I Know Who u2018None of the Above' Is

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The latest
AP-Ipsos poll has found that the leading Republican presidential
candidate is “none of the above.” According to the related Associated
Press report,
"More Republicans have become apathetic about their options
over the past month," during which time the number of those
polled who are indecisive has jumped from 14 to 23 percent.

Maybe this
is sheer speculation on my part, but I’m guessing that “none of
the above” is actually a guy by the name of Ron Paul.

That's right,
the candidate who's cultivated widespread grassroots support –
he relies primarily on speaking engagements, appearances on counter-culture
television shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report,
and Internet resources like Facebook, MySpace, and Meetup to get
his message out – is still struggling for inclusion in many traditional
public opinion surveys. After all, how well can you be expected
to poll when even pollsters in your home state refuse
to put your name on most ballots
?

Clearly it’s
irrational to assume Paul is drawing all the votes of those who
answer “other” or “none of the above” on these surveys, as many
truly may be undecided. Still, Ron Paul actually raised
more money
from April to June than John McCain, whose campaign
admittedly is tanking fast and hard, but that nevertheless means
Paul is beginning to build ever-important name recognition. What’s
more, Paul is blowing
away
his Republican counterparts in the polls of people who
have actually heard him speak.

What does
all this mean? Perhaps very little, as we’re still well over a year
away from Election Day and polling is essentially meaningless at
this point. But one thing the "Ronvolution" supporters
can count on is this: Today's top-tier Republican candidates are
going to fade into the night as the election nears. Voters will
have months on end to listen to Giuliani, Romney, Thompson, and
McCain flip-flop, prevaricate, and generally make fools of themselves
as they battle each other, while Ron Paul will quietly continue
to gather momentum by consistently preaching the virtues of liberty
and reiterating anti-Iraq war sentiments the vast majority of the
population already
endorse
.

It's no secret
that Ron Paul has been the victim of a widespread media blackout,
due largely to his unpopular views among the intelligentsia as they
relate to decreasing the scope of the federal government, with which
those on both the left and right seek to curry favor. Media conglomerates
may have their particular political biases, but there's really only
one thing that matters at the end of the day, and that's a bias
toward making money. Big-name candidates generate big-time campaign
contributions, which translate into lots and lots of revenue for
media outlets in the business of selling ad space and airtime.

So, do these
difficulties mean Dr. Paul faces an uphill slog to the White House?
You betcha. They do not, however, mean that his campaign can't or
won't continue to gain momentum nationwide. Paul's growing support
despite his virtual media inattention may be indicative of just
how strong his movement really is, not to mention contributing to
this perceived Republican apathy toward his mainstream opponents.

I believe Ron
Paul has revitalized hope in many Americans, from liberals to conservatives
who are sick and tired of imperialistic and paternalistic governance,
and perhaps even in people who had already decided they were done
voting in presidential elections. It’s only a matter of time before
the media will be forced to acknowledge Paul’s incremental victories,
and once that happens, we may no longer have to wonder who “none
of the above” really is.

July
20, 2007

Trevor Bothwell
[send him mail] maintains
the web log, Who's
Your Nanny?

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