What's this? Ron Paul runs a conservative campaign with no loans?
Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and his thousands of fervent supporters may be fighting more over the soul of the Republican Party nowadays than they are for the actual presidential nomination, seeing how the congressman is more than 1,000 delegates shy of what he'd need to head the ticket.
And John McCain has already wrapped up the September nomination so tightly he's not even campaigning and has headed off on an overseas trip this week with congressional colleagues.
This just so happens to provide photos back home of him talking to foreign leaders like a president and praying at the Wailing Wall while Democrats argue over Florida again.
McCain's entourage includes Connecticut's Joe Lieberman, former Democratic vice presidential candidate, former Democratic senator, current independent senator and probably McCain's future secretary of defense. Although that hasn't been officially announced yet because McCain first has to win this little thing called a presidential election.
The 72-year-old Paul has plenty of free political time now because no Democrat, not even in Texas, is dumb enough to take him on in the November House election, which will award Paul his 11th term. On March 4, Paul vanquished his main Republican challenger in the 14th District by capturing 70% of the vote. Other than that, it was close.
Paul says he'll continue to take his conservative message of...
smaller government, more personal freedoms and an end to American troops abroad wherever his followers are strong and loyal, places like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, maybe Idaho. But they're actually all over, even allegedly liberal California, where one branch posed nearly-naked for a Hotties4RonPaul pinup calendar. Others did a music video.
As noted here earlier this week, Paul's volunteers are winning GOP influence the old-fashioned way, at the grassroots level county by county, tedious meeting after tedious meeting, largely under the radar of the national media, except The Ticket. Paul's volunteers, many of them new to politics, hope to exert some influence on the platform in St. Paul and go from there, the way the 1964 Goldwater generation of conservatives finally won in 1980 with Ronald Reagan.
This is supposed to be a bad year for Republicans, whose turnout in caucus states, for instance, has been low compared with Democrats. But although Paul has yet to win an actual primary or caucus, he's taken some fourths, fifths and seconds.
And with a minimalist campaign organization and a ton of money from about 400,000 dedicated donors (just watch the comments section below for their bounteous vows of loyalty), Paul has won about 803,000 votes. Which, in case you didn't notice, is more than that New York mayor guy with all the ex-wives got, and more than that tall, slow fellow from Tennessee who was a prosecutor and also played one on TV.
In fact, Paul, a former OB/GYN, raised more money in the fourth quarter of 2007 -- nearly $20 million -- than any other Republican candidate, including those rich guys from the East who were supposed to walk away with the nomination. In fact, Paul's website has a delightful photo display of all 11 Republican presidential candidates.
Speaking of money, Paul has now filed his required monthly campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission. Knowing how interested The Ticket remains in the Ron Paul Revolution, The Times' dutiful Dan Morain dug out the Texan's new report.
Not only does Paul talk the conservative talk, it seems he walks the conservative walk. He reported having raised $34.65 million since he launched his (get ready, Paulunteers) long-shot White House bid last year. Paul reported spending about $29 million as of Feb. 29. And he reported having an impressive $5.57 million cash left in the bank.
Now, get this: The Ron Paul presidential campaign reported no debts. Not a dollar. Not even a penny. What has this country come to when half the members of Congress run for president and fully one of them campaigns within his means? This conservative revolution will not be run on funny money like the Federal Reserve system they want to abolish.
-- Andrew Malcolm
Photo: John A. Bowersmith / Killeen Daily Herald