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Ron Paul: Harbinger or Next Year’s Has-Been?

GWU political scientist John Sides is the latest individual to dispute the thesis that Ron Paul is a revolutionary figure in American politics. My working guess (given the givens about social scientists generally, but not knowing him personally) is that Sides is less sympathetic to Paul’s agenda than a libertarian (on the big L/little l boundary) like me, but all of his points about Paul’s prospects are in line with my thoughts; in brief:

1) He is introducing few new ideas that are gaining any traction, which I will define as “earning the support of a substantial fraction of the American public.” His opposition to the Iraq War and immigration already tap into healthy veins of American public opinion and indeed the views of many Democrats (re: Iraq) and Republicans (re: immigration). So it is unclear that he is having any independent impact. His opposition to federal government programs is in line with Americans’ skepticism of government, but this general skepticism tends to give way to broad support for many specific programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, and most forms of gun control. The American public is not consistently libertarian and Ron Paul’s doctrinaire species of libertarianism is unlikely to win favor. …

2) His ideas and electoral support are not causing the other Republican candidates to change their strategy. Independent candidates and third parties can sometimes force the two major parties to tack in their ideological direction. If so, even if they lose, as they almost always do in American politics, they can still have an effect. Paul is if anything, having the opposite effect. His opposition to the Iraq War and the Patriot Act only encourages his fellow Republican candidates to defend Iraq and the War on Terrorism by beating up on Paul. If Paul runs as an independent, this could change, but I suspect that either party’s nominee can respond effectively with cheap talk — i.e., they will minimize defections to Paul with rhetoric rather than with any substantive shift in their goals or issue positions.

3) Most importantly, he is not building any infrastructure that would ensure his impact can survive the 2008 campaign. By infrastructure, I mean a formal organization, and one that is committed to something other than Paul himself. Indeed, he is doing the opposite. His campaign is driven by grassroots supporters, who, taking advantage of the Internet’s ability to lower transaction costs, raise money and organize events. Such a “bottom-up” campaign is a noteworthy departure from traditional campaigns, but different does not mean better in this case. What will remain when his campaign folds? Little, it would appear, unless he is planning a new political organization or party. Will his supporters constitute a political force? If he is not going to lead an organization of some kind, then likely they will not, especially those of his supporters who are otherwise politically alienated or inactive.

I think the third point in opposition to Paul is the most salient to many libertarian-leaning voters. We’ve consistently seen libertarian presidential candidates run for office without leaving behind any infrastructure for the future success of the movement; arguably the only libertarian figure of any stripe to have a meaningful impact on national politics in modern history is Barry Goldwater, and the support infrastructure he and his supporters built was hijacked by the statist-conservative Richard Nixon in the late 60s and the Christian Right in the 70s after Nixon’s fall from grace. Paul has shown none of the wherewithal in his past Libertarian Party presidential run or during his two decades of congressional service, other than building a reputation as “Dr. No” and having his snout at the trough for his district like all 534 of his other colleagues.

On another (related) Ron Paul note, I think those conservatives who took Paul’s comments on Meet the Press about the possibility of Iran invading Israel as coming from ignorance about Iranian military capabilities miss the point; it’s not that Paul doesn’t think Iran is a threat to Israel, it’s that Paul doesn’t care whether or not Iran is a threat to Israel. If nothing else, his isolationism is consistent. Oh, and he’s at best a neoconfederate sympathizer too. What’s not to love?

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About Chris Lawrence
Chris teaches political science at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. He has a Ph.D. in political science (American politics and political methodology) from the University of Mississippi.

Comments

  1. gorak says:

    What about all those donors? Who will they band together and fund after this is said and done?

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  2. mketcher says:

    Ron Paul is gaining ground by every measure — endorsements, straw polls, fundraising, and even scientific polls. It’s because people are sick-and-tired of slimey politicians and Ron Paul represents honesty, authenticity, and consistency in politics. For a funny satire on the president, the mainstream media, and the war on terror, see the new music video on YouTube — an excerpt from the international award-winning zombie musical feature film, “Song of the Dead.” In it, horror movie veteran, Reggie Bannister (Wishmaster, Phantasm, Bubba Ho-tep) plays the President of the U.S. The filmmaker, Chip Gubera, who is based in Columbia, MO, is giving a share of his sales from the film to the Ron Paul campaign. See the YouTube:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=qQmkkoxSKYw

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  3. Matt says:

    There is a difference about not caring about Iran attacking Israel and taking care of the US first.

    The author of this article writes as if he knows
    what Ron Paul cares about.

    Take care of this country and we will give a great
    example to others, and you will help them too.

    Meddle in other countries life and we will be
    hated and attacked.

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  4. Richard Wicks says:

    Ron Paul will certainly leave behind a legacy if he doesn’t win the nomination.

    A widespread distrust of mainstream media.

    Anybody who has been watching this campaign, and talking to other people have seen a huge disconnect with what happens in the real world, and how the media reports what is happening in the real world.

    And that can be nothing but good considering it was the media that really took us to war with Iraq, without barely a mention of poor Scott Ritter.

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  5. 1440 minutes says:

    Thank you for posting about Dr. Paul. I want to make a few clarifications.

    It would appear that John Sides and you have unrealistic ideas about how quickly a libertarian message can impact the public in general and the party in particular.

    1. Every day, many people are seeing the wisdom of libertarianism due to Dr. Paul’s campaign. However, in my humble opinion, the laws of social psychology indicate that it will take a while for these ideas to change tens of millions of people.

