A longshot emerges from the shadows

Ron Paul may be the political butterfly of the 2008 presidential campaign. An obscure congressman from Southeast Texas for most of his political career, Paul has metamorphosed into the favorite of those looking for a candidate outside the political mainstream.

Legions of die-hard fans formed across the country after Republican candidate debates and Internet blogs exposed his contrarian views.

Paul, 71, remains one of the longest of long shots for the GOP nomination, but that hasn’t deterred supporters from making cold calls to voters in early contest states, plastering the Internet with plaudits, and loudly challenging Paul’s White House rivals at campaign stops.

“I honestly believe that Congressman Ron Paul, as crazy as it might sound, I believe he is the father of the modern Republican Party,” said Jason Stoddard, 31, an Austin, Texas, entrepreneur who has no formal ties to Paul’s campaign but has made more than a thousand calls to Iowa voters urging their support.

The enthusiasm of admirers like Stoddard has boosted Paul’s national profile and helped his campaign raise $3 million over the past three months — a fraction of the double-digit millions chalked up by the top-tier candidates, but a respectable sum for an underdog.

That enthusiasm, however, hasn’t translated into widespread support in presidential polls for Paul, who was a Libertarian Party candidate for president two decades ago and is best known as a champion of small government, low taxes and minimal foreign intervention.

National opinion polls of Republican primary voters generally show his support at about 2 percent. And while he’s accumulated a cache of campaign dollars, Paul’s not spending most of it. He has spent just $650,000 this year, the third-least of all 2008 presidential candidates, according to federal campaign finance reports.

“Most of the oxygen is being taken up, especially on the Republican side, by those who look like they might have a prayer of winning in a Democratic year,” said University of Texas political scientist Bruce Buchanan.

An obstetrician-gynecologist and former Air Force flight surgeon, Paul stands out from the other Republican candidates on several scores, including his long-held opposition to the Iraq war. As a result, he might benefit from President Bush’s near-record unpopularity and the growing public discontent with the war, said Michael Tanner, a policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington.

But potential supporters may find some of the 10-term congressman’s other views more difficult to accept, including calls for a return to the gold standard and a radically smaller government with no Education Department, Energy Department or Internal Revenue Service.

Paul also is just as likely to turn off as many voters as he turns on with positions that straddle both liberal and conservative camps. He opposes the death penalty and votes against military appropriations. He also opposes abortion and gun control. He’s known on Capitol Hill as “Dr. No.”

Paul spokesman Jesse Benton acknowledged that Paul has formidable challenges to overcome before the first votes for the nomination are cast in about five months. The campaign just bought its first radio ads in Iowa and New Hampshire and has nearly tripled its staff to 25 in the past month.

“We realize the odds are still pretty long for Dr. Paul, but we think that Ron is a real legitimate player now that people are starting to pay attention,” Benton said.

As comedian Stephen Colbert put it when Paul appeared in June on his mock right-wing talk show, “You are an enigma wrapped in a riddle nestled in a sesame seed bun of mystery.”


On the Net:

Ron Paul for President: http://www.ronpaul2008.com


  1. CheckerboardStrangler

    “But potential supporters may find some of the 10-term congressman’s other views more difficult to accept, including calls for a return to the gold standard and a radically smaller government with no Education Department, Energy Department or Internal Revenue Service.”

    —Hmmm, I’ve always thought of myself as a dabbler in bullshit propaganda spin, but I must step aside and BOW TO THE MASTER!

    No Education Dept…let’s see, that would be the department responsible for “Why Johnny can’t read”

    No Energy Dept….would that be the Energy Dept that has licked Cheney’s butt for the last two terms?

    This is going to alienate me HOW??!
    ROFLMAO….Oh my God I can’t catch my breath!

  2. SEAL

    I didn’t miss any point and I have enough self discipline that I don’t have to throw my TV set away, I can determine what I want to view on it. The point is that when you vote for someone you are saying you want that person to be the president of the US. But you shouldn’t cast a vote in a presidential election for someone who has no chance of being elected. Don’t delude yourself that you are making some kind of statement. What you are doing is participating in the determination of who will be the president and should consider what effect your vote will have. Again, I point out those who elected Bush in the last election by voting for Ralph Nadar. The reality is that they did not vote for Nadar, they voted for Bush.

    I would never seek to deny any person of the right to their own ideology or the right to express it. I spent most of my life defending that right. But I would ask that people consider the reality of the effect of their actions. I would bet the farm that every one of those people who voted for Nadar would rather have Kerry for president than Bush and the same condition will be true in the next election. Unfortunately, we will given the choice of voting against the person we prefer the least. Lets try not to screw it up this time and wind up with another Nazi in the White House pulling the stings on a dimwitted delusional puppet with a forty foot nose. That is the point!

