A few hours ago Ron Paul's campaign met reporters at the National Press Club to confirm that, yes, their candidate had shattered the record for one day of primary fundraising. Campaign manager Lew Moore and Jonathan Bydlak marshalled FEC data to prove that they'd beaten Mitt Romney's January take (he got $2.5m on one day and $4m of pledges, which keeps getting reported as a $6.5m haul) and Hillary Clinton's numbers at the end of June (she raised $2.6 million at a Ron Burkle fundraiser).
"I think it says something that the Clinton campaign challenged these numbers," Moore said. "They don't want to run against us."
I asked Bydlak about attention the campaign is getting from creepy white supremacists, and whether if they discovered donations from specious people they'd give them back. "If people hold views that the candidate doesn't agree with, and they give to us, that's their loss," he said. What if the campaign keeps getting scrutiny as its coffers grow? "The scrutiny is a perfect sign of how this campaign is growing."
[I]t is worth recalling that in the much lower-intensity race of 2000, Ralph Nader raised over $8 million for his presidential bid. It would be interesting to know how many of today's Paul donors were Nader donors then… the United States is a very big and rich country, and that its political fringes are likewise big and rich.
The "Paulites=Naderites" bit is too silly to address, but comparing $8m over one year with $4.3m in one day—that's not apples and oranges, it's apples and nuclear submarines. And if you start from January 2007, Paul has raised $15.5m. He's probably going to triple Nader's haul by the end of the campaign. And Nader was an internationally famous consumer activist with 40 years in the spotlight. When this campaign started Paul was an obscure congressman who'd occasionally light up the House floor at 11 p.m.
Howard Dean in 2004 attracted 318,000 individual donors who donated 454,000 times for a total of almost $40 million… True, Dean did not do it in one day. But almost all that money arrived in a single quarter.
My conclusion from this is that Ron Paul is actually underperforming his potential. I'd guess that he would do much better if he dropped the gold standard stuff, and ran a pure anti-war campaign, spicily seasoned with 9/11 paranoia.
And Dr. Paul, when did you stop beating your wife? Frum's missing out on one of the campaign's big surprises: people actually respond to the "gold standard stuff." I have a few theories why, but I'm still shocked when I see hundreds of college students whooping when a presidential candidate pledges to kill the Fed.
Of course I am saddened to discover that many thousands of Americans have rallied to a candidate campaigning on a Michael Moore view of the world.
Yes, just like Michael Moore. Coming next Fall: Michael Moore's Recess. America's favorite guerilla filmmaker makes the case for abolishing the Department of Education!
Yes, yes, Frum is talking about foreign policy. Let's get back to his Nader comparison. When Nader ran an ego-and-umbrage-driven campaign in 2000 you had some people calling his supporters crazy, but more Democrats took them seriously. Gore and his surrogates campaigned in the swing states to rebut Nader's argument that Clinton was a right-winger or that the big parties nominated clones of one another.
There's next to no institutional respect for Paul. Frum thinks (I do not) that Paul will break from the party and run an independent campaign, and he's mocking him and his supporters as deranged flat-earthers. Punters at the Fox-moderated GOP debates heckle the candidate. RedState.com bans his supporters. Are Republicans flying so high that they can just amputate a wing of their party? Obviously not. So why are they doing it?