Ron Paul

Mr. Conservative 2.0

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Last night Rep. Ron Paul made a wistful kind of trip to the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia for a speech to the Robert Taft Club, a paleoconservative salon launched in 2006. Planning began long before news broke of Paul's $5.1 million summer fundraising haul. That news turned a small event into a monster lecture, around 300 people lining up and around stairs to get into a small, oak-panelled room at a chop house. Journalists from ABC News and C-Span set up cameras as print journalists milled around.

Paul arrived a bit after 8 p.m., agog at the crowd. "I asked how many people belonged to this club," he said, "and they said 'oh, about 35 people.' I'm used to speaking for… little groups of 35 people," he said.

I saw Paul speak to a smaller, younger crowd of conservatives at CPAC six months back and his speaking style's changed since then, if only slightly. He still wanted to barrel through a 30-minute address but was ready to pause and soak it in when people cheered at statements like "We need to go back to Revolutionary times and pick up the pieces!" Paul had a campaign to brag about, and re-enacted the moment from a Michigan rally (of 2000 people on the State campus) when he started talking abut fiat money and "some people started burning Federal Reserve notes!" He reared back his head and laughed. "Sometimes people will hand me a Fed note to sign and I ask them: 'Is this going to increase the value or is it going to drive it down?'"

The foreign policy bits of the speech were a little bit altered from Paul's usual spiel. There was the usual calling out of Republicans and Democrats who voted for the Iraq War (and to give the president authority to declare it), but when he worried that point he added a piss-and-vinegar disclaimer: "You declare war if you have to, and then you get in there and win it and then get out" It got applause, but Paul seemed a little startled at what he'd just said. And he spitballed what he would do if Congress obliterated the military budget and started scrapping overseas bases. He'd take $200 billion from the military budget, apply $100 billion to deficit payment, and apply $100 billion to paying for entitlements and infrastructure. That was unusual: Most of the time, when a practicality came up, it was the star of a joke.

"We're not going to get rid of the Federal Reserve in a day," Paul said. "It'll take two or three days."

Listening to this and looking at the camera and sound men staring intently as they record it, I realized that the days of Paul giving low-key philosophical speeches are over for a while. TV reporters don't follow a candidate unless he's making an impact on the race. Crowds this size include voters who honestly think their guy is going to win the nomination. Questions began with "When you become president…" and "What would a Paul presidency…" and fans from South Carolina assured Paul he was surging in their state. One questioner asked Paul to make a general election argument against Hillary Clinton. (I've seen this happen before. In the summer, when John McCain's campaign had really melted down, most of the questions he took from fans and bloggers were about the war. Only after his polls moved up in September did he start getting campaign questions again.)

I'm always curious about what Paul voters expect from this race and what they'll do if he doesn't win. Very, very few of the attendees had a second choice candidate. For them, it's Paul or nothing. "We are not going to win against any Democrat if we nominate a pro-war candidate," said Brandon Holmes, a 27-year old Leadership Institute employee who used to support the war. "Ron Paul's going to be on my ballot in November, whether or not I have to write him in."

Paul didn't seem to want much focus on him, personally, as opposed to libertarian ideas and old-style Bob Taft conservatism. "I am not the greatest orator," he said near the end of a long speech, "but this is the greatest message."

UPDATE: Since it came up in comments, I'll mention that Paul was asked about his ideal running mate. He doesn't have one and isn't thinking about it.

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67 responses to “Mr. Conservative 2.0

  1. Damn shame Eric Dondero is still missing in Mexico. This thread won’t be the same without him.

  2. I cannot claim any particularly high expectations for the Paul candidacy, but stories like this make me hopeful that he will have a beneficial effect on the direction and quality of the “dialog.”

    Maybe Dr Paul can induce some people to think about the appropriate scope and mission of the federal government. I have my fingers crossed.

  3. I’m always curious about what Paul voters expect from this race and what they’ll do if he doesn’t win.

    I’m writing him in, screw it. I “throw away” my vote every other election, so what’s the diff.

  4. Going to register to vote GOP tonight. First time voter at 24. RON PAUL 2008 baby!

    For me, it is him or nothing, and if he loses the Primary, I will write him in.

