While our useless professional pundits of the elite media endlessly pontificate on which Republican front-runner smells more like their Daddy, Ron Paul is quietly taking over the netroots with a simple message that is winning the hearts and minds of the people.
"I'm for the individual," Paul said. "I'm not for the government."
He's also the only candidate who has a clear and unwavering record opposing the excesses and excuses of the Bush administration.
If he had his way, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Education, among other agencies, would not exist. In his view, the USA Patriot Act, which allows the government to search personal data, including private Internet use, is unconstitutional, and trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement are a threat to American independence.
And of course, he's the only candidate that has been solidly against the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq from day one. For all the pronouncements of doom issued by our "serious pundits" of the talking head press over his correct assessment of why the terrorists hate us, his honesty appears to have inspired his supporters and added to their ranks. Furthermore, although it's never mentioned, Paul has long been a darling of the drug policy reform movement for his strong and principled support for ending another failed conflict - the war on some drugs.
He may only have a $100,000 or so in his war chest, but he has a veritable army of supporters diligently working for free to spread the word. His grass roots make every other candidate's look like astroturf. Yet he's regularly painted in the media as a loser and even his supporters don't really believe he can win the race, so why are they flooding the intertubes with his message? One young man, who has donated $100 to the campaign, sums it up.
"For a poor college student, that's a lot," said Porter, a lifelong Republican. "But I'm not supporting him because I think he could get the nomination. I'm supporting him because I think he can influence the national conversation about what the role of government is, how much power should government have over our lives, how much liberty should we give up for security. These are important issues, and frankly, no one's thinking about them as seriously and sincerely as Ron Paul."
Whatever Paul isn't, he certainly is serious and sincere and it's not surprising that this resonates so strongly with Americans who are sick and tired of being innundated with focus-group driven sloganery, written by over-paid consultants whose main concern is protecting their next paycheck and duly delivered by slick politicians whose only concern is their next re-election campaign. Frankly, when I first heard he was running I considered backing him myself, based just on his drug war stance.
Since exploring his other positions, I've held back my endorsement because even with all his positives, he wants to shrink the government too far, which besides shredding the social safety net, would lead to further empowering corporate influence over our private lives. What I'm looking for is a progressive small L libertarian. But to tell the truth, if the tsunami of public discontent that I'm expecting in 08 unexpectedly sweeps him into office, I think we could we do much worse.