Representative of Georgia from 1995 to 2003; the gnarly Mike Gravel, former Senator from Alaska who ran for President as an anti-war, anti-imperialism candidate; and Jesse "The Body" Ventura, the innovative and popular Independent Party Governor of Minnesota between 1999 and 2003, who enjoyed a 73% approval rating in his prime.
It was always the fate of Bush the Little to be a gate keeper. But his fate was always to close the gate. These last few weeks have been precious. The President has taken to reading new books about people like Jefferson and sending "hand written notes" to the authors in the style of a retiring mage – Cincinnatus, about to return to the ranch in Texas.
And what is most astonishing is that Bush, whose brother is a Catholic, has even managed to alienate the Pope, as author Michael Sean Winters reports that during his U.S. visit next month, Pope Benedict XVI will show how much his worldview differs from Bush’s when he denounces the continuing U.S. occupation of Iraq before the U.N. General Assembly.
Bush’s age opened when Thatcher/Reagan repealed Eisenhower’s order to England’s Anthony Eden in 1956 telling England to get the hell out of the Suez, and ending England’s imperial presence in the world. ("Over to you, Ike," replied Eden.) Thatcher/Reagan put them back in business with a war plan which might be considered thus: "First we take the Falklands, then we take Grenada, then we take Russia."
Jimmy Carter later said, "I never had any doubt that we could take Grenada."
This week, as Russian bombers buzz Alaska’s shoreline, the price of political adolescence and naivety on a vast and global scale begins to dawn.
The Democrats continue to pay the price of Bill Clinton, red faced and startled that they don’t love him anymore. The Clintons are Perry Como and The Beatles have already landed. Never has a political team been so post-seasonal except perhaps that of John McCain. Barack Obama (dubbed Bambi, by Maureen Dowd) has taken the day and charmed and claimed the new generation. Like that coyote they found in a convenience store in Chicago last year, the old school has no idea how he got here, what he is doing here and how did this happen?
But the Republicans have the greatest problems: The Republican Party is in ruins.
This race will go to Bambi and the "new Democrats." A third party run now by Ventura or Barr or someone else would hurt McCain and give it to Obama but conservatives have nothing to gain by a McCain Presidency. McCain is not really a conservative anyway and quite possibly he is dangerously unstable, as an Annapolis roommate and fellow POW has suggested.
Enter the new Libertarian/Independent hybrid featuring Gravel, Barr and Ventura. Gravel is a liberal Libertarian, Ventura is considered a moderate Libertarian and Barr is a conservative Libertarian.
In a book which came out this week Ventura asks this question:
As I begin to write this book, I’m facing probably the most monumental decision of my 56 years on this planet. Will I run for president of the United States, as an independent, in 2008? Or will I stay as far away from the fray as possible, in a place with no electricity, on a remote beach in Mexico?
Do not underestimate the ability of a former professional wrestler, Navy UDT veteran, radio and television talk show host, former Governor of Minnesota, movie star and friend of Arnold to sway an audience.