• 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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