An Open Letter To Ron Paul Supporters

In more than one post here, I’ve expressed the opinion, which I continue to believe, that Ron Paul does not have a realistic chance of winning the Republican Presidential nomination. At the same time, I have also said, on equally numerous occasions, that if Congressman Paul manages to make it to the Virginia primary in February 2008, I will vote for him and encourage anyone I can to do the same.

I say that because I believe that he is the only candidate who comes anywhere close to supporting the ideas I believe in. Unfortunately, I know that the vote I would cast for him would be symbolic, but meaningless.

To some people, that might not make sense, and you might even accuse me of being hypocritical, but that’s only because my expectations of what Ron Paul can accomplish for the Republican Party specifically, and the political process in general, have nothing to with whether or not he’s actually elected President.

And the first step in that process involves a reality check.

For a moment, let’s teleport ourselves to Election Night 2008. Forget about the GOP nomination process, and forget about the debates. Let’s just say that Ron Paul has just been elected President of the United States.

Then what ?

Yes, the President has alot of power. But, for the kind of changes that Congressman Paul talks about implementing, and the changes that most people who favor liberty would like to see, mere control of the Executive Branch is meaningless.

Outside of affecting American policy in Iraq, most of what Ron Paul believes in could not be implemented without a solid majority in Congress that favored it. And that, quite honestly, doesn’t exist right now and isn’t going to exist without some work and it certainly won’t happen without electing to Congress people who support the ideas that Congressman Paul talks about on the campaign trail.

Does that mean that supporting Ron Paul’s campaign is pointless ? No, I don’t think so.

I support his campaign because I hope that it will bring back into the Republican Party (which, quite frankly, is the only realistic hope for individual liberty at this point) the kind of libertarian-oriented ideas that influenced Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. Neither of them were perfect libertarians, but they were certainly better than what passes for a Republican, or Democrat, today.

So, my suggestion to Ron Paul’s supporters is this. Don’t concentrate just on who’s running for President. Go out and find candidates for the House and Senate who believe in individual liberty. Otherwise, the entire effort will have been pointless.

  • disinter

    The only reason I clicked on the ridiculous post was to see if anyone cared what you thought… and it doesn’t appear that they do.

  • tarran

    You know disinter, it’s guys like you who give Ron Paul supporters a bad name.

    Doug’s analysis is spot on.

  • Doug

    His chances of winning are a lot better than people realize — voter turnout in the primaries is usually around 20%, and it’s an 11-man race right now. He could win the nomination while never topping 10% in the polls, if his supporters are more motivated — which it appears they are.

    And Ron Paul in the White House would be HUGE. He could veto everything the big-government types send his way. A Ron Paul victory would also serve as fair warning to the politicians in Congress that it’s time to change their ways, or they won’t be in Congress much longer.

  • Cameron

    Ron Paul can win. If you go back and study the history of Presidential elections, you will see that it is still too early to predict who the nominees will be.

    Jimmy Carter polled at 1% and 2% in every poll taken during 1975. No one knew who he was. Before the Iowa Caucus in early 1976, he received a paltry 4% of Democrats in Iowa.

    No one; not you, not George Snuffaluffagus, not Rush Limbaugh; no one can say right now with absolute certainty who President #44 will be. Ron Paul has a very real chance.

  • http://na Flo

    If all he could accomplish in the Whitehouse was to dismantle the Executive Orders that have been written against the people, that in it’s self would be worth the tour

  • Buckwheat

    Doug, what % chance do you think RP has of winning the nomination? Intrade says about 3% right now. Why is that not a “realistic” chance? What if it’s 5% in a couple of weeks?

    It’s not up to the media to pre-screen candidates for us. That’s what a campaign is for.

  • Willem De Wit

    “Don’t concentrate just on who’s running for President.”

    I think that’s an excellent suggestion. I believe that even Ron Paul would agree that he represents us, not the other way around. Liberty is our cause. Ron Paul is one of the tools to get us there.

    (For those interested in attacking the messenger instead of the message, go ahead and focus on the word “tools”. Might I suggest “Yeah, he’s a tool alright.”)

  • Stephen

    I agree with you Doug! The politicans in Washington will have to change or they will be removed by the people!..The veto power of the president is also an important factor as you stated! So, will we be better off with Ron Paul as president??? YOU BET!!!!

  • Paul

    Gambling 911 gives Ron Paul odds of 1 in 15 of winning. Not bad when you consider how many candidates there are, and how little quality coverage he gets.

  • Reality

    Hey, I try to be a realist. I enjoy disinter’s blog, but, c’mon, why leave a snarky comment like that? We can’t just hope that he wins. And, of course, there is a point to him becoming, essentially, only a dam against Congress. Still, his presence in this race is important. It will take a while to figure out whether Republicans miss Reagan and Goldwater at all. I’m somewhat hopeful. I mean, F. Thompson is being paraded around as the new Gipper. Boy, will they be disappointed when news like this begins to spread:
    Maybe after all the hype surrounding Thompson falls and Giuliani is exposed for the authoritarian he is Ron Paul could make a huge gain. Long shot obviously, but Dark Horses have won before.

  • Kurtis Bottke

    While being president would be an excellent forum to educate the masses and dismantle or veto some things. It’s true also that we must elect liberty minded individuals to Congress and state and local offices. We need to only vote for Republican Liberty Caucus endorsed candidates or libertarian candidates for these other offices. No other candidates should be worthy of our vote or consideration. Lets make this a real revolution.

  • ryan rabalais

    We must be wary of election fraud…ESPECIALLY in this election.

  • Justin

    “Unfortunately, I know that the vote I would cast for him would be symbolic, but meaningless.” How do you “know” this Mr. Mataconis??? You ought to be more optimistic, we have a special and uniquely American idea happening.