  5. Hypothetical: Is it possible that the “sheep” demographic would end up getting split evenly among Gouliani, Thompson, and Romney, and Paul could sneak away with a win in one of the primary states?

  6. On another note, now that he is a ‘serious’ candidate, who is his pick for VP? Anyone know? Should I know this already?

  7. We haven’t even seen what he has in store for NH, IA, or SC in terms of primary advertising and outreach yet. Remember, this guy’s got $5.3M or so, and he’s said he intends to use all of it.

    (Over $6M now if you count his Q4 donations as of right now.)

  8. Too early, DangerMan.

  9. Good question, DM. I bet Jeff Flake would have to be considered a favorite.

  10. Dangerman:

    Not Sure, of course.

  11. Yeah, I think Jeff Flake would be a great choice for Paul’s VP.

  12. Play your cards right, DangerMan!

  13. he’ll be on my ballot no matter what.

  14. It should be noted that if the campaign hires someone like this guy, there’s no telling what kind of impact an ad campaign of Paul’s could have in the early states. It’s easily the best yet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG2PUZoukfA

    (Though I could have done without the ‘don’t tase me bro’ and jab at polygamy, in overall presentation it’s perfect.)

  15. DAMN STRAIGHT, PAUL IN 08

    I’m always curious about what Paul voters expect from this race and what they’ll do if he doesn’t win.

    I hope (and every day it’s a little stronger) Ron Paul will be our next president. I expect this campaign will move the US political climate in a more libertarian direction. If he doesn’t win, I’ll go back to the LP.

  16. Well, he did promise the veep spot to Stephen Colbert. We’ll see if he follows through.

  17. Just registered R for the first time in my life. If Ron Paul doesn’t win the nomnation, I’ll go back to Independent. Either way, he’ll be on my presidential ballot, whether he’s Republican nominee, some other party, or I have to write him in.

  18. Just registered R for the first time in my life.

    Me too.

  19. I also registered Republican just last week. It made me sick and I’m not telling my friends, but Ron Paul is getting my primary vote.

    If he doesn’t win, I’d like to see the Ron Paul Meetup groups turn into groups of people who get out libertarian messages on more local issues. If people can witness it working on a smaller scale, maybe next time there will be more people willing to vote for it on the national level?

  20. Since Hit & Run is devoted to exhaustive Ron Paul coverage, I will report that this morning on my way to work I encountered some Ron Paul activists handing out pamphlets at the entrance to the 77th street and Lexington Ave subway station in Manhattan. The only other presidential campaign activists I can recall running into thus far have been Obama supporters. The Ron Paul people were talking about Paul coming to New York soon, and telling people to visit Meetup.com.

  21. Glen Beck pissed me off the other night. He said Ron Paul’s campaign is going to implode because Ron Paul doesn’t see Iran as a threat.

  22. Jake,

    Well, I guess we can count on him not getting any votes from Glenn Beck fans. Maybe he could make up those two votes by courting Daily Show viewers.

  23. RJ
    I liked seeing Paul blow up at everyone on stage during the last “debate,” when he said that all of this crap is just preparing the US to go to war with Iran. The other fuckers just stood there and smiled at him as if to say “yup, and nobody cares because when it’s all over, they’ll support us going to war with Iran.”

  24. Excellent post Dave.

  25. The funny thing about Glen Beck’s “Ron Paul is a crazy peacenick wacko” montage is that you have to believe Paul’s anti-war reasoning is ridiculous on its face for it be an effective attack. It’s like showing how campy an actor Jim Carrey is by playing clips from “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”.

  26. Thanks for the honest journalism. Dr. Paul is our only hope. If we don’t get out there and get him nominated/elected, then our democracy is probably over. I’m not trying to be a fear monger, but these globalists are deadly serious in their attempt to destroy our Constitutional law. We must win.

  27. It’s like showing how campy an actor Jim Carrey is by playing clips from “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”.

    Or any other movie he’s ever made?

  28. This is going to sound a little silly, but after watching the clip of his interview on Tucker on Oct 10th, I have a renewed sense of faith that Dr. Paul just might be able to break enough into the mainstream by primary time to win this thing. When MSM pundits start taking him seriously and not talking to him like George Stephanopoulos did earlier, you know there’s a shift happening in how mainstream Americans see him.

