Ron Paul’s Big Take

The big political news is that Ron Paul managed to rake in $4 million in 24 hours yesterday. 40,000 people donated an average of $98 each to bring in that money. What was impressive about the take is that Paul spend so little to get it—usually it costs a lot of money to get more money in a Presidential campaign.

However, in due fashion, Power Line throws some cold water on the whole thing:

The candidate understands his campaign very well — it’s an anti-war candidacy and little else. Notice how during debates, he routinely turns questions about domestic policy — normally meat and drink for a libertarian — back to Iraq

The only other seriously distinguishing feature of the campaign is that it’s nutty. Being anti-war is respectable, but Paul’s opposition to the war is founded on conspiracy theories, over-the-top isolationism, and an unhealthy dose of hostility to Israel. Paul’s opposition to big government is not a distinguishing feature. There are plenty of other Republican candidates this cycle who embrace small government conservatism. Again, the only only distinguishing feature of Paul’s small government platform is its nuttiness — the gold standard, the Federal Reserve conspiracy stuff, etc.

I’ll put it more simply: Ron Paul is the Republican’s Lyndon LaRouche. He represents a radical fringe, if a highly motivated one. He is not a serious candidate. If anyone honestly think that a kook like Ron Paul has a chance against any of the Democratic candidates other than Kucinich or Gravel, they’ve got a screw loose.

Yes, 40,000 people gave him a lot of money. That doesn’t mean that he’s got a shot in hell of winning, and that doesn’t make him any less of a kook.

Ron Paul’s support is primarily coming from a radical fringe. The GOP doesn’t need to embrace this fringe because elections aren’t won by courting radicals. They’re won by capturing the center. The more the real Ron Paul speaks out, the crazier he looks. What little sense he speaks on issues like small government are far outweighed by his crazy and conspiratorial nonsense.

Good for Ron Paul for getting a big take. He’s proven P.T. Barnum correct: there’s a sucker born every minute, and he managed to get 40,000 people to shell out to demonstrate it.

UPDATE: David Freddoso shows a scenario that has Ron Paul getting major traction in New Hampshire. Is such a thing possible? Certainly. Is it likely? Not very.

I don’t think Ron Paul can attract more than 10% support. He’s a niche candidate playing to a niche audience. What attraction does he have to the mainstream of the Republican Party? He’s rabidly anti-war. He’s an economic protectionist. He attracts the kind of “too-cool-for-school” Daily Show-watching college kids that are anathema to Middle America (which is why Howard Dean never got much real traction even before the “I Have A Scream” debacle). He has very strong support within his movement, but being the king of the fringe doesn’t put you in a position to win.

3 thoughts on “Ron Paul’s Big Take

  1. Just a comment here from New Hampshire. The two signs I seem most while driving around are Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul in that order. All other candidates sign count is currently FAR below those two. I think those fringe candidates will have a good showing here, but who knows how much that will spread in following primaries.

  2. If Ron Paul got 10% of the vote, it would ruin the GOP candidate, installing Hillary into the White House with a 2-1 Electoral College landslide and quite possibly painting Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina a Hillary shade of blue. The Lyndon LaRouche analogy may be fitting, but if LaRouche ran with even a hint of the mainstream momentum that a 2008 Ron Paul candidacy would likely provoke, LaRouche would almost certainly prove to be a spoiler for the Democratic nominee as well.

    And far from the kind of scary lunatic you project him to be, Paul’s grandfatherly demeanor is quite endearing. Even though I disagreed with the majority of his message, it was hard not to like the guy. The more people see of Ron Paul…the MORE they will like him….at least until one of the major-party candidates take him seriously enough to run attack ads against him highlighting his more outrageous policy positions. But if Romney/Giuliani/Thompson and his sycophants are forced to finance ads attacking Ron Paul AND Hillary Clinton next fall, they got a big problem on their hands.

  3. The comparison with Lyndon LaRouche is silly. At minimum you should note that Lyndon LaRouche has never been elected to anything. You might check out Wikipedia for more on Lyndon LaRouche. I think it is obvious the two are in no way similar.

    “Paul’s opposition to big government is not a distinguishing feature.”

    Paul actually voted against an amazing number of government programs. None of the other candidates can claim as much. Have any come out against the Bush ethanol schemes.

    “Paul’s opposition to the war is founded on conspiracy theories, over-the-top isolationism, and an unhealthy dose of hostility to Israel.”

    You should be more specific. I personally think you are exaggerating, or just imagining things. BTW, what is a healthy dose of hostility to Israel? Ron Paul is not hostile to Israel. The war in Iraq is likely going to be a disaster for Israel. Israel’s defeat in Lebanon II is probably just the start of the problems for Israel caused by the Iraq war.

    As far as Paul bringing Iraq up over and over. You are right it is his primary issue. He would not be running or attracting money were it not for the war in Iraq. The war in Iraq is a domestic issue as it will prevent the US government from spending on many domestic issues. The war in Iraq may also cause the loss of Afghanistan, not to mention Sudan, Somalia, Kosovo, and others.

    A better criticism is that Ron Paul has never been a governor or even a mayor. I suspect that the correct comparison is with Barry Goldwater who took the republican party in a new direction, but also lost.