    2. Both major parties, along with their corporate sponsors, have large stakes in statism. Neither party will become less statist unless the people force them to change.

    3. Dr. Paul may leave behind more infrastructure than you think. There are 80,000 meetup group members now. By the time Dr. Paul’s campaign is over, I believe that there will be well over 100,000 members. I have a hunch that some of these members will run for office, and others will support them.

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  6. Winston says:

    Ron Paul or the coming Police State. Your choice.
    A web site I discovered by accident: http://www.letsroll911.org. Scroll down to the picture of the jet with the orange spot on the wall and start clicking the video links. What is that going into the wall with the jet? Also on Google video: “Alex Jones 9/11 Road to Tyranny”, “Alex Jones Endgame”, “Alex Jones Terror Storm”, “Alex Jones Police State”, “9/11 Mysteries” “Loose Change Recut Edition” and “Aaron Russo Freedom to Fascism”. Enjoy my fellow Americans.

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  7. Joe Lawson says:

    The guy who wrote the article is out of touch – he has been sitting in his DC office too long.

    I have been on many a campaign, including Reagans in 1980 and 1984 and I can tell you – I haven’t support for a candidate like Ron Paul since Reagan. He is going to absolutely blow the doors off the Republican nomination process.

    The biggest problem the other candidates face on the Republican side is that they are not passionate about thier candidates – they aren’t going to show up. Bottom line they are all very poor candidates and have no following. Ron Paul does bring out the passion, and the grassroots. Its really incredible, but you have to actually be on the campaign to realize it.

    Ron Paul will be the next President of the United States

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  8. L.Step says:

    No, Paul is not an “isolationist” but merely proposes non-intervention in the affairs of other nations. Plenty of space for free trade, both cultural and economic. How would we like a French military bases in Vermont? or Mexican army units in New Mexico? I’m a Korean War vet (you know, the old “Police Action” war). We are still in Korea! Evidently to protect the Japanese in their production of Sonys and Toyotas. Of course, the talking heads and scribblers in the controlled media must pretend (or lose their jobs) by acting as if it were of great importance to sort out the never-ending and bloody squabble going on in that religious cesspool in and about Israel. Now, that might satisfy the delusional missionaries chanting the praises of “ballots rather than bullets”, or the Jesus welcoming team, as well as AIPAC, but it will insure that the war around that religious dung heap will go on, as it always has, for the next several thousand years — unless the Jehovah team wins over the Allah team (or vice-versa) — but that hasn’t and never will happen. You know, something REALLY bad can happen to the U.S. It is now considered a bulling military cretin by the rest of the world — and will continue to be so thought of until it runs out of blood and treasure. I’m sure we can count on Israel and Japan for help if that happens…

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  9. 4Freedom says:

    Yep… You must know it ALL.

    #1) WRONG His ideas are gaining traction. Why just today it was shown that his polling numbers more then doubled in Iowa. He’s gained popularity in recent polls elsewhere too.

    #2) WRONG “His ideas and electoral support are not causing the other Republican candidates to change their strategy.” Have you been listening to the other candidates? I’m not really into politics but long before I was a Paul fan I could see the influence starting and many have changed their rhetoric on both sides trying to draw Paul supporters to themselves.

    #3) WRONG “Most importantly, he is not building any infrastructure that would ensure his impact can survive the 2008 campaign. By infrastructure, I mean a formal organization, and one that is committed to something other than Paul himself.” WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Paul has repeatedly talked about his infrastructure plans in interviews where he was asked.

    Why must you spread misinformation? Are you one of those that are afraid of losing your paycheck if the government becomes one “for the people, by the people” again? I’m in AWE of the way these articles work. You state the “truth according to you” and hope you can turn off Paul supporters or those who might think about being one. Dang… If that only worked as an adult in the real world.

    GET A GRIP .. please…at least find real facts instead of LIES to try to do it. I could understand if you disagreed with his actual positions but… you don’t say that.

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  10. The more I read from Paul supporters, one gets the impression that he is a religious figure, not a politician. At a minimum he is a miracle worker.

    (And really, every time I see a Paul supporter list “straw polls” as evidence for Paul’s viability, I know not to pay attention to that person, because they don’t understand empirical evidence).

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  11. Tlaloc says:

    It might be time for an intervention.

    Okay, guys, let’s talk reality here for a minute. No, Ron Paul is not going to get the GOP nomination. There’s just *no* chance. Even if the rest of the field dropped dead tomorrow there’s no way Paul would get it. And if we were to imagine that he did somehow get it he’d be thoroughly destroyed in the general. Think Tianammen- except the tank’s brake lines have been cut.

    For reals.

    Now I don’t say this out of any animosity for Dr. Paul. On the contrary, I sincerely respect that he seems to stick to a tough political position. That takes guts. And I like having him in the Senate. If I had my way we’d have about 10-15 libertarian reps and 4-5 libertarian senators in congress to put the kibosh on the worst aspects of both parties. I don’t want him to be president, not even a little bit, although of the republicans he’d probably be the least bothersome. I actually partially agree with his foreign policy.

    But all that said there’s just no way in hell the man has even the most miniscule chance of winning the nomination. Not for lack of trying, of course. He does legitimately have a core of intense supporters who are extremely willing to send him their cash. But that’s just not enough. His constituency is on the order of 10% of the population. Money certainly helps but not enough. And he’s no where near Obama in terms of cash, much less Hillary.

    What we’re seeing here is the “wisdom of crowds” which, contrary to what economists believe, should be called “How all of us together are dumber than any of us apart.”

