The Ron Paul Republicansby Doug Mataconis
Today’s Washington Post reports on something that I’m pretty sure is a first.
In the past few election cycles, Republicans haven’t made much headway in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, which includes part of Montgomery County and most of Prince George’s County.
But Peter James, 52, isn’t running as just a regular Republican for the seat held by Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D). James is running as a Ron Paul Republican.
James said he is one of five congressional candidates running in Maryland at least in part to draw attention to the Texas representative, whose presidential campaign has been something of a grass-roots phenomenon. Paul advocates libertarian positions, including the abolishment of the federal income tax and the closure of many federal agencies. He opposes the war in Iraq.
James, a businessman from Germantown, said Paul will need allies in Congress if elected president. But, James said, even if his presidential candidate loses, the “Ron Paul message is stronger than the man himself.”
James acknowledged running with an “R” after his name will be tough, but he said at least a third of those who attend local weekly Ron Paul meet-ups identify themselves as liberal Democrats concerned with the growth of the federal government.
“We’re seeing disenchanted Democrats, who say ‘whether I elect Giuliani or Hillary, I’m getting the same thing,’ ” James said, referring to Republican hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). “I believe there’s a very strong contingent of voters out there who have been woken up by this message.”
I know I’ve been critical of the Paul campaign in the past, but this is exactly the kind of thing that needs to happen if things are going to change. Change isn’t going to come from the White House down, it’s going to come, as it always has, from the bottom up; and that means starting at the local level with City Council races, state legislative races, and Congressional races.
Now, let’s make no mistake about it; thanks to the political and demographic makeup of the 4th District, James has almost no chance of winning in a General Election against an incumbent like Wynn. But that doesn’t matter because even a losing campaign can accomplish something. It will be interesting to see if other Republican candidates across the country adopt this same strategy.
For those who are interested, James’ website can be found here.