In the second Republican Presidential Debate, front runner Rudy Giuliani did "third tier" candidate Paul an enormous favor by personally attacking the Congressman on his non-foreign interventionism and anti-Iraq war stance. Paul was instantly elevated to "first-tier" attention status by surviving the exchange. Thank you Rudy! Paul came away with a lot of positive attention. His exchange stole the show. The mainstream media spinmeisters and talking pointy heads, being too stupid to recognize who came away the victor of the exchange (The post debate mob of reporters and cameras around the Paul table to the complete abandonment of all the other candidates should have been a clue.) proceeded to show and discuss the exchange over and over to "help" promote Rudy. It gave Ron Paul positive exposure instead, and Paul's support grew. Youtube and the Internet magnified this exponentially.
At that debate (held in South Carolina) were a few GOP big wigs from nearby states. They were none to pleased to hear what Ron Paul had to say, and since they had Presidential activities scheduled in their states they were going to make sure Ron Paul was history by the time their events came up. They made the mistake of trying to exclude Ron Paul out of their and any other events. This resulted in energizing the R3VOLution. It was the best thing that could happen. Being ignored is devastating. Being overtly snubbed by arrogant pricks, well that is just sweet!
The R3VOLution is composed of a wide variety of people. It started out with people of mainly libertarian influence who knew each other. But rapidly people who knew of Paul, either from Aaron Russo's "America: From Freedom to Fascism" to disenfranchised Republicans and Democrats who witnessed the complete abandonment of of fiscal responsibility, or anti-war claims respectively by their Parties, of those who abandoned the two major parties long ago to form third parties such as the Constitution Party or Green Party, who call themselves Independents, Patriots or Progressives, or who reject the explanations of the events leading up to 9/11. And a few anarchists too. ;-)
A quick check of "Who Is Ron Paul?" leads to a biography that is quite attractive. A Christian man who became a physician delivering babies, served his nation as an Air Force Flight Surgeon during the Vietnam War, who is married to the same woman for 50 years, and a grandfather of a rather large family. A ten term Republican Congressman from Texas whose voting record displayed that he backed up his promises with identical actions and as a result of those actions had enraged the Party machine who nicknamed him "Dr. No" for his voting against their pork barrel, civil rights diminishing, government growing legislation. They had unsuccessfully tried to get him kicked out of office on several occasions and now just ignore him. "The Ron Paul Rule." He was one of four sitting Congressmen to support Ronald Reagan in Reagan's 1976 run at the Presidential nomination, in which GOP Party dirty tricks knocked Reagan aside for a damaged Jerry Ford.
Yup, Ron Paul knows what to expect, and has already been through the fire and survived. Even worse for his opponents, Dr. Paul is honest, clean (believe me the GOP looked), and just a good man. They can't rattle him. And he does not respond to attacks by attacking back, which diminishes his attackers. People like him. His colleagues like him. He is a thoughtful, unpresumptuous man who will listen to what you have to say, and let you know if he disagrees with you. Over time bad behavior and bad deeds will prove the undoing of some of the front runners.
The R3VOLution responded to Ron Paul's snub by self mobilizing local activists in the affected areas, getting signs, materials and people traveling to those locations to create a scene that the national media can hardly ignore as they converged onto the location. The R3VOLution WILL NOT BE IGNORED! And this has led to the discomfort of local officials, Republican faithful and the press. Good. We aren't polite. And we care not for your sensibilities as you have shown you care not for ours. Your pain is our gain.
Ron Paul will not be denied. He will not be quieted. The establishment will be abandoned and bypassed if they don't want to share their toys.
What has been the result? In Michigan, an e-mail, phone calling campaign created by one guy or gal doing a little Googling, calling and then posting an e-mail, that progressively gets passed onto a ever widening group located throughout the planet urging you to write, e-mail and call those responsible for the snub, those sponsoring the events that snubbed, those...well, you get the picture. The r3VOLution is exponential. Change your policy or face the consequences of the R3VOLution. Michigan wisely backed off. Not without a lot of sour grapes...well tough cookies. Count your lucky stars. You chose to be first, and if you didn't back down you had to be publicly made to pay a price so high nobody would not understand the cost of future snubs. Revolutions are rarely gentle. Lucky for you ours still has some 3VOL left in it.
Then came Iowa. There two recalcitrant groups excluded only one candidate, Ron Paul, who ostensibly was the poster boy for the two groups avowed issues: limited taxes with free markets and Christian values. They did not back down. Well, the self organizing R3VOLution was loud and rude. The campaign cleverly rented an adjacent room where the event was scheduled and Ron Paul showed up at the end of the event he had been excluded from. His numbers of attendees outnumbered the other meeting two to one. And the R3VOLution the entire day was LOUD, refusing to be ignored.
Then came a local Republican group in South Carolina, who had snubbed Ron Paul, reversed course, figured to show Ron Paul for the few kooks campaign it was by inviting him to a rented room, instead attracted an overflow crowd and made $5,000 in pure profit, and a new respect for Ron Paul's R3VOLution. By god, local GOP's can make money off of this guy's popularity! They eagerly invited him back.
