Ventura says he might come back if ‘it’s worth it to me’

Jesse Ventura at Ron Paul rally: "Chanting and yelling isn't going to do it. I need action."
MinnPost photo by Daniel Corrigan
Jesse Ventura at Ron Paul rally: “Chanting and yelling isn’t going to do it. I need action.”

The political rally underway at the Target Center in Minneapolis today might be Ron Paul’s alternate convention, but the show belongs to Jesse Ventura.

Taking the stage after a dozen far-right speakers, including anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and the president of the John Birch Society, Ventura said he’d consider a return to political life if the estimated 10,000 cheering, chanting Paul supporters in attendance laid the groundwork.

“Over the next two to three years, if I see this country rise up, if this country shows me it’s worth it for me to do it, well, then maybe in 2012,” Ventura said. “Chanting and yelling isn’t going to do it. I need action.”

The audience, many of whom were dressed in Revolutionary War garb and other patriotic costumes, responded by pounding the bleachers and chanting “Jes-se, Jes-se.”

Fight back
“We have to start fighting back,” Ventura said. “It’s that simple. And the way you start fighting back is by coming to conventions like this and voting your conscience. When you’ve done that, don’t ever let a Democrat or a Republican tell you you’ve wasted your vote. The fact is, if you don’t vote your heart and your conscience, you have wasted your vote.”

While his main message was to exhort Paul’s supporters to break the two-party system’s deadlock on U.S. politics, Ventura also talked about gun ownership, civil liberties and unanswered questions about 9/11. “The hell with this Patriot Act,” he said. “If you want to be patriotic, then stand up for the Bill of Rights. Because once they’ve stripped those rights, it’s going to be hell to get them back.”

The crowd’s most enthusiastic response came when Ventura said the Founding Fathers were in fact concerned about oppressive government when they drafted the Constitution’s second amendment. “It’s time to take our country back and make those elected people look at that piece of paper called the Constitution,” he said.

When 10-term Texas congressman Paul withdrew from the presidential race in June, he announced plans for the day-long event to serve as the inaugural event in a Campaign for Liberty. The goal of the campaign is to equip Paul’s supports, who include libertarians, constitutionalists, John Birchers and countless other small but zealous conservative movements. They may have been locked out of the Republican National Convention underway across the river this year, but a grassroots effort to win local offices and influence state party apparatuses could change that, organizers said.  

Paul wanted Ventura to speak at the event, the Rally for the Republic, because the former Minnesota governor is seen by Paul supporters in other parts of the country as someone who broke the Democrats’ and Republicans’ stranglehold on electoral politics, organizers said.

But the idea of Ventura as the movement’s heir apparent is a divisive one. Paul’s Minnesota followers privately concede they were disappointed Paul wanted Ventura to have a starring role. Specifically, they say Ventura is not a libertarian per se, but a maverick who often takes libertarian positions but sometimes acts in favor of big government.

Irritated with questions
For his part, Ventura seemed to be in his element. He mentioned numerous times that the only reason he had “come out of retirement” from his new home in Baja California was to make sure Paul’s Campaign for Liberty got off to a good start.

Before the rally got underway, he emerged from behind a cordoned off area to talk with reporters, only to quickly grow irritated with questions. After declaring himself “the most dangerous man in America,” Ventura excused himself to leave the Target Center floor, complaining that it would be more appropriate for the media to conduct interviews in a press room backstage.

Following his speech, Ventura made his way to the back of the arena to appear on camera with Fox News. After assuring his interviewer that Paul’s movement “could be the start of a third party,” Ventura refused to be pinned down about just what it is the newly minted activists would have to do to lure him back into electoral politics.

“I don’t want to run right now because I’m living my private life,” he said. “But 2012 is coming and we’ll see what happens between now and then…. Ask me 2010.”

Beth Hawkins writes about education and other topics.

Comments (1)

  1. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 09/03/2008 - 12:36 am.

    I write to just make a few points about this article, about which I wish to take 3 fairly minor exceptions. As you may know, most of us Paultards are “hypersensitive” to even the impression of inaccuracies about the beloved REAL Uncle Sam.
    Firstly, the show was certainly not Jesse Ventura’s when finally Dr. Paul stood behind the podium later on in the evening. In fact, were it not for the self-effacing modesty of this most favorite great-grand father, & his eagerness to progress the efficient, honest purpose of this totally privately sponsored event, having to first quiet the crowd after 2-3 minutes of relative pandemonium, (rather than continue allowing them massage his non-existent ‘super-ego’), the flong might still have been roaring on their feet with unadulterated glee & affection for this ‘Clark Kent’ a full 30 minutes later! Why you would detract from Dr. Paul’s immense popularity, by attributing possession of the show to Minnesota’s son & former Gov. Ventura, is anybody’s best guess. However we do think & guess for ourselves, as the untrustworthy MSM has been disappointed to be discovering more & more for at least a couple of years now. The good news is nearly always overlooked, however this is the fact that Dr. Paul couldn’t care less about his own ‘star quality’; a near-exclusive trait attributable to almost no other politician. Perhaps Gov. Ventura would have better luck in the coverage of any of his future political actions.
    Second, Target Centre’s capacity is 15,000, & nears 18,000 with the inclusion of standing room only. The fact that it is sold out, represents the error in your reporting that there were only “10,000 cheering, chanting Paul supporters.” This is a gross under-representation of nearly half of those in attendance! To contrast this with other mass-attendance events, it would be newsworthy in & of itself, say, if only 10,000 showed up to an NHL game in an immense complex that was used to capacity crowds of near double that figure. The headline might read something like, “Attendance Woes Trouble Big-League Home Team”. I won’t surmise as to the motive behind such an inaccuracy in reporting here. Perhaps tomorrow’s Minnpost issue will help my thoughts on this.
    Third, as most of us outside the MSM realize, the 11 term (not 10, as you alluded), Congressman Dr. Paul has even as yet still today, to officially ‘withdraw’ from the campaign, as you attempt to fool us into believing he did way back in June. He merely suspended his candidacy, looking forward at shifting gears toward the longer term promise of a real revolution’s prospects to subvert the two innane party political setup, while allowing for any untoward developments in the then-presumptive MSM-favored McCain. Is this a blatant toying with terminology for the ignorant masses, designed & committed to benefit this very same narcissistic innane two-party MSM favored system, or is it rather more simply a case of simple lazy journalism? Either answer is not going to restore anyone’s confidence in the nation’s media, however perhaps a printed correction might help determine our final thoughts on this particular incident of journalistic misspeak.
    Overall however, this particular Paultard is impressed, & perhaps even a little surprised at the overall integrity of the article. For those of us whom have learned to ruthlessly do our own investigative research in order to more accurately learn the honest facts behind these matters, & in order to mitigate the loss of our earned values, & the loss of control over our individual lives into the hands of malevolent, sleight-of-hand hoodwinkers, Ms Hawkins could be a journalist on the leading edge of a rather poignant shift in attitude toward the inevitable revolution ahead in the not-too-distant future; one that is truly kicking itself higher in popularity with each passing week.
    Meanwhile, I look forward to the reporting of Dr. Paul’s own appearance & speech at the rally later on last evening. From deep within the velvet glove of tyranny that is Red Canaduh, thank you for your time.

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