“Ron Paul Revolution” is gaining head of steam
By Beth Cody, Writers’ Group member
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Wednesday, August 8, 2007

“The most radical Congressman in America”, “the Founding Fathers’ ideal of the citizen-statesman”, “one of the most principled and courageous men I have ever known”, “Congress’s premier defender of the Constitution”, “maverick politician”. Americans at last have a chance to vote for real change, and the excitement is growing.

For those who seek an end to business-as-usual cronyism politics, for those who want our troops brought home immediately, for those who find it harder to “make ends meet” every year; finally, an alternative Presidential candidate who appeals to Democrats and Republicans alike: Ron Paul.

Ron Paul, a ten-term Congressman from Texas, has a long voting record that shows his commitment to civil liberties, privacy and property rights. He shuns “earmarking” and big-business corporate welfare in favor of low taxes for America’s workers. And he has voted against nearly every intrusive bill proposed by Congress: internet regulation, the national ID, the War on Drugs, the Patriot Act and the Iraq War (the only Republican who voted to oppose it).

He hardly sounds like a Republican. He clearly stands out from the pack of “neo-con”, big-government-big-business Republican candidates. Instead, he calls for a return to ideas once championed by both parties: small government, staying out of other countries’ affairs, and letting Americans live their lives as they see fit.

And his message is gaining traction, to the surprise of many political analysts. While most voters still have never heard of him, there is a sizeable internet-based grassroots movement to spread both his message and his name.

His website, www.ronpaul2008.com, draws more traffic than any other presidential candidate’s website. At Meetup.com, he has the largest political group: nearly 30,000 people belong to 650 local Ron Paul Meetup groups, including an Iowa City group with about 70 members. (Barack Obama, the second-most-popular candidate, has 5,500 members.)

And he is third in fundraising among Republican candidates, after Giuliani and Romney, with $2.5 million on hand. (Admittedly, he has a fraction of the money each of those two has, although he is in better shape than McCain.)

What’s going on? How can so many people be so excited about a Republican candidate, especially one ignored by Big Media? And how can a candidate who doesn’t promise favors to corporations in return for fat checks raise millions of dollars?

Because he is the first candidate in a long time to offer a truly alternative message: Freedom.

And Ron Paul’s excited followers are exactly what the soon-to-implode Republican Party needs right now. Years of disappointments have driven former moderate Republicans to seek solace in the Democratic or third parties: out-of-control spending (for wars as well as entitlements), restricted civil liberties, foreign meddling and corruption scandals.

In light of this dismal record and America’s disillusionment with the War, Ron Paul might be the only Republican candidate who could win the general election.

Some readers will scoff that as an “also-ran” and an outsider, Ron Paul hasn’t the slightest chance of being nominated by the Republican Party. Why should people waste their time, money and hopes on a long-shot?

Because it sends a message to both parties: that limiting government intrusiveness does matter to a substantial number of Americans. In elections that are won or lost by only a few percentage points, these voters can determine the outcome. And you never know – long-shots have won before.

If you want to find out more about an alternative candidate who wants to bring our troops home immediately and isn’t afraid to say it, visit Ron Paul’s website or simply do an internet search of his name (his name has been #1 or #2 in search-term rankings since May).

Better still, get in on the excitement and head to the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames this Saturday to see him in person. Your Straw Poll vote can influence the national race, because if he wins (it’s more than possible), the increased media attention will help him raise enough money to compete with the big guys. Any Iowa resident over 18 years old can vote and there are some free tickets for students – the Iowa City Meetup group has more information.

This is an exciting time to join the “Ron Paul Revolution”.