Next the R3VOLution started dogging other candidates. Where the cameras went, the R3VOLution was there. No top tier candidate was immune from having more Ron Paul supporters show up at their events than their own supporters. The news media tried to cut the R3VOLution out, ignored them, referred to them disparagingly for daring to interrupt a carefully choreographed media extravaganza. Did I mention loud Ron Paul supporters. When the real story was the story the media was ignoring. It didn't matter. Because anybody with a video camera could post the real event on Youtube within a few hours of it happening. Heck, it can even be broadcast live so tapes cannot be stolen. And when the Youtube video footage is compared with what the local or national talking heads had to say or write their credibility was shrinking fast.
So the mainstream media starts thinking about removing candidates from the debate. After all, there has been plenty of time for the small fry to get their 15 minutes of fame. Now all the attention must be focused upon the anointed ones. The real candidates, not the pretenders to the throne. Unfortunately there are no clear front runners in the GOP race. They got rid of Gilmore, Tommy Thompson and Brownback. Fred Thompson only showed up to an enthusiastic 'thank god for Fred' week where the candidate promptly went back to sleep while the ever slavering eager media expecting a couple of weeks of easy "stories" was left to wonder where the heck is Fred? At this time McCain's campaign was in free fall. Rumors were rife his campaign was out of money and would fold. He recovered. Fred did not. Fred never did wake up. By the time Fred stirred and decided to put in some brief appearances the media's attention, like Fred's, had moved on. Fred was no longer a story, but he still has his supporters.
Now here is where our story comes near the end. Ron Paul has had some success getting his free market, non-foreign intervention, sound money and restore civil liberties ideas out there. He continues to attract a wide variety of people to his campaign, and others come to the R3VOLution for many reasons. Most would admit they disagree with Paul on some of his ideas. [I myself strongly disagree with Paul on two of his stances, and a couple of others to a lesser extent.] But they support him on some of his ideas that matter most to them. He is seen as the only one in a position to carry out those ideas. And from his voting record he can be taken at his word. It might be the war. It might be the debt, taxes and spending. It might be our Rights. They may have tired of all the lies and evil. Whatever the reason, Paul has succeeded in gathering the remnant.
But even though he may end up with 15 to 20% of the vote, it would not be enough to give him the nomination. While the top four candidates, Rudy, Mitt, John and Fred carve up the votes reasonably evenly, a four way split of 85% still means Paul loses. The other candidates support is meaninglessly small...with one exception. Fred Thompson only exists because none of the other three are very attractive to the GOP base. The initial excitement of Fred has past and he is drawing his %15 of support, but he hasn't taken off the way the back room brokers hoped. The other three remain in that ever shifting, under 20% range in most polls.
Enter Mike Huckabee. He has emerged as the dark horse candidate . The desperate evangelical wing of the Christian right, already appalled at who some of their "leaders" are casting their lot behind -- Satan's neoconservative spawn from Hell Rudy, or Mormon Mitt (their slogan, not mine) -- have at least for now thrown in their support behind former preacher Huckabee and his poll numbers have been shooting up, and carving into the other top tier candidates' totals. But not Paul's supporters, by the way.
I suspect Paul supporters will fade away from the GOP if their candidate fails to gain their state's nomination. They are not people to suffer the typical GOP "leadership" sleaze lightly. This campaign is about the man and his ideas. Once the man is silenced there is little need to stick around, and great need of planning the next event: The r3VOLt.
No Huckabee has been eating into the support of Rudy, Mitt, John and Fred. Big time. The result is that Ron Paul is neck and neck with all five candidates. All five will now have to start attacking each other...oh, I should have put that in the present tense. It will become an even better, more nasty show, and there is sooooooo much dirt on all of them except perhaps Fred who all they seem to come up with is that he enjoys a good sex life and is perhaps less energetic than a candidate ought. Ron stays above the fray, looking well Ron, and Presidential.
There may be another plus for Ron Paul. The war is not going well. Our economy is now nearing its end. There are not many liberties left to take away. As the war deteriorates, as the economy fails, as our freedoms are lost, there is only one man who has overtly been there from the start the voters can turn to if there is time. That time is now two weeks away and will be over except for a handful of states in three months. The sad truth is there may not be enough time.
Ron Paul MUST win at least one delegate to carry his campaign onto the Republican National Convention in September. If all five of the front runners are still in the race there will be a brokered convention. Meaning that the nominee will not be selected in the first round of convention balloting. All delegates will then be released from their pledged candidate and free to vote for whomever they wish.
The GOP convention takes place a week after the Democratic convention so their nominee will already be known although that person will probably be obvious by the middle of March. It becomes our task to convince the GOP delegates that IF their goal is to defeat the Democratic nominee, the ONLY candidate who can accomplish that task is Ron Paul. At present I am saying Ron Paul has a fair chance -- not a good chance -- of winning the nomination. But he is the ONLY chance of beating the Democratic nominee.
He has already shown he can attract a base from all over the ENTIRE political spectrum. An active base. He is squeaky clean. He has a real job. He has avoided government handouts and perks. He is an accomplished author of economic, foreign policy and liberty books. He is experienced, active, articulate and responsive to questioning and comes across as sincere and honest in his opinions.
As a aside, tomorrow marks the Boston Tea Party. Please consider giving $100 to the Ron Paul campaign on that day. While I am unimpressed with what the campaign has done with the donated money so far, a huge turnout like November 5th, can result in very major Ron Paul R3VOLutionary kudos from the media. And that is A LOT of free R3VOLutionary publicity that definitely helps get Ron Paul's ideas out there. It also makes it harder for the media or GOP to dismiss Dr. Paul.
For a somewhat different take on Ron Paul's electability, and some good points click here.