    See the internet leans very strongly libertarian. Nothing wrong with that, but it means that the population you interact with online is *extremely* skewed from the actual US population. It is the very definition of echo chamber, which means it reinforces false ideas (like how popular a certain texas candidate is). So while Paul has a great deal of support online, he does not come anywhere close to having as much public support as the republican first tier candidates. And he’d need WAY more than them anyway. Why? Because, as opposed to any of the first tier candidates (excepting Huckabee), Paul represents things that the GOP establishment simply will not tolerate. That being the case it would take a huge realignment of politics to get him the nomination. He would not only have to beat the other candidates but beat them by such a huge margin that ALL the institutional levers in place can’t be used to bludgeon his candidacy to death.

    Not going to happen. Now feel free to argue that it *should* happen, but if you say it *will* happen you need to put down the pipe.

    The man wants too many strange things. You may agree or disagree that they are needed things but there’s no arguing that, say, going back to a gold standard is *not* strange. It is. It will be easily misconstrued by both primary and general election opponents, and typical voters who do not care to learn much will not bother to really understand the issue.

    It’s just the way it is. So by all means pull for your candidate. Maybe he can promote some libertarian ideas. Just don’t drink the kool-aid that says Ron will win, well, anything. In fact given his “apostasy” the GOP looks to be planning to primary challenge his Senate seat as well (although the odds of that working I don’t know).

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  12. Lyrl says:

    #1 I will withhold judgment until after Feb. 5th. Polls are about as reliable as weather forecasts – right a majority of the time, but wrong a significant portion of time also.

    #2 Again, I think it is too early to tell. I think the key to achieving a long-term shift in the political dialog is #3.

    #3 There are already a number of people running for office as Ron Paul Republicans. http://blog.washingtonpost.com/annapolis/2007/12/in_james_we_trust.html

    I believe these people will form the infrastructure for his message to keep making an impact beyond 2008. I believe we will see larger numbers of them in two years, whether or not Paul wins the nomination.

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  13. Dave Schuler says:

    And I like having him in the Senate.

    Uh, Tlaloc. He’s in the House. He’s never even won a statewide election.

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  14. Tlaloc says:

    Doh, sorry. Brain fart. I would however like him in the Senate.

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  15. brad smith says:

    HI, thanks for the article. However, it doesn’t seem like you have done your homework. 1) I have NEVER seen so many people that have radically changed their points of view. All types of people are now talking about Dr. Ron Paul’s beliefs ranging from monetary policy to limiting government and getting back to the constitution. He is waking up a huge amount of people on a broad range of topics. 2) If you listen to the first debates and then the later ones you will see many of the other candidates now apeing many of Ron Paul’s talking points. You could say that the other candidates are now pandering to Paul supporters and that they won’t actually defend the constitution any time soon. However, just the fact that they are bringing it up means that they are concerned about the base slipping away without this “new” message. 3) The third point does seem to have some validity. However, there is already a Libertarian part for Paul supporters to flock to after Dr. Ron Paul is elected. It is also more than conceivable that this ground swelling of support could bring the Republican party back from neocon fascism to true conservatism. If this happens their will be no need for a new foundation. Thanks for the article, as they say any press is good press. Ron Paul president 2008!

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  16. Ralph Z says:

    Chris Lawrence, I just want to scream I’m mad as hell and I for one have to tell you stop with your nonsense. Ron Paul’s Infrastructure? How about, Internet? Where free men, can debate ideas and policy. MSM is dead. As for our “best” friend Israel, what have they done for men lately? Nothing, zip, zero, nada so I don’t understand that while the Israelis have the best Universities and schools that our children, Americans, languish and are falling behind the world. I suppose Israel will return the favor when our dollar collapses and contribute to our school system. ARRRRRGH!

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  17. I love the level of reading comprehension demonstrated by our drive-by commenters in this thread. That stuff with the big grey bar next to it was written by John Sides, not me. Here on the Internets, home of the Ron Paul Revolutionaries and the Nutroots, we call that a “block quote.”

    I happen to agree with it, for the most part, but I didn’t write it.

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  18. Matt says:

    I AM FOR RON PAUL

    Obviously, for one, you have never served in the military or been on a military base overseas. I have. What in the world are we doing over there? There is no answer in your article about that issue. Removing ourselves from the arena’s overseas is a great money saving idea.

    And as far as your concern for his “lack of infrastructure on the campaign”, how about a clear, consistent message for the foundation of your platform. This is by far a better footing than any other person in the field, democrat or republican. RON PAUL CURED MY APATHY.

    GO RON PAUL.

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  19. Steven: Well, straw polls are empirical evidence, just not empirical evidence in support of any political power beyond being able to drum up a small group of very passionate supporters at a drop of a hat. (This comment thread is similar evidence.)

    On the broader topic, call me back when Paul wins a single precinct caucus in Iowa, or gets a plurality win in any single precinct in New Hampshire, a bar set far lower than “a single convention delegate” I might add, and then I might take him seriously as a presidential candidate.

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  20. laura says:

    I am a Daughter of a Vietnam Veteran and I support Ron Paul. I am so sick and tired of this country and its policies destroying people, their country, and their upcoming generations.

    Other Children of Vietnam Veterans are suffering from illnesses and no one seems to notice.

    So screw all of you politicians and pundits who just don’t get it because you don’t have to make the sacrifice.

    booo-YAAA!
    GO ROn Paul!