  • Kyle Sanders from Salem Oregon

    To Doug Mataconis~

    You must not be living the life you want to live. Something in your past has stolen your hope and when you want to believe in something, you feel compelled to backpedal, denying yourself of your dream and embracing the opposite to avoid the agony of defeat or the fear of rejection.

    Do yourself and everyone else a favor: heal yourself of your ‘so-called’ reality checks. They aren’t healthy for anyone.

    This ‘Open Letter to Ron Paul Supporters’ is exactly the opposite of what we need. If you want to win, you have to believe you are going to win.

    The man who says it cannot be done, should not interrupt the man doing it.

  • James

    Yes, the goverment will fight tooth and nail to resist Ron’s changes. But once we have him in office, my hope is that it will motivate the citizens. They will see that we CAN exert influence, something too many have forgotten. Dr. Ron Paul will be able to lay the groundwork, something which the rest of us will continue. This election is the first and cruicial step to putting the republic back into the hands of the people.

    After his terms are completed, the landscape of American politics will be changed. Politicans will know that liers and powermongers need not apply. With stronger state goverments, it will be much easier for local electorates to keep an eye on coruption. Using their vote to put in more honest public servants.

    And just maybe people will get rid of this terriable ideal that voting outside of the main canidates is a wasted vote. That concept does not belong in a democracy, and is directly responsible for too many corrupt officals hanging onto offices they should have been voted out of long ago.

  • Jennifer

    The most meaningless thing you have said is “Unfortunately, I know that the vote I would cast for him would be symbolic, but meaningless.” Nothing could be further from the truth. How will you EVER get what you want unless you vote for it? How will ANY politician learn that the people seek liberty unless the people let them know with the only currency a politician believes in: a vote. I quote a great man here: “We can’t guarantee any outcome – but if we don’t start now to do everything we can, we will just have to start from scratch next time.” Harry Browne

    The only wasted vote is a vote for a larger government that you do not want. Implying that people will waste a vote is a great way to LOSE votes for Dr. Paul. Don’t do that. Be responsible. If not to your readers, then to yourself. You obviously want him to win. So, help him do it. Give his supporters encouragement. Give yourself encouragement. How about printing articles that say Ron Paul is running away with the polls on the Internet? Or Ron Paul is gaining supporters so quickly he has received 400% more donations in the second quarter than the first? There is plenty of good to say. You know the sheep will save that precious vote if they think they are wasting it. Teach people what a vote means.

    Teach people to be responsible to themselves when they vote. Teach people that a vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil.

    Use your site for good. Did Patrick Henry say “give me liberty only if I have a snowball’s chance of getting it, and if not, well, never mind?” No of course not. Develop some guts man!

  • Dan

    Paul’s major impediment remains the media’s lack of willingness to fairly cover him.

  • Bob

    Latest Gallop poll has Ron Paul at 0%, Rommney has 10 times the money he has, RP’s name recognition is way less than 50%, but yet people continue to say he’s going to win. Its great to fight for a lost cause but never forget that’s what you’re doing. I’ve made donations to the Paul campaign and I’ll vote for him on primary day but I know he isn’t going to win. Hopefully, the up coming Ames Straw Poll will be a reality check for many of you. Losing hurts a lot less if you’re realistic about your chances.

  • Gaz

    This hardly qualifies as “Open Letter” material. Nothing very interesting or noteworthy in the article, and the only real thing you said was to go out and elect congressmen and senators who beleive in liberty – amen to that.

    I dislike the negative attitude of the “letter”. What you should realize is that there is magic and power in being bold and doing what others think is impossible because of their limited vision. I think you and a lot of other people will be suprised by what Ron Paul achives, even what he has already acheived.

  • Steve Brown

    If all of us bloggers would spend as much time taking Doug Mataconis’advice, actually and agressively petitioning and electing the body of government in which we ‘claim’ we want to represent us, as we do dabbling in these blogs, among many other trivial time wasters, then Doug Mataconis would be dead on, and Ron Paul (we) could win.

    The time has come where optimism and reality must meet. Every great victory in history came with great battles where the odds were stacked against the victor. The victor succeeded because of his ability to instill a vision with his team, his army, but more importantly because his army of supporters would bleed and die for the cause. If we are not willing to do that, let alone become ‘politically involved’ as Doug Mataconis suggests, then we are all hypocrites.

    If we are passive today, we will regret tomorrow. Mark my words.

  • Jered Talbot

    One of the comments I’ve heard a lot is that Ron Paul would be an ineffective President because he wouldn’t be able to push his agenda through Congress. I disagree, I think he could be one of the most powerful Presidents of all time by sticking to his principles.

    If he vetoed every bill that didn’t pass his Constitutional and Balanced Budget test… that would force the Democrats & Republicans to work together to forge a path that could survive a 2/3rds override, or submit ONLY balanced budgets and bills that didn’t violate the Constitution. All the while Ron Paul would have four years to educate the populace on the importance of the Constitution and admonish those who submit bills that try to curtail our freedoms.

    I can’t think of a better way any President has ever spent their time in office. That’s the minimum we can look forward to if Ron Paul is elected President.

  • FreedomDemocrat

    Doug, let me know when you find those great House and Senate candidates, of either major political party. I’m not seeing it.

  • Bob

    I’ll take a well financed political organization over “magic” every time.

    Exactly right, I’d love to see their faces the 1st time President Paul made a nomination to the Supreme Court!

  • john

    obviously you are a moron who has no desire to learn about or study in any detail the issues we are facing as a country or research any part of Ron Pauls message.. so why should we care what you think? this isnt a beauty contest its our country’s future and you treat it like its an episode of american idol.. open a book and do some research and turn off your TV you dumned down hypnotized piece of sheep!!

  • Bob

    There’s a difference between (1) being a Ron Paul supporter, working for his election, donating to his campaign and (2) being idiotic enough to blindly believe he’s going to win.

