• 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
    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

    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.

    20, 2007

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

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