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  21. Chris: point taken. My statement was a tad sloppy, owing to being told over and over and over that the “straw polls” show how the actual polls must be wrong.

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  22. brad smith says:

    It is obvious that this is not your writing however, you did not refute it and if you had done your homework you would have know that it was for the most part BS. You now state.

    “I love the level of reading comprehension demonstrated by our drive-by commenters in this thread. That stuff with the big grey bar next to it was written by John Sides, not me. Here on the Internets, home of the Ron Paul Revolutionaries and the Nutroots, we call that a “block quote.”

    I happen to agree with it, for the most part, but I didn’t write it.”

    Thanks for insulting my intelligence with your article and this quote. By the way you invite people to comment on your site so why complain when we comment? Or is it that you feel that Ron Paul supporters have less rights when it comes to freedom of expression on your site. You remind be of the LOCALS ONLY mentality of some surfers I have met. If your not from here don’t surf my waves. If you surf onto my site go away, I only like people who agree with me and have said so before. Ron Paul President 2008!

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  23. Peter says:

    Ron Paul has a very good chance of taking the primaries by storm. In the AOL straw poll (which is spam proof) He leading in 48 states and in the two states he is lagging in, he is at second place.

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  24. Women for Ron Paul says:

    What ass-clown wrote this piece of shit journalism that made me laugh like hell?

    The Revolution is in place and has structure and will continue.

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  25. Women for Ron Paul says:

    PS – this writer can’t be serious because he doesn’t know when NOT to use an ‘s’ after a noun….he might only be 12 years old, so why bother arguing with him? He’s illiterate.

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  26. Alexia says:

    Ron Paul is right about Israel. It would be suicide for any other country to attack Israel. Also, the 2nd most holy site for Muslims is in Israel. No Allah-fearing Muslim would ever attack one of their own holy sites.

    But yeah, straw polls are largely just fund raisers. It just so happens that apparently Ron Paul has the biggest number of donors – that’s why he wins straw polls.

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  27. Paul Jay says:

    u missed it. Tucker got it.
    Fed reserve money out of air. crazy over spending. Kill public radio! free market. small fed gov. I could care less about the war BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME or at least have contries pay the with 20% profit. Gold $. Abolish IRS repace with nothing! LEGALIZE THE CONSTITUTION!

    Vev la Revolutcia! Russian “tee svee nya”

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  28. Larry in SC says:

    Keep living in la-la land. The infrastructure that you will find left behind by the Ron Paul revolution will be the “NEW Republican Party”. We now know that the neocons are in the minority and are irrelevant. We are not going away!

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  29. Raichle says:

    How can a Political Scientist at an elite school be so ill informed? I would say this Scientist has no idea how the Federal Reserve works. Most business school graduates have no idea. So, I could see how he would be unable to identify any “new ideas” coming from Ron Paul. But isolation vs non-intervention?! That seems like Pol Sci 101. Electrifying the virtual grassroots and raising $18m with nothing but a message!!? I think GWU is paying this guy too much.

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  30. Katy says:

    Gotta love it. I am a 58 year old mother and have not seen ONE candidate in my voting lifetime that was worth not only my attention but also my money except for Ron Paul. The amazing thing about Dr Paul is if you listen to his platform, look at his voting record and research statements that he has made and compare him to the other so-called candidates, Ron Paul is a slam-dunk, no question, no debate, he is the real deal.

    I can’t wait until the primaries because after all of the hard work that his supporters are doing and will continue to do, Dr Paul will rise above all of the others. I will sit there with a smile on my face and say to the media “Welcome to the Ron Paul Revolution and welcome to “We the People” Now it’s our turn to take back the country and how sweet it will be.

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  31. john b says:

    The majority of military I speak with who have served more than 4 years (not the 1-year old from boot camp) agree with Ron Paul’s view of foreign intervention.
    The military wants to defend the USA and engage in battles that can be won. The current police actions are not suited toward military personnel.

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  32. lolcopter5000 says:

    “Oh, and he’s at best a neoconfederate sympathizer too”

    AND DID YOU HEAR THAT NEO-NAZIS LIKE HIM OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT

    Really? Way to go, blogosphere – really promoting journalistic standards.

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  33. You people who try to bash Ron Paul are a joke. You have not done your research, obviously. Do us all a favor and dispute the facts and not spew the bull you people do. No chance? What a pathetic line to keep saying. Maybe for the OTHER candidates.

    I just wish we could all see which of you people are professional liars for the status quo. Half the media would probably be highlighted. That’s why half the media traitors exist in the positions they do. To write like you people are trying so hard to do.

    When you so called “smart” people, (people who stray from the facts with endless baloney that sheds light on nothing), bash on Ron Paul I actually am starting to love it because you call yourselves out like the liars that you have always been!

    Keep going!

    You’ve already lost media traitors. Give it up and join the rEVOLution for you and your children’s sake for crying out loud.

    Our Military deserves it.

    The Anerican people deserve it.

    Every honest pesron who loves America deserves it.

    -Michael

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  34. Dave says:

    Chris, I think you’re point about Paul not having any infrastructure is misguided. He’s built it through the “meetups” and his campaign is harnessing it. I’m going to save this rag and make you eat it, if he shocks you fools in Iowa, NH, and SC. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but I don’t believe them b.s. polls the Corp. Controlled media puts up to dismiss him. I have GOP friends that have called me to tell me they were disconnected once they pressed the button for Paul, not to mention his support is not being measured. I will say this, Corp. Media is doing a PSYOP on the American people. Hardly an article goes by either in print and video that say’s he can’t win or he’ll run third party. With less and less of the “he’s nuts”. When I go door to door people like him, but I often here “but can he win”? That is the real test. Will people break there bonds and say to hell with the MSM? This is really a test of the boys at CNN/FOX and there power over thought. The big boy’s can’t lose? Right?