  • js290

    There’s a difference between (1) being a Ron Paul supporter, working for his election, donating to his campaign and (2) being idiotic enough to blindly believe he’s going to win.

    But those supporters wouldn’t be doing the former if they didn’t believe in the latter…

  • Dennis

    I really hate comments like this because it makes it look like the american public is helpless. We need to question everything, that’s the only way we’re going to get to the truth and that’s exactly what’s happening so I believe that Ron Paul has an excellent chance becoming our next president. Look at what RP has been saying (and doing) throughout his political life and look at what some of the other candidates on both sides are starting to say, they’re basically using his material. Ron Paul 2008

  • Dennis

    p.s. It won’t work for any of those other candidates because they don’t have the record to back it up.

  • Bob

    Not true, I don’t believe in the latter but I do the former. You can read a poll, realize your candidate is going to lose and still support him passionately.
    Dr. Paul is out there putting himself on the line, he’s interrupted his life to do what’s right. I’m sure he’d rather be home with his family taking care of his tomatoes but instead he’s fighting for our cause. In his heart he knows he’s a long shot at best but that doesn’t stop him. I can’t turn my back on him. I’ll continue to do my best to get him elected even though I know he won’t win.

  • Amy

    Doug interesting article in the Washington Times– ibertarian party increased 18% since January 07, both rep and dems lost ‘membership’. 32.9 % do “not align themselves with the rep or dems…

    Or how how about this ace in the hole–from Micahael Badnarik 2004 libertatian nominee

    “You cannot do it yourself,” he said. “You have to have wide, wide grassroots support.”

    Badnarik also urged the Libertarian Party to nominate Ron Paul as well. “I hope the Libertarian Party is smart enough to say, ‘Oh ho, somebody we can trust!’ and nominate Ron Paul as our nominee,” he said. “We should set the Republican, Democrat, Libertarian labels aside, and vote for Ron Paul the person.”

    So even if he doesn’t get the republican nomination then he has the libertarian nomination.., which should takes place 5/23/2008

    Here is a list of all libertarian elected officials and it grows everyday!!

  • brian

    This letter suggests that a Ron Paul presidency would be crippled by congress. This is absurd.

    Imagine the pressure put upon the congress as a result of the mandate that President Paul would have. Imagine President Paul speaking to the nation about the constiution and how congress is undermining it… Plus, getting rid of all of the executive orders that have burdened the people.

    It’s easy to see why you are apathetic about Dr. Paul’s chances of victory. You don’t understand what is at stake and you have no idea how valueable the prize is.

    If even his supporters say it can’t be done then who will be swayed to join the cause?

  • Doug Mataconis


    I know exactly what’s at stake, and I’ve recognized for quite some time.

    The difference between you and I is that I realize that fixing what’s wrong is going to take more than electing one man to one office.

  • Amy

    Doug, fixing what is wrong is going to take the VOICE of the American people, not “an” elected official. The three branches of government have forgotten about who they represent.

    This is the first non-incumbent presidential election since 1952. The country is a mess and we all know it. Our voices have never been more important.

  • brian

    You may know what is a stake but you are determined to lose and you may suceed.

    I know it will take more than electing 1 official, but as we have only 1 official who is saying the right thing and going for the party’s nomination, he seems like a good place to start.

    I believe that if Dr. Paul is elected, the mid-term election in 2010 will be a bloodbath for any congressman who doesn’t jump onboard.

    If you wrote this open downer of a letter to the people fighting the british at the end of “Braveheart” they would have all run to France! What is the point of the letter? Im a lemming and I want to make sure you know you are one too?

    Long odds are still odds. Please recognize that while the Presidency of the United States of America is just 1 political office, all and all, it is just a tad bit influencial and powerful.

  • Jerry Clower

    Great point about congress, the worst thing about Ron Paul being elected president is that Texas will lose its best representative in congress! I don’t know about your first point, though. Pundits would have you believe that an election is over before it starts, but in reality, anything can happen. Really the landscape looks good.

    You mention a vote being symbolic, just think about what your votes for other candidates “symbolize”:

    Giuliani – Cocaine dealing, Governance by fear, Complete degredation. This guy will implode when his biggest asset turns into a liability (911).

    McCain – Big government inefficiency, Defacto merging of countries via immigration law. As we know, his campaign is donesky.

    Romney – Archetypal baby kissing, scumbag politician.

    Clinton – Nightmarish Big brother state behemoth that belongs in the USSR.

  • Symgharyl

    I’d rather not vote for Dr. Paul to become president. He hasn’t convinced me he is worth the support. His statement suggesting socialism cannot work upsets me. IT can work but people in power have to learn how to let go of power. People with money have to learn to live below themselves.

    I do not strive to become ‘wealthy’. I strive become ‘good’. I make money to secure my house, pay my city taxes so my daughter has a place to go to school and to pay for local constabulary to help keep our town a little safer. I want to serve or elect persons that feel the same way and I just don’t see my ideals in Dr. Paul.

    I feel the dissent between party members at the end of the presidential term is a great tactic to rouse the support of the party that is upset with the current administration. I don’t see his being elected to the post being a good thing nor can I say it would be entirely a bad thing. Dr. Paul has some fair ideas that could move the country but not as a whole. He’d surely get my vote ahead of some other possible choices but with Obama and Gravel involved I’d likely consider their views first.

    I haven’t found it yet but could someone tell me Dr. Paul’s view on marijuana? At this time I would imagine it safe to assume he wouldn’t want it legalized in any form. The legalization of marijuana could collapse several economic structures. The pharmaceutical and alcohol companies would have competition in their fields. Textiles, rope-makers, paper companies, logging jobs would all have new competition. The list of applications is tremendous medicinally and industrially. If I were to choose how to become wealthy, this is how I would want to go. Not by perpetuating racial laws and keeping gangs working the local levels of the country.

