Follow the Billboards: The Revolution is Still at Hand

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Ron Paul finished
the 4th quarter of 2007 having raked in over $19.75
million dollars
— more than any other GOP candidate and in close
proximity to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's numbers.

The only bigger
quarter for a Republican during this entire presidential race was
a $20.8 million first quarter of 2007 by Mitt Romney. Of course
Romney added about $2.4 million of his own money to that number
by writing a personal check to his campaign, thus rendering Paul's
4th quarter, traditionally the weakest due to the holidays,
the biggest of the year for any GOP candidate. Think about
that for a second.

Over half of
Paul's astounding total flooded in over the course of a mere two
days, in efforts coordinated by unpaid volunteer supporters.
The first "money bomb" on November
5
, the brainchild of music promoter Trevor Lymon, pulled in
$4.3 million from 37,000 individual contributors. On December 16,
these same supporters brought some friends and shocked the American
political establishment, again, with a second one-day "money
bomb" inside of six weeks, this one commemorating the
234th anniversary of the Boston
Tea Party
.

 

 
Paul
Supporters on Lake Austin

 
 

Demonstrating
vividly that now-familiar savvy for the alternative media, Paul's
supporters in some cities even reenacted the original Boston Tea
Party, heaving boxes with labels like "IRAN WAR," "OPEN
BORDERS," and "PATRIOT ACT" into bodies of water
across the country big enough to represent a harbor.

TeaParty07
crushed the previous one-day fundraising record held by John
Kerry with a whopping $6.2
million
in donations from 58,000 verifiable individual
contributors. The average contribution was $102.

Incredibly,
over 24,000 of those individuals had never contributed to
a political campaign before.

Despite the
closeness of the two records (as marked by fiat dollars), the clear
reason that Paul's haul is a solid trouncing of Kerry's is simple:
Kerry's record came the day after he secured the nomination
in 2004 — too late for him to use that money during the early primaries,
such as his still inexplicable win in Iowa over the steamrolling
Dean juggernaut.

Paul got his
haul at exactly the right time, enabling the campaign to expand
their media buys and infrastructure
to multiple western states, a direct contrast to the "double-down,"
short-on-cash attitude of many of his rivals thus far in Iowa and
New Hampshire.

This fact,
as much as any other, provides a stark reminder of just how much
the Ron Paul campaign has so far outperformed expectations.

But for the
Ron Paul movement, that's over $10 million in two
24-hour periods and $19.5 million over three months — all from over
130,000 individual contributors. A whopping 100,000
of those contributors were new. Some "fringe" candidate
indeed.

But it didn't
end there.

The Spark
of Revolution Catches Fire

They were spurned
and disparaged
by the establishment media, as drill-instructed by Fox News, and
for months dismissed as a "few dozen" D&D geeks-in-their-parents'-basements
"spamming"
online and cell phone-text polls.
But Paul's supporters have triumphed over what can only be
described as an existential challenge to prove
their legitimacy in an atmosphere of blatant hostility and a determined
blackout.

Witness the
resulting self-actualization:
By their own accord, Paul supporters paid for full-page ads in USA
Today
, rented billboards
by the dozens in several states, bought ad time in local conservative
talk radio markets, leased small planes and helicopters in New Hampshire
to drag enormous banners,
and perhaps most audaciously, rented a blimp
decked out with slogans such as "Google Ron Paul" and
the suddenly ubiquitous "RON PAUL REVOLUTION."

All without
costing the campaign an inflationary cent.

I'm almost
36 years old. I've been an avid observer of politics since my junior
high days, when I was enthralled by Reagan's libertarian rhetoric
and was an admirer Alex
P. Keaton
. I've never seen anything like the Ron Paul
movement happen in American political life. As far as I can remember,
this type of insurgent, populist uprising — demanding a return to
Constitutional government — is unprecedented.


 

A Paul
supporter gives voice to a common sentiment.
 

 
 

Yet the reaction
by the establishment media to all of this — the record fundraising,
the late surge in the polls, and the spontaneous, organic activation
from apathy for the most diverse
group of supporters in the entire presidential race — has been determinedly
subdued or altogether silent.

There was perfunctory
coverage of the spectacle of Paul's fundraising numbers,
but with little to no commentary about the blatant trend that the
numbers and events vividly demonstrated. American politics has forever
changed.

