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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

There's something happenin' here...

He's the stealth candidate, a failed presidential aspirant with a small but intensely loyal following who may just make the biggest mark in 2008.

While Mitt sheds some crocodile tears in an attempt to warm his image up compared to Mike Huckabee -- and Rudy sheds polling points -- Ron Paul is raking in cash. Lots of it. Some of it from not very nice people, but the overwhelming amount of it from honest people donating small amounts over the Internet to make their voice heard over the din of the front-runners.

And because money talks and you know what walks, Paul -- who has raised about the same amount Romney has taken from his sons' inheritance -- is being heard. Unlike 1988, when as the Libertarian Party presidential candidate he was barely a blip on the screen.

Campaign cash isn't necessarily proof of anything. Just ask President Phil Gramm. Nor is the ability to raise large sums on the Internet. Right Presidents Dean and Kerry?

But there is something about the way Paul has gone about doing it -- using symbolic moments like Guy Fawkes Day and the Boston Tea Party re-enactment to make his hauls. And those cash hauls will make him a factor at least until February's Super Tuesday contests.

The appeal is baffling to many. He is the only Republican to oppose the war in Iraq but his strength (financially at least) appears to be growing as the war fades as an issue. His libertarian beliefs? When was the last time a Libertarian was elected to any major office?

A quiet unassuming doctor, Paul didn't generate anywhere passion the last time around. His ideas -- abolishing the income tax, supporting private property rights, ending international trade agreements -- are standard libertarian fare.

His support of the Constitution -- in the face of the Bush administration's contempt for the document -- stands out in addition to his anti-war positions. But one person, taken from random in a Washington Post online chat that generated scores of responses, seems to sum it up well.
I dont think Rons support is a democratic or republican thing anymore. I think its about We The People. I think Ron Paul is the only candidate that is interested in restoring our country to what it was designed to be. This country wasnt supposed to be controled by big business and special interests groups. Ron Paul supporters can have a lot of differing oppinions and can still belong to the only group that stands for Truth,Liberty,& Freedom for We The People.
Paul is not going to get my vote, but he will be a factor in this race because he has tapped a long-simmering resentment in ways that Dennis Kuchinich has failed to do.

And besides, he doesn't have perfect hair.

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