  • dp

    He wouldn’t just have the power of the executive behind him to make the changes he suggests, he would have the power of the American people hammering Congress to go along with him.

    Never underestimate the people.

  • tomdawg

    Re: Symgharyl

    Your confusion is vast. Socialism is Communism Lite, and if you’re for that then you should be deported to Cuba.

    Ron Paul’s ideas are those of the US Constitution, an ANTI-SOCIALISM document as originally written and understood.

    P.S. Ron Paul’s view on weed is that, like abortion and almost every other issue, it should be left to the people of the sovereign states.

  • Symgharyl

    Pardon me for my assumption regarding Dr. Paul’s stance on marijuana. I took the time (after I said it, of course) to find views I couldn’t locate on his main pages.

  • Drew Roberts

    Ron Paul as President would be able to influence policy the same way other Presidents do – behind the scenes deals and veto power.
    I completely agree that we need to look at the ‘little guys’ as well and further this cause in the Congress and Senate.
    The only part I disagree with is that I think he does have a shot. It’s not the best odds by any means, but I figure we deserve a break in our favor after the last eight years.

  • Darel99

    I find doubts coming from a liberty minded website would offer such a pessimistic view of Paul to be appalling.

    Additionally patriots from around the nation have often held bitch and moan sessions about the derelict government and that we need to return to the constitution, blah blah blah. I know because over the last two years I have attended so called patriot sponsored events. When i heard Paul was running I concluded every patriot minded people in America would stand behind Ron Paul. I have even heard Alex Jones State that when Hillary and Obama get into office ….. But the other day I heard even Alex Jones have a more positive view of Paul’s chances.

    For those of you who are lovers of freedom, support the US Constitution this is your chance to elect a real freedom loving man into office.

    If you continue to doubt, moan and bitch about Paul’s chances then I just want to tell each one of you to shut up…. I mean it I want all of you to shut up and do what you have been doing for years… form your little groups and complain about our nation but do it away from Paul’s efforts and don’t you dare write an article with such negative over tones.

    You obvious believe in Paul who why not offer a positive view. Sure I don’t agree with every little thing Paul has stated over the last three years but I doubt anyone from any party would say then support every single view. You either support Paul or shut up because we really don’t have any time to waste.

    In my view if Paul doesn’t become our president our nation will be lost so some sell out who will complete the North American Union.

    For those of us who are real conservatives and patriots we separate ourselves with action and expect to win.

    So Doug Mataconis I invite you to use your creative gifts for the good of Paul’s 2008 efforts if not just shut up and allow others who can see the light to do your job. At this point your negative impute is just as bad as the main media who try to ignore Paul.

    Sure you have the “right” to say what ever you want…. But do Paul and all of use who really support him with our actions and keep it to yourself or complain about something else. If you have such a negative attitude why don’t you research Mitt or Rudy and write a hit piece on them?

    It also appears your in Va. So do I… So I will challenge you with action. What have you done today to tell others about Ron Paul? This morning I had a small breakfast which I sponsored from my business and I shared with 8 other small business owes the reason we need to vote for Paul. Three of them favor Rudy but after I showed them that he supports the Real, ID act and NAFTA and a number of other issues two of them said they would look into Paul and will be at my next Paul meeting. At the moment we have 103 people who attended last week.

    Doug get off the fence or do us all a favor and channel your negative attitude towards Rudy or Mitt but not Paul.

  • AC Green

    I believe Brian’s comments above are correct – electing Ron Paul would send a tremendous signal to other elected officials that they would need to at least adopt Dr. Paul’s more mainstream views (Iraq, foreign policy, spending cuts, etc.) or face the consequences (i.e., challenges from new candidates who DID embrace Paul’s positions). I don’t think any Paul supporter (nor Paul himself) expects 100% of his positions to be implemented. Paul has said many times that the President can only do so much, and convincing Congress would be a challenge for him. But the President can immediately change the foreign policy tone, and can immediately erase the executive orders that Bush has used so extensively. Those two moves alone would make a huge difference in how the federal government is perceived around the world and domestically.

  • Symgharyl

    tomdawg, I certainly don’t want a government to own it all but there is room for social mentality to be applied to a libertarian constitution. Please don’t hate on me for the suggestion of providing liberty AND equality for all. I am definitely for living my own life and being responsible for the decisions made. I just feel that the money I give to ‘pay for my freedom’ should be better suited in other programs than what is the current norm. I’d like to invest my money in other governmental programs that support persons needing to learn how to benefit and be a part of our society.

    You’re right tho, my confusion is vast. To support someone aligned with a party that still supports the current regime confuses me. I’d rather be confused about socialism than that.

  • Nick M

    A few things here, from a long time reader of this site and a personal friend of one of the contributors.

    1) I love how people are being directed here from some other site to spew venom. I have been reading Doug’s posts for quite a while now. He is as pricipled as Ron Paul. His posts are always well written and backed up. Finally, he repeated continuously that he supports Ron Paul. He is excited about what Ron Paul being in the race means for the cause of liberty. He is not however a blind faith follower. He realizes that Ron Paul’s chances are slim. What is so wrong about this position?

    2) I find it hilarious that someone is referring Liberty Papers readers to Mainstream Libertarian, considering the pure filth that that site’s founder spews. Not to mentions how that site and it’s founder shamelessly suck Giuliani’s cock.

    My question is, how many of you are registered to vote, and if you are registered, are you registered as a Republican. People are talking about the Presidency, but Ron Paul has to get past the primaries. I couldn’t care less about the Presidential election right now, just like I don’t care about the Democrat primaries. I only care about the Republican primaries. So, I will continue to support Ron Paul, I will continue to donate to his campaign. Not because I think he will win, but because he is the candidate most in line with my views. And, since I am a registered Republican, the only people who’s views count right now, I will vote for Ron Paul, should he be on the balllot.