Imagine for
a moment that leading up to the Iowa caucuses, media darling Mike
"Glass
Jaw"
Huckabee proved, finally, the legitimacy of
his poll numbers with a donation infusion even a quarter the
size of one of Paul's money bombs. I mean in actual cash, from identifiable,
verifiable individuals — not anonymous "scientific"
poll respondents that we'll never meet or unsecured blips in an
electronic
voting machine
.

The cable news
networks might all spontaneously combust with rippling positivity.

Can you imagine
the fawning coverage? Can you just see their reaction if
there were such a thing as a Mike Huckabee Blimp, for crying out
loud?

Interestingly,
in spite of his win in Iowa and his recent success in the "scientific"
polls, Mike Huckabee has never had an easy time raising money. He
finally broke the $5 million threshold during the 4th
quarter. Yet we're supposed to believe that he's the national front-runner
and is supported by 25%
of Republican voters across the country?

While Huck's
first win in Iowa came after Q4 ended, his status as Republican
"front-runner" in Iowa lasted for most of December.

Paul's fundraising,
by contrast, has more than doubled each quarter of 2007,
leading to the early primary contests: $639,889 in the first quarter,
$2,357,423 in the second, $5,204,218 in the third, and over $19.75
million in the fourth, and traditionally softest, quarter.

As for the
schizophrenic, alternating blackout/smear
campaign
against Ron Paul's candidacy, it culminated two days before the
New Hampshire primary in Fox excluding
him from their GOP candidate forum, which was basically a debate
without an audience.

Fox abandoned
any pretense about objective criteria having determined the participants.
They simply couldn't make a consistent, logical argument, so they
didn't attempt to. Paul had already trounced Rudy in Iowa, and at
the point leading up to the debate in question, he was also ahead
of Fred Thompson in New Hampshire by several points, depending on
which "scientific" poll you checked.

 

 
New
Hampshire Republicans had their choice of warmongering neocons,
but the table begged for six.

 
 

Fox could only
argue that Paul was slightly behind in national polling,
which runs directly counter to the relevance of the state primary
in question: the GOP forum was in New Hampshire at Saint
Anselm College, two days before the New Hampshire primary,
and geared, ostensibly, towards New Hampshire Republican primary
voters.

So Fox resorted
to their weakest argument — that Paul couldn't fit in their mobile
"Fox Box" tractor-trailer studio. In other words, there
was only enough room at the desk for five candidates, not six. Far
be it from me to argue for the exclusion of any candidate, but if
it's truly a question of real estate, shouldn't Fred Thompson be
the big loser?

As a somewhat
surprising reaction to Fox's refusing to reconsider, the New Hampshire
GOP yanked their endorsement of the event. Then Leno had Paul back
on The Tonight Show for a second, lengthy, and incredibly
sympathetic
appearance.

Things for
the Paul campaign were gaining steam. Best of all, it seemed a self-inflicted
example of "blowback" for the Fox pundits to ponder.

Then during
the primary on Tuesday, a well-timed smear attempt emerged: a hack
at The New Republic dredged up the same old, now age-old
recycled accusations of racism from Paul's former low-circulation,
at times ghost-written, newsletters — even though Paul's repeatedly
denied authorship when it's come up in past congressional races
in Texas. Drudge linked to the story briefly before pulling it down,
but the damage might've been done with those undecided voters in
New Hampshire.

But the accusations
never rang true. If it’s deeply held, foundational belief, as the
article suggests, then it should present itself somewhere — anywhere
— in Paul's prolific articles, books, and speeches, which are readily
available all over the internet, not in ancient hardcopies of low-circulation
newsletters that have to be “unearthed” in some obscure library
archive. But the tone doesn't match.

Post–New
Hampshire

Paul garnered
only 8% in New Hampshire, despite spending a lot of money and having
a respectable, solid ground game. Although most of his supporters
would acknowledge that Paul is still and has always been
a long shot for the nomination, I think most of them would also
concede that New Hampshire would seem to have been fertile ground
for Dr. Paul's message. It doesn't make sense.

So what the
hell happened?

Did we, as
Paul supporters, get overly optimistic? Was the election somehow
stolen, as
some have suggested?

It's hard to
say at this point, but the scuttlebutt
among some of the Obama supporters is that chicanery occurred in
New Hampshire. One enterprising Paul supporter even assembled numbers
indicating that machine-counted votes resulted in striking disparity
between votes cast and counted. (Updated on Jan. 13 to replace the
Bradblog.com link, as Brad
Friedman is not, to my knowledge, an Obama supporter, as the context
originally suggested. My apologies to Mr. Friedman.)