  3. bigsurjune


    You see, you and the disingenuous corporate media use words like “longest of long shots” or “alternative,” even some use “the odd man out.” These descriptions are just a clever means to his possible end. You write light-hearted, fun articles and paint the man as if he is a silly cute child trying to grab the media’s attention, or just trying to bring a bit of humor to a serious situation. How could anyone possibly rise above and be taken serious when we have reporters like you manipulating the facts and smothering the truths?

    Liz, no matter how you and the rest of the spin masters try to deceitfully dumb down Dr.Paul and his campaign, rest assure that there are a few of us Americans left who don’t subscribe to cable TV and it’s 100 channels of unreality programs, or that can more simply READ BETWEEN THE LINES!

    The thing that surprises me Liz, is that you obviously view your medium–the Internet–sub par to other mediums. In one breath you praise Dr.Paul as being the king of the Internet and then in another, more subtle way, bash this style as being inferior–are you dissatisfied with your career?

    In my humble opinion, being the king of the Internet is frankly the king of my world! I threw my TV out a long time ago because of the exact same reason that incited me to comment on this article.

    Don’t worry Liz, you’re doing a good job, you’ll be on TV soon enough with your chemically altered teeth and your disingenuous smile–keep up the good work!!!

  4. history guy

    Seal, you are missing the point. Candidates like Ron Paul offer something the dems and repubs don’t. We talk about him for many reasons. So you can vote your disgust with the system as it stands. So you can vote for CHANGE! We need radical change or we will continue to have the same demo/repubs that just today went along with Bush’s demand for wiretaps with out judicial review for 6 months.

  5. KayInMaine

    Ron Paul is so deceiving…

    …right now on the surface he looks like he’s a far cry from George Bush, but on closer examination you find that he’s a reich winger on lots of issues.

    I don’t trust him nor would I vote for a republican at this point in the game either.


  6. almandine



    Research him for yourselves. No other politician can stand up to this STATESMAN.


  7. Carl Nemo

    Excellent commentary Pablo…!

    I’m thinking that Ron Paul as many others were taken in by Ronald Reagan’s “aw shucks”…”there you go again” type delivery. Reagan had crowd appeal due to the novelty that he was an actor, former California governor etc. He had a knack of telling “we the people” what they wanted to hear; ie., “comfort food” for the mind… :))

    Reagan was asked about having a running mate that might be associated with the CFR, Trilaterals, Skull and Bones etc., and he said he would have no one that was associated with secret societies or shadowy agendas, then up popped George H.W. Bush as his running mate; ie., Mr. Skull and Bones, CFR, Trilateral, Bilderberger etc. ad nauseam ad infinitum. The shadowy MIC/NWO controllers made sure they had Mr. CIA/NWO plugged into the vice presidency. Rest assured every act of military and political adventurism this country was involved in during the Reagan era had “Poppy” Bush’s fingerprints on the plot or scheme.

    Ronzo sat back munching on jelly beans and again simply performing as a “Howdy Doody” type puppet to the masses. There’s a good possibility he had onset dementia even during his first term. His administrations managed to slap several trillion bucks of Public debt on our shoulders fighting the “evil Empire”; ie., the Soviets that were crumbling under their systemic inefficiences. The intelligence attesting to the fact was there, but they chose to ignore it no different than dubya ignoring the valid intelligence product stating that Saddam was not a threat as proposed by the Wolfowitz-Feith-Cheney rogue intelligence pipeline. The rest is history and now costing the American people 12 billion per month of more “debt-money”…!

    People need to be seriously concerned about a candidates’ running mate in these times. As mentioned H.W. Bush although a V.P. was engaged in heavy-duty behind the scenes chicanery, so was Al Gore, who imagined himself as an intelligence buff, meddling with the intelligence product, and we all know what we’ve gotten with Dick Cheney in terms of a meddling V.P.

    Paul is 71 and if the Republicans plug in some younger, “jive turkey” with ties to Skull and Bones, Tri-laterals, CFR, Bilderberg, the MIC etc., then we could end up with another nightmarish round of the “python of tyranny” constricting the last breath of life from Lady Liberty; ie., what little she has left. So the electorate has to focus with laserlike attention on the VP candidate and their track record in these times because they are only a heartbeat away from the presidency. Paul’s running mate best have the same sentiments as he with a proven track record otherwise he’s a big fat “NO” vote for the presidency.

    America is in “harms way” with this continuing paradigm.

    Carl Nemo **==

  8. JoyfulC

    Speaking of Wikipedia, there’s a pretty good write up on him on there — might be a good place to start for more info about him.

    There were some things that impressed me — specifically that he supported his kids through college, and that he worked for $3/day in an ER. I was also impressed that he was named one of the “50 Most Effective Members of Congress” by Congressional Quarterly.

    He has a lot of ideas that are very different from the average R or D politician, and while I don’t agree with all of them, some are quite refreshing. BUT if he was elected, he’d have to work with Congress — could he? Or would they cut him off at the knees?

    Also — and something to consider for whoever becomes the next president (and the next after that, and the next after that, probably) is that the US is in need of a thorough housecleaning. Many industries, corporations, special interest groups and private citizens will put up a strong resistance — how would he handle that?

