Ron Paul: The $4.2 Million Dollar Man

Wednesday, November 07, 2007 at 11:21 AM

I gave $25 to Ron Paul Monday because I couldn't resist being part of the largest grass-roots fundraising day in the history of American politics. The libertarian Republican raised $4.2 million from 37,000 contributors, according to a final tally provided to USA Today, from an effort that wasn't even organized by the campaign.

The idea to raise his profile with a "money bomb" on Nov. 5 was the brainchild of Trevor Lyman, the publisher of ThisNovember5th.Com. Lyman adopted the incendiary metaphor of Guy Fawkes, using a literal anti-government revolutionary to attract attention to a rhetorical bomb thrower.

In an email Paul sent contributors, the straight-laced doctor sounded more like a child of the '60s than any of the Democratic candidates:

I have to admit being floored by the $4.2 million dollars you raised yesterday for this campaign. And unlike the fatcat operations of the opposition, the average contribution from our 36,672 donors was $103.

I say "you raised," because this historic event was created, organized, and run by volunteers. This is the spirit that has protected American freedom in our past; this is the spirit that is doing so again.

Some of the mainstream media have sat up and taken notice. Others have pooh-poohed our record online fundraising. But the day is coming -- far faster than they know -- when they will not be able to ignore our freedom revolution.

I like Paul, in spite of the fact that I believe in most of the government programs he'd like to see abolished. Liberals can find common cause with Paul on issues like opposition to the Patriot Act, an end to the war in Iraq and preservation of constitutional liberties. (On Social Security, Medicare and the Department of Education not so much.) Paul's one of the most ideologically consistent presidential candidates, voting his beliefs reliably during 29 years in politics, and he's a throwback to the days when Republicans had an uneasy relationship with government. Today's borrow-and-spend Republicans are just as likely to break the bank as the tax-and-spend Democrats of old, but they spend the money on military adventures and corporate welfare instead of social programs, and they lay the bill on our grandkids and great-grandkids.

The chord Paul's striking with disenchanted Americans is impressive, even as they drive right-wing sites like RedState to hysteria with their online activism. The stuff that disciples of Paul are creating on their own has been the most effective campaigning I've seen thus far, like the iconic Ron Paul Revolution banner:

Ron Paul Revolution banner

This astounding fund-raising achievement should compel the media to take Paul more seriously, even though he's yet to show enough polling success to be a realistic threat to win the nomination. He's raising money at a faster clip than the other Republican candidates and can carry his effort all the way to Election Day as a third-party candidate, which is where he ran in 1988 as the Libertarian nominee.


I enjoyed your column, Rogers.
Your $25 was well-spent. You may be surprised just HOW well-spent in a couple of months. :)

We are heading for a hard landing economically, people are starting to catch on, and if Paul doesn't win the nomination it won't matter that much who wins the general election. What is required is a major departure from current policy on many levels, and Paul is the only one who is willing to take the fight to Washington. Don't get me wrong, there's a slim chance for the nomination (but improving), a good chance he can beat Clinton, but if elected the fight has just begun. By then we'll be in a major recession, and things are going to be getting pretty grim. Without a President Paul, well, good luck to you.

"I like Paul, in spite of the fact that I believe in most of the government programs he'd like to see abolished."

Let's be honest here: how many programs is he really going to be able to whole-hoggedly abolish? The point is to get a man in office with the right ideas; if he shoots for the top, he's likely to shed some pork even if he hits somewhat lower.

In my view support for the present government programs for social security, heaalth, and education is naive because it tends to be based on short-sighted goodwill towards the aged, sick, and kids without inquiring into the actual effects of the programs. For example, compare social security with returns on investments from private savings, including the ability to leave savings to heirs. Compare regulated health care to freedom of contract with health providers. Compare parental versus bureaucratic control of kids. In the last case, check out what New Zealand did with their universal voucher system for public and private schools, including public schools run by trustees consisting ONLY of parents of the kids currently attending the school. Compare the achievements of home school students to public school students. Compare the costs of "no bureaucrat left behind" programs to the costs of alternatives.

The point is to get a man in office with the right ideas; if he shoots for the top, he's likely to shed some pork even if he hits somewhat lower.

"A man's vision must always exceed his grasp or else what's a heaven for?"

It's an opinion that Spud has heard more than a few times in blog-world. That RP will be a real force fer much needed change in DC and that the Congress and the Senate will prevent his more obviously crazy idears from seeing the light of day and that at the end of the day he will have accomplished more than any other Rep candidate.

"My country right or wrong, when right, to be kept right, when wrong, to be put right"

In point of fact, Spud considers RP to be half crazy.

But Spud also considers the rest of the Rep pack, each and every one, to be full on crazy.

That makes RP half sane in direct comparison.

"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is King"

In GOPherland RP is that one eyed king.

At the very last he understand the economic and political unsustainability of Cheney and Chimpy's debacle in the desert over in Iraq and the absolute ludicrousness of attempting to nuke Iran.

All that sed, the Rethugs are a party in crisis mode, the MSM alternate between ignoring RP and dismissing him, and thus the Dems will prolly win in '08.

The MSM's script at present has Rudy the Neo-Con believer and Hillary the Neo-Lib elitist as the most likely candidates.

If that happens you may as well stay home on election day.

Their differences are mostly ones of style rather than substance.

Personally, Spud would like to see Ron Paul versus Obama or Kucinich but that prolly won't happen.

Still Spud will remember the 5th of November.

The fact that the money was mostly coming through in small number donations from large numbers of voters is the most imteresting fact to this story fer Spud.

"Everything counts in large amounts"

Even people.

Be Well.

I'm for anything that shakes up the current system and rattles the cages of the front runners in either party. But Paul still worries me, for obvious reasons like his stand against most government and the claim that the income tax is simply unconstitutional.

I guess my real concern is this: would we really be better off by finally breaking feee from the current mindset if all we do is replace that, and the people who represent it, with somebody who seems to want to return to the 19th century?