Ron Paul Enthusiasm and the Traditional Republican

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"Why are
you folks so dedicated?"

The man who
asked that question was genuinely puzzled. There I was, tired after
the Citrus Bowl with my six-year-old by me, waiving a sign
for Ron Paul.

I hadn't planned
to do that. I had planned to just go to the game, but the Ron Paul
supporters were out in force, we had time, and they had signs to
spare. That seems to be the story of the Ron Paul campaign, people
pitching in spontaneously when they see something needs to be done.

I thought about
this grassroots dedication for days after my brief exchange with
this man. Ron Paul supporters have a reputation of being extremely
dedicated. The fevered swamps of online blogs like Red State
and others even have pet names like u2018Ronulian' to denote
the sign waiving, rabid Ron Paul partisans that they claim drink
Kool Aid for breakfast and think Dr. Paul is the new Messiah.

That's all
hogwash of course, but it is true that in any Republican gathering,
online or off, the Ron Paul supporters will stick out for the intensity
of their devotion. They literally seem like living people in a room
full of Dawn-of-the-Dead extras.

To understand
why this is, let's examine what Republicans at the grassroots level
actually say they want. By and large, most Republicans want lower
taxes, a secure border, an end to Roe v. Wade, restoration
of more sovereignty to the states, less government, more freedom,
and the return of fiscal sanity. Some Republicans want to stay in
Iraq forever, others leave it, some chart some middle ground where
we stay for now and then leave later.

But the composition
of this wish list/Republican Party platform is exactly where the
rub lies with this current election from the Republican standpoint.
While average Republicans may back McCain or Romney or Huckabee,
they are well aware that their guys will do less than nothing to
turn any of those goals listed above into reality. Other than continuing
to bleed money into Iraq, most average Republicans are too cynical
to expect that their horse will enact anything like a conservative
agenda upon getting into the Oval office.

After all,
most of these Republican voters threw ballots for GWB in 2000 thinking
they were getting the opposite of Bill Clinton, only to discover
that they had elected his policy heir apparent where nation-building
was concerned.

So the average
Republican may be backing a guy, or might like a guy, but in reality
he looks at this chosen candidate with a mixture of cynicism and
contempt. Which is why the polls are so fluid. Most Republicans
have more allegiance to their favorite brand of Peanut Butter than
to their chosen presidential candidate. They see more difference
in the choice between Jiff and Peter Pan than between
Mitt Romney and John McCain. Which is why the choice of the moment
often turns on inconsequential non-policy factors like John McCain
being a former POW or Mitt Romney being presidential-looking.

better than Hillary," is about all the consolation disaffected
Republicans can afford themselves as they slouch off to the polls
to vote for their guy. All the while, convinced that they are going
to get ever-larger government, higher deficits, more lost jobs,
higher oil prices, more rules, and more regulations for their trouble.

No wonder that
in such a dejected and angry bunch, the Ron Paul supporters stick
out. The Ron Paul supporters know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that
things will be different if their candidate wins the presidency.
They have complete confidence that Dr. Paul will indeed restore
Constitutional government, sound fiscal policy, and a rational defense
policy that emphasizes the security of America first rather than
that of foreign nations.

The Ron Paul
campaign is the campaign that millions of angry, disaffected, and
disheartened conservatives have waited decades to see. The problem
is that these voters have been damaged by decades of lies and deceit.
They have no idea that any candidate could possibly be worth getting
excited over.

They look at
a bunch of young, happy, exuberant people holding signs and campaigning
for one man and they immediately associate them with some kind of
cult. Ron Paul supporters must, the thinking goes, surely be nuts
because everyone knows that all politicians are lying snakes
in the grass. They must be drinking the Kool Aid. They must be off-their-meds.
No other explanation could be possible.

on over," the grizzled Republicans call, "Join the Huckaboom
and be as lukewarm and unsatisfied as the rest of us! That's the
normal thing to do!"

The heart of
the Republican Party contains a lot of good, wholesome people, who
have lost hope. The enthusiasm generated by Ron Paul inspires some
of them, but many others are positively frightened by it. They look
at the intense support for Ron Paul, and see something nefarious
at work.

voters want change. They believed in the Republican Party platforms
of years gone by. But many now don't believe that the return to
Constitutional governance Ron Paul espouses is even possible.
They can't dare to dream anymore, after all the betrayals of past
Republican presidencies. And they look askance at anyone who dares
to do so.

But to win
this election, Ron Paul supporters have to break these traditional
Republicans out of their malaise. This is possible, but it has to
be done gently. Be polite, be firm, be enthusiastic but be professional.
Your enthusiasm will pique the interest of those around you, but
overplayed it makes many of them nervous.

Ron Paul doesn't
need nerves, he needs votes.

If we can get
burned-out Republicans to believe that Constitutional government
is possible, then we can change this country for the better. It's
a historic time we live in, let's not have to tell our kids and
grandkids that we had the chance to fix things, but we just didn't
get it right.

16, 2008

Chancy [send him mail]
is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Political
Science, and a certificate in Eastern European Studies. A former
University lecturer in Poland, he currently holds an MBA in Finance
and works in Orlando, Florida as a business analyst for an international
software developer.

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