Researching Ron Paul
Over the last two days, my blog, which averages 74 readers a day normally, 90+/day or so when an A-list blogger
bothers to link back - got over 6450 unique readers, according to google's adsense report, primarily through links from Lew Rockwell's blog
, technorati searches for Ron Paul
, and google searches
I am publishing this data because they are the closest thing to an accurate poll of readership and interest that I can assemble and a hell of a lot more accurate than any other self selecting poll I can think of. I did some further analysis to see where in the US the readership came from, here
My reaction? Wow. People are really motivated about Ron Paul. I got over 30 comments on my reluctant conversion
, and some good points were made. I didn't know about how the Interstate superhighway system came to be, for example, and I got a steer to some excellent reading material.
Few stayed long enough on my blog to read anything else (roughly 1 in 4 clicked on another link). I still hope that I could get people on all sides of the issues to put away their axes and try to come up with constructive answers to my top 10 questions for America
, but I'll keep plugging away at that, on my own, I guess.
Also I now have a little more sympathy for the redstaters (not a lot!) who have tired of the violent debates taking place in their living room. If this is the kind of welcome a typical new Ron Paul convert can expect
, it's going to be a massive uphill climb for his supporters. Then again, several responses to my simple question about deficit spending on redstate did not make me feel particularly warm and fuzzy about that crowd either
Probably the most comprehensive, well researched and heavily linked 4 pieces about Ron Paul's negatives that I know of was published at the Daily Kos (1
I'm still working through those articles. There are some potentially good points made, but far more research and thought is required on my part before coming to a conclusion. I'm still reading. I for sure don't think Ron Paul is doing himself a disservice by ignoring this sort of stuff.
The Kos author certainly wears his biases on his sleeve. As the fence sitter I am, I would be better persuaded by reading a piece with less adverbs and adjectives and more facts.
People of any political persuasion that use dialectic of "left vs right" or "far left and far right", lose me every time. I would really, really, really like to convince people that are trying to argue coherently about politics to frame their arguments in terms of the Pournelle Chart
or something similar.
The Kos series depends heavily on descriptions of the content of a copy of a newsletter called the “Ron Paul Survival Report”, during 1993, which Paul claims he did not write. In particular, some racially insensitive comments about Rodney King
in that newsletter offended many.
It would be good for the truth if somebody out there, on any side, would actually go and photocopy more of these newsletters and put them up on the web. According to
At least one issue is preserved at the university of Wisconsin
. Maybe more copies survive.
The Kos also relied heavily on an interview with Paul published in the October, 2001 issue of the Texas Monthly
. It's behind a paywall. I invested 12 bucks in a subscription, and read that article on Dr No
for myself. It was 12 bucks well spent. I also emailed the author of the piece and asked him to remove the paywall. The full content of Paul's statements on this matter were:
In spite of calls from Gary Bledsoe, the president of the Texas State Conference of the NAACP, and other civil rights leaders for an apology for such obvious racial typecasting, Paul stood his ground. He said only that his remarks about Barbara Jordan related to her stands on affirmative action and that his written comments about blacks were in the context of "current events and statistical reports of the time." He denied any racist intent. What made the statements in the publication even more puzzling was that, in four terms as a U. S. congressman and one presidential race, Paul had never uttered anything remotely like this.
When I ask him why, he pauses for a moment, then says, "I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren't really written by me. It wasn't my language at all. Other people help me with my newsletter as I travel around. I think the one on Barbara Jordan was the saddest thing, because Barbara and I served together and actually she was a delightful lady." Paul says that item ended up there because "we wanted to do something on affirmative action, and it ended up in the newsletter and became personalized. I never personalize anything."
Some quotes from that article the kos author omitted are:
Back in his quiet, high-ceilinged office in the Capitol, the dreaded Dr. No turns out to be something different from the gun-toting, fire-breathing, right-wing militia nut his opponents would have you believe he is. Instead of a libertarian Genghis Khan, I am talking to a friendly, slender man with graying hair, wearing a standard-issue chalk-stripe suit. He would strike you as a kindly, crinkle-eyed, slightly absentminded family doctor, direct from central casting. In fact, he is a doctor, a prominent obstetrician in Brazoria County who has delivered four thousand babies, a good portion of those while serving as a congressman. He is answering, in a patient and good-natured way, a question asking if he thinks the federal government has become too powerful.
"I think it's a police state that is absolutely out of control," he says placidly, eating a modest lunch of canned soup and a white-bread sandwich at his desk. "We have eighty-three thousand federal officials carrying guns. Every regulation that is made, every federal law that is written, is done with the idea that there is a gun waiting right there to enforce it. If you don't pay your taxes or follow the regulation or use your land exactly as they tell you to, if you cut down a tree you're not supposed to or fill in a ditch, a gun will come and take your money, take your land, or put you in jail. Everything that is done up here is based on a gun. It's an armed state. It has gotten so big already, it's going to be hard to stop." He pauses, then smiles and says, "You know, I'm for gun control. I want to get the guns out of the hands of the bureaucrats."
What launched Paul into politics were two distinctly un-Misean actions taken by President Richard Nixon in 1971: He intervened massively in the U.S. economy by establishing wage and price controls, and he took the country off the gold standard. For Paul, these actions were unthinkable exercises of federal power. We all have our moments of clarity. His epiphany came on August 15, 1971. "I remember the day very clearly," he says. "Nixon closed the gold window, which meant admitting that we could no longer meet our commitments and that there would be no more backing of the dollar. After that day, all money would be political money rather than money of real value. I was astounded."
For reasons that even he cannot quite explain, in 1987 Ron Paul became the Libertarian party's candidate for president of the United States. Though his positions on most issues are identical to those of the Libertarians (abortion being the main exception), Paul admits that this was a strange, almost Sisyphean move, considering his prospects for victory. "I probably invested close to a year," he says. "It was a lot of time and effort. Sometimes I had some ambivalence about how productive it was."As it turned out, it was hugely productive but not in ways that Paul could see then. Though he got less than one percent of the vote in the 1988 presidential election, he managed to unite a vast network of true believers—not only staunch Libertarians, but also anti-gun control folks, fiscal conservatives, home-schoolers, right-to-lifers, school prayer advocates, isolationists, and people who generally felt that the U.S. government was veering out of control. Their financial support would become a key factor in Paul's return to congressional politics.
Labels: election 2008, online polling, red state, Ron Paul