Paul… is not only drawing impressive crowds (more than 2,000 at a postdebate rally at the University of Michigan last month) but also raising tons of cash. In the third quarter of 2007, Paul took in $5.3 million (just slightly less than GOP rival John McCain), mostly in small, individual donations. On Oct. 22, he aired his first TV ads, $1.1 million worth in New Hampshire.
The numbers are even more impressive considering that as of early October, 72% of GOP voters told Gallup pollsters they didn’t know enough about Paul to form an opinion.
I’ll say it again—insisting that Ron Paul supporters are liberals in disguise, as members of the right are doing, is a particularly pathetic blend of paranoia and denial, and it’s only going come back to bite them in the rear. There is something real about Ron Paul (maybe it’s the fact that Paul, as Frank Luntz says, is the candidate “the most likely to look at the camera during the debates and say, ‘Hey, Washington, f____ you.'”) that has tapped into the energy and enthusiasm of a bunch of voters that are internet-savvy, willing to donate, and politically educated. That’s a group Republicans ought to be courting, not ostracizing.
And here’s a fun Ron Paul anecdote from the Time article. “On Tuesday, both Paul and Tom Cruise were guests on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The actor went to Paul’s dressing room to thank him for his work on a bill fighting the forced mental screening of grade-school kids. “Go. Go. Go. Go hard,” Cruise said. Paul turned to an aide and asked, “What movies has he been in?””
Update: More on Paul in Iowa.