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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

Comments () | Archives (151)

The comments to this entry are closed.

I do remember learning about the U. S. Constitution when I was in elementary school but I am not sure just how much class time is devoted to it in the public schools these days.

As I understand it the founding fathers wanted individuals to be free to do as they pleased as long as they only dealt with each other by mutual consent, but wanted to limit the power granted to the newly created federal government by explicitly stating just what the powers of the fed would be in Article 1 Section 8. The even were explicit about what powers would not be granted to the Congress in Article 1 Section 9.

Elected officials including Congressmen and Senators and the President of the United States take an oath to uphold the Constitution. Given their actions in the last Century up to the present, it appears that they have violated that oath, unless they simply did not understand what the oath meant.

I do not hold the media solely responsible for the mess this country is in, but they are responsible to some extent in their treatment of Ron Paul. His candidacy is an opportunity to draw the countries attention to the cause of its misdirection both in its domestic and foreign policies.

I also hold the public schools responsible for not properly educating the children who have a limited understanding of the connection between the Constitution and the politician's power grab in establishing so many government programs which are beyond the bounds set by the founding document.

I hold the Supreme Court responsible for letting the politicians get away with their unconstitutional excesses.

Likewise the universities and colleges with rare exceptions have played a role in failing to make their students aware of the perspective held by those who know how our country has gone wrong and why.

Ultimately it is the responsibility of each of the citizens of our country to pay attention to what is happening and to try to understand by learning and questioning and checking their premises.

I think Ron Paul supporters have awakened to the fact that our country is off course. Many have known this for some time and are thrilled that a man has appeared in the arena who gives them a chance to vote for one who has a unique understanding and solutions for our time.

Other candidates claim to be ready to make the hard decisions on day one, or are ready to turn the page and institute change, but a closer look makes it clear that they have in mind more of the same premises and policies which have gotten the country into the trouble it is in both domestically and in foreign affairs.

Ron Paul's movement is an awakening and will continue beyond this election. His supporters are passing the torch of Ron Paul's wisdom and the wisdom of others who have shed light on our troubled ways. There are many who have enlightened Ron Paul supporters including the founders of the Austrian School of Economics Ron Paul advocates including Ludwig von Mises and Fredrich von Hayek.

To get at the philosophical roots of the issues which need to be understood, the works of Ayn Rand provide a rational perspective, including Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal and The Virtue of Selfishness, For the New Intellectual and are dramatized in her novel Atlas Shrugged.

The individual freedom movement has a rich intellectual heritage and many of the books and authors who have contributed to it can be found in the catalogs of Laissez faire Books.

I expect that Ron Paul's candidacy will mark a milestone in the struggle for individual freedom which is mainly a movement of ideas. It may have been too soon for there to be successful political action until the ideological foundation is widespread.

I should think the existence of such a powerful historical phenomenon as is hinted at by Ron Paul's candidacy which has so enlivened his followers would be worth reporting in the main stream media which ought to have the acumen to acknowledge and grasp its existence at a deeper level than merely a seemingly quixotic endeavor by one iconoclastic politician who remains standing at this point in history, Ron Paul.

The world is watching and Ron Paul is making history.

Thank you for your article. I wonder what you will think of it yourself after you read Atlas Shrugged and The Objectivist Newsletter.

Wm of Southboro, MA
[email protected]

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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