My close friend and I have an ongoing discussion in regards to Ron Paul that has been going on for weeks now. I lean towards hating Ron Paul while Ryan, a longtime opponent to the mainstream media & our two-party political system, leans toward supporting any third party candidate who stands a chance of bucking the system (Ryan: I hope that accurately describes you).
My original hate of Ron Paul stems from the fact that his fanatical psycho supporters tend to spam a lot of the sites I read with their propaganda-like drivel. This has led me to pull my hair out wishing there was a way to apply a filter to my Digg RSS feed to filter our any and all Ron Paul stories. The closer we get to the primaries, the more they tend to spam Digg. I'm thoroughly convinced, despite his fund raising numbers, that his real supporters are much much lower in numbers than most people thing as they tend to use technological means to drum up support. If you go to ANY Ron Paul thread on Digg, the first time you say anything remotely in opposition to the topic, your name will have -50 Diggs next to it within 2 minutes. If you go to an Apple article and say something anti-apple it may take several hours to build up the same amount of negative Diggs. Something is fishy here.
After the Ron Paul spam spread from Digg, to Reddit, to Fark, to Youtube, to Facebook, to the comments section of DailyKOS, ThinkProgress, Wonkette, DCist...I could go on and on and on....I became sick of it. While I LOVE social networking I recognize the vast majority of the US voting population don't hang out on Digg all day. What do these loons things they're accomplishing? If their story gets 500 Diggs do they think Ron Paul is going to win the Republican primary? Sigh.
Fundraising. Many say that - well yes, Ron Paul is not doing very well in the polls but, He's raised so much money! Yes, Virginia, that's nice. But how did he do that? His supporters aren't supporters. That's not a strong enough word. Try fanatics. Lets face it, Paul "fans" are not your typical supporter. Money you say? What about it? Paul has raised a whole $18 million. Now that is a lot more than I will ever see, but it’s not much in a Presidential race. Clinton is over $80 million, Obama is over $60 million, Giuliani is in the $40 million range, you get the idea. Most of Paul's money is from online. Not from supporters sending in checks from direct mailings or donations to the campaign offices. It’s all from on line. Credit cards.
Paul has tapped something, and that is the willingness of fanatics to go into debt. I’ve read three stories lately about Paul supporters doing crazy things to support him. Quitting jobs, taking out loans to paint their van up, buying a thousand copies of Paul’s books on Amazon, or maxing out their credit cards. They are doing what Paul says he does not want the government to do, take on debt. (what hypocrites it politics? Say it is not so!)
These people have raised $18 million by barrowing on next years income. They can’t keep it up. If you visit www.ronpaulgraphs.com you will see they are not. They got to $10 million in two months, and now they are not giving like they use to. 250 donations a day for the last week now. Down from the almost 2,000 a day in November. They are not getting new people. It’s the same people giving day after day. They are fast reaching their max contributions (they would have if the limit was still the more reasonable $1,000).
Some have argued that donations are down this last week because of the "big event" on the 15th, (sorry, that is Kucinich’s event www.december152007.com) I mean the Sunday tea party. To which I argue, if you only have money to give on one day, you don’t have the money to give through the entire campaign.
The whole "Sunday Tea Party" thing is going to be another example of how small Paul’s support really is. His first event got 38,000 donors (5th Nov). His next event got 700 (30 Nov). If you look at the graph page, you can see one for the 16th. If you look at the line, it’s on track for 38,000. Other than a small bump at the start as they got out. I bet that they will draw another large chunk of credit card debt in with this one too. But it will be about the same amount as before. Paul has about 60,000 supporters. He got 38,000 to give on one day. He may show more than 100,000 in records, but most of those are one time givers. When they find out what he supports they don’t donate again.
Take Barry Manilow, he gave to Paul and to every other anti-war candidate out there. He has not done anything else for him. Many of Paul’s donors are the same, they are against the war, they are supporting the message that the war needs to end. They want to see it talked about and give to those who do. But being against the war is not enough to keep getting money when your against basic human rights like health care. Or they are like the Storm Front guys, one donation to get in the press, but not another dime after that.
Paul is going to get money, and lots more than he should with his policies. He is not getting it from a wide base of supporters though. Instead its from a very small number of fanatics. He is not a threat because his campaign has no staff of note, no plan, the fans are out their with no direction going all over with no plan, heck they are buying a blimp! Instead of supporting the campaign with those funds. Every fan has ideas that draw away money from the campaign every day and with out a staff to direct them they throw money at it.
Every dime they don’t give to the campaign is less that can be used to build spin on the Paul campaign. Paul’s "fans" are going to cause their own implosion, they have about one more "big day", before they start pulling in 60,000 different directions with 60,000 plans.
I don't worry about Paul and his "fans". They are not going to hurt any progressive candidate. What irks me is that they wont get out of my face. The main reason I dislike evangelical Christians is they wont leave me alone. They try to impose their beliefs onto me & everyone around them. Ron Paul's supporters seem very much like this. Keep track of them if you, like me, love a great laugh. Come on, a blimp! And they are having problems collecting some of the donations that were pledged. If their Tea Party next Sunday gets more than $5 million I'll be slightly surprised. What I really look forward to though? The day the Republican primaries are over so the Republicans can finally pick either Guliani, Romney, or Huckabee(who will lose to either Hilary, Obama, or Edwards) - maybe then the RP fanatics will go away & I can have some peace again when I read my feeds in Google Reader.