    We really do need to start asking tougher questions of our candidates and holding them to them. Right now, a candidate can get by simply by telling us what we want to hear. But that’s going to get old in a hurry, I predict!


  9. graphictruth

    I’ve been supporting Ron Paul on Graphictruth.com for some time, even though I strongly disagree with some of his positions. Why?

    Because, with the liberal/progressive sweep of House and Senate seats that I anticipate, I think we need a “Dr. No” to veto the unconstitutional and guide the irresistible tide toward the restoration of a social safety net towards constitutional means.

    I believe firmly that we should have a lot less governing of our day to day lives – and a greater emphasis spent on informing our individual decisions, without bias toward whawt those decisions might be.

    I believe that if we recommit ourselves toward building a well-informed and involved electorate, actual individual self-governance can statistically replace big government. But we need mechanisms to allow that, and two things need to happen for that to occur. First, we need the regulatory hand of government to keep corporations from becoming governments themselves, and second, we need the government to restrain itself from taxing and regulating the means of the people to peaceably assemble.

    Hands off the internet, in other words.

    I support Ron Paul because he’s the least likely to invade my personal space, and on the issues where he might be tempted to do so, he’ll be countered by overwhelming force.

    Oh, btw, about the money thing. As unfastionable as it is to advocate genuine “hard” currency with intrinsic value, he’s correct about both money itself and some of the issues regarding the Federal Reserve.

    The issues that led to the foundation of the Fed in the first place – monetary panics and bank failures – were very real and must be addressed in any currency reform, but I think the discussion of a solidly-founded currency with a positive value, rather than a debt basis, is long past due.

    Operation Costs = ten bucks a month. Uniques = >200/day. Being on record as correct = Priceless.

  10. Ardie

    The only place where I disagree with Ron Paul is over the issue of abortions. Abortion began as a eugenics issue. The American Medical Association succeeded in criminalizing abortion during the late nineteenth century. In addition, there was a push to outlaw contraceptives. Again this all stemmed from the eugenics movement of that time which wanted to see white women stay home and have babies. There was a fear that the ‘white race’ was on the decline. Elements of the eugenics have carried over into the Republican Party. President T.R. Roosevelt was the standard-bearer of eugenics who was deeply concered about “race-suicide”. (An interesting read and my source is, Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom by Wendy Kline: University of California Press, 2001)

  11. SEAL

    I’m already tired of hearing about this guy. What is it that makes some people believe that any candidate with radical views is going to have any chance of being elected? It makes no difference if his views are good or bad, if they are radical, the mainstream will avoid them like the plague. That’s a fact of life. So, why bother with this.

  12. Carl Nemo

    Yo Cailleach…

    I usually don’t rain on a poster’s parade, but Ron Paul did not found the John Birch Society. Possibly he’s been a member, but surely not the founder.

    The John Birch Society was established in Indianapolis, Indiana on December 9, 1958 by a group of twelve “patriotic and public-spirited” men led by Robert Welch, Jr., a retired candy manufacturer from Belmont, Massachusetts.


    Based on what’s happened to this once great nation, I’d say John Bircher’s were spot-on concerning the threats to this once great republic. It seems that the “bad guys” have won and “we the people” have been left holding the public “debt-bag”…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  13. SEAL

    Carl Nemo says:
    Rest assured every act of military and political adventurism this country was involved in during the Reagan era had “Poppy” Bush’s fingerprints on the plot or scheme.

    I can’t elaborate, but I was there and you have no Idea how true your statement is. The parallel between Reagan/Bush and Bush/Cheney is almost identical other than the fact of less subtrafuge in the latter.

  14. Ardie

    Ron Paul is far, far away from the neoconservative agenda laid down by Irving Kristol. (Kristol was a Trotskyist in his youth admitting later on that he had no bad memories about being one.) In many ways, Ron Paul’s views are Jeffersonian. Right now we need a Jefferson.

  15. Pablo

    As to how I define the words “anti-foreign intervention (unless necessary),” in my post: This does not mean rescuing corporations. It means when the people of some other country are being invaded by and agressor and it is obvious that the problem is going to grow like a cancer if not stopped. WW II is a case in point. Surely some things could have been done to prevent that from ever happening, but once it was happening, I think we had a moral obligation to help Europe. I hate war and think 95% of it is unnecessary but I hate to admit that sometimes it is absolutely necessary. I think the two candidates I support, and it appears Ron Paul, would share that philosophy.

  16. Cailleach

    Ron Paul for president? The founder of the John Birch Society? I don’t think so. Smaller government? At last count there were some 700+ bridges out there like the one on Interstate 35 waiting to collapse. On interstates! Causing huge disruptions in interstate commerce. Doesn’t want to pay taxes? What are the corporations going to do without infrastructure? Oh, let the poor schlub middle and lower class taxpayers do it.Think twice before you’re taken in again by neocon nonsense.