There are various identifiable phases to any political campaign. But for our analysis of the progress of the Presidential candidacy of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, we will simplify that identification into the two most critical: (1) Setting up an organizational structure; and (2) Winning public support. While activities in each phase will overlap, the first must tend to precede the second. Understanding this is essential to an appreciation of the really impressive achievements of Dr. Paul, up to now. While much of the media, as well as most of the other Presidential candidates appear not to comprehend, we will clarify our point. It is not conceptually complicated, whether it is overlooked by connivance or confusion--whether with malicious intent, or due to one or more of the various aspects of that befuddlement so prevalent in contemporary American politics.
For background, the reader might consider the much shorter time frames allotted to General election campaigns in other advanced nations. Most of the world does not find it necessary to indulge or engage in scheduled campaigns that extend for more than a year. Indeed, the very notion tends to raise eyebrows across the ocean. Of course, what neither Europe nor Japan is likely to fully grasp is an enduring reality of American politics: Our political parties are largely undisciplined aggregations of people drawn together for a great variety of individual motivations--some ideological, some social, some merely habitual. The endless campaign is, first of all, a sorting out process. And while that, even from the start, involves some of what we have identified as the Second Phase of a campaign, the primary initial concern--the necessary first step--is to create a functional campaign--to build an organizational structure--or structures--and recruit those who will actually join the candidate in taking the resulting electoral campaign to every voter deemed reachable.
The televised debates among the major party candidates, thus far; the media campaign material aired, thus far; the multitude of polls taken, etc., all have very much less significance (more than a month before any actual election) than the treatment they have been given would imply. Whether a result of "slow news" days, malicious intent or confusion, the exaggerated emphasis is clearly misleading. What has transpired, thus far, is only prelude to the real challenges and conflict to come.
This will soon change, at least so far as the early Primaries are concerned. We will now see a shift in primary focus from organizational endeavor to persuasive callings. And, in that shift, Conservatives need to appreciate just what Dr. Paul has accomplished! The best illustration of Ron Paul's success can be found in the way that certain media lightweights have tried to explain it away. If you have followed the campaign, you will have observed the following phenomena:
A. Nine or ten Republican Presidential contenders participate in a televised debate via a forum provided by one of the major network or cable television broadcasters.
B. Immediately after the debate, viewers have an opportunity to register approval or disapproval of the candidates on line. Ron Paul usually registers the most support. At worst, he comes in second.
C. There follows a slightly frantic effort among would-be media "pundits" to explain that result away. First, we are reminded of the irrelevant fact (as to our point regarding the first phase of a campaign) that Dr. Paul is still in single digits in general polls taken of support among likely Republican voters. The "pundits" do not, of course, observe that we are still in the first phase of a campaign that will last for many months; that the real work of voter persuasion has barely begun, and that certainly--as anyone familiar with political campaigns would expect--the general Republican voter is far more familiar with the better known candidates.
D. The "analyst" doing the "explaining," seldom even acknowledges the obvious significance of Paul's victory among those who had actually bothered to watch the debate. This is usually simply dismissed as the result of an organized effort--as though organized efforts were not acceptable in American politics! Of course, the viewer is not supposed to inquire why it appears that only Dr. Paul's supporters are able to mount the organized effort suggested!
Now, we do not know whether any organized Paul supporters--many, if not most, of whom come from outside the ranks of experienced Republican campaign workers--made a special effort to get out their vote after any of the televised debates. But you may be certain that once alerted by the Paul success, after the first televised debate, the political regulars involved in the other campaigns would have done so. It is foolish, to the point of outright silliness, to believe that the relative newcomers to organized politics in the Paul campaign would easily out-maneuver the more experienced "pros" in the Giuliani, McCain or Romney campaigns. The inevitable--the rational--conclusion is that there was something in the Paul candidacy which, even without the apparent promise of patronage and organizational "coat-tails," attracted far more willing and involved adherents than did any of the others. This was the first demonstration of Dr. Paul's success in Phase One; but it was hardly the only one available.