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  35. K says:

    Just had to throw in those two jabs (read: lies) at the end, didn’t you? The neo-confederate nonsense was debunked long ago, and Paul has repeatedly explained the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism. But then again you’re a journalist so maybe we shouldn’t expect you to pick up on things like “facts”.

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  36. David Monk says:

    John Sides may want to change his opinion would he know me.

    This is not to say that Mr. Sides may not in fact be correct on some points. This still does not however make him correct. Dr. Ron Paul IS more interested in being iconic in his focus than he is in leaving a formal organization that much is true. Dr. Paul himself stated in an interview that he wants to leave a record for someone to come along one day and say,”Why did he vote No when no one else did?” Or comments like,”…they removed my skepticism.” He has said many times that he didn’t think people were that fed up with things, especially from students who depend on federal funding as a lifestyle.

    While admitting the “bottom up” approach is unique it is general disregarded as future-less. This very well maybe true in it’s current form but what of it’s part. Much like a corp. liquidation the parts are not just thrown out. If even on of those parts begins to make an impact in the “real world” (Because we all know that no “real people” are on the Internet) then one can begin analyzing it.

    So then there’s Me. I have been politically aware for most of my 28 years and very aware the last 10. I vote regularly and talk with others but never found any formal organization appealing enough to join. I vote Bush in 2000 yet casted a non vote in 2004. I voted for everything on that ballot except the President but would have voted Nader. (In my state if you wrote-in Ralph Nader your entire ballot was thrown out, guess what state I live in? ;) In 2008 I will be voting for Dr. Paul and have urged many friends to as well.
    As an ironic figure Dr. Ron Paul was able to inspire me to run for local office, win or lose. How much more of a formal organization is that?

    Now you don’t have to be a political scientist from GWU to understand that nothing can be a called a revolution until it has already happened. So far not even one vote has been cast for President, right. All I’m saying is that all this Saturday analysis doesn’t predict what happens on Sunday and will be forgotten on Monday. (That’s a NFL reference for those of you not into sports)

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  37. AnnieM says:

    I took an online “test” for lack of better word regarding my preferences for President where it asked your views on all the issues and matched them to the presidential candidate that best suited those views. It came out that I should vote for McCain.

    I am not, however, voting for McCain.

    I am tired of PAC money and corporate money deciding our government. I am tired of seeing children hungry in the United States of America when a tenth of the money we send overseas could be put to good use locally for those people that need it and I am sick and tired of Government telling me I’m too stupid to manage my own money.

    Big government makes people believe they will be taken care of and then drops those trusting souls on their collective noggins.

    I’m voting for a revolution. Viva Ron Paul.

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  38. Bo says:

    Chris Lawrence is just a parrot of all the other naysayers. Ron Paul will shock the world.

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  39. Dan Hansen says:

    You are right, small government non-interventionist ideals are not necessarily new in American politics. What is new are big government Republicans who engage in war-mongering.

    The “neoconfederate” comment is a smear (“What’s not to love” – how smarmy). Dismissive invective is not an argument. Or did I change your opinion with my “how smarmy” comment?

    It is interesting to see the number of pundits who see Israel as a club with which to beat Ron Paul. All I can say is – every place in your arguments you cite Israel see if your passion is the same if you substitute (say) “Chile” or “Estonia”. See if you feel the same passion. If you do, your foreign policy is scary and dangerous. If you don’t, why not?

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  40. Neo says:

    Nature abhors a vacuum.

    The emptiness left by the imprisonment of Lyndon La Roche has finally been filled in with the emptiness of Ron Paul.

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  41. Mike N says:

    I’m sorry to say this but Chris, you lost me at bullet #3. I read, re-read and read again that line:

    “By infrastructure, I mean a formal organization”

    and I just shook my head. God, you people are thoroughly, unbelievable, cluelessly stuck in the past.
    Honestly, you’re clutching at straws talking like this so just drop it.
    The Ron Paul campaign is the most interconnected, most active, most highly-motivated of ALL, Dem or Repub.
    Anyhoo, my money’s on folks finding this out the hard way RSN :-)
    Peace.

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  42. Kerry Kolsch says:

    I believe that one of Dr. Paul’s lasting legacy is that he has exposed the despots. The Federal Reserve is not a government institution but a group of private bankers in control of our monetary system to our detriment. He has exposed the CFR Bilderbergers and others of their creed that are trying to destroy this nation in favor of One World Government. (Hillary – Huckster – Obama – Rudy are all CFR.) Judicial Watch has listed these four on their list of the top ten most corrupt politicians. For many years these groups met in secrecy deciding our fate and plotting new ways to enslave us. Ron Paul has the courage to expose the fascist that believe in trading liberty for unattainable “safety”. We know the so called “Patriot Act” unconstitutionally destroys our civil liberties. Ron Paul has denounced “Free Trade” treaties exposing them to be the shams that they are. Ron Paul has enlightened us to the lies and propaganda of the Old Media. We see the duplicity when we watch over one thousand Ron Paul supporters march on the Santa Monica Pier for the Boston Tea Party on Utube on the day that Ron Paul raised over $6000000. and the press covers less then twenty sign wavers in Orlando supporting the Huckster. Never once has the Old Media shown the Ron Paul supporters at every debate and all over the country proudly displaying their signs. Never again will we believe the lies. We will investigate the facts for ourselves. Our infrastructure is state of the art. We can rally our troops in seconds. Ask any writer that misrepresents our candidate. We are the new intellectuals ready to debunk you with research supporting the truth. For you to try to diminish the impact of this Revolution is foolish of you. Then again I guess you are fighting for your livelihood. You see the New Media with its free exchange of ideas has made you irrelevant. Liberty is brewing and it is spreading around the World. You are counting us out much too soon.

