In spite of a Republican Party apparatus in Texas which prevented new Republicans from voting and Rick Perry’s videotaped declaration that there were no Texans in the race, Ron Paul received 16.7% of the Texas Straw Poll vote on September 1st and proved that he is the legitimate front-runner for the Republican Party nomination by every measure.
On the Friday evening before the vote, a fundraiser was held in somebody’s home. Ron Paul’s campaign raised more money there than the Republican Party collected at its war-mongering event the next day.
Note to the Texas GOP: had you opened the poll to the newly energized Ron Paul supporters who weren’t previously delegates, you might have tripled the funds you raised. Ron Paul’s supporters owned the streets anyway, as it was in Iowa and is everywhere else with no exceptions.
In Maryland over the past 11 days, Republicans there participated in a GOP Straw Poll and picked Ron Paul over the alleged top tier candidates.
Then came the Republican "debates" in New Hampshire. Fox News shamelessly held Ron Paul at bay for 29 full minutes before allowing him to answer his first question. He hit it out of the park. Ron Paul didn’t miss any opportunities. The best lines of the night came from Ron Paul.
When asked about previous statements he’s made advocating the abolishment of major federal agencies, including the FBI and CIA which are tasked to save us from terrorists, Dr. Paul delivered one of the best closing statements to a question ever made in these debates: "It is perfectly legitimate to know what’s going on and gather intelligence around the world, but you have to have somebody intelligent interpreting that information."
The strategy for this debate was keeping challengers from falling into the Ron Paul lair. None of the candidates are qualified to do this because their answers are scripted, and quite frankly there isn’t a man among them capable of thinking on their feet. So, Brit Hume and his underlings were set to the task of posing the most leading, baiting questions possible to help them out. I watched with about 30 Austin Ron Paul supporters and the subtleties of sound were not available to us. It wasn’t until later, watching a YouTube video of the debate that I noticed how blatantly Fox and the lower tier candidates were working together. During some of the questions, the utterly classless, sophomoric giggling by Romney and Giuliani, suggested that they knew the questions beforehand. They timed their chuckles and guffaws at just the right moments. They were coached.
Each and every time one of these traps was set, it went off in the questioner’s face like an IED. I half expected to see burn marks and smoke. Some may get incensed at what they were doing but frankly, I hope they keep doing it. If they really thought his positions were funny, they’d let the audience laugh. But the audience wasn’t laughing. It was cheering, wildly.
There were a few boos from the audience. Mind you, they were not universal. The boos erupted from neoconservatives in the audience who react like vampires to crosses when adherence to constitutional principle is mentioned. Ron Paul reminded the audience that as President, he would remember that the President doesn’t have the power to make war. Only Congress has that power. Unfortunately for the back of the pack, the shrieks and cries of the undead were drowned out by cheers.
One of the better overall moments, and there were so many in such a short span, came when Paul and Mike Huckabee were allowed to directly respond to one another. Not only was Dr. Paul able to destroy the argument for staying in Iraq ("…what do we have to pay to save face? That’s all we’re doing is saving face, it’s time we came home!), but he also was able to position himself as someone genuinely concerned with the future of the Republican Party. Huckabee actually conceded that the Republican Party should continue its suicide pact with the neoconservative gatekeepers.
PAUL: "The American people didn’t go in. A few people advising this Administration, a small number of people called the neoconservatives hijacked our foreign policy. They’re responsible, not the American people. They’re not responsible, we shouldn’t punish them"
HUCKABEE: "Congressman, we are one nation. We can’t be divided. We have to be one nation under God. That means if we make a mistake we make it as a single country, the United States of America, not the divided States of America."
PAUL: "No. When we make a mistake…when we make a mistake, it is the obligation of the people through their representatives to correct the mistake, not to continue the mistake."
HUCKABEE: "And that’s what we do on the floor of the Senate."
PAUL: "No! We’ve dug a hole for ourselves and we’ve dug a hole for our Party. We’re losing elections and we’re going down next year if we don’t change it and it has all to do with foreign policy and we have to wake up to this fact."
HUCKABEE: "Even if we lose elections we should not lose our honor and that is more important than the Republican Party."
There is more to that exchange than meets the eyes and ears. Ron Paul is telling Huckabee that the American people are taking their responsibility seriously, which is why Republicans are being summarily thrown out of office: so that mistakes can be corrected. But, like a rutting bucks chasing does, the Republicans are so horny for war that they do not recognize truth or wisdom when it is offered them. Ask any hunter how many rutting buck deer he’s killed when the buck was so fixated on that doe that he didn’t see or smell the hunter.
All in all, Ron Paul was nothing short of Paul Revere in his eloquence, his fire and the content of his speech.
Dr. Paul also displayed his fastidious nature during this latest performance. The initial confrontation with Rudy Giuliani back in May caused him consternation and doubt as he has freely admitted. (Imagine that! He’s human!) You wouldn’t have known it by his refusal to back down that evening, but his doubts were seeded by the audience’s predictable response to Giuliani’s smarmy interjection.
Ron has learned from that experience and plays to his strengths. He never once backed down. He held fast in the face of ridicule and malice. His challengers will underestimate the affect this is having on Republican Party members who are undecided. He is, day by day, inch by inch, weakening the neoconservative hold on the Republican Party. By now, they have but one finger left and you can guess which one it is.
The tactics used this week against Ron Paul are further evidence that his candidacy leads the pack. There is no other explanation for the (unsuccessful) attempts to marginalize and ridicule. They’re fighting him but their kung fu is weak.
With each appearance and debate performance, Ron Paul gets better and his supporters grow more and more confident beside him. The idea that this campaign is merely an attempt to spread the message of liberty to a wider audience should by now be a laughable claim.
Ron Paul is in this to win. He’s a T. Rex hunting down and eating the competition for lunch. Bring napkins. This week Ron Paul has shown us that he has no serious competitors.
Rick Fisk [send him mail] is a 44-year-old software developer and entrepreneur. He is married, has 3 children and resides in Austin, TX.