Ron Paul’s Really Big Haulby Doug Mataconis
There’s really only one way to describe yesterday’s fundraising efforts; very, very successful:
Historians and British schoolchildren remember Guy Fawkes as the Roman Catholic, anti-Protestant rebel who on Nov. 5, 1605, tried to assassinate King James I by blowing up the Parliament. Supporters of the Republican primary campaign of the libertarian Representative Ron Paul may remember Fawkes as a wildly successful fund-raising gimmick.
On Monday, a group of Paul supporters helped raised more than $4.07 million in one day — approaching what the campaign raised in the entire last quarter — through a Web site called ThisNovember5th.com, a reference to the day the British commemorate the thwarted bombing.
Many fans of Mr. Paul know of the day primarily through a movie based on the futuristic graphic novel “V for Vendetta,” by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, in which a terrorist modeled after Fawkes battles a fascist government that has taken over Britain.
The Paul campaign has raised more than $6.84 million in the first five weeks of this quarter, more than the $5 million it raised from July 1 to Oct. 1. Many of the contributions appeared to come through the independent Fawkes effort, but how much was unclear.
On Monday alone, the campaign signed up more than 21,000 new donors, said Jesse Benton, a campaign spokesman.
Among 2008 presidential candidates, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York holds the record for raising the most in a single day: $6.2 million on June 30. But Mr. Paul has surpassed the best day of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, who raised $3.14 million on Jan. 8.
David Weigel at Reason makes this point about what this says about the rest of the Republican field:
Even if you don’t like Paul, you have to gasp at what’s happening in the GOP race. There are three phenomenons running in tandem: Paul’s fundraising, Huckabee’s cash-strapped poll surge, and McCain’s running-on-fumes poll comeback. Anybody working for the Rudy-Fred-Mitt power trio has to wonder why the Republican base is so hungry for these other choices.
Perhaps because the old GOP coalition is falling apart.
Anyway, with 4th Quarter fundraising now exceeding $ 7 million, that goal of $ 12 million by December 31st doesn’t seem so far-fetched. And it comes just in time too, we’re 58 days away from the Iowa Caucuses, 63 days away from the currently scheduled day for the New Hampshire Primary (a date which will probably be moved up sometime this week), and 74 days away from South Carolina’s primary. After that, 91 days from now, it’s Super Tuesday and the GOP race will, effectively, be over.
Update: Or maybe it won’t be over. Marc Ambinder posits a scenario that could stretch the primary race out into March, which, in modern times, is a long time.
Update # 2: Even the guys at The Corner are starting to take serious, as opposed to contemptuously dismissive, notice:
Among those for whom a sustained Iraq occupation is not a make-or-break issue, Paul’s big day is going to win him a second look. But he has to lay off the gold standard schtick (at least for a while) and start speaking to conservatives again about the many issues he has in common with them. If he does, he might actually be able to make something of all this.
And Ed Morrissey:
Ready to take Paul seriously now? His ideas may sound as strange as his high-pitched histrionics in the televised debates, and he may not have much national pull in the polls. However, Paul certainly has some attraction to people with cash through the Internet, and he’s amassing a small fortune with almost no overhead just in time for the primaries.
What does this tell us? The libertarian impulse may have stronger legs than anyone recognizes. It certainly seems more individually vibrant than the “values voters” segment of the Republican Party, which hasn’t even produced a candidate in this election, let alone this kind of impromptu grassroots effort. It could also complicate the primaries if Paul manages to turn this fundraising into actual poll strength.
Beyond Paul and his flaws, the Republicans had better start paying attention to these voters. Like it or not, they represent a passion that seems to have left the GOP in recent months, and even if they skew young and may not vote as promised this cycle, they will eventually. Rather than continue to write them off, Republicans have to find a way to address them outside of conspiracy theories and allusions to blowing up buildings.
Whether this will happen remains to be seen.