  • DM McLean

    While well-meaning, this piece is full of faulty assumptions.

    1) “…Dr. Paul has (no) chance of winning…” Neither did Bill Clinton in 1992 against an extremely popular president Bush, not to mention Gary Hart, Paul Tsongas, & Jerry Brown. Bill took advantage of issues & won the nomination, then Bush’s popularity declined due in large part to the economy, and Bill was elected.

    Anyone who spouts wise while predicting the future should remember that things rarely pan out as we expect, and thus should refrain from making such absolutist statements. EVERYONE has a chance of winning right now.

    2) “…the kind of changes that Congressman Paul talks about implementing, and the changes that most people who favor liberty would like to see, mere control of the Executive Branch is meaningless…”

    Not true. While Dr. Paul cannot change tax LAW, he can remove, with the stroke of the pen, the structure for tax enforcement (the IRS). Law belongs to the legislative branch, but departments (IRS, Homeland Security, FDA, etc.) are created (or un-created) by the executive branch.

    In summation: Find the canidate you believe in, support them, and vote for them. Stop trying to second-guess voters or trying to vote for who will win (which is essentially what the term “electable” is all about). If everyone voted that way, we’d have an entirely different political landscape.

  • Brad F

    So Symgharyl,

    You stated in your post:
    … people in power have to learn how to let go of power. People with money have to learn to live below themselves.

    I am so glad you feel this way. I see further in your post,
    I make money to secure my house, pay my city taxes so my daughter has a place to go to school and to pay for local constabulary to help keep our town a little safer.

    How can these two ideas co-exist? Why should you deserve a house when so many are without? Maybe you should learn to live below your means a little more. You may have an ok Job but “I, the Socialist” feels you make more than your fair share. You don’t deserve to have that much comfort when there are others who are worse. You should sell your house and give the money to the government to distribute among the poor. If you are not willing to do so, maybe we as the government should take your home by eminent domain for those poor poor underprivileged. As for schools and the constabulary, don’t worry, only the rich will pay for that. And don’t worry about the safety, the Government will tell you when it’s safe or not.

    Sounds pretty ridiculous doesn’t it? I guess you’re not quite in full belief of people learning to let go of their own power, and being forced by government to live below themselves for the benefit of others.

    I do not believe in the ability or competence of government in any capacity except to spend money and intrude in the private affairs of others. These are two things they do so successfully as to drive our nation into bankruptcy. Conversely, I believe in the goodness of mankind, and I trust more that compassion in the hearts of mankind fuel all charity. I also believe the individual can best determine for his or her own self the merits of any situation regarding charity. I know the money I use in charity goes to better use than paying the salary of a bureaucrat.

  • Raymond

    I agree, but I firmly believe that if Dr Paul were elected, it would 1) force other Republicans to embrace or at least consider his ideas because clearly it would be what a majority of America wants or he wouldn’t be there and 2) it would inspire likeminded individuals to run for office and you’d see several “Ron Paul Republicans”, “Ron Paul Democrats”, and even a few Libertarians elected.

    He wouldn’t change things right away, but my guess is he’d have 8 years to work on it!

  • Kristian

    Doug brings up a valid point, of course.Obviously the odds are long and Ron Paul is far from a lock. And were he to get in to the White House he faces a tough job. I think the most important point of Doug’s post, however, is that we need to take our enthusiasm for Dr. Paul to the local level. we MUST elect liberty-oriented representatives as well as a liberty-oriented president.

  • Doug Mataconis


    That’s exactly my point. The reason things are screwed up in Washington, and elsewhere, isn’t just because of whose President. Right now, even if someone like Ron Paul were elected in a landslide and returned the Congress to GOP control, he’d still be dealing with Republicans in Congress who spent six years governing like LBJ Democrats.

    There was a time when many of the things that Ron Paul is saying were considered part of the mainstream of GOP thought, heck Barry Goldwater got nominated running on a platform that was arguably more radical. Now, though the party is in the hands of statists and authoritarians.

  • Jeanette Doney

    The power of myth.

    I think Ron Paul’s success will bring more candidates like him into the election for other offices. Saying “Ron Paul can’t win” isn’t hypocritical, but giving those up and coming candidates a reason to not follow RP’s lead.

  • RJE, Austin, TX

    How about we all start demanding our congress critters start following Ron Paul’s example?

    That’s exactly what I’m going to do.

  • Jack

    I’d rather give a meaningless vote for Ron Paul and what he represents than a meaningless vote for the rest of the crooks and liars who never represent us!

  • John

    The authors raises some valid points. I think if Ron Paul was elected, he could bring about some change, but probably not the sweeping change he promises, as you’ve pointed out. But maybe people would start to think differently about the role of government, and things could gain momentum from there. Just look at how many members of Congress have departed from their original ideals to follow/support Bush!

  • js290

    None of this matters… someone like Ron Paul will be assassinated before he’s allowed to be elected…

  • Rory

    Mr. Mataconis,

    Thank you for your article. Many Mr. Paul supports are going to “knee jerk” attack you but that’s only because they also agree that the republican party and government has lost its way.

    There is a strong chance Ron Paul wont get elected. But you know what, if people don’t stand up and do the right thing then there is _no chance_ Ron Paul will get elected.

    I agree with your message. We can’t just support Mr. Paul and then think everything is OK. We need a new wave of politicians in America.

    ” All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing “

  • JD

    “Go out and find candidates for the House and Senate who believe in individual liberty. Otherwise, the entire effort will have been pointless.”

    Well that would leave out nearly every person elected to Washington today. Folks like Ron Paul don’t come along very often in Washington because we elect politicans when what we need are leaders. Incumbents are more concerned about their re election than our individual liberties and freedoms.

  • brody

    Doug, how are we supposed to get libertarian-minded people in congress if you keep saying that they don’t have a chance. I can just imagine you when Ron Paul was running for congress, saying how he doesn’t have a chance and that even if he wins it won’t matter. I mean with you it’s nonstop negativity, and you go out of your way to take others down with you.

