Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Internet hearts Ron Paul

According the front page of the Saturday Post, Ron Paul is making a big splash on the Internet:

On Technorati, which offers a real-time glimpse of the blogosphere, the most frequently searched term this week was "YouTube."

Then comes "Ron Paul."

The presence of the obscure Republican congressman from Texas on a list that includes terms such as "Sopranos," "Paris Hilton" and "iPhone" is a sign of the online buzz building around the long-shot Republican presidential hopeful -- even as mainstream political pundits have written him off.

Rep. Ron Paul is more popular on Facebook than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). He's got more friends on MySpace than former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. His MeetUp groups, with 11,924 members in 279 cities, are the biggest in the Republican field. And his official YouTube videos, including clips of his three debate appearances, have been viewed nearly 1.1 million times -- more than those of any other candidate, Republican or Democrat, except Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).


But while many Democrats have welcomed the young and fresh-faced Obama, who's trailing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in most public opinion polls, Paul is barely making a dent in the Republican polls.

Republican strategists point out that libertarians, who make up a small but vocal portion of the Republican base, intrinsically gravitate toward the Web's anything-goes, leave-me-alone nature. They also say that his Web presence proves that the Internet can be a great equalizer in the race, giving a much-needed boost to a fringe candidate with little money and only a shadow of the campaign staffs marshaled by Romney, McCain and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

lol. That reminds me, I'm hosting a MeetUp meeting at my rustic log cabin/militia compound in Winchester this weekend...

No, seriously, Ron Paul has long been the golden boy of the Republican (and Democratic) libertarians. The only problem is that the libertarian population is relative small relative to other ideological groups -- just check out this handy Pew Center report on popular ideologies done last year. Whereas liberals, conservatives and populists each represent at least 15% percent of the population, libertarians only register around 10%.

This has lead to endless debate in the libertarian camp about winning strategies. Traditionally, the Libertarian Party and libertarians among the Dems and Republicans have chosen to gather around a handful of candidates with libertarian views. Young, Internet-savvy libertarians have been taking a different approach by actively trying to sell the libertarian ethos to the 40% of America that registers as ideologically ambivalent. Just look at the Freedom Democrats, a group of 20 and 30-something libertarians who identify with the Democratic Party. Ron Paul has been their patron saint for years and they spend a good deal of time arguing with the folks over at dKos about the ills of populism and protectionism.

1 comment:

anonymous snowboarder said...

Sadly I found out about the RP meetup before Colbert too late but there will be more :) I've already done a youtube video for him, about 90 minutes of my time and 89 more than I've given any candidate since RR. Sure it would be great if he won but the reality is his campaign is best positioned to drive the Republican party back to ideals it used to hold. Did you notice at the last debate a softening of the "surge forever" speak at the first two debates? And now Gilmore writes an op-ed which, while not a withdrawal, is not a surge.

While we all of course hope for the best in Iraq, if things continue more or less as they are or worsen Paul may see some traction come end of Sept. Lets see if some of these rumors of $3-5 mio raised in the current quarter come true.