Always interested in the rhythms of American politics I attended the Ron Paul alternative convention in Minneapolis where Paul's supporters don't seem to know that the nomination is over and Paul was defeated. "Rally for the Republic 2008" was a collection of Paulites, 9/11 Truthers. Right-to-Lifers, wing-nuts, gun-nuts, anti-income tax activists and Revolutionary War re-enactors most of whom carry a bound edition of the U.S. Constitution. It gathered 10,000 people to the Target Arena. Even the John Birch Society had a booth with giant smiling portraits of Robert Welch and Ron Paul. Never have I learned so much about the heat resistance of steel girders or seen a greater variety of Ron Paul t-shirts celebrating the bicycle riding, tomato growing Chauncey Gardener of their movement. Tucker Carlson moderated and actually introduced one of the kookier speakers by saying "If you want to stretch your legs or use the bathroom or get something to eat, now is probably a good time". Carlson appeared to serve as a bemused MC without endorsing some of the more outrageous things said from the podium by political leaders you have mostly never heard of with the exception of Grover Norquist of American's for Tax Reform who is supporting McCain and former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura whose newest hair- do looks like Larry Fine of the Three Stooges used an entire can of pomade in his hair. Since this was all prior to Palin's speech it would be fair to say that the crowd had more life than the Tuesday gathering of Republican Delegates in St. Paul. The Illuminati, CFR, Trilateral Commission and Federal Reserve all took a beating from speaker after speaker none of whom rose above the level of a regional right-wing radio talk show host with the exception of former Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr., who although quite handsome in his younger days, looks more like a craggy caricature of his famous father today and who eschewed a suit for a Western shirt, jeans and cowboy boots. Encouraging is that more than half the crowd were young people under 25 and the fact that they are anti-tax, pro-gun, pro-freedom, and pro-constitution even though I don't share some of their zanier political ideas, is a great thing for the future of the Republican Party. When I was 18 I thought Barry Goldwater was God, Dwight Eisenhower was a communist, the Council of Foreign Relations was secretly running the country and that the Liberty Amendment to repeal the Federal income tax should be passed. Over time I learned that nothing was that simple. Reagan's brand of Conservatism was so much more appealing and reasonable that I left my most extreme right-wing views behind while embracing the more optimistic conservatism of our 40th President. In ten years these younger Paul activists will be the backbone of the Conservative wing of the Republican Party. Still there are elements present at the Paul confab that we don't want in the Republican Party; Libertarian Party Candidate for President Bob Barr's reception was muted by a rumor (probably true) that the former Republican Congressman from Georgia is of mixed race and as one Paulite told me "There's an Ethiopian in the woodpile." Another wing-nut from Alabama told me that Barr was "Tetched with the tar brush."