    P.S. my comma key broke.

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  43. Micah says:

    Chris,

    Your assertion that Paul is a “neoconfederate sympathizer” decidedly misses the mark. While his functional viewpoint might be the same as said neoconfederate sympathizer (both ultimately questions the efficacious nature of the war), the philosophical and intellectual rationale are worlds apart.

    More than 600,000 men died in the Civil War, and to lament that loss of life is not indicative of any human or political shortcoming. Noting in history’s rear-view mirror that there might have been a more rational and humane solution shouldn’t be a reason to get out the tar and feathers – or to reduce a reasonable, learned individual into lobbing ad hominem intimations (that no one should buy into his reasoning simply because it is universally panned, rather than refuting his arguments).

    You are clearly able to cobble together a better refutation, so one has to wonder if you’re just pandering to the mentally hobbled Fox news crowd (says a 2000 GWB voter). The alternatives to pandering are that you find such tactics to be intellectually permissible (a simultaneous violation of both acceptable journalism practices and logical discourse); that you launched the missive without really reading/listening to Paul’s words, and didn’t realize that the two arguments were not even similar; or that you are simply a shill, doing anything you can to wage an ideological campaign against Paul. I’m assigning the least nefarious motives, and will assume it’s just pandering for traffic (I mean hey – you gotta pay the bills).

    Accepting the sainthood of Lincoln is of course part of the dogma of the arbiters of what are acceptable lines of thought about the Civil War. One questioning anything about the myth risks the ire of academia and media-shaped popular opinion. Unfortunately, this Orwellian imposition lies in contravention of sound scholarship.

    Lincoln was a powerful and cunning man, a skilled politician and practiced rhetorician. He left an indelible mark on the US, and is certainly a figure who casts a long shadow on our early history. There is certainly a case to be made for the greatness of the man (a subjective concept), but it shouldn’t be enforced orthodoxy to those who operate in the arena of ideas.

    He was, after all, a man. A fallible, flawed man. And one who oversaw the forced military subjugation of internal dissenters. And suspended the most basic civil rights of the people he governed. He oversaw a slaughter on our own soil unrivaled in our history.

    I am not arguing against his greatness per se – there are persuasive pro-greatness narratives to be made, for sure. But there are also reasonable arguments to be made that the net effect (the end of slavery) might have come about in a less costly manner in both economic and human terms, and it is reasonable to consider whether the regrettable Jim Crow era might have been avoided altogether.

    Asking the questions such as Russert asked are low blows and should be recognized as such by anyone who fancies themselves intellectual or simply interested in practicing sound logic. They are asked simply for the easy-to-demagogue responses. The only thing that can fit in a sound bite is him speaking the perceived sacrilege, and it’s sure to have O’Reilly going for demagoguery’s gold medal (he’s looking out for us). It might be indicative of a political naivety on Paul’s part, but it certainly doesn’t make him a closet neoconfederate or the equivalent.

    To imply a man a crackpot (not your words, though calling him a neoconfederate sympathizers is equivalent, unless you’d argue that they aren’t crackpots) because he is an astute student of history and doesn’t stifle his intellect to avoid being sound-bited is below your obvious abilities. Though a logical principle may not be the norm for political discourse, that shouldn’t relegate logic to being thought a scornful thing.

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  44. Tom Plymouth, MA says:

    The neoconservative empire is about to cave in.
    Federal debt totals $455,000 per family. Only Ron Paul has the plan to bring us back from the brink.

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  45. James Aragon says:

    Yes it would be suicide to attack a country with hundreds of nuclear weapons. Even if Iran was crazy though, it does not have the ability to wage a force-on-force war against anyone (except Iraq when we leave). And then it would be the same type of guerilla war we face since the nation would split up. But I digress. The numbers that define Iran’s force cannot anwer the quality. As an intel analyst, I promise it stinks.

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  46. Sara DiNicola says:

    Why should ANY representative of the American citizen HAVE to have “his snout at the trough?”—-what Ron Paul is saying is the money shouldn’t have been taken away from the States in the first place….why are we forced to send money to the Federal Govt., then wait for SOME of it to come back to us, if we beg and grovel and lose liberty and dignity along the way….You would say Ron Paul serves America BETTER by letting Federal Govt. keep money that, according to the Constitution, they have illegally obtained?????

    Also, your comment: “it’s that Paul doesn’t care whether or not Iran is a threat to Israel.”—Ron Paul and his supporters don’t care MORE about Israel’s threat from Iran, than ANY OTHER COUNTRY’S THREAT FROM ANYONE!!!….Why do YOU think Israel should get special treatment?

    I’m a 56-year old grandmother of seven, and I definitely see a BIG DIFFERENCE in how Ron Paul’s message is affecting the election process…Have you noticed that all European countries, plus Venezuela, Australia, and Canada have campaign groups supporting Ron Paul for President of the United States? I’ve NEVER seen that in my lifetime.

