Ron Paulites SPEAK OUT !
Some of you may recall an item we published a week ago tonight on Ron Paul. It was a brilliantly written spoof alleging to expose the massive nationwide conspiracy behind the campaign of the 72-year-old libertarian ob-gyn who's been elected to the House of Representatives 10 times from Texas.
The blog item was tied to publication of a revealing feature by The Times' James Rainey on a particular group of Southern California Paul supporters and their earnest campaign efforts.
Although Paul's vociferous, heartfelt, defensive and offensive supporters, who patrol the Internet at all hours and will be on this item within minutes of its posting, will cite encouraging bookmakers' odds from somewhere, the political reality is that Dr. Paul, as they reverently call him, has, let's call it, realistically a very longshot chance of actually winning the Republican presidential nomination.
So what? It's a fascinating grassroots political story in which a widely diverse collection of dissatisfied Americans have spontaneously congregated via the Internet and some 1,200 meet-up groups to organize and proselytize for their man. It really is grass-roots democracy in action, never mind the outcome. In some TV appearances Paul seems almost bewildered by the wildfire support.
But it's there, as evidenced by growing fundraising numbers that totaled a near-record one day $4.2 million last month. And Paul supporters aim to break Hillary Clinton's one-day record of $6.2 million come Dec. 16, which is the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party and probably as good a day as any for rebels to try to make news for their candidate. A counter on Paul's website puts the quarter's fundraising at nearly $10.8 million.
But the point of this item is to examine some of the comments submitted here in recent days by Paul boosters and opponents (yes, there are some willing to say so). Hundreds of readers -- 60+ pages of printouts -- shared their opinions, most of them printable. They reveal an eclectic mix of people, who identify themselves as lawyers, Democrats, housewives, first-time voters, young, old, suspicious of established institutions like the dreaded MSM (mainstream media) who resent being portrayed as fringe fanatics.
"Yikes!" one wrote, "you let everyone know that we are mostly normal people with a sense of concern for the direction of the nation." Trevor Winton wrote, "We are ordinary citizens who seriously want our country back." There are many enemies to the Paul Nation -- an overblown federal government...
that curbs freedoms with the Patriot Act, usurps state powers, the IRS, big banks, the Federal Reserve, a military-industrial complex that makes money involving the country in costly foreign entanglements like Iraq. Many Paul supporters admit they do not agree with him on everything -- say, a return to the gold standard or the perceived threat to American sovereignty of a proposed super-highway across Texas. Paul supporters find it hard to believe that others don't see that threat.
They're not bothered by Paul's suggestion that the U.S. invited the 9/11 attacks by bombing Iraq. They like his plain-spokenness, states' rights and America-first attitude. "The choice for America," one reader wrote, "is simply, follow the Constitution and the rule of law, get the Govt out of your bedroom, and your wallets and live your life as you see fit."
Many Paulites see no difference between the two major parties. "I'm a 46-year-old SAG actor and US Navy veteran," wrote Bruno Amato. "I haven't voted since 1980, when I voted for Ronald Reagan, and never donated to a campaign, but I have contributed and will continue and I will definitely be voting for Ron Paul."
They don't trust the polls, which show Paul's support up from 1% to the 8% range, because, they say, many Paul supporters have no land phones. (The L.A. Times Poll does factor in cellphones, by the way.) "The supporters of Ron Paul have brought me faith in America again," Chris said. "It is a wonderful, energizing feeling. Hope is powerful. Our power when we work together is stronger than any defense contractor or lobbying groups."
"Ron Paul is the only candidate out there who really wants to take the country in a totally new direction," Heather Czerniak wrote. "Forget about policing the world and sending our kids to die for someone else's freedom."
"I can't wait to see what happens in New Hampshire!" Chris Foster said.
A lot of other people -- Paulites or not -- feel the same.
(UPDATE: Extreme Mortman now takes all this Top of the Ticket interest into account too.)
-- Andrew Malcolm