Yes, Jesse Venture, former Reform Party governor of Minnesota, said he might run for president in 2012, at Ron Paul’s Rally for the Republic today. I doubt he actually will make the effort — although in his talk he called for leveling the playing field for third parties, he knows full well that any third-party effort will be a failure, and he doesn’t have any shot at either major party’s nomination. But he got a rapturous reception from the Ron Paul audience, and if he did run, he’d certainly enliven the race.
Highlight of the day for me so far has been Bill Kauffman’s talk, which was also a big hit with the audience. He lamented the near extinction of antiwar conservatism–“locating the antiwar wing of today’s Republican Party is like looking for the Juice Newton wing in the rock and roll hall of fame”–but Kauffman is optimistic. “Liberal, conservative, left, right–the old labels are more like prison cells,” he said, suggesting that an “alternative America is reasserting itself: in farmer’s markets, in home schools, in book clubs, in the buy local and eat local and homebrew movements [this received huge applause], even in the polling places where over one million Americans voted for Ron Paul for president of these United States.” This is genuine post-partisanship: a stemwinder populist antiwar conservative speech that ended by recalling George McGovern’s 1972 slogan: “Come Home, America.”