Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ron Paul Revolution

In February I mentioned that Ron Paul was running for president. Since then I've resisted blogging about his campaign until it was justifiably newsworthy. On a daily basis I bore Grump with details about Paul's campaign and he is a good sport letting me vent my enthusiasm and has only told me to shut up a dozen times or so. Up to now Ron Paul's campaign has been growing but only now would I consider it truly newsworthy.

Ron Paul's videos on YouTube were being viewed more than any other candidate and he had more friends on his MySpace page than any other GOP candidate. These two facts withstanding everyone was still pretty sure that this obscure, unheard of Congressman from Texas did not have any true supporters with blood in their veins.

During the first three debates the host networks held unscientific polls in different ways and Ron Paul won all three. This was dismissed as "trickery" by all three networks claiming that Ron Paul's internet support consisted merely of phantoms in an echo chamber. In other words nothing that would impact the real world or would make an impact in the GOP primaries. Ron Paul's libertarian views were all that were necessary to push him off to the fringe and he would bow out quickly as a footnote in the race.

Only that didn't happen.

What happened instead was that Ron Paul arrived at the 3rd debate in New Hampshire to find that hundreds of his supporters carrying signs (from a local Ron Paul organization unaffiliated with the campaign) had come out in force to support the candidate. CNN and others didn't know what to make of disproportionate amount of support shown for Dr. Paul outside the hall where the debate was held.


Because Ron Paul is the only GOP candidate against the war in Iraq (and has been from the beginning) many in the party have tried to remove him from future events and forums. The chairman of the GOP in Michigan started an online petition to have Ron Paul removed from future debates that did manage about one hundred signatures. A counter-petition was started to expose this party officer that collected over 14,000 signatures in 24 hours. The chairman also mentioned that the phone lines at the GOP office in Michigan were overwhelmed and eventually shut down (as well as their email server) and he stopped answering his cell phone and home phone. Apparently the internet phantoms were angered.

Then in June phantom supporters were contacting the Ron Paul campaign and asked why Dr. Paul was not attending a candidate forum hosted by Iowans for Tax Relief and Iowa Christian Alliance. The campaign was initially convinced that they had misplaced the invitation so calls went out to the host organizations to let them know that Dr. Paul was interested in coming. This is when it became known that Ron Paul was deliberately not invited. The reason cited was that he did not have a significant amount of organization in Iowa to be considered a viable candidate.

In response to this the Ron Paul campaign organized a rally to celebrate "Life and Liberty" in the convention room next door to the candidate forum. They worked quickly because they only had one week to put the event together. What resulted was a packed room of over 1000 people. (which outdrew the original candidate forum) In fact the video at this link shows in a humerous way how much larger Ron Paul's footprint was in that convention center.

Finally the biggest news to date was broken this weekend by ABC News as Ron Paul released his fundraising figures for this last quarter and it was reported that Ron Paul now has more cash-on-hand than John McCain (around 2.5 million dollars on hand). McCain will eventually supplement his campaign with federal money (read: YOUR MONEY WHETHER YOU SUPPORT HIM OR NOT) but Dr. Paul's fundraising has come primarily from individuals as he has already indicated predictably that he will not take federal money for his campaign even though election laws allow it.

Eventually the number of candidates will dwindle from the ten major candidates to just a few. Those like Tommy Thompson, Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback will eventually drop out to allign themselves with a winner in order to preserve a cabinet post or perhaps invest in some political capital for themselves later. None of these candidates have a groundswell of support and none of them will shape the views of the party in the years to come. Supporting Ron Paul may not produce him as the nominee but you may end up with a new political base in America that believes that the federal government has no role in your wallet, your bedroom, or the internal affairs of other nations. That in my opinion is what his candidacy will do...give true hope for America.

10 comments:

Gino said...

as it happens, the media picks the contenders as well as it can pick the winner.

something is wrong in a system like this.

if paul should even win iowa, it will be dismissed in the media and given no coverage.
if rudy wins iowa, it will be seen as proof of his powerbase and ability to lead.

the media will tell the public how to think.
it always had.

i still havent reregistered as GOP to vote for paul. i struggle with the thought/emotions that being a GOPer will dirty my soul.

Anonymous said...

Go Ron Paul! He has my vote for sure. Nice write up

robert the grump said...

