Because PageMaker was a dead program by the year 2000?
I am no expert in converting but, can't you convert/export your Publisher 2008 file directly to InDesign?
Yup. You'd have to buy PUB2ID.
If it's all text and tables can't you just copy and paste from pub to ID? You will have to refomat the text and tables, but you would have to do that with a conversion anyway.