On Monday morning
March 12, Dr. Ron Paul, member of the House of Representatives from
Texas, and no stranger to readers of this website, announced on
C-SPAN that he will seek the Republican nomination for President.
Now that he has moved from an "exploratory" candidacy
to being a bona fide candidate, what are Rep. Paul's chances of
winning the GOP nomination?
I have known
Ron for about 25 years. The last time I saw him was in mid-2004
when he spoke at a fundraiser for Rep. Scott Garrett in New Jersey.
Scott was elected to Congress in 2002 and is a member of Ron's Liberty
Study Committee. During the question and answer period I stated
that a Paul-Garrett ticket in 2008 would energize conservative Republicans
and libertarians. Ron smiled and said, if I remember correctly,
that a presidential run would be very unlikely. Well, here we are
in 2007, and a Ron Paul presidential candidacy is a reality.
Ron and I first
met at a 1982 monetary conference in Washington, DC. Two years later
he invited me with other newsletter writers to tour the Federal
Reserve, the U.S. Treasury and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In a Paul presidency, the downsizing of government would begin in
earnest, two of the three institutions we toured nearly a quarter
of century ago would be abolished, and the U.S. Treasury would probably
be responsible for maintaining the integrity of a gold-backed dollar.
In short, in a Paul presidency, Washington, DC would be less populated,
the budget would shrink substantially, taxes would decline markedly,
the dollar would be stronger and no American troops would be policing
Ron announced his candidacy on C-SPAN, Republican Senator Chuck
Hagel held a new conference in his home state of Nebraska to inform
the press that he will not be a candidate for president at
this time. In another development over the weekend, Fred Thompson,
former U.S. senator from Tennessee and television actor, announced
that he may seek the GOP nomination for president. On Monday
evening I had the opportunity to view some of the news programs,
and the political segments were about the possible candidacies
of both Hagel and Thompson, while Ron Paul's candidacy was
ignored. Moreover, on Fox News Morton Kondracke commented on Senator
Hagel's announcement and said there is no anti-war candidate
in the GOP field.
establishment media's virtually blackout of Ron Paul's candidacy
is a magnificent case study in: media incompetence? bias? laziness?
All of the above?
No matter how
the media treat Ron in the months ahead, by this time next year
both the Republican and Democrat presidential nominees should be
all but selected, because so many primaries will be held next February
and March. Thus, whoever raises substantial funds soon and has a
message that resonates with voters for the next 12 months will be
the overwhelming favorites to win their respective party's nomination.
As of now,
Dr. Paul has much in common with another (physician) presidential
candidate, Howard Dean, who used the Internet so effectively in
2004 that the Democratic establishment sandbagged his campaign,
because the Democrat bosses did not want to have, in their view,
another McGovern (anti-war) candidacy. Ironically, Dean is one of
the country's leading hawks, when it comes to Iran.
the Internet is abuzz about Ron Paul. As the year unfolds, if more
and more young Republicans people gravitate toward the Paul campaign
just as young Democrats did for Dean in 2004, the GOP establishment
will be apoplectic.
For Ron to
become one of the "top tier" GOP candidates he has to
have one quality that he does not have now — a media-anointed
celebrity status. Currently, the top tier candidates are "celebrities"
— Rudy, McCain, Romney, and Newt (even though he has not announced
his candidacy). Ron can become a top tier candidate and a
serious contender for the nomination if he can raise more funds
than his own advisors, I suspect, think is possible by December
many pundits, each of the leading candidates in both parties could
raise as much as $100 million by the time the primaries are over.
So, for the media to characterize anyone a top tier candidate throughout
the year, he or she should be on track to raise at least $50 million
or more. Could any of the presidential candidates that are currently
in the back of the pack raise anywhere near that daunting amount?
If $50 million
is the minimum that a candidate will have to raise to be taken seriously
by the media, then every lesser-known candidate needs 50,000 individuals
to make an average contribution of $1,000 to give him a $50 million
war chest. (The maximum individual contribution is $2,300 per primary
and general election.)
base is fiscal conservatives, anti-tax citizens, anti-war Republicans,
Democrats and Independents, constitutionalists, hard-money advocates,
small business owners, civil libertarians, anti-universal healthcare
physicians, pro-lifers, parents who home school, and anyone else
who considers himself a real patriot. In other words, if Ron's substantial
base provides him with volunteers, contributions and votes, he would
be a very competitive candidate.
the final analysis, about 50,000 to 100.000 Americans could determine
the next presidential nominees of both parties. In the GOP presidential
primary, if Ron Paul, Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, Tommy Thompson,
or any other lesser known candidate excites GOP voters for the next
12 months, then Rudy, McCain and Romney will prove that in a marathon
it is not who leads the pack that counts but who is the turtle in
Sabrin, Ph.D. [send him mail],
is professor of finance in the Anisfield School of Business, Ramapo
College of New Jersey, where he is executive director of the Center
for Business and Public Policy. He is the author of Tax Free
2000: The Rebirth of American Liberty.