Sunday, July 22, 2007

Running with Ron Paul

By Libby Spencer

It's not an entirely flattering piece, in fact it's pretty damn snarky but it's a testament to Ron Paul that the NYT is profiling him in today's paper. Considering he was written off from the beginning as a fringe kook who didn't have a prayer, he's now garnered enough attention that he can't just be ignored.

This is the power of the internets in today's politics. Without his YouTube popularity or his web dominance, this piece would never have been written and Paul would have remained an obscure voice. Granted, it stills seems impossible that he'll ever get the nomination since the GOP seems to have embraced Fred Thompson as their grandfather figure. However, Ron Paul has a good reason to keep fighting.

“Politicians don’t amount to much,” he says, “but ideas do.” Although he is still in the low single digits in polls, he says he has raised $2.4 million in the second quarter, enough to broaden the four-state campaign he originally planned into a national one.

Paul's biggest problem, as the piece points out, is that his base is so incredibly diverse. Much will probably be made about the kooks crack in the article, but there's no denying that some of his base comes from the far reaches of the left and the right, as well as moderates who are sick of nanny governing. Whether he can somehow weave all these groups into a coherent campaign machine remains to be seen, but it seems certain he'll be able to retain their respect. As one of his key aides remarks:

“So many times, people say to us, ‘We don’t like his vote.’ But they trust his heart.”

For myself, I love his position on the drug war. He is a long time champion of sensible drug policy but I hate too many of his other stances on the government's role in society to support him as a president. Nonetheless, I think he's a rare bird -- a principled politician -- and I hope he keeps his seat in the Congress. We need more like him inside the beltway.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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