The Washington Post today had Ron Paul in the spotlight. After raising 5.1 million dollars, 70% from online donations, Ron Paul is making big-time waves in the GOP. This is particularly noteworthy as the Mainstream Media gave the Representative from Texas hardly any media “play”. This has truly been a grassroots success story that still has a long way to go before we find out what the ending will be.
Ron Paul seems to have struck a nerve in the vast blogosphere where he has gotten two thirds of his contributions from. His strict constitutionalist stand, after the savagery that the Bush Administration subjected the Constitution to, seems to have endeared him to Independents, Republicans and even Democrats that yearn for someone that can restore the basis of our representative republic. The civil liberties and the rights that the American people have allowed this administration to remove, law by law, are seen by many Americans as an attack on the Constitution that Bush has called a “quaint piece of paper”. Apparently most Americans want that piece of paper restored to its proper place… as the law of the land.
What makes Ron Paul’s campaign so important to America besides the platform that he is running on is that this campaign clearly shows the world the power of the internet. Paul, formerly dubbed a “tier three candidate” by the media, has risen to the status of a contender without the media glitz that surrounds the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Rudy Guiliani, Fred Thompson and others. The spotlight has been, for the GOP anyway, on Guiliani and Thompson, while the Paul camp has steadily received contributions and support from the internet. This clearly shows that the Mainstream Media, while still an important force in American politics, is not the only venue that candidates can use effectively. This development should be used as a wake-up call to the MSM to do their jobs and not only cover their “favorites” lest they end up with egg on their face…again.
While Ron Paul’s stance on the war and the Constitution are certainly appealing after two terms with “The Unitary Executive”, many liberals won’t be pleased to learn that some of his views don’t really meld with many liberal/progressive views. He is pro-life, and being a strict constitutionalist, he is against many social programs such as universal health care and many educational programs run by the federal government. Paul believes in a smaller, less powerful federal government and is a proponent of states rights. In a perfect society this would work, but in a very broad sense, many individual states have at times neglected to provide for the social programs that many segments of their populations need. One of the best examples of this was the social programs of the 60’s when the federal government had to intervene to force the end of segregation.
This is not to say that Ron Paul’s views on the role of the federal government and relegating power back to the states on such things as education and health care wouldn’t or couldn’t work. The only way that they would work is if citizens of took an active role in making sure the individual states did fill the gap that would be left if federal programs were discontinued. The desire to trim the federal budget and limit the power that it now wields in desirable, as long as people understand that the state taxes will rise in proportion to the cuts the federal government makes. Of course the President can’t cut federal programs alone; it must be done with the consent of Congress. Still, a Paul victory would probably bring in a Republican majority in Congress. I bring this up only to illustrate what a Paul presidency might look like. I don’t in any way suggest that this in itself should influence anyone from supporting Rep. Paul in his bid for the Presidency; as far as I’m concerned he may be exactly what the country needs.
Unless Dennis Kucinich or Mike Gravel can garner the same kind of support that Paul has managed to gather, it looks as if the race could end up in Paul facing Clinton in ’08. If this were to be the case, unless something happens between now and then, Paul could very well get my vote.