    Weigel is absolutely correct in the sense that it feels a lot different for Paul to be talking about specifics of how to rationally reduce the size of government without putting anyone out on the street than it did to hear him give inspirational speeches.

    Side note: I don’t remember ever seeing Tucker treat anyone as respectfully as he treated Dr. Paul

    Side Side note: where’s Edward?

  29. *getting up the floor next to AWIK DUNDERRRRR(head)OOOOOOO*

    DID YOU FEEL YOUR FIAT CURRENCY INFLATE, TOO?

    *sees the others watching. shrieks. pulls the blinds down*

  30. Warren: Or any other movie he’s ever made?

    That was my [not-so-clear] point. Carrey’s whole career is slapstick. Why show one of his rare attempts to play it straight in order to demonstrate that?

  31. “I don’t remember ever seeing Tucker treat anyone as respectfully as he treated Dr. Paul”

    The MSNBC vice president that comes on at the end of the program was also very complimentary about Ron Paul also by saying that Ron Paul appeals to a lot of people because of his sincerity.

  32. “”””Just registered R for the first time in my life.””””””

    “””””Me too.”””””

    I am seriously considering it. He stands a snowball’s chance in Hell in NY. But I rarely vote for the winner anyway. Win or lose, it’s about voting your belief.

  33. temporary k,
    Ah OK, gottcha.

  34. I too have have “thrown away” my vote in every election. It’s a good thing other people don’t, our country is doing so well with the dems and repugs in charge.

  35. a paleoconservative salon launched in 2006.
    Somehow Paleo and 2006 do not go together to me. Everything old is new again?

    sage | October 12, 2007, 3:07pm | #

    I’m always curious about what Paul voters expect from this race and what they’ll do if he doesn’t win.

    I’m writing him in, screw it. I “throw away” my vote every other election, so what’s the diff.

    I never look at any vote as a wasted vote. Is a vote wasted if it is cast upon a candidate who does not win, or who conventional wisdom says cannot win? The only wasted vote in my book is the vote that is not counted. I do not think you should look at your vote as thrown away as long as it is counted. Demographics can always change.

  36. Well said, Old#7. I’m proud to say that this election will be the first where I’ll cast my vote for a republicrat.

  37. I always vote LP, but I have also registered Rep in AZ so I can vote for Dr Paul in the primaries.

    Also, I agree that voting for whoever the fuck you want is not throwing away your vote, I just wish some of my friends would figure that out.

  38. Sage,

    Republicat, eh? Will have to think upon that one. I didn’t look at Paul in that light.

  39. I live in Riverside County, one of the first to adopt “touch screen” voting machines. The honest election people complain about them, but they make write-in votes very easy.

    Actually, you get a virtual typewriter to type the name in in the appropriate office box. And your write-in votes show up on your printed receipt.

    What could be an easier name to write in than “Ron Paul”?

  40. Donated yesterday…not much but all that is presently available. Paul or nothing for me sounds like a good way to describe things.

  41. “You declare war if you have to, and then you get in there and win it and then get out”

    He needs to say this loudly and often.

  42. Damn shame Eric Dondero is still missing in Mexico.

    The Dodo is extinct?

  43. Jeff Flake would be an excellent choice, but I believe Flake has endorsed John McCain.

    On various Ron Paul boards the topic of a VP pick comes up quite often. The numerous neophytes fail to understand that it would be:

    -Someone who is very free market or libertarian
    -Some whom Ron knows and trusts
    -Someone’s who’s at least nominally a Republican

  44. Monday thru Thursday I watch NBC news, the first 10 or eleven minutes before break. On Fridays I watch the News Hour to see Shields and Brooks (tonite it was Shields–NYT–and E J Dijonne–WaPo).
    After my 10 minutes of NBC, the clicker checked PBS before clicking “OFF” and caught a wonderful interview with RP.

    Ben Franklin knew that he had helped create a Republic, “if you can keep it,” but he and most then were nervous enough about the sheeple to be nervous also about Republics too. Democracies were out of the question and why Thomas Jefferson couldn’t get his demagogic, fiddle-playin’, sans-culotte tootsie in the door until 1800.
    (We’ve been in decline since then. Sorry.)

