Tuesday, November 6, 2007

rockin the establishment

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer /1 hour, 17 minutes ago/

WASHINGTON - Ron Paul's head-snapping fundraising puts a new face on a
campaign that the media, politicians and much of the public had
relegated to the sidelines.

The Texas congressman is now the presidential candidate tugging at the
establishment's coat.

Any time someone upsets the status quo of government is a good thing

Funneled almost entirely through the Internet, Paul's one-day loot
totaled $4.2 million from about 37,000 donors, considered the largest
sum ever collected online in a single day by a GOP candidate.

No other candidate could raise this type of $$$ from individual private donors, it shows the complete disconnect of the party to the populace.

Paul is indeed an online force who attracts support from people who do
not fit easily into the standard Democratic and Republican political
pigeonholes. His fame, as much as it is, stems from the political
shorthand that has defined his candidacy: The only Republican opposed to
the war in Iraq.

His stances on limited government are what make him so popular and his Constitutional voting record as well. The war is a small minority of his supprt.

But Paul leans libertarian in his ideology and cites the Constitution as
his guide. He opposes law enforcement or anti-terrorism measures that he
believes encroach on civil liberties. His views on small government
extend to weakening if not eliminating the Education Department. He
favors limiting immigration and strengthening border security.

His oppositions are founded in the Constitution and the D.o.E. is QUITE unconstitutional.

In that sense, he appeals to voters who may be happy mixing and matching
their political views.

It is quite hard to pigeonhole many libertarians, constitutionalist, and independants unless you discuss the wording of the constitution vs the "implied" meaning of the document.

To other Republicans, Paul represents an enigma. Does his support
suggest a potential base of support that could surprise them two months
from now on caucus day in Iowa or primary day in New Hampshire? Or does
the money he is collecting from this below-the-radar base buy him
support among more traditional, mainstream voters?

New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen said Paul has the
potential to upend the early primaries with a third or fourth-place
finish in the state, above some of the candidates who are expected to be
among the top contenders.

These would be the candidates that the mainstream media outlets have chosen as the leaders because we are apparently to stupid to figure out who the best candidate is.

"He's got potential because there is a segment of the Republican
electorate that is opposed to the war and is maybe
anti-internationalist," Cullen said. "The Pat Buchanan wing of the
party, if you will."

Finally many in the republican party has woken up to find government lite is no different then government heavy, so to speak.

Pat Buchanan used an isolationist message and opposition to
international trade deals to win the 1996 Republican presidential
primary in New Hampshire.

"He has that segment of the electorate all to himself," Cullen said.

Mr. Paul isn't an isolationalist but lets make sure we don't let facts get in the way of a good story

Cullen said Paul does not appear to be pulling support away from any of
the leading Republican candidates, and that his backing is coming from
new or disaffected voters. It's an assessment that the Paul campaign
does not dispute.

The establishment is quite scared that never registered before voters could swing this election to the underdog.

"My hunch would be that a lot of the new donors who are coming in are
people who have not been involved in politics," said Jonathan Bydlak,
Paul's fundraising director.

A check of Paul's Internet support shows a vast array of fans.
Libertarian sites sing his praises, as do anti-war veterans and voters
angry at the Internal Revenue Service and at what they perceive is
government intrusion.

He also attracts support in some fringe, anti-Semitic or white
supremacist Web sites, even though Paul himself strongly rejects those

"He has this very small but very enthusiastic group of supporters," said
Republican strategist David Winston, who has studied the political use
of new media. "It gives him the resources, but his problem is what's the
message that grows his support? That he has been unable to solve."

Paul, who raised a stunning $5.2 million in the third quarter of the
year, is devoting a significant amount of resources to New Hampshire. He
is running a $1.1 million television advertising campaign and his lawn
signs are common. He recently sent out a 12-page piece of mail
throughout the state as well.

He plans to be in the state on Wednesday and again on Friday. He stops
include visits to The Telegraph, the newspaper in Nashua, and a taping
with the state's dominant television station WMUR-TV in Manchester. He
has eight paid staffers in the state.

Members of the libertarian Free State Project, which adopted New
Hampshire in 2003, were Paul's initial toehold in the first-primary
state, whose motto is "Live Free or Die." But spokeswoman Kate Rick said
that base has grown.

"There's a lot of irritated social conservatives and traditional
conservatives," she said. "I think we're also drawing support from
independents in the state whose issues may be everything from anti-war
to anti-tax or disliking things like No Child Left Behind or how Social
Security or Medicaid is being run."

The challenge for Paul is to overcome the riddle posed by Winston:

"Money is a resource, not an outcome."


Associated Press Writer Beverley Wang in Concord, N.H., contributed to
this report.


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