Tucker’s last segment on Fox was about eating bugs. And then he said he’d be back on Monday (another lie). I had the misfortune to see Tucker “live” in 2008 when he was one of the speakers at the Libertarian convention in Minneapolis (MN), held at the very same time as the GOP convention in St. Paul. He was still in his bow tie phase and looked and acted like a total doofus, but the entire convention ($17 for entry; I was press) was a surreal experience. Alongside Tucker onstage were Ron Paul (Sr.), former Governor of Minnesota Jessie Ventura and Barry Goldwater, Jr., who was the spitting image of his father. It was a totally weird experience, which I will explore in greater depth on my WeeklyWilson blog, because I still marvel that I was there at all.
I had no intention of attending the Libertarian convention, which was dubbed something like “Rally for the Republic.” The entire reason for my presence can be summed up by one name: Phil Bennett.
Who is Phil Bennett, I hear you say. Well, at the time, I had paid Phil to come to my humble abode and teach me how to post using a WordPress blog and this was truly not my forte then or now. Phil had to come back three times to “fix” various problems I had, including placement of my pictures, and, at one point, he became so exasperated that—knowing I would be going to Minneapolis to cover the GOP convention in St. Paul—-he requested (demanded?) that I attend the Libertarian rally, which he knew was being held across town in Minneapolis at the same time. Phil had the power, as I knew I’d be calling on hm, sooner or later, and I wanted to be blogging more expertly from that point (2007) on.
So, I applied for and got Press Credentials for the Ron Paul Rally for the Republic Libertarian Convention and, oh, my! It was definitely an out-of-body experience.
Ron Paul, Sr., was then the presidential candidate and hopeful of the Libertarians (about whom I knew next to nothing) and he stood, center stage, while a hastily hung banner behind him fell to the floor. He had an aide standing directly behind him, a slightly portly fellow in a suit, who was glued to his cell phone the entire time the boss was talking. He was visible throughout Senator Paul’s speech, but acted as though he was texting his girlfriend back home.
Onstage with Tucker and his bow tie, as noted above, was Jesse Ventura, the former Governor of Minnesota and co-star of “Predator,” who claimed that he was going to run for president in 2012. As we now know, that didn’t happen, and neither did the legalization of hemp, which seemed to be the chief plank in the Libertarian platform.
I was immediately led down front to the press box, where I found myself surrounded by a bevy of men who spoke English with a definite German accent and were trying to explain to me the basic tenets of Libertarianism. I also noticed a well-dressed young man wearing a badge to the real Republican convention, then going on across town in St. Paul. I finally asked him, “Why are you here? Aren’t you supposed to be across town at the Republican convention?” His response? “This is where the real action is.”
I still remember how much Barry Goldwater, Jr., looked like his father, the Arizona Senator. And, since I remembered Barry’s run for the roses and the slogan, “In your heart you know he’s right—far right,” seeing the young doppelganger onstage was a surreal experience, as was the entire convention.
During the breaks in the speeches the group of attendees, who closely resembled the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys we saw storming the Capitol on January 6th, would assemble in the bar and hold forth on a variety of topics, none of them concepts with which I could identity at all.
It was truly a remarkable memory of my 2008 cross-country coverage of th: e presidential season, which began in Iowa, included Florida (Rudy Giuiliani’s “run” or “trot”), involved entrance to both the DNC and the RNC conventions in Denver and St. Paul, and also involved the Belmont Town Hall meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.
For a more up-close-and-personal view of that adventure, which earned me the title Yahoo Content Producer of the Year for Politics, I recommend “Obama’s Odyssey”, volumes I and II, both available on Amazon and both exceedingly readable.
If I can find pictures from that campaign experience of 15 years ago, I’ll include them with this article on my still-in-existence blog, but, otherwise, it’s strictly going to be pictures of Tucker Carlson.