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A shocking report: Inside the Ron Paul conspiracy

November 30, 2007 |  8:43 pm

Maybe you've heard rumors about an explosive newspaper expose on a major political figure that would rock the political world just as the presidential voting is about to begin.

We haven't either.

But we do know that today is when this newspaper blows the top off of the Ron Paul Conspiracy, that vast unorganized protest movement that has silently become one of the more interesting political phenomena of the current election season.

A Times reporter -- we'll call him James Rainey to protect his identity -- has managed to penetrate the Paul presidium.

In his story he recounts for the very first time the shockingly ordinary details of a movement of thousands of disparate, dissatisfied people, some of whom want an end to the Iraq war, an end to gun controls and the IRS, an end to laws banning marijuana and a return to the gold standard, whatever that means.

These Paulites believe the government has been hijacked by a bevy of big interests that threaten the freedoms of ordinary Americans. They're not going to take it anymore. Locally, they're even organizing a re-enactment of a brazenly defiant act, the BostonTea Party, except it'll be in Santa Monica and won't involve tea or white people dressed as Indians. And the protestors promise not to leave anything foreign floating in the water.

These committed partisans, bonded by their suspicion of authority and venal influences like the mainstream media that ignored them until they did something, have united behind a 72-year-old...

Air Force vet and ob-gyn from Texas who has managed to win 10 elections to the House of Representatives as a Republican with two first names and strongly libertarian leanings.

This man believes that U.S. sovereignity is threatened by many things, especially including consistently ignoring the Constitution and by a planned mystery superhighway that would unite with a ribbon of inexorable cement all three North American countries--Mexico, the United States and that other larger one on top that can only afford to have three downs in its football games.

Apparently he's not talking about I-15, which already does that.

"Rainey's" account describes how this man's followers appear to be ordinary citizens with jobs and family by day. But at night they gather openly in chat rooms and living rooms to plot how to promote a tiny unassuming man whom they call reverently Dr. Paul. With little central direction but tons of commitment, idealism and passion, Dr. Paul's followers do everything they can think of to mobilize voter support.

They patrol the internet day and night seeking Paul slights to right. They stand on windy interstate bridges holding inflammatory signs saying: RonPaul2008.com.

Even as you sleep at night some of the 1,200 Paul meet-up groups are handwriting letters to all 700,000 independent Iowa voters urging them to consider their long-shot leader. A couple of weeks ago Paulites raised $4.2 million on the internet in one day, a near-record, and a sum they intend to more than double on Dec. 16, the anniversary of that rebellious tea party. How's that for insignificance?

As one result, the ultra-lean Paul organization has been able to buy advertising in New Hampshire and to pump its poll numbers up near double-digits in some places. Rainey's story describes the commitment of one Ron Paul meet-up group in Southern California and the regular folks who drive it with their political beliefs and energies.

Few professionals -- well, to tell the truth, no one -- actually gives Paul any chance of winning the Republican nomination. But then up until Yorktown back in the 1700s, all the smart Vegas money was on the British.

--Andrew Malcolm

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