    If the sheeple can abide having our Prez selected by Iowa perverts, they ought to be somewhat amenable to lending an ear to Paul’s god-forsaken area of Texas ethos, eh?

  45. The obvious choice for Ron Paul’s running mate is newly installed congressman Paul Broun. And with there pocket constitutions combined, they could some the power of Captain Paine, zapper of unconstitutional bills and breaker of trade embargos.

  46. David,

    I take offense at your assertion that Galveston County is god-forsaken.

    If any place was under the protection of god, that would be it, because it should be underwater by any reasonable analysis and yet it remains dry and unnflooded for years on end.

  47. Lost_In_Translation,
    Not to worry.
    As an atheist, god-forsaken is a GOOD thing.
    Live long and prosper.

  48. People who make corrections to their posts are pussies.

    So excuse me for saying, on the News Hour, Shields was missing; Brooks was present.

    A thousand pardons.
    I am not gay.

  49. If you want to wallow in irony, tell everyone you’re not gonna throw away your vote then vote for someone you find repugnant who then wins. Anyone in favor of that? I recently cast a ballot where no one I voted for (including lots of blank votes) won, and felt great about every vote cast.

    Talk about cognitive dissonance — was watching the Ron Paul video linked to earlier, and in the middle of Ron Paul’s anti-war message, weepy “Sound of Silence” background music playing, one of the Blue Angels practicing here flew directly overhead, perhaps 100-200 feet off the deck. Suckers are LOUD!

  50. Damn shame Eric Dondero is still missing in Mexico. This thread won’t be the same without him.

    He is no longer missing, having been on some uber-secret mission and having not bothered to tell anyone he would be out of the loop, apparently. But that’s his story, and he’s sticking to it.

  51. hey when it gets that far, what about Mark Cuban??? He is brilliant and very pro libertarian. I mean look what he did with the Mavericks!!!!

  52. Eric’s back!

    Our favorite national-greatness-libertarian has returned from a super-secret mission:

    Mainstream Libertarian website Publisher away on Special Political Assignment

    by Eric Dondero

    Regular readers and site visitors: My sincerest apologies. I am in southern California working on a special political assignment. I am doing bi-lingual work in heavily Hispanic areas for Republican causes. I will be here for at least the coming weeks and perhaps months.

    I’ve been south of Palm Springs, in communities such as La Quinta, Indio, El Cajon, El Centro, and Calexico, (on or near the border with Mexico).

    Yes, I was “missing,” as was reported by some. However, that was intentional. I needed to completely separate myself from any and all distractions for a couple weeks in order to accomplish my task. I am happy to report that I have been successful, and am now on track to complete my assignment.

    I’ve had very limited internet access, as I’ve been working around the clock. But I should be able to find some more time in the coming days and weeks to keep this site updated.

    I’ve also had to suspend the “Libertarian Politics Live” show for the last few weeks, much to the great dissapointment of my Co-Host Andre Traversa. Hopefully, we should be back up and running with that soon.

    Apologies once again. Come back and visit next week. The site should be well-updated by then.

    Coming to you from the Public Library in Imperial, California…

    Thank you,

    The Management.

    I wonded what sort of Republican cause is served by skulking about Tijuana for several days. Well, I’m sure it wasn’t one of these.

  53. Yes, I was “missing,” as was reported by some.

    As was reported by Eric’s own web site, run by the people he left in the lurch.

  54. hey when it gets that far, what about Mark Cuban??? He is brilliant and very pro libertarian. I mean look what he did with the Mavericks!!!!

    And he can dance. Kinda. I guess.

    But if you have both a presidential and vice presidential nominee from the same state, you forfeit that state’s electoral votes, and Texas is too many votes to pass up.

  55. What are we going to do after this election? Well, the Presidency isn’t the only race up for grabs. We’re going to vote out the politicians whose deeds are big government.

    What’s special about Ron Paul supporters? We show up, we vote, and we know when a politician is all Hat and no Cattle. We are a voting block to get rid of those kinds of politicians.

    And the most incredible part of this is that we are a pan-partisan voting block.

    Back in May, I made a 10 year commitment to Ron Paul’s principles. I don’t think I’m the only one.

