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The Ron Paul Factor (Why he's surging even as others are stagnant or stumbling)
National Review ^ | 12/06/2011 | Robert Costa

Posted on 12/06/2011 7:14:19 AM PST by SeekAndFind

Rep. Ron Paul rarely makes news, and his candidacy is frequently ignored by Beltway reporters. But headlines, his aides say, are overrated. In fact, the Texas Republican’s low-key autumn was strategic. As Paul’s competitors stumbled and sparred, he amassed a small fortune for his campaign and built a strong ground operation. And with January fast approaching, his team is ready to surprise the political world and sweep the Iowa caucuses.

“This was a movement when he first started running in 2008,” says Trygve Olson, a senior Paul adviser. “Now it’s turned into a highly professionalized campaign, but the energy from that last run is still there, and at the heart of what’s keeping up his momentum.”

The latest polls back up that confidence. In the influential Des Moines Register poll published over the weekend, Paul placed second. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, captured 25 percent of likely Iowa GOP voters, but Paul garnered 18 percent, two points ahead of Mitt Romney, who in 2008 placed second in the caucuses.

If Paul wins Iowa, the upset could upend what many politicos say is a two-man race between Gingrich and Romney. According to state GOP insiders, a Paul victory is a real possibility. In background conversations, many say Paul is much stronger than outside observers believe, with deep and wide support among a frustrated electorate. With Herman Cain’s departure from the race, operatives see Paul potentially collecting a quarter of caucus attendees.

“Ron Paul is definitely for real out here,” says Tim Albrecht, the communications director for Iowa governor Terry Branstad, who has not endorsed any GOP candidate. “He is going to get 18 percent in the caucuses no matter what. If there’s a snowstorm, he’ll probably win, since he has such dedicated, passionate supporters. The question is whether he can move higher than that.”

Paul, for his part, thinks that he can close in on Gingrich, who has seen a recent bump in both state and national polls. “We’re getting pretty close to it being within the margin of error,” Paul told CNN on Sunday. “I think we continue to do what we’re doing. We’ve had the flavors of the month up and down so far this campaign. I’d like to think of myself as the flavor of the decade.”

Indeed, Paul’s consistency, his strategists say, is integral to his strength, especially in Iowa, where GOP voters have shuffled through an array of favorites. “Iowans, after testing Bachmann, after testing Perry, after testing Cain, and now Gingrich, are realizing that Ron Paul, all along, has been their candidate,” says Fritz Wenzel, Paul’s pollster. Unlike many primary fights, “this is becoming a race about principles,” he says, “and Ron Paul has stood up for true conservative principles for decades, not just in the last month.”

But campaign strategy, of course, has also played a major role in sustaining Paul’s poll numbers. The campaign combines a strong online presence, centered on volunteer organization, with prolific fundraising. Perhaps more important, however, is Paul’s “traditional” strategy in Iowa, which combines a heavy candidate presence with constant mailings and outreach.

“He’s run the most traditional caucus campaign of the year,” Albrecht says. “Multiple mailers, multiple ads, and multiple visits. Rick Perry has run ads, but hasn’t really visited. Mitt Romney has taken the shy approach, and Newt Gingrich hasn’t been here as often.”

“We’re following the traditional model because it works,” says Drew Ivers, the campaign’s Iowa chairman. “This is the fifth time I’ve chaired an Iowa campaign, and in this state, you can’t beat grassroots politics. The caucuses are like a business meeting. You don’t just come and vote; you go to participate. You need committed supporters; we have them.”

Steve Grubbs, who recently worked as Herman Cain’s Iowa director, has seen the enthusiasm for Paul up close. “I was driving down Interstate 80 two weeks ago and saw a hitchhiker carrying a Ron Paul sign. I didn’t pick him up, but I’m sure a Paul supporter gave him a ride,” he says. “I spot them everywhere, wearing their T-shirts and carrying signs.”

