Now that the post debate hubbub over Ron Paul’s, to many observers, shocking online polling success is slowly subsiding, and Texas Congressman Ron Paul has knocked the “most-searched-keyword” crown off even the head of sleaze-queen Paris Hilton, the Paul camp is searching for the best strategy for winning the primary elections.
Should they try to woo entrenched GOP primaries voters who are most likely leaning toward voting for the establishment candidates? Or should they pursue “voting virgins”, like most college campus populations who have traditionally voted their disgust with politics-as-usual by staying in the dorm on election night?
The choice appears to be a difficult one. Entrenched GOP voters are traditionally the only ones who even bother voting in primaries. That can pose a significant hurdle to Ron Paul Republicans, who are literally fighting the establishment in their quest to have the former GOP maverick-turned-polling-star nominated. They are well aware that their favorite seriously "grates and crunches" in the, otherwise, well-oiled GOP party machinery, and party nobles are not too pleased with that fact.
But will the GOP bluebloods realize that simply serving their base the same ideological "same old, same old" is, likely, going to produce the same old, decidedly dismal election results as those achieved in the last congressional cycle? And can a fresh face like that of smooth-talking, GQ-Man Mitt Romney really energize a tired and disgusted base that has already turned in its vote of no confidence to what he represents--by simply staying home in 2006?
There is a palpable sense of betrayal among old-school conservatives, who are feeling sold out over and over again. (Note that the term "old-school conservative" here has nothing to do with age, only with political orientation.) They are no longer swayed by nice-sounding “smaller government” campaign pledges. They have seen too many of those followed up by unprecedented expansions of government spending, future tax burdens, and never-ending, never-winning, foreign military interventions. Even their all-time favorite president, Ronald Reagan, has betrayed them in the government-spending department. On the other hand, the nation’s college campus populations, though usually well-informed, are mostly left-leaning in character. They like Ron Paul because he voted against the undeclared war in Iraq, just like their favorite, Dennis Kucinich. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into primary votes for a GOP candidate. College kids are also a bit scared of Ron Paul’s open advocacy for ending both the IRS and the income tax. With Ron in the White House, who is going to fund their favorite entitlement programs?
A third alternative (maybe it should be more properly labeled a non-alternative) is suggesting itself: What’s the harm in equally going after both populations--those who sleep in dorm rooms and those who sleep in front of their Fox News-tuned television sets? Besides: who really knows how many of the younger population lean left only because the right’s establishment appears to be reduced to big-corporate mouthpieces?
After all, in keeping with the well-known and widely-appreciated character of the man they are promoting, Ron Paul Republicans do have a secret weapon of sorts that no other candidate on either side of the isle can wield with any similar degree of credibility: An undying devotion to (and proven track record of} speaking the truth and voting on principle--and doing nothing else.