  • Joshua Holmes

    Unfortunately, I know that the vote I would cast for him would be symbolic, but meaningless.

    That will also be true of any political vote you ever make. Simple statistics gets you that far.

    Neither [Reagan or Goldwater] were perfect libertarians, but they were certainly better than what passes for a Republican, or Democrat, today.

    Unless, of course, you happened to be in the wrong Nicaraguan village when the US-trained death squads went through.

  • Doug Mataconis


    I said no such thing. I was talking about Ron Paul’s chances of winning the 2008 Presidential nomination.

    As you may know, there already are some libertarian-oriented Republicans in the House, but they are small in number. We need more of them, and fewer Denny Hastert’s.

  • Bones

    For the socialists who are such because they believe in helping the less fortunate, remember this:

    Government programs that are designed to assist the needy only end up giving 30% of their budgets to the needy they are designed to help. The other 70% is spent on the bureaucrat salaries, administration costs, distribution methods, vehicle fleet maintenance, corruption, and general wasteful spending. In contrast, private charities end up distributing 70-95% (depending on the org) of their donations to the intended needy. The other 5-30% is spent on all those things minus the waste and corruption, and those two things are usually eliminated because they WANT to stretch every dollar to help people, wildlife, the planet…

    The libertarian mindset is that private charities CAN and DO handle the work better than government agencies and with considerably less taxation and frivolous spending we’d have more money to contribute to charitable organizations with the confidence that our benificence is really going to help those we aim to help, rather than line the pockets of a politician.

    Don’t be confused. Research the best charities, contribute, and remember that a job created because of reduced regulation and a strong economy will provide greater equality for the citizenry than handouts that only perpetuate the cycle of waiting for government assistance. Ask the people of New Orleans who helped more, the Red Cross or the government?

  • Dennis

    How about demanding that our politicians start doing what they were elected to do? To preserve, protect, and defend the U.S. Constitution.

  • Little Bit Farm

    You know I went ahead and read this letter, but it is my considered opinion that you do not want Ron to win. However, sometimes saying it loud enough and long enough does not work. I am 43 years old, and I suspect I have been keeping track of Ron Paul longer than you have been alive. I believe in him. I believe he not only can win, but will win if those of us who support him are committed enough. What can he do as President???
    1)He can take the executive branch back to Constitutional levels.
    2)He can refuse to use the military for unconstitutional acts.
    3)He can veto every un-constitutional bill, and make congress attempt to over-ride all the vetoes. 2/3 majority is a huge undertaking for a bunch confrontational caterwalling snipes.
    4)He can dispose of unnecessary departments which are under the control of the executive branch.
    5)He can restructure the cabinet system.
    6)He can provide oversight and sanity to the out of control federal policing organizations.
    7)And last, and most importantly, he can make the office of the executive a place of welcome, statesmanship, principle, and kindness, representing America as what she really is, a place of liberty, and equality for all those fortunate enough to live within her boundaries, a shining example to the world.

    Little Bit Farm

  • Dennis

    js290, Don’t worry about him, he ignited the fire and it’s gonna keep on burning.

  • Rick Fisk

    Bob, you are not telling the truth. People do not spend money on things they know will be failures. If they do, then they are going to be parted from their money in other foolish ventures.

    The “realists” in 1979 wanted us to vote for Gerald Ford. The “deluded” gained Ronald Reagan the nomination.

  • Bob

    1st I’m called a “moran” now I’m called a liar and this is by fellow conservatives, you can imagine what the liberals call me! I have trouble understanding people who are only willing to fight for causes that they think are winners. I also have trouble understanding people who have deluded themselves into thinking Ron Paul is going to win. 0% in the latest poll, 1/10 of the money of the leading candidate, and little name recognition but you think he’s going to win??! Seriously, I envy you, I wish I had your optimism. Any way I can prove I’m telling the truth? Any way we can place a bet on the election?

  • lucy

    Yes, Ron Paul won the election…because the voting machines were hacked! -MSM, December 2008

  • lucy

    Give Dr. No the veto!!

  • Anthony C Augello

    Once (not if) Ron Paul is elected, it will take a little time for Congress to regroup and become a more legitimate branch of government. However, it will happen. It will, because We the People will command it. Remember, they work for us, not the other way around. Will it take time? It may take 2 terms for everything to happen. The point is it will happen. Just remember, Patience is a Virtue.

  • Corey Cagle

    Little Bit Farm, you forgot one thing in your list, and it may be the most important thing: President Paul could campaign for other libertarian Republicans, or Libertarians running for Congress, changing the face of the legislature to reflect our values. in addition to this, a Paul presidency could pave the way for future libertarian candidates, much like Goldwater did for Reagan and Reagan did for the Republican Revolution in 1994. Given the interest which young people are showing in Paul’s campaign, I’d say there’s every reason to be optimistic about the future, regardless of what happens this election cycle.

  • Eric Kuhlmann

    I didnt read all the comments so if im repeating something sorry..

    Hes already lit a fire under our ass. Frankly given the fact that Ive never cared at all about any other election and now Im an RP junkie who frequently bawls his eyes out over youtube Ron paul videos and sees and feels the passion he inspires. Im more of the opinion that he will sweep the election and im quietly smiling to myself and all the doubters/defeatists who dont see it yet.

    Besides, if he loses, then we lose. He’s our guy and Im fighting for him.

  • ron stratton

    Good post, Doug. It is sad but true.. I agree that Ron Paul should become President, or if not, inspire some other strong candidate to adopt his ideas and ideals. Ron should have as good a chance as anyone based on some of the Presidents who have won… look how Carter and even Clinton, came out of almost nowhere,, if he could win even with the tremendous obstacle of Congress, the dam might develop some cracks…the example of a Libertarian President is too tempting to give up this early…look at the alternatives.

  • Frank

    Wow. A lot of cynical Ron Paul “supporters” post here. If you truly believe with all of your heart that Ron Paul has no cance of winning the election, then you truly are a fool. But, if you are stating your doubts about Ron Paul’s electability as a challenge for someone to step up and prove you wrong, which is what I believe you are really doing, then I believe you will be pleasantly surprised when America rises to the occasion and Dr. Paul will be our next president.

    In the meantime, stay positive. Ron Paul’s message sells itself. All we have to do is let people know it’s there and it’s genuine.

  • Poffy The Cucumber

    With all the conflicting opinions blurring into conflicting facts, we have to admit that Doug Mataconis has some salient points.

    It is NOT only about who is President; Congress (who are controlled by Dems now) need to back The Pres or he’ll get nothing done. The problem this country faces is that neither Dems nor Reps in this present state of national disrepair support RP’s stances, except maybe summarily siding with Paul on a superficial basis re. Iraq.

    So Doug’s point – to seek out other like-minded Congress persons and vote THEM into power as well – is a staunch one.

    Unfortunately, the electoral process has become stymied by the very people whom the process benefits, in convoluted attempts to retain their power once attained – AND – as RP’s star rises, so will the FAKE supporters (sycophants are a dime a million in politics), so identifying and voting for true RP supporters will be nigh impossible. You could even THINK you’re voting for a libertarian and end up casting a vote for a Giuliani thug.

    How do we circumvent this faux democratic process? I don’t know myself; I’m only a small green cucumber.

  • Barney

    Democracy will be better served if everyone voted their conscience rather than who the networks them tell has a chance.

    There’s a reason why there is such a disconnect between the electorate and policy. People vote the lesser of two evils as they are told by the media, and then whine about there being evil in government.

    Stop wallowing in self pity, tune out the pundits and vote your conscience and be done with it.

  • Danny

    Even if Dr. Paul limited the federal government powers for four years and balanced four budgets, I would consider that a breath of fresh air.

    Please stop with the “he can’t win”. He has already shown he has the ability to raise the money necessary to get past the second tier candidates. What he needs now is to bring in all of those “i like the guy, but he doesn’t have a chance” people and we’ve got a race on our hands.

  • Barney

    Oh, and anyone who believes Dr Paul is pegging ONE PERCENT nationally please message me. I have a deed to the Brooklyn Bridge for sale, cheap. Can the MSM lies be anymore blatant?!

    Dr Paul has the potential to be bigger than Howard Dean of ’04. And Dean came pretty close.

    Real change ain’t gonna come from the establishment. They good with the status quo. Don’t be buying into their line of who’s winnable and who’s not.

  • Thomas

    This article is short-sighted. Yes a president can’t change things all on his own… but the very reason we even have presidents in the first place is because people still believe in the idea of a leader and people still need someone to lead them. Look at the way Dr. Paul has already gotten people talking about monetary policy, foreign policy, reducing the size of government, fiscal responsibility, and following the Constitution. THATS WHAT A LEADER DOES. Yes it would be a crazy situation with a Libertarian president overseeing a Congress of mostly Republicans and Democrats BUT the longer Dr. Paul stays in the race the longer he proves he can function in a primarly Republicrat world.

    If Dr. Paul was to win you can be assured he would not sign a single Bill that did not follow the Constitution… but there’s plenty of room to change things in a Consitutional way. The very idea that we would be heeding the Constitution would make most of what the govenment is currently doing wrong and worthy of repeal.

    The other aspect of this is… Representatives in the House are elected every TWO years… this would give everyone who is more libertarian minded a chance to elect simarly minded Representatives. Thats the beauty of our system that a peaceful revolution is actually possible.

  • cfountain72

    Happiness = Ron Paul + a Veto Pen

  • Anthony

    Its called a VETO.

  • C Bowen

    “I support his campaign because I hope that it will bring back into the Republican Party”

    Does this mean I will find your name on the donar list when its published by Monday? Or do you mean “support” like you type some not that negative stuff every now and then?

  • Doug Mataconis

    What I choose to do with my money is my business, not yours.

  • Jono

    First up, I wouldn’t give a moments thought about the polls. Yes, it would be encouraging if Ron Paul had some big recognition like the other candidates, but you guys are forgetting just how far away the primaries are and just how much progress has been made.

    Secondly, a commenter above said it best – a libertarian president with the power to Veto can at least stop government growing and passing more costly legislation. Ron Paul can easily defend his actions by saying that he believes Congress is trying to pass legislation that is unconstitutional and that is reason enough to veto it.

    Thats quite some power.

  • badmedia

    It’s easy to jump on a moving bandwagon. Real patriots push the bandwagon.

  • JBH

    Great write up. I agree completely (although- I think the good Dr. may have a better chance than you think) But if Ron Paul does win, his only real power besides pulling out of Iraq will be the veto pen, unfortunately they’ll probably override him quite a bit unless we can GET MORE CONSTITUTIONALIST CONGRESSMAN into washington. Another thing, if Paul wins, what does that do for his congressional seat? Who will be the new Dr. No in congress?

  • Willem De Wit

    The late Harry Brown…

    After my inaugural day, I’d probably spend little more than an hour a day in the Oval Office, because a busy president is a dangerous president. But for the very first day, I’d have an extremely long agenda.

    On that first day in office, by executive order I would:

    Pardon everyone who had been convicted on a federal, non-violent drug charge, order their immediate release, reunite them with their families, and restore all their civil rights. (Anyone convicted of using violence against someone else in a drug case would not qualify as “non-violent.”)

    Pardon everyone who had been convicted on any federal gun-control charge, tax-evasion charge, or any other victimless crime, order their immediate release, and restore all their civil rights.

    I would empty the prisons of those who haven’t harmed anyone else and make room for the violent criminals who are currently getting out on plea bargains and early release.
    Following the issuance of the pardons:

    I would announce a policy to penalize, dismiss, or even prosecute any federal employee who violated the Bill of Rights by treating you as guilty until proven innocent, by searching or seizing your property without due process of law, by treating you as a servant, or in any other way violating your rights as a sovereign American citizen.

    I would immediately order that no federal asset forfeiture could occur unless the property’s owner had been convicted by full due process. And I would initiate steps to make restitution to anyone whose property had been impounded, frozen, or seized by the federal government without a legal conviction. (Over 80 percent of such seizures occur when no one has even been charged with a crime.)

    As commander in chief of the Armed Forces, I would immediately remove all American troops from foreign soil. Europe and Asia can pay for their own defense, and they can risk their own lives in their eternal squabbles. This would save billions of dollars a year in taxes, but — more important — it would make sure your sons and daughters never fight or die in someone else’s war.

    I would order everyone in the executive branch to stop harassing smokers, tobacco companies, successful computer companies, gun owners, gun manufacturers, alternative medicine suppliers, religious groups (whether respected or labeled as “cults”), investment companies, health-care providers, businessmen, or anyone else who’s conducting his affairs peaceably.

    I would end federal affirmative action, federal quotas, set-asides, preferential treatments, and other discriminatory practices of the federal government. Any previous president could have done this with a stroke of the pen. Do you wonder why none of them did?

  • S. Lewis

    “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” John Quincy Adams

    Unfortunately, if enough people take the stance that a vote for Dr. Paul is a wasted one, he never will be elected.
    You do not have to vote for the lesser of two evils.
    And we can at least show the country that many of us are ready for a change.

  • freedom

    if everyone who thinks like you would just support ron he would win. when he wins he will have the power to enlighten the people(not control). and it is up to the people to step up and do what is right. after all “we the people have the power”(unfortunately most americans are stupid). so thats that!

  • dddienst

    I agree with this blog’s perspective in the sense that we need more then just Ron Paul to make a difference. And that does include pressuring current officials and electing new ones that truly believe in America, the constitution and liberty.

    Ron Paul winning the presidency is not the end victory but the beginning of change. America will need to stay awake and active much longer then one election and since Ron Paul’s ideals resonate so deeply with the American people I think we will.

    America is really tired of feeling embarrassed for our countries leadership and really wants a leader we can be proud of so we can be proud of what our country stands for again. I know I do.

  • js290

    if everyone who thinks like you would just support ron he would win. when he wins he will have the power to enlighten the people(not control). and it is up to the people to step up and do what is right. after all “we the people have the power”(unfortunately most americans are stupid). so thats that!

    You’re kind of contradicting yourself… if “most americans are stupid,” it would not be possible “most americans” to “think like you” and support Ron Paul. That is, people who believe in what Ron Paul is saying will unfortunately be a small minority.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the campaign goes, but I’m not that optimistic about the Joe Six Pack voter.

  • Bones

    One of the GOP candidates is going to come out and say that Republicans better vote for him because he’s the only one that can beat Hilary in November 08. I think Ron Paul should say this first before someone else does because it’s actually true…maybe as we get closer to the primaries, but before someone else says it. Too early yet to crown her Democrat nominee but it is looking that way. Lefties love her for some strange reason. Let’s see, she’s pro-war, weak in her own marriage, undecisive and overly political about everything. Why do they like her? Anyway, only Ron Paul can beat her because he’s the only Republican against the War and she would continue it.

  • Godwhacker

    If Paul won the presidency, it would send a clear message to the rest of the government that things have changed. Paul would not be able to change things overnight or by himself, but things would change. We would not be going to war with Iran, the war in Iraq would be over. Pork-barrel spending would be slapped down with a veto faster then W could pardon Scooter. The failed, racist war on drugs would have to end. He could immediately pardon all prisoners in jail for nonviolent drug charges. We would begin a slow movement towards sane monetary policy. Most importantly, American traditions of peace, liberty, and prosperity would begin to reassert themselves on the world stage. That is something worth having a new revolution over.

    I grew up during the Cold War. “The USSR would never fall”, they said. Well the USSR is gone now, it’s history, and the Eastern Block of the Iron Curtain are all proud members of Nato and the EU. Change can and does happen and we are at a moment in our history were we can bring about change. Defeatism doesn’t help the cause! Keep your eye on the ball people, Ron Paul in ’08!

  • http://?? gao xia en

    Ron Paul seems to be the only candidate that understands the purpose of the Constitution and Bill of Rights-to control the government. He has my vote even if it has to be a write-in.

  • Disabled Vet

    Y’all may call me crazy, but I think we should turn the White House into a museum and move it’s operations to a new super advanced building thats is perfectly purpose built to run the government in as efficient a manner as possible.

    The White House is such a beautiful piece of American history that it shouldn’t be used a an office but as a national treasure and taken care of like a museum should be…

  • SteveNYC

    Ron Paul CAN and WILL win. He just needs to get heard. And as president he will imediately fix our foreign relations problems. Thus eliminating threat of terrorist attacks.

  • Tom Jefferson

    70% of Americans want us out of Iraq.

    Ron Paul is the only republican candidate against the war in Iraq.

    Over the next six months Ron Paul will gain name recognition and republicans will learn about who Ron Paul is and most will support him.

    Ron Paul only needs 30% of republicans sick of the war and abuse of powers to win the republican nomination.

    Once Ron Paul wins the nomination he will be the only anti-war candidate. Ron Paul will win election.

    And there is much he can do in office.

  • Tom Jefferson

    Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton as president who were doing about the same in the ‘Scientific Polls’ at this stage in their elections. Ron Paul has tremendous momentum and his support is growing exponentially. The other candidates are stagnant. Only Ron Paul’s support is growing and will continue to grow!

    Ron Paul will win!