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  47. AK says:

    You see, for me the question ‘What will happen to xxx if Dr Paul doesn’t get the nomination/win the election’ is irrevelant.

    I came here from central Europe in 1984 to escape exactly what is now happening here or starting to happen. I’ll go back. I don’t even vote, and I spent over $700 on the campaign so far.

    I was mulling it over for a couple of years, and now it become quite clear. I’m putting my things in order and looking for a place to live in the ‘old country’.

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  48. AK says:

    And unless you’re in the Atlantic TZ, the Daylight Savings Time period is over :-)

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  49. When you call a non interventionist an isolationist, as a smear, it diminishes the credibility in either a. Your choice of terms elsewhere in your writing as they too may be malapropisms or b. A possible nefarious intent to cast idealogical positions not held by Dr. Paul which are of negative connotation to diminish his record(usually done in lieu of finding legitimate blemishes)

    Lets hope, for the sake of your intellect, that its B.

    If for some reason its A. Grab any political science reader and check out the definition of isolationism.

    You will find that it means non interventionist foreign policy combined with a protectionist trade policy. Buchanan is an isolationist, ron paul, as he is a free market, open trade guy, is simply a non interventionist.

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  50. Pier Johnson says:

    Who is John Sides?

    Stop anyone in a supermarket anywhere in the USA.

    Show them a picture of John Sides and ask if they know the name of the man in the picture.

    When they say ‘no’, ask if they know where John Sides works.

    John Sides is a nobody, except to sandbox Ivory Tower quackademics.

    You wrote story based fully upon the Opinion of a Nobody. How amusing.

    Oh, and who are you Chris Lawrence?

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  51. AK says:

    Pier, thank you, too.
    It’s fun this hunting season, isn’t it?

    -AK

    [it's not] A sign of the general nosiness.
    [me English teacher at SAC, 1986?] “I passed”

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  52. Theresa says:

    We have discussed your third point at length. We don’t just meet up and stand on corners. We DO discuss your #3 and have started preparing with many organizations: Constitutionalists, Libertarians, Tax Groups, Antiwar Groups, Gun Owners, Etc. etc. etc!

    Just because we don’t contact you or let the main stream media know these things does not mean they aren’t happening. Obviously you aren’t part of the movement and will never know the goings on of the REVOLUTION. Its a mind revolution, not fought with guns or weapons. We meet in coffee houses, bars, basements & on the streets. We are every day people and we want our Country back!

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  53. John Reading says:

    Ron Paul may become the next president, since his opposition is so dishonest and so ignorant.

    Ron Paul votes against all of the pork, so this writer is lying. Paul argues that if the money is going to be spent anyway in spite of his vote, then the taxpayers in his district should get a fair share of the benefits. Who disagrees with this? Does this writer think that they should not?

    To suggest that Ron Paul doesn’t care about Israel is dishonest psychobabble. It’s not his job to care about them. It is their job and they are fully capable, as he pointed out, of doing so. Our military is there for oil and empire, not Israel. And Israel has no need of them against Iran. Iran is a threat to no one. Fox news is not a source for reality-based information.

    To suggest that he is a confederate sympathizer is ignorant psychobabble. Questioning the unnecessary deaths of over 600,000 soldiers does not make you a sympathizer of anything but sanity. Ron Paul knows the history of the war and that it was not about slavery, it was about economics and trade policy. It was about centralizing economic control in the North and over-ruling the constitution (“saving the union”). Slavery did not become an issue until well into the war and Lincoln only freed the slaves in those states which were hostile to him -as a punishment for opposing him. Read some history. There’s more to it than what you were fed in the government school.

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  54. Republicae says:

    I can tell you this, many Canadians in the finance sector are worried that if Ron Paul is elected that it will make the United States an economic giant again and make Canada and the rest of the world non-competitive.

    Think about that will ya? America an Economic Giant again instead of the largest debtor nation.

    Here is a small excerpt from the Canadians:

    “Paul has been studying the most uncompromising branch of free-market economics, the one propounded by the Austrian School, for more than 30 years. That sets him apart in a political and academic world where supply-side, monetarist and other neoclassical ideas usually dominate free-market discourse. From an Austrian viewpoint, these are hopelessly muddled creeds that have made their peace with big government, and especially with what for Austrians is the central issue of government manipulation of the money supply.

    His decision to first run for office in the 1970s was spurred by Nixon’s decision to take the U.S. off the gold standard. He’s been writing articles and books and giving speeches about the evils of government intervention and fiat money ever since. These themes resonate more than ever at a time when the greenback is sinking, financial bubbles are bursting, the country is drowning in bad debt and a credit crisis is in full bloom.

    Whether one agrees with him or not, Paul is so serious about economic theory that he has become some sort of standard bearer for nerds in politics. David Frum, an unpaid Rudy Guliani advisor, was far off the mark when in this paper last Saturday he accused Paul of not having the faintest idea what he was talking about and being “too lazy or too arrogant to learn.”

    A Ron Paul administration, though not in the cards, would turn conventional political and economic thinking upside down.

    All of a sudden, all those on the left who have been denouncing the American empire and its military adventures would find an ally in the White house. Ron Paul not only wants to bring back U.S. troops home from Iraq, but also those stationed in Europe and Asia. Cutting the half-trillion dollars a year military budget is a central part of his plan to put the country’s finances back on a sound economic footing.

