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Party Hearty

The national news media are reporting that many members of the newly created Reform Party--created Oct. 24 by followers of Ross Perot's United We Stand America--are jumping on the Pat Buchanan bandwagon. But a cursory phone survey of local Reform Party members indicates that in the North Bay at least this pseudo-populist will have to look elsewhere for votes.

"Well, this one isn't throwing her support behind Pat Buchanan," laughs Barbara Enbody, a former Republican and ex-1st Congressional District coordinator for the Reform Party. "I'd always been a Republican and was a longtime supporter of that party. But in 1992, after Pat delivered his hateful message at the Republican National Convention, I decided that I would never--ever--be a Republican again. It was nothing but intolerance and divisiveness. I feel like he wants to take back hundreds of years to the burning of the witches of Salem."

While the Reform Party--created in just a few short weeks after Perot poured $700,000 of his own money into an intensive petition drive--is not fielding a candidate of its own in the primary election, it's a sure bet that Reform Party members will be courted heavily by Republican and Democratic hopefuls.

Clearly, that courtship will be difficult if major party candidates fail to take these feisty third-party activists seriously, since they are among the best-informed segment of the electorate. "The whole thing with United We Stand, the one test everything has to meet, is whether something is good for the country," says Enbody, who is still undecided whom she will vote for in the upcoming election.

"One thing I will say, no matter what folks think of Ross Perot, he got a lot of us up off of our couch and paying attention to what's going on. And for that the nation should be grateful."

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From the Feb. 28-Mar. 6, 1996 issue of the Sonoma Independent

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