I wouldn't bet a nickel on Ron Paul's chances in any primary. He's a hell of a lot of fun, though.

If only we could have a race between Ron Paul for the Republicans and Mike Gravel for the Democrats.

They're the only candidates that aren't afraid to say what they think. It's funny that it takes two grumpy old men to put the truth in front of the people.

Amongst the viable candidates who could actually be elected, I find that I'm starting to like John Edwards. I know, I know. He comes off as a lightweight with great hair.

But listen to him on health care and aid to Africa and you'll find that he is the only Democrat who doesn't think throwing obscene amounts of money at every problem is the answer. He actually thinks about this stuff and gives answers with depth instead of sound bites.

And he has great hair.

Ronald said...

I'm glad that Edwards has a plan to help Africa while our monetary system is going down the toilet. Maybe he can solve more of Africa's problems by moving there.

robert the grump said...

Ronald, all of the candidates have a plan to aid Africa. All but Edwards have stupid plans that have no chance of working. For example Obama wants to dump $50 billion there.

Edwards plan revolves around micro-lending to aid Africans who want to start their own business (loans of under $100) and to provide help in the form of technology to bring clean drinking water to most Africans.

Most of the Republicans think we need to help Africa in the worst way. And their plans will do exactly that.

It's all in Esquire magazine.

As for Edwards, there are no stylists there who can maintain his hair, so I'm afraid your idea, though well-conceived, will never happen.

Esther said...

The problem with the Iowa thing is just that Iowans have a general lack of common sense, good sense, logic, thinking, knowledge and anything else relating to intelligence. I live here.

Presidential candidates have MySpace's? What is this world coming to!?

I have a question about Ron Paul on the war issue. I could probably find the answer somewhere online, but as you seem to be the Ron Paul expert perhaps you could direct me. If he gets in office, is he going to finish out the war or just pull out? I don't think just pulling the troops is a good idea. We've made a mess and I really think we're morally obligated not to leave a mess.

Gino said...

i'm still waiting for a candidate to say that nothing we do will help africa, so just forget the idea, until africans help themselves, at which point they wont need us anyway.

Tracy said...

Esther,

Ron's position is to pull out immediately. He believes (as I do) that the president's moral obligation is to our soldiers, american citizens, and taxpayers. He believes that there's no evidence things will be much worse as the same people who predict awful things also were the same ones who predicted we'd be welcomed as liberators.

The main problem is that foreigners have moved in to target us and the Iraqis want the foreigners gone more than Tancredo wants Mexicans to leave the USA.

The foreigners will stay as long as we are there. If you listen to the interview with George Stepsonallofus on ABC in the link in the blog post you'll see that George asks the exact question you posed.

Right now there is no war going on. It's a police action with nation building that is an impossible situation. Everyday about 4 troops are dying because of IED's. This is not a war. I personally don't believe another coalition soldier should even get a hangnail to save that country. Only Iraqis can save themselves or perhaps their neighbors.

Spreading democracy in the world is a tired ambition started by Woodrow Wilson. It is ridiculous and against the advice of the founding fathers.

Meanwhile Osama Bin Laden sits in Pakistan which is an alleged ally with a military dictatorship that has nuclear weapons. Can't you imagine that in 10 years we'll be talking about them as the real threat?

Esther said...

Tracy:

Yeah, that's a good point.

That whole "manifest destiny" bit where random people went down to various South and Central American countries to spread our style of government came before Woodrow Wilson, however. I think Americans have almost from the beginning made misguided attempts to spread our government system. Just an addition to your point.

I guess I just don't want the Iraq war to end up like the Vietnam war. I was educated to be a neo con and sometimes those type of opinions appeal to me too much. I agree that we ought not be out there spreading our democracy, we ought to defend our country and nothing more.

On the interview link, unfortunately, my internet connection is too crappy for me to watch videos online. I have been fighting apartment management for more than six weeks to get it fixed. :oP

Tracy said...

Esther,

Your point about adventurism prior to Wilson is well understood and holds merit. More specifically I was using Wilson as the catalyst for the modern-day "moral obligation" of intervention. This goes beyond manifest destiny and extends into spreading the goodness of America by force of arms as a moral mandate.

Our installation of the Shaw in Iran is a good example. When the mullahs took over the country their first action was to overrun our embassy. I do believe that our coziness with the military dictator of Pakistan will come back to haunt us as well.