Certain "amateurs," rallying to the Paul candidacy, took the initiative to organize a one day fund raising event over the internet for November 5th, which raised well over four million dollars from 38,000 donors. Assuming that a high proportion of those, who would respond with cash to email solicitations, are also willing to go out and work for the Paul candidacy, this provided another compelling demonstration of the potential cadres, already in place, available to be systematically organized by a campaign, that has already demonstrated its clout and momentum in those TV viewer polls. Since November 5th, the smears and efforts of the false "pundits" to explain Ron Paul away have, of course, increased. If he were not gathering organizational momentum, they would not publicize him at all. The ongoing aspersions, in the total contextual dynamics of an unfolding campaign, are themselves another demonstration that Dr. Paul has won Phase One.
While there may be many "hot button" issues to address in next fall's campaign, there are three towering issues, which Paul campaigners can employ to advantage in the Primary campaign, now upon us:
1. The importance of Dr. Paul's steadfast dedication to the Constitution to all who would preserve American Liberty.
2. The folly of the current approach to the "War On Terror"; why it is so clearly counter-productive, and dangerously counter-productive.
3. The inflationary effect of spending vast sums of borrowed money; already seen in the falling value of the Dollar, likely to be followed, soon, by exploding prices.
While other candidates--especially so-called "top tier" candidates--have failed to even discuss the Constitution or the constitutionality of the programs that they endorse, it is important to stress that without our written Constitution, there would be no Federal Government; that it is a creature of the Constitution--not of geography or the whims of those presently in office. The Constitution was for the ratifying States, what a contract between individual parties is for those individuals. As all Federal Office holders, lawyers, military personnel, etc., are sworn to uphold that Constitution--or contract--it is no more fitting for employees of the entity, it created, to vary the terms of their employment, and the limits and strictures governing their authority, under it, than it would be for the employees of a private enterprise, set up by contract, to vary the authority given them by the contracting parties, to misappropriate the wealth and resources of their employers.
One hears talk of the "Rule of Law," as the essential difference between a free and tyrannical society. If the "Rule of Law" means anything, it means that we must honor the most solemn compact in American history. If public office holders, whether Executive, Legislative or Judicial, may simply reshape it to their current whim, we have not the Rule of Law but an arbitrary Rule by Men--the precise opposite to what was intended. We have an abandonment of the moral premises of our Federal Union; the moral bases for our adherence. Government ceases to govern by a true consent of an enlightened citizenry, but by fear of awesome power, illegally assumed. The great tyrannies of the 20th Century, Communism and National Socialism, claimed whatever powers the rulers felt necessary to accomplish their utilitarian objectives. But such was never the intent of the Founding Fathers, who defined their purpose in the Preamble to the Constitution as follows:
in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. . .
The "general Welfare" is not, of course, the special, particular Welfare, of grasping interests or voting blocks, and the "posterity" of the Fathers refers to their descendants, not humanity at large. When Dr. Paul stands against the squandering of American resources all over the earth; the enactment of special programs--intended to win the votes of various voting blocks--not authorized by the Constitution; he stands clearly for what he was sworn to uphold. That others are less principled is the single most compelling reason to support Ron Paul.
The same media voices that have sought to explain away Ron Paul's victory in the organizational battle in Phase One, are those that have echoed the semi-hysterical attack by the former Mayor of New York and others on the Paul dissent from the Administration's clearly flawed effort in the "War On Terror." They would turn what is one of Dr. Paul's strongest issues into a deficit, and obfuscate the Administration's adoption of what older Conservatives should recognize as a revival of the disastrous foreign policy of Dean Rusk from the Kennedy/Johnson era. Below, you will find an analysis of the Bush foreign policy--as enunciated in his Second Inaugural Address, January 20, 2005. The format is a "debate" between George Washington and George W. Bush. Rather than restate the argument, we will merely urge all interested in an American foreign policy to read it. Under the Washington/Jefferson foreign policy, America was the most respected nation on earth. We treated others with respect! We expected respect in return! We did not try to change others; or cheat others. But we stood ready to punish the "first insult."
