Spontaneous order strikes again. $6 million for Ron Paul in one day, once again organized independently of the campaign. Not a lot of establishment media coverage this time, at least compared with the “money bomb” of November 5. I suspect the thinking goes something like this: “So they broke their own fundraising record again. Tell me something new. Tell me when they break into double digits in the polls.”
One of the beneficial side effects of a successful Paul campaign will be the terminal discrediting of polling data that relies on 1) input from previous primary voters and 2) input from users of landline telephones. If we’re really lucky, the polling data will be just as out of whack as in the earliest days of landline phone polling – when one notorious survey predicted Alf Landon would unseat FDR in 1936.
Imagine that – a world in which there was no simple, reliable way to determine what the mob was thinking.
The really phenomenal numbers from yesterday are these: 59,170 donors contributing an average $102. And nearly half of them are first-time contributors. I haven’t done the research, but I suspect no other campaign can come close to claiming an average donation level this small. Paul ought to start hammering away at this both in interviews and on the stump – that he’s the man of the people, beholden to no special interests that “bundle” $2300 maximum donations in hopes of collecting favors once he’s elected.
The next big thing for the campaign is an interview next Sunday on Meet the Press. Not sure what to think here – on the one hand, it’ll be two days before Christmas. Will anyone pay attention? On the other hand, it’ll be 11 days till Iowa and 16 days till New Hampshire. So maybe people will pay attention.
True or not, the perception is that Meet the Press interviews have a make-it-or-break-it quality for presidential campaigns. Generalissimo Giuliani's interview last week certainly did nothing to arrest his steady implosion of late. So please excuse me for harping on an ongoing theme here, but Paul needs to be ready for this. I mean, really ready, in a way he doesn’t always seem in the debates. I hope he and Jesse Benton and some other folks in his inner circle are spending part of this week trying to anticipate what quotes from his past Tim Russert will show as on-screen graphics, challenging him to defend or disavow them. ‘Cause you know it’s gonna happen.
Will it be the racist stuff that was ghostwritten for him without his knowledge 15-odd years ago? (Somehow I doubt it; he’s already beaten that down pretty effectively elsewhere.) Will it be something about the North American Union? (Let’s hope he puts together a more coherent response than he did in the YouTube debate.)
Or will he be challenged to give the donation from that white supremacist dude to charity? On this score, his campaign has already come up with a pretty good response: Anyone’s welcome to donate, and if this guy thinks Ron Paul will pursue a white supremacist agenda in office, he’ll be sorely disappointed. A more vigorous response was suggested by someone at Lew Rockwell a couple of weeks back: Paul will give the donation to charity as soon as his opponents do the same with their donations from the investment bankers wrecking the economy and the defense contractors profiting from an illegal war in Iraq.
A little preparation will go a long way.
Meanwhile, some other interesting dynamics are shaping up elsewhere in the race for president. Napoleon McCain is being encouraged to make an independent run now that he's won the endorsement of Holy Joe Lieberman. (You can absolutely count on a McCain "Bull Moose" run with Paul pulling off the seemingly impossible and winning the GOP nomination among a fractured field.) And Forbes reports that New York mayor Michael Bloomberg will probably launch his own independent run sometime in February.
If all this comes about, this will surely be the first time since 1948 that four presidential candidates have each won at least 3% of the popular vote — a situation that led to the infamous Chicago Tribune "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline. Only this time, all four candidates would be likely to garner a significantly higher percentage than Strom Thurmond and Henry Wallace did in '48. The possibilities are nearly endless — and heartening for Ron Paul's revolutionaries.