Teen's Ron Paul sign brings tickets and large fine
Cody Hauer is one very committed fan of Rep. Ron Paul, one of three remaining candidates in the Republican presidential race.
So committed is Cody to Ron Paul that the 18-year-old faces at least $550 in fines for displaying his prized Ron Paul decal on his car. He says his First Amendment free speech rights allow him to do this.
"I support Ron Paul," Hauer says. "The city police department doesn't. They gave me a ticket for DWR -- Driving While Republican."
But Police Chief Shaun LaDue of Owatonna, Minn. says the four....
and counting tickets have nothing to do with politics or the 72-year-old Texas congressman with the libertarian ideals and numerous grandchildren, who this week made former governor Mitt Romney only the latest big-name Republican he's knocked out of the GOP presidential race.
In a statement late Friday night, Paul virtually conceded he would not win the GOP nomination, but vowed to fight on for his campaign's ideas, while simultaneously campaigning against a congressional primary challenge in his home district.
"The political aspect of this doesn't enter into the equation at all," the unsuspecting chief told the Associated Press. "It's very clear in state statute that you cannot have anything that obstructs the driver's vision."
It seems that Hauer, like thousands of other Ron Paul supporters all over the country, regards it as his holy duty to persuade others to vote for his candidate in this heated primary season. Ron Paul signs are the preferred weapon of choice in this political sales endeavor. But decals are also acceptable as long as they're huge.
So Hauer has displayed a 13-by-40-inch "Ron Paul Revolution" decal on the rear window of his car, which he's been driving around the frigid streets of Owatonna hoping by his passing presence to convince voters to support his candidate. This makes great sense to dedicated legions of Ron Paul supporters, who've been known to stand on interstate bridges for hours at a time waving Ron Paul signs at motorists passing beneath.
However, it has been the interpretation of four Owatonna city police officers so far that the giant decal could be for the Minnesota Vikings for all they care, but it obstructs Hauer's rear vision. Obstructed rear vision is not an unusual charge to be leveled against libertarians.
But, it seems, Hauer also displays another trait common to Ron Paul supporters: The willingness to argue, often IN CAPITAL LETTERS, with anyone anytime anywhere at any length about the pressing need to elect Ron Paul president and return this country to a STRICT interpretation of the Constitution before EVERYthing goes down the toilet, which it is already well on its way to doing, in their determined opinion.
Such determination and dedication have caused Paul supporters to donate nearly $5.4 million to his cause so far this year, which is more money even than Sen. Hillary Clinton has loaned herself.
Additionally Paulunteers gave nearly $20 million to the campaign during the fourth quarter of last year alone, making Paul the most successful fundraiser in the then-larger GOP field and the only one to increase his donations during each quarter of 2007.
The 10-term congressman faces an uphill struggle to catch Sen. John McCain and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for his party's nomination. So far, Paul's campaign claims about 42 delegates to the Republican National Convention in September just up the road from Owatonna in St. Paul, which is not named for the congressman. This delegate total, as we reported Friday, puts Paul only about 660 delegates behind McCain and barely 1,149 short of snatching the party nomination.
Which is what adds to the sense of urgency felt by Hauer and his fellow Paul supporters, who prowl the Internet at all hours looking for ways to press Paul's cause and combat abundant injustices to Dr. Paul and the campaign, including being regularly cheated out of debate time.
They will be flocking to this blog item any minute now to leave their outraged comments about such police tactics and the ongoing anti-Ron Paul media conspiracy that will effectively ignore and smother the spread of news concerning the about-to-be-infamous Owatonna Outrage almost everywhere but here.
Apparently, Hauer feels compelled to share this outrage and sense of urgency with every ticketing officer. "He talks himself into a citation every time," Chief LaDue points out.
Hauer says he intends to argue in court that the state statute is overridden by his right to free speech. "To be honest," the teen confesses, "I'm probably not going to win." But, he adds, in the true spirit of the Ron Paul Revolution, "I'm going to go down fighting."
If anyone needs any more information on the Hauer case, the police chief's e-mail is: Shaun.LaDue@ci.owatonna.mn.us However, those sharing e-mail communications with him should remember while crafting their traceable messages that, unlike many bloggers, police chiefs CARRY GUNS.
-- Andrew Malcolm