Just as a matter of full disclosure, I am not a Ron Paul supporter. He is interesting, and far more substantial than MSM gives him credit for. He is not a media darling like Huckabee or McCain, which is why I prefer him to those two. I am currently in the Thompson/Hunter end of the party; still, Ron Paul should be given a look.

Ron Paul is a dark horse. He has raised close to $19 million in the 4th quarter of this year and his war chest is growing daily. He has raised over $4 million in a single day. The man’s support consists of 25 to 50 dollar contributions. This equates to lots of people when one looks at the amount of money he has raised.picture2es4.png

Ron Paul has more volunteers than one can count. His supporters have been beating the grass at every major conservative blog, annoying the bajeepers out of me on many an occasion. They also swarm all over the MSM sights like locusts. I drive down small country roads in PA, WV, MD, NY and VA and see signs on front lawns extolling Ron Paul. Not home made signs, but your standard campaign fare, this implies that there is some organization. Paul is ignored by the media, but not by the conservative base of the Republican Party. How much is going on under the radar screen?

For example Ron Paul won the Virginia GOP Retreat Straw Poll at the Republican Party of Virginia’s Republican Advance Convention:

Ron Paul 182 (38%)
Fred Thompson 112 (23%)
Mike Huckabee 51 (11%)
Rudy Giuliani 45 (9%)
Mitt Romney 43 (9%)
John McCain 23 (5%)
Duncan Hunter 19 (4%)
Tom Tancredo 4 (<1%)

This was a convention of politically active Republicans. The media noted it, but in comparison to Huckajive’s polling numbers this is the bigger deal. Why? The active party members were voting here. The standard polls sample the public in general. The public in general is not really paying attention, yet. The wonks, the active, those who eat and breathe politics, those who actually will volunteer to do campaign work are interested in Ron Paul in the state of VA. Many of the top tier contenders have name recognition, but as the public gets to know their positions, they wilt.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Ron Paul has a large presence in New Hampshire. The WSJ article’s main message is that ‘Paul beats Rudy’. This is a huge leap up for Paul. If he comes in the top three in NH, the MSM will have to move him from the children’s table over to the adult’s. According to the article and the Paul campaign the support for Paul is primarily Republican and not Independent. The question is whether this support is another candidate bleeding out, or are the undecided making a decision?

The blogosphere is interested in Ron Paul. The blogs are a new branch of the news media, messy and amateurish for certain, but more honest about their positions than the shrinking MSM. Thus, they are more trusted than the MSM. Ron Paul has a voice here, detractors and admirers. In the past few years, the comment sections of blogs have become the new town squares; each commenter, on his box, yelling loudly. Messy, crude, factually challenged at times, it is truly a democratic medium. It is a medium where Ron Paul fares better than Huckabee or McCain. Ron Paul is beginning to get some traction in the MSM, but his presence in the blogs is old hat at this point. MSM does not really lead anymore, it follows, especially among conservatives.

When it comes to domestic policy, Paul has a strong libertarian bent. This is something the Democrat Party walked away from close to 80 years ago; today they are socialists. Socialism is at odds with the original/founding character of our nation. The Republican Party has lost this libertarian bent more recently, something that will cost it its conservative, small government base if it does not correct course, and soon. The 8000+ earmarks in the bill signed by GWB are only marginally better than the 10000+ earmarks in Pelosi’s original version. Ron Paul is head and shoulders above his peers in this regard; he has the most consistent record out of all of them when it comes to voting against earmarks.

On matters of trade Ron Paul is against our joining organizations that impinge upon our sovereignty. The WTO and NAFTA are prime examples. ‘Avoid foreign entanglements’ was the phrase used by Washington on this matter; it would a good thing if our political class took the words of our founders more seriously. Paul is a free trader, but this is still miles away from putting ourselves under the control of foreigners who are eager to sacrifice our well being in order to advance some other agenda. We came out of WWII with an understanding that we can no longer be isolationists, but the pendulum has swung too far. A little enlightened self interest may be in order on this front.

Ron Paul’s foreign policy is naive. We, as a nation, were forced onto the world’s stage on Dec 7, 1941. After the war we were confronted by Socialist/Communist totalitarian aggression. The Cold War ensued. With the end of the Cold War history did not end – new forces were now able to emerge. The U.S. did not create Wahabiism. The U.S. was unfortunate enough to be the sole super power when the Islamic Fascists crawled out form under their collective rock. Returning all the troops we have overseas will not put the Genie back in its bottle. For better or worse, we are stuck on the world stage. 20-20 hindsight is not a recipe for leadership.

Paul’s organization has a lot of loons supporting it. Ron Paul does not appear to be anti-Semitic. His anti aid-to-Israel stance is consistent with his no aid to anyone principle. However, some of his supporters are of a different stripe. The media also has a collective responsibility to ask Paul directly what his views are regarding these colorful types, and the positions they take. The MSM, however, has shown little ability for such reporting, especially when it suites MSM’s political agenda. Paul needs to distance himself from all the nuts or his campaign will go down in flames. This is not just a matter of PR; it is a matter of principle.

UPDATE:

Ron Paul in his own words on Iraq. The money quote:

With both objectives of the original authorization completely satisfied, what is the legal ground for our continued involvement in Iraq? Why has Congress not stepped up to the plate and revisited the original authorization?”

Curious-er and curious-er.