    Paul never voted for a tax increase or for spending that he deems unconstitutional, which includes pretty much everything contained in federal budgets nowadays. He wants to abolish the income tax and the Internal Revenue Service. He would also eliminate the Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy and Homeland Security, get rid of corporate and agricultural subsidies, foreign aid, and a host of other programs. He would allow young people to opt out of Social Security and Medicare and let these two massive unfunded entitlement programs for the elderly slowly disappear.

    The effect on the U.S. economy of such policies would be tremendous. Ottawa would have to react, or else we could lose the little competitive advantages that fiscal prudence has earned us over the last decade. Reducing the lowest income tax bracket from 15.5% to 15% will not do it. And who knows how far the loonie would fall back again if hard money and sound finances were to prevail south of the border?

    Ron Paul policies would also threaten what has been a fundamental feature of Canadian economic policy for the past two decades, free trade — or rather, relatively free managed trade — with the United States. Paul’s idea of free trade is to get the government out of the way, not to create more international bureaucratic structures that are not accountable. That would raise interesting debates. Would the NDP and the Council of Canadians denounce the threat of genuine free trade and launch a campaign to save NAFTA?

    However many votes Paul ultimately gets, we shouldn’t wait for an U.S. politician to force those reforms on us, especially one who wants to do away with Yankee imperialism. Freedom is a universal, not an American value. Free markets work everywhere. Why not get rid of all this government deadweight of our own volition, and for our own good?”

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  55. Republicae says:

    Can you imagine that many in Canada are worried by Ron Paul being elected. The reason, they know that he would make the United States super-competitive again, so much so, that Canada and the rest of the world would have to play catch-up in a major way.

    Sound finance…wow, what a concept! Imagine that instead of the United States being number one in only one thing: DEBT, that we would once again be a nation standing on sound economics.

    The Canadian Financials state:

    “Paul has been studying the most uncompromising branch of free-market economics, the one propounded by the Austrian School, for more than 30 years. That sets him apart in a political and academic world where supply-side, monetarist and other neoclassical ideas usually dominate free-market discourse. From an Austrian viewpoint, these are hopelessly muddled creeds that have made their peace with big government, and especially with what for Austrians is the central issue of government manipulation of the money supply.

    His decision to first run for office in the 1970s was spurred by Nixon’s decision to take the U.S. off the gold standard. He’s been writing articles and books and giving speeches about the evils of government intervention and fiat money ever since. These themes resonate more than ever at a time when the greenback is sinking, financial bubbles are bursting, the country is drowning in bad debt and a credit crisis is in full bloom.

    Whether one agrees with him or not, Paul is so serious about economic theory that he has become some sort of standard bearer for nerds in politics. David Frum, an unpaid Rudy Guliani advisor, was far off the mark when in this paper last Saturday he accused Paul of not having the faintest idea what he was talking about and being “too lazy or too arrogant to learn.”

    A Ron Paul administration, though not in the cards, would turn conventional political and economic thinking upside down.

    All of a sudden, all those on the left who have been denouncing the American empire and its military adventures would find an ally in the White house. Ron Paul not only wants to bring back U.S. troops home from Iraq, but also those stationed in Europe and Asia. Cutting the half-trillion dollars a year military budget is a central part of his plan to put the country’s finances back on a sound economic footing.

    Paul never voted for a tax increase or for spending that he deems unconstitutional, which includes pretty much everything contained in federal budgets nowadays. He wants to abolish the income tax and the Internal Revenue Service. He would also eliminate the Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy and Homeland Security, get rid of corporate and agricultural subsidies, foreign aid, and a host of other programs. He would allow young people to opt out of Social Security and Medicare and let these two massive unfunded entitlement programs for the elderly slowly disappear.

    The effect on the U.S. economy of such policies would be tremendous. Ottawa would have to react, or else we could lose the little competitive advantages that fiscal prudence has earned us over the last decade. Reducing the lowest income tax bracket from 15.5% to 15% will not do it. And who knows how far the loonie would fall back again if hard money and sound finances were to prevail south of the border?

    Ron Paul policies would also threaten what has been a fundamental feature of Canadian economic policy for the past two decades, free trade — or rather, relatively free managed trade — with the United States. Paul’s idea of free trade is to get the government out of the way, not to create more international bureaucratic structures that are not accountable. That would raise interesting debates. Would the NDP and the Council of Canadians denounce the threat of genuine free trade and launch a campaign to save NAFTA?

    However many votes Paul ultimately gets, we shouldn’t wait for an U.S. politician to force those reforms on us, especially one who wants to do away with Yankee imperialism. Freedom is a universal, not an American value. Free markets work everywhere. Why not get rid of all this government deadweight of our own volition, and for our own good?”

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  56. Paul says:

    The neoconservative empire is about to cave in.
    Federal debt totals $455,000 per family. Only Ron Paul has the plan to bring us back from the brink.

    I’m very sympathetic to the small government, fiscal responsibility argument, but this figure is way off. The national debt is a little over $9 trillion. The population is a little over 300 million. That is $30,000 per person. I don’t know the average size of a family, but it isn’t enough to make their share of the debt $455K.

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  57. Louis Lambert says:

    Chris, judging from the comments your readers appear to be a good deal more intelligent and informed than either you or John Sides who you agree with.

    I can’t believe you could be so stupid or illinformed to trot out the same tired misrepresentation that Ron Paul is an isolationist. Investigate the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism if you want your opinions to be taken seriously.

    btw, as you don’t seem to have noticed, people are waking up and doing their own checks and no longer accept or trust MSM, if nothing else this will be a lasting legacy of Ron Paul’s for anyone can now see what a nasty pox they are to a free society.

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