  56. the comments regarding registering republican are pretty funny. I worked the Ron Paul / Libertarian party booth at the county fair and I ran into this a lot….especially from young people.
    I just started giving out 2 voter registration cards to everyone. One so they could become a republican, and one so they could go back. It actually made it a much easier sell!

  57. On various Ron Paul boards the topic of a VP pick comes up quite often. The numerous neophytes fail to understand that it would be:

    -Someone who is very free market or libertarian
    -Some whom Ron knows and trusts
    -Someone’s who’s at least nominally a Republican

    John Campbell, Rep, CA?

  58. Reinmoose:

    I also registered Republican just last week. It made me sick and I’m not telling my friends, but Ron Paul is getting my primary vote.

    TELL THEM! Explain why. Point out that where most candidates want to lead, Dr. Paul wishes only to represent. Answer questions, and encourage them to do their own research. Then find some more friends, or some strangers, and do it again!

    The biggest barrier to a Ron Paul nomination is simply that nobody knows who he is. Help fix that, and he has a genuine shot.

    I recommend printing many copies of the double-sided tri-fold flyer from the official website (Get Involved > Downloads, in the menu at the top), as they make the least mention of his pro-life stance, which is generally the hardest thing to explain to those who avoid Republicans.

  59. To Dangerman, if Ron Paul doesn’t win, we are all moving to texas and will buy up all the property, elect Ron Paul governer and declare our independence from the united states, then deport George Bush.

  60. About Ron Paul’s possible running mate: quite a while ago, when asked, Paul said “someone like Walter Williams.”

  61. Since it came up in comments, I’ll mention that Paul was asked about his ideal running mate. He doesn’t have one and isn’t thinking about it.

    Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, might be a very good choice….

  62. Karen Kwiatkowski for VP.

  63. Jeff flake will NOT be Paul’s running mate, should he win the Republican nomination. Flake is fiscally conservative, but he is nearly as (if not more so) warmongering as HucksterRudy McRomney. Karen Kwiatkowski is not a Republican, it is my understanding that she is an LP member. Gary Johnson might be an excellent choice, however, does anyone know his position on wars of aggression?

  64. Dear Mr. Weigel,

    Since you asked….

    What will true conservatives (Ron Paul’s most EFFECTIVE supporters) do if he doesn’t get the nomination? We’ll vote our conscience, as individuals.

    Personally, I left the GOP after Reagan’s conservatism was derailed by the neocons. I’ve not been affiliated with a party since then but I’ve always voted for a libertarian. Not that I expect to win but my conscience tells me to use my vote to provide accurate information, not to try to be on the winning side.

    A democratic empire builder is just as disastrous as a republican empire builder when you’re among those yoked to paying the bills.

    After the 2008 election, I’ll begin looking for a new candidate who has a chance to topple the neocons and who has the determination to restore the US to a republic per the constitution. I don’t see one on the horizon but once Ron Paul’s success is measured, I’m sure a new champion of his message of peace, prosperity and individual liberty will emerge.

    If it takes the rest of my life, I will continue to work within the GOP machine, turning its power towards its original task of providing a tool for conservatives to leverage their personal values in local government.

    I’ve coined the phrase “trickle up integrity”. Meaning that if we traditional conservatives (libertarians, of course) let scoundrels lead at the local level by virtue of our apathy, they will eventually be leading at the national level. Our current leadership is the case in point.

    I will live out my days leading by example as I carry on the fight for what is right that Dr. Paul has started this year.

    Sincerely,
    Jeffrey Northrup
    Colorado Republican Ron Paul grassroots activist

  65. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/13/AR2007101301071.html

    This link has absolutely nothing to do, at all, with this story, but I am posting it anyway. Why? Because for weeks, this website posted the same old tired bullshit about how people that claimed Iraq was improving were liars peddling vile propaganda. However, given the nature of this site, I expect to see no blog entries at all making corrections. Therefore I will be posting this link in every blog entries comments section. Time to eat crow, assholes.

  66. Bob,

    Great to hear about the drop in violence.

    So Ron Paul is right! Its time to leave Iraq.

  67. If Ron Paul doesn’t get the Repo nomination, I would hope that with his large constituency he looks at the Libertarian Party candidate, whoever that might be, and if it’s a good one, endorse that person. If he choses not to go that route, his campaign will still have created a movement that may break the “fringe” stigma attached to it for so many years.

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