It's disconcerting
to note that such a large percentage of the votes in New Hampshire
were counted using Diebold
optical scanning machines:

The exact
same make, model and version hacked in the Black Box Voting project
in Leon County is used throughout New Hampshire, where about 45
percent of elections administrators hand count paper ballots at
the polling place, with the remaining locations all using the
Diebold version 1.94w optical scan machine. Because the voting
machine locations tend to be urban, this represents about 81 percent
of the New Hampshire voters.

Bev Harris,
of Blackboxvoting.org,
details the multiple vulnerabilities of those particular machines
here.

To ensure that
any potential theft went undetected during the actual voting, Hillary
Clinton mobilized her lawyers to have both Paul and Obama poll watchers
ejected
from precincts where they were attempting to monitor the vote counting
and counter the natural tendency of party operatives to engage in
fraud.

All of these
things add up to a fairly suspicious picture. Hell, I was suspicious
early on, when the initial percentage distribution remained static,
virtually unchanging — from 10% to 100% of precincts reporting.
Is it plausible to believe that the pattern never moved, from precinct
to precinct, across the entire state? I'm no Frank Luntz, but it's
at the very least counterintuitive.

As for the
Revolution. . .

Time will tell
what impact these first two contests will have on the Ron Paul movement,
whose ingenuity and enthusiasm
thus far has been unquestionable.

I suspect that
the Paulites (or my favorite, the Ronulans) will endure.
Similarly to how they reacted to other attempts by the establishment
media to ignore them or impugn their character or intelligence,
Ronulans, of which I am one, will take these questionable results
as another direct challenge to their identity and will mobilize
accordingly.

That identity,
though diverse, is unquestionably galvanized by a few common issues
that won't be extinguished by success or failure in the primaries.
Yes, Ron Paul voters repudiate the war in Iraq as unconstitutional
and illegal, but they also repudiate everything else about
the direction that Bush and the neocons have taken us these last
few years — the domestic surveillance, the torture, the Patriot
Act, the efforts to label dissenters “unlawful combatants,” and
so on.

That won't
go away. This is the same general sentiment that began to swell
in 2004, for Howard Dean, and then re-emerged in the 2006 mid-terms,
when the Dems retook
Congress. The cause of this revolution was not the emergence of
Ron Paul. Rather, Ron Paul's emergence is only a symptom of
a much larger cause.

Typical Republicans
have their choice of warmongering neocons in the other top-five
Republican candidates. Each and every one of those candidates promises
no fundamental change: the Iraq War will drip on, they'll
continue to expand government in the name of chasing ghosts, and
the citizens will be expected to ignore and tolerate increasing
amounts of abuse by the ever-more-militarized domestic police state.

But not for
us. We are the remnant.
As long as we cherish the idea of not having to present our papers
to every steroid-infused municipal law officer who demands it; as
long as we cherish the idea that the government is the slave to
the people and not the other way around; as long as we cherish the
idea that we have a right to be left alone, and are willing
to argue for it — the revolution lives on in us.

This revolution
is against the bankrupting, coercive effects of empire, socialism,
and pre-emptive war. This revolution is against the moral
degradation of the emerging police state, anti-homeschooling legislation,
and compulsory vaccinations. This revolution is against fiat
currency, managed trade, and global governance.

This revolution
is not defined by the political fortunes of a single candidate,
as galvanizing and inspiring as he
is — especially given the fact that the establishment that this
revolution threatens remains firmly in control of the levers and
dials of the pollsters and the voting machines.

This revolution
is against the notion that the state is inherently benevolent.

This revolution
is for liberty.

Ron Paul is
our leader, but he's the first to admit that he's not our savior.
No matter what happens to his candidacy, this revolution lives on
in each of us who've felt something special, a quickening over the
course of this campaign. As he says, "the message of liberty
is popular." We will continue to preach it regardless.

Dare dismiss
our movement and tell us that this revolution is over,
pundits, and not only will you reveal a profound lack of perception,
but we'll also discern your motives. The days of us waiting on you
for word of what's happening in front of our eyes are over.

From this point
forward, we follow our eyes, our ears, and our hearts.

Fear not, for
though it may not be televised, it's coming to a billboard near
you.

Fear not, friends,
for the revolution is still at hand.

January
12, 2008

Dave
Trotter [send him mail]
is a technical writer in Atlanta, Georgia.

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