Dr. Paul advocated going after the actual terrorists. The Bush version of the Dean Rusk foreign policy has called for changing the cultures of other nations--particularly Islamic Nations. Thus, rather than try to round up and destroy a few thousand committed enemies, the Administration has helped those committed enemies recruit many, many times their original numbers by two classic errors. Whereas, many in the Islamic world were suspicious of our intentions, yet hardly ready to sign up to commit suicide trying to punish us, the Administration has confirmed their worst suspicions--i.e., that we were trying to change their culture--by openly embracing the idea. It has then compounded that folly by semi-hysterical pronouncements, greatly exaggerating the capacity of terrorists to threaten our very existence; treating what should have been a mop-up operation, as the defining battle of the 21st Century. This approach does two obvious things--although somehow not obvious to media "pundits" slamming Dr. Paul. It makes the terrorist cause appear noble to millions of people in the lands targeted for cultural manipulation; and not only noble, even essential to the survival of all they hold dear. It also glamorizes the concept of dying for that cause. If this is the defining battle of the age, it is a lot more appealing to the would-be recruit, than the cause of international thuggery, by a small band who do not respect other peoples boundaries, which is what it started as.
Dr. Paul represents the intelligent approach to removing a threat. His supporters need to be clear on this, and take the initiative away from those who have tried to smear Dr. Paul as a threat to our security. The facts are precisely the opposite.
Finally, we need to focus on the effect that reckless unconstitutional spending, both at home and abroad-- including that for domestic programs, which Dr. Paul has opposed, and for post conquest policing and reconstruction of Iraq--has had, and is having, on the American Dollar. While most of the commentary in the general media discusses parallel effects, as though they were the cause, the reality is as Dr. Paul has stated. Budget deficits lead to inflation, and it is that inflation which has already sent the Dollar plummeting. There is a popular misconception, that inflation is just about prices. Actually, inflation is an increase in the supply of money and money substitutes (economic devices that function like currency) relative to those things which money will buy. Eventually, it will cause almost all prices to rise. Yet there is an enormous degree of psychologically driven inertia, built into the pricing structure. Producers will try to hold the price of their products steady, as long as possible, so as not to scare off consumers.
Another effect of inflation--parallel to that supply side concern for the consumer's mental state--is an increase in the tendency to try to hold prices down by going overseas to manufacture goods with cheaper labor. The flight of American manufacturing to Asia and Latin America has been fueled by such inflationary dynamics. As this causes more dollars to flow overseas, it temporarily delays the pressure on American prices, which would otherwise result from the increase in the supply of dollars at home. But that effect is only temporary. Indeed, the Chinese--at very high levels of authority--have thrice threatened a mass dumping of their huge holdings of American dollars, in the past few weeks!
We realize that monetary policy is little understood by the general public. It has often been obfuscated by political office holders, who do not want arbitrary power curbed by an informed citizenry. Yet anyone, who can grasp the basic law of supply and demand, can understand the dynamics. The supply of money is the flip side of the effects of supply and demand on all other goods and services. The more money made available to buy the goods and services on offer, the less real value to the monetary unit. When the Federal Reserve, which enables the Federal Government to market debt issues, in effect, monetizes that debt (turning it into money by issuing more currency, or permitting member banks to increase lending by using Federal paper to meet their reserve requirements), it increases the supply of available money. And just as too much wheat will drive down the price of wheat, or too many cars will force ever deeper discounts, too many dollars reduce the value of each dollar. Again, the price level is not the immediate casualty; there is the pricing inertia, mentioned. Yet dynamic forces have been set in motion, which will eventually trigger not only proportionate price rises but, eventually, a race against what the public considers inflation that will, in turn, trigger further escalations in both the cost structure of private enterprise and of Government.
Put another way, no one in Germany or Hungary planned what happened to their currency in 1922. The effect on the German middle class, of course, led directly to Adolph Hitler's electoral triumph a decade later. Monetary irresponsibility can often lead to revolution and the triumph of tyranny. One must also contemplate the effect on such Dollar denominated assets as Life Insurance policies, Bonds, Savings Accounts and Annuities. Dr. