Ron Paul: Rising From Obscurity And Influencing The Debate

Today’s Washington Times, the conservative paper of record in Washington, D.C., profiles the rise of Ron Paul from the unknown candidate to sleeper:

Aides helping Rep. Ron Paul of Texas with his long-shot run for the Republican presidential nomination never thought they would need more than the corner of a one-bedroom apartment.

They were wrong. The campaign has outgrown its second headquarters, a 348-square-foot office.

Mr. Paul has more campaign cash available than former Republican front-runner Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Federal Election Commission records show, and the antiwar conservative has become an Internet sensation.

Though political pros say Mr. Paul’s chances of moving into the White House are between slim and none, some expect him to have an effect on the Republican race.

And that impact is the same one that I’ve always hoped he would have, influencing the debate in the Republican Party on issues ranging from the Iraq War to individual liberty:

Influencing the Republican stance on major issues is the most likely outcome of the Paul candidacy.

“While I am very skeptical that he will win the nomination, historically challengers’ biggest impact has been in shaping the debate — forcing the more popular candidates to address issues they might like to gloss over,” said Merrill Matthews, resident scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas. “I suspect Paul’s principled opposition to massive government spending and the war could reach out to two different GOP groups — one large, one not so large — with the message: ‘You are not alone.’ ”

Mr. Matthews sees a twofold effect for Mr. Paul: “His libertarian bent makes him the most principled of the Republican candidates. The large segment of the conservative base shares his rebellion against the GOP’s willingness to become part of Washington’s big-spending establishment. And as the only antiwar Republican candidate, he may provide a safe harbor to conservatives who are increasingly growing dissatisfied with the war.”

And if it leads to a revival of the libertarian-oriented conservatism that started with Barry Goldwater and reached it’s climax in the election of Ronald Reagan and the albeit ultimately disappointing `94 takeover of Congress, that can only be for the better.

I still stand by my belief that Paul has no real chance of winning the election, but winning isn’t always everything. Ronald Reagan lost the nomination in 1976 and yet, within a few short years, the entire party with was him.

H/T: The Crossed Pond 

  • Disabled Vet

    Ron is carrying a message at a time like no other in history….his supporters are growing in numbers and at a greater pace than any other candidate. His message is pure truth and adheres to the fundamental values this country was created on. His record is perfect in upholding those values… he is the hope we need to make America great once again. He will win because his message is spreading by itself..

  • Yeah yeah yeah…

    “I still stand by my belief that Paul has no real chance of winning the election, ”

    Yes Doug you’ve said this many times. Thank you again for stating what everyone else is saying. Do you feel smarter now? Good. Now go get a cookie and let the adults discuss how to get Ron Paul into the White House.

  • Paul

    “Yes Doug you’ve said this many times. Thank you again for stating what everyone else is saying. Do you feel smarter now? Good. Now go get a cookie and let the adults discuss how to get Ron Paul into the White House.”

    Ouch! That had to hurt! LOL…it was deserved too.

  • Joshua Holmes

    Ronald Reagan lost the nomination in 1976 and yet, within a few short years, the entire party with was him.

    …accomplishing virtually nothing in the process.

  • zenpiper

    The election is a long way off, 16 months. A lot will happen between then and now. There could be another “event” such as 911 that will bring about martial law, thus ensuring the Bush Crime Syndicate unfettered powers. Or, if not, then maybe Dr. Paul’s base of support will continue to grow and prosper as it has done. That may happen.

    One thing is fairly obvious: the national media syndicates are baffled that Dr. Paul is getting so much internet and meetup support, and they aren’t prepared to deal with it. On the one hand they want to give the illusion of fairness; on the other they are facing a threat by an upstart.

    How this will all play out in the next 16 months is the stuff of a dramatic and historical showdown: the lone gunman taking on the corrupt syndicates. That’s why we need to pray for the safety of Dr. Paul and to help him on his journey.

  • Phillip Dickinson

    Ron Paul has a better chance at the Presidency than the other Republican contenders. Just look at public opinion on Irak. He is the only one who has consistantly stood against it. That alone (plus many more reasons) gives him a great chance. Ron Paul is being underestimated. BTW my blog has an election poll; I’d appreciate any participation.

  • Proud American

    Our group has had 4 sign wavings. And we are growing every week. Once a Republican hears Ron Paul’s message, they sign up. Have you heard it? Find out why Ron Paul will be the NEXT President of the United States.

  • Buckwheat

    Disabled Vet said it right: Ron Paul will win because his message spreads itself.

  • Doug Mataconis


    I’ll take your comment seriously when you show me a scientific poll that has Ron anywhere near double digits.

    I’ve worked too many campaigns to know how this is going to play out.

    And if you read what I actually had to say, then you’d understand what I’m saying.

  • atomic jo


    Would you bet every penny on it?

  • js290
  • Yeah yeah yeah…


    Yes again we understand. You have a poli. sci. degree. You are very smart and know everything about this subject.

    Now with respect to polls, yes I’ve done them too. Yes, they can and are rigged to get certain results. Yes, you can push poll to dope the numbers. Yes, you can focus on certain demographics to affect the results. Yes, you can do lots of things.

    The reality is this election is over a year away and already McCain is down for the count. He’ll be joined by Tancredo, Huckabee, Tommy Thompson and Hunter soon as well.

    So that leaves the usual knuckleheads:

    Giuliani. He’s pro-abortion, pro-gun control and pro-war. His Pro-abortion and Pro-gun control stances will thrill the liberals but piss off the hawkish conservatives. His pro-war stance may win some hawkish conservatives but will alienate the more liberal voters. So what exactly is his strategy? We haven’t even talked about the skeletons in that man’s closet yet.

    Romney. Flip flops on every issue. Makes John Kerry look consistent if that is even possible. Voted very liberal as gov of Massachusetts on a variety of issues. He has nice hair, but he’s got a lot of explaining to do with his record.

    Fred Thompson. Well the candidate that’s not even running yet is winning. His claim to fame is he plays a smart lawyer on TV but a dumb politician in real life. Once he starts harping on about the War and more neo-con policies he’s going to lose. We’ve already had eight years of it already.

    Newt Gingrich. Maybe a good shot, but again a lot of skeletons in his closet and a lot of people still have a bad taste in their mouth when he was speaker.

    So that leaves us with Paul. Consistent. Principled. Always votes for freedom over special interests. He’s anti-war but pro-personal rights. He can appeal across the entire spectrum of voters. As the months linger on more and more support for this war will erode. The reality is that the GOP doesn’t have a chance of winning by nominating a pro-war candidate. As we wake more of them up to realize this then the only option they will have is Paul.

    See you in the White House with Ron Paul in 2008.

  • Doug Mataconis

    To: Yeah, etc:

    One question:

    Let’s assume Ron Paul is elected President in 2008.

    Tell me in two paragraphs how he will get anything accomplished given either of these alternatives:

    1. A Democratic controlled Congress composed of, well, Democrats.


    2. A Republican controlled Congres composed, mostly, of Republicans who don’t agree with him.

  • js290


    you may be missing the point. IF Ron Paul gets elected, or even makes a respectable showing, it’s going to say more about what the people expects from its government. In other words, it would be a turning point in American political scene. Ron Paul himself has said it would require building coalitions within Congress to accomplish anything as president. But, again, the point is if Paul gets elected as president, you’ll probably see more libertarian type candidates getting elected to Congress and state government.

    Having said that, I tend to agree with Brad that the American people in general aren’t interested in the freedoms and liberty laid out by the Founders in the Contitution. Most people want to use the government to oppress those who disagree with them and get Paris Hilton updates on their iPhones. That’s “freedom,” and it makes it that much easier for the oligarchal crime syndicate to subversively run the system.

  • Yeah yeah yeah…

    “To: Yeah, etc:

    One question:

    Let’s assume Ron Paul is elected President in 2008.

    Tell me in two paragraphs how he will get anything accomplished given either of these alternatives:”

    1) He will use the executive power that’s been piling up for decades to undo the executive power that’s been piling up for decades.

    2) He’ll veto every bill that comes through until he gets what he wants or makes congress look sufficiently stupid.

    3) Veto overrides will be almost impossible to do because Congress hates each other so much.

    4) He can appoint people in agencies and courts to start undoing the damage done through decades of neglect.

    5) He can eliminate funding to unneeded agencies or allow them to wilt away due to deliberate neglect.

    6) He can enforce the laws that congress has told him to do so with respect to immigration and military affairs as command in chief.

    7) He can simply not enforce laws that are unconstitutional and/or appoint an attorney general who won’t.

    There’s a lot a president can do with or without congress’s help. Don’t think that Ron Paul can’t get creative when given the chance.

  • Yeah yeah yeah…

    8) He can stall on funding our part of the UN.

    9) He can eliminate govt. initiatives such as NAU that weren’t approved by congress.

    10) He can force out the corrupt advisors and special interests that have taken over the White House.

    11) He can control national security directives that put us into alliances with two-bit dictators the world over.

    12) He can eliminate covert CIA operations overseas that are against his policy interests.

    13) He can restore decency to the White House and begin to build our respect again with other world leaders.

    14) I can go on and on and on.

    Also, what makes you thinks Republicans won’t go along? They only reason why they follow Bush is because he’s the current president. It wouldn’t be shocking at all to see them change their tune when someone new is elected.

  • Kevin Houston


    I couldn’t quite do it in only 2 paragraphs. how about a list and 2 paragraphs.

    A list of unilateral (or semi-unilateral) things that a President can do. I’m not saying that Ron Paul can, would, or should do any of these, just putting my thinking cap on and wondering how I would hack this system. Some are clearly obstructionist although our system of checks and balances seems to allow the president to get away with it all the same.

    1) Veto all unconstitutional spending. (only need 1/3 of either body to make it stick.)
    2) Challenge all overridden bills in Supreme Court, if unconstitutional. (like spenidng bills arising in Senate, for example.)
    3) Do a full FBI/DOJ (executive branch) investigation into the honesty of the state legislature’s votes for the 16th amendment. SCOTUS ruled it a political problem, make it one.
    4) Order all troops home, except those actively involved with fighting, or finding, Osama bin Laden or other Al-Qaeda units.
    5) Transfer all IRS agents to ICE/Border Patrol
    6) Withdraw from as many treaties as possible (might need 1/3 of Senate to make it stick – but maybe he can go it alone – see Goldwater vs. Carter. Will land in SCOTUS for sure.)
    7) Recall our ambassador from the U.N.
    8) Rescind all previous executive orders.
    9) Write new Executive orders admonishing all Federal agents to respect the rights of all people at all times. (and other fun EOs)
    10) Instruct Secretary of the Treasury to promulgate new rules that explicitly define “Income” as something other than compensation for labor. (make Sec. 861 arguments valid)
    11) Respect Habeus Corpus and allow *all* detained prisoners to have access to an attorney, and transfer them back to civilian courts.
    12) Assign all EPA agents to customs, and have them inspecting incoming cargo for environmental hazards (everything from melamine, to fissionables)
    13) Transfer FDA inspectors from our food companies to inspecting incoming foriegn food (which gets only a 1% inspection rate)
    14) Fail to fill many positions on staff.
    15) Order a hiring freeze.
    16) Cede control of many “national parks” (read federal enclave) to state in which it resides.
    17) Order GSA to get rid of unneeded /unused property at firesale prices – put money in treasury to pay off debt.
    18) Order full investigation of all Federal Dept. and military purchasing activity, to find the graft and corruption.
    19) Eliminate no-bid contracts.
    20) Fail to find “qualified” contractors for some projects, even though Congress funded it.
    21) Order Sec. of Treasury to stop all actions against e-gold, and liberty dollars unless arising from breach of contract, or other specific fraud.
    22) Use prestige/bully pulpit to set up real food, shelter, and medical charities to replace current welfare.
    23) via Sec of Treas: Alter rules so that social security number is not required unless you choose to be a part of that system, allow birth certificate to be acceptable proof of existence.
    24) instruct DEA to stop activities in states where medical marijuana laws have passsed.
    25) Instruct AG that all wiretaps require a warrant.

    The Dems (or Ron-Paul-hating GOPers) may have “control” of Congress, but they won’t have veto-proof control. Our system gives a lot of power to the president who can say “no.” At the same time, there is a safety valve of the override, so we, the people, know that if Ron Paul goes too far, the Congress can circumvent him to do important constitutional things that he might hypothetically be unreasonably reluctant to do.

  • Victor

    “To: Yeah, etc:

    One question:

    Let’s assume Ron Paul is elected President in 2008.

    Tell me in two paragraphs how he will get anything accomplished given either of these alternatives:

    1. A Democratic controlled Congress composed of, well, Democrats.


    2. A Republican controlled Congres composed, mostly, of Republicans who don’t agree with him.”

    If Dr. Paul is elected, it won’t just be him versus Congress. It’s going to be Dr. Paul AND the people who elected him versus Congress.

    Dr. Paul is igniting political activism like no other. Dr. Paul is setting a standard (a constitutional one) by which the members of Congress would have to measure up.

    So in the case of Congress’ opposition to President Paul, does Congress believe they could get away with passing unconstitutional laws without sacrificing their political careers and integrity? It would show that they fail to uphold the Constitution.

    A presidency with Dr. Paul at the helm would mean the restoration of power back to the people in a constitutional republic. So in a bout with President Paul vs. Congress (Dem, Rep, or mix bag), Dr. Paul would have the biggest advantage he needs: We The People.

  • Dennis

    Doug, You say that you have all this experience in politics but what you don’t realize is that our election system has been so corrupt that everything you have learned won’t apply. The american public is waking up to the lies and deceit that have taken us to where we’re at currently. The book you’ve been reading became out of date the moment Ron Paul decided to run for president.

  • NH

    At this same point in time both Clinton and Carter had less recognition than Ron Paul who has a solid following across the nation. Everyone who finds out about Ron loves him.

    So now it’s time to get the word out.

  • Bo Slava

    Let’s assume Ron Paul is elected President in 2008.

    “Tell me in two paragraphs how he will get anything accomplished given either of these alternatives:

    1. A Democratic controlled Congress composed of, well, Democrats.”

    There two things true conservatives and true liberals agree on and that would get done.

    1 -As Ron Paul has said he would give the 6 month notice to withdraw from the World Trade Organization. He would get the approval from a Democratic Congress with true conservative support. This would stop the flood of tainted food from China entering America and the shift of jobs from US to China. He would open trade talks with China getting a level playing field, something none of the other candidates have the gumption to do since they the other candidates receive huge campaign contributions from corporations to do nothing.

    2 – He would bring the American troops home from Iraq.

    3 – He would start bringing fiscal responsibilty to a government that under Bush and Congress has spent and charged up interest for the next several generations.

    Ron Paul might be the only Republican that could actually get something done with a Democratic Congress and America would be better of for it.

  • Holl

    Stop saying Ron Paul doesn’t have a chance and let the people decide! Discuss the issues because that’s what’s important.

  • Danny


    Your site seems to get a nice bit of traffic, and when it all comes down to it, you seem to support Dr. Paul’s positions. Why is it that you continue to say “he doesn’t have a chance”? When did voting become a game of picking the winner? You could do so much good by encouraging people to join meetup groups, to donate, to volunteer. Yet you continue to be negative about the whole thing.

  • Chris Lawton


    Ron Paul “Dream On” Video!!!!

    Ron Paul “Don’t Tread On Me” Video

    Ron Paul is a constitutionalist.

    Ron has never voted to raise taxes.
    Ron has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
    Ron has never voted for the Iraq War.
    Ron has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
    Ron has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
    Ron has never voted to raise congressional pay.
    Ron has never taken a government-paid junket.

    Ron voted against the Patriot Act.
    Ron votes against regulating the Internet.
    Ron voted against NAFTA and CAFTA.
    Ron votes against the United Nations.
    Ron votes against the welfare state.
    Ron votes against reinstating a military draft.

    Ron votes to preserve the constitution.
    Ron votes to cut government spending.
    Ron votes to lower healthcare costs.
    Ron votes to end the war on drugs.
    Ron votes to protect civil liberties.
    Ron votes to secure our borders with real immigration reform

    He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
    He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.
    Congressman Paul introduces numerous pieces of substantive legislation each year, probably more than any single member of Congress.

    Listen To Ron Paul Speeches:
    Review over 100 Articles Ron Paul Authored by Subject:

    How can you not love this guy listen to him he is truly a man who
    tells the truth “We The People” are taking our country back and
    restoring the original Constitutional Republic and returning Amerika
    back to America not the “United States of Surveillance”

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot
    survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable,
    for he is known and he carries his banners openly. But the traitor
    moves among those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling
    through all the galleys, heard in the very hall of government itself.
    For the traitor appears not a traitor—he speaks in the accents
    familiar to his victims, and wears their face and their garment, and
    he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He
    rots the soul of a nation—he works secretly and unknown in the night
    to undermine the pillars of a city—he infects the body politic so
    that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared.

    — Cicero: orator, statesman, political theorist, lawyer and
    philosopher of Ancient Rome.

    “In the time of universal deceit, telling the truth
    is a revolutionary act” GEORGE ORWELL

    “None are more enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
    — Goethe

  • C.Wesley Fowler

    I was going to make a list, but I’m actually startng to feel sorry for Douggie.

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