You’ll also find thousands of Ron Paul backers on the web — on message boards and on social-networking sites — talking about Paul and his criticism of U.S. foreign policy and the Federal Reserve. As Paul’s team invests in the ground game, it is taking care to intertwine its above-ground legwork with that web world. And it’s paying off, his advisers say, not only through donations, but in building a cohesive network of voters. An early example of its power came in August, when Paul nearly won the Ames straw poll, finishing a close second to Michele Bachmann.

“Ron Paul’s Internet operation is to Republicans in 2012 what Barack Obama’s Internet operation was to Democrats in 2007 and 2008,” Olson says. “It’s very grassroots and national, with thousands of very active supporters who spread the message in every state. That energy is the undercurrent to what’s happening on the ground, where people are going person to person.”

Still, even with the top-tier showing in Iowa polls and recognition by Iowa operatives of their on-the-ground prowess, Paul’s advisers aren’t taking anything for granted. In coming weeks, “Ron Paul is going to be living part-time in Iowa,” says Dimitri Kesari, Paul’s deputy campaign manager. The entire focus will be on coordinating turnout and stoking enthusiasm. Over 500 college students, for example, will move to Iowa over the holidays to participate in an initiative called “Christmas Vacation with Ron Paul.”

“He’s a different kind of candidate,” Kesari acknowledges, a “highly organized outsider.” But in January, he could also be a winner. And Iowans, at least, wouldn’t be surprised.

— Robert Costa is a political reporter for National Review.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: libertarian; libertarianism; ronpaul
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1 posted on 12/06/2011 7:14:22 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Looks like the OMB (occupy mom’s basement) crowd is getting spunky again.

Lay off the sugar and pot kids...

2 posted on 12/06/2011 7:20:57 AM PST by ejonesie22 (8/30/10, the day Truth won.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Better him than his old man... and I do mean old.

3 posted on 12/06/2011 7:21:31 AM PST by Thorliveshere
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To: Thorliveshere

Whoops.. I was thinking Rand, not Ron. Sorry! Strike that.

4 posted on 12/06/2011 7:22:17 AM PST by Thorliveshere
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To: SeekAndFind

Dr Paul is the only choice both 2008 and 2012!

Are there sufficient real Americans (vice AINOs) who will vote for him whether or not they they think he will win?
Not likely!
Not This Marine!

For the majority...the football mentality prevails in all things...

Do the right thing regardless of outcome.

Semper Watching!

5 posted on 12/06/2011 7:25:35 AM PST by gunnyg ("A Constitution changed from Freedom, can never be restored; Liberty, once lost, is lost forever...)
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To: SeekAndFind

When you come upon a crackpot ranting on a city street corner there are two common reactions; cross the street so you don’t even get near the kook or walk briskly by and make no eye contact. Paul is as unelectable as his Democrat crackpot buddy Kuchinich.

6 posted on 12/06/2011 7:27:48 AM PST by Proud2BeRight
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To: SeekAndFind

If he is surging, probably mostly because he sticks with his message - does pay off in the long run.

Folks do get tired of hopping from one who flip flops to one who has baggage to one who (name condition)...etc...on top of getting jerked by the media.

If there is one thing different this time around that really stands out:

The video ads. Whoever he brought on board to make those ads really knows what the hell they’re doing. Those ads, especially the last 3 have been very very effective.

I wonder who that the person is...


7 posted on 12/06/2011 7:28:29 AM PST by =8 mrrabbit 8=
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To: gunnyg

Other than RP and Bachmann - the rest are not trustworthy.

8 posted on 12/06/2011 7:28:38 AM PST by GlockThe Vote (The Obama Adminstration: 2nd wave of attacks on America after 9/11)
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To: SeekAndFind
Stopped reading after the first statement: Rep. Ron Paul rarely makes news

Are you kidding me? He is on every nightly news cast, in every paper, on every radio news broadcast........with the constant refrain "nobody gives me a chance". Really the man never shuts up.

9 posted on 12/06/2011 7:30:52 AM PST by svcw (God's Grace - thank you!)
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To: SeekAndFind
I am not a Paul loather.

OTOH, I think he is senile.

What does it say about the state of our society if an obviously senile old man becoming president is within the realm of possibility?

10 posted on 12/06/2011 7:33:05 AM PST by Tribune7 (Perry or Santorum)
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To: SeekAndFind

Paul and all his 911 truther buddies can go straight to hell.

84 posted on Monday, December 05, 2011 2:26:00 AM by Jim Robinson

I wouldn't be so kind.

11 posted on 12/06/2011 7:33:06 AM PST by McGruff (Hold the House, retake the Senate.)
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To: Proud2BeRight

12 posted on 12/06/2011 7:34:42 AM PST by Right Brother
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To: SeekAndFind

I really like Ron Paul’s positions on domestic issues but he seems hopelessly naive in the area of foreign policy. I can accept his argument that we cannot afford all of these foreign wars. That’s fair. But, unfortunately, he goes beyond that to argue that, for example, Iran really represents no real threat to the U.S. I don’t believe that.

So I think it is his foreign views that ultimately dooms a Ron Paul candidacy for president. OTOH, he could win in Iowa and that would certainly mix things up. It would hurt Newt some. It would simply kill Bachmann and Santorum. It would be a bit of a blow to Romney.

Why do I think he could win: Organization and the absolute fanatical support he has from his followers. I think that will cut some points off the polling lead that Gingrich is currently holding. 25% for Newt to 18% for Ron Paul is not enough of a margin to guarantee a Gingrich victory, once again IMHO.

We will know the answer soon.

13 posted on 12/06/2011 7:35:41 AM PST by InterceptPoint
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To: GlockThe Vote

I would say that the pervert Paul is not trustworthy. How else do you explain his vote to force homosexuality on our troops in the military. Many had already suspected him to be anti-military and then he goes and proves them right. There is nothing traditional, conservative or Constitutional about his position on this issue. Tie that in with the many other positions of his that seem downright in line with the anti-American group Code Pink and there is no way that you can trust the pervert Paul. Paul seems to prefer defending our enemies more so then America’s allies.

14 posted on 12/06/2011 7:38:50 AM PST by TheBigIf
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To: Tribune7

RE: OTOH, I think he is senile.

If this is true, then he’s been senile for over 30 years. If there is anything to Ron Paul’s message, it is CONSISTENCY ( right or wrong ).

15 posted on 12/06/2011 7:39:16 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

vacillating up and down in the polls is not surging... when someone drops out, more voters for the rest... surging would be like moving up, challenging second place then first place. Ain’t-a-gunn-a-happen, see it and weep...

16 posted on 12/06/2011 7:43:47 AM PST by dps.inspect (the system is rigged...)
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To: TheBigIf

hhhhmmmm - who else but paul and perry actually served in the military?

17 posted on 12/06/2011 7:44:53 AM PST by GlockThe Vote (The Obama Adminstration: 2nd wave of attacks on America after 9/11)
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To: GlockThe Vote

So that gives him a pass to vote for policy that is destructive to our military and that violates the rights of every man and woman serving? Seems as if you are so into Paul that you will even defend Ron Paul’s position that are perverse.

18 posted on 12/06/2011 7:48:08 AM PST by TheBigIf
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To: TheBigIf

I like him better than Romney and Newt. Thats for sure.

19 posted on 12/06/2011 7:51:15 AM PST by GlockThe Vote (The Obama Adminstration: 2nd wave of attacks on America after 9/11)
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To: GlockThe Vote

Paul trust worthy on what? The defense of the USA - nope
Paul trusty worthy on blaming the USA for 9/11 - nope
Paul trust worthy on alliances with alias - nope
Paul trust worthy on making excuses for the worlds terrorists - nope
Paul trust worthy on promoting a PC military - nope
What again is he trust worthy on?

20 posted on 12/06/2011 7:52:17 AM PST by svcw (God's Grace - thank you!)
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