This Ain't No Party

Ross Perot launched the Reform Party as the voice of the American people. Eight years later, it's a shrill, staticky free-for-all, and the moderates can't get heard.

"It all started in January of '96," he recalls, sounding almost nostalgic. "This homosexual activist came to the LibberToons wanting the state to recognize same-sex marriages, and I like to have had a fit. 'This ain't gonna wash in the 7th District,' I told them. (By 1998) they were plotting to kick me out of the party, changin' their little bitty rules.

"Pat Buchanan brought me to the Reform Party," he continues. "Me and Pat pretty much look at things the same way: anti-immigrant, anti-New World Order." By running for the U.S. Senate with the Reform Party -- in a race he never expected to win -- Lindstedt hopes to "finish off the Republicans." Once a Ronald Reagan Republican himself, he says that in recent years, "They have done nothing but stab rural white Christian Americans right in the back. I'd rather have Al Gore and Mel Carnahan -- at least we openly know them and we hate them." In a formal statement to the League of Women Voters, he accused mainstream politicians of a "genocidal conspiracy" against white Christian America, predicting, "Once the right wing of the Imperial vulture is thoroughly plucked out, that bird will no longer fly." In other words, Republicans will be forced to join the Reform Party.

"I want Republicans where they either got the choice of joining the Aryan Nations or becoming some black boy's bitch," elaborates Lindstedt. "A few people in the Reform Party told me, 'Martin, you gotta tone down the racism,' but I said, 'You guys are trying to go after the moderates, who are gonna be the very last people in the world to vote for you. At least I got a strategy.'" He plans to join David Duke's National Organization for European-American Rights (NO FEAR) and push to close legal immigration to "all non-Europeans." "I'm not a white supremacist, I'm a white separatist," he explains carefully. "Whites need to have and maintain their own country, and blacks can go ahead and live like they do in Africa here." Other politicians don't dare say that, he adds, "but I notice that all of 'em are very, very careful not to live too close to the people they profess to love."

Pledging various allegiances at the Missouri Reform Party candidates' forum last Friday at the St. Louis County Library's Tesson Ferry branch. Senate candidate Hugh Foley stands at the far left, lieutenant-governor candidate George "Boots" Weber at the far right.
Jennifer Silverberg
Pledging various allegiances at the Missouri Reform Party candidates' forum last Friday at the St. Louis County Library's Tesson Ferry branch. Senate candidate Hugh Foley stands at the far left, lieutenant-governor candidate George "Boots" Weber at the far right.

Lindstedt has filed several lawsuits for false arrest, including one instigated when he "said something about Waco to a visiting FBI agent back in '93 and they got their panties in a twirl." His "Jailhouse Papers" are on the Web, describing his struggle with justice after he was cited for a burned-out headlight 14 minutes before sunrise on U.S. Route 60. "There are thousands of Missourians behind bars resulting from illegal traffic stops," he wrote in a petition for writ of prohibition. "Relator considers himself a political prisoner kidnaped under color of law," he added in a plea handwritten from the Jasper County Jail.

Tom, Dick and Hugh

Foley and his wife raised their seven kids in a serene, spacious old white house off Conway Road. An American flag flies out front, above Hefty bags stuffed with donations for the American Kidney Foundation. Foley's upstairs office is lined with canisters of flour and spice; he manages export marketing for French's, the mustard makers. "As a businessman, I've sympathized with the Republicans all my life, but like a lot of people, by the early '90s I was a little ticked off at where America seemed to be heading," he explains. "Capitalism always tends toward creative destruction -- moving jobs south or, now, overseas -- and when there is no way to handle those transitions, people suffer pretty badly."

Foley senses not only a widening gap between rich and poor but increasing numbers of angry and misinformed Americans. "I've been in meetings where people will ascribe all of America's problems to the Federal Reserve!" he sighs. "Some have axes to grind; some are bitter toward authority and government; some put their faith in government only to see politicians do the exact opposite of what they promised. That's why I'm running, because of the total credibility loss of what I'd call career politicians."

His last political position was president of his senior class in high school, but when he grew disillusioned with Republican practices, he "started doing a lot of reading -- books like Who Will Tell the People?, about how government really functions. The more I read, the more I wanted to read." Finally he wrote a book of his own, taking Thomas Richard Harry (Tom, Dick and Harry) as his pseudonym and tracing the fault line in 1990s government.

"Balance exists," says Foley, "when the economic sector feels free to conduct business with minimal interference from the government, and government feels satisfied that the results of capitalism are equitably distributed among the people and the people agree and express that through their vote." Perfect balance isn't possible, he adds, but if we don't want to breed an underclass of disgruntled revolutionaries, we should at least head in the right direction. "Instead, the economic sector has learned to manipulate government at the people's expense."

There it was, his very own political platform, based on campaign-finance reform ("Be it mother's milk or grease, too much of a good thing is bad for you") and the need to provide a framework for sustainable, widespread economic opportunity. He decided to run for the U.S. Senate with the Reform Party because he was convinced that, "until we get at least half-a-dozen independents in the Senate, we are not going to go anywhere with campaign-finance reform, tax overhaul, fair trade or revamping Social Security. Half-a-dozen would tip the balance. But we need credible candidates, and under today's rules it is very, very hard for a third-party candidate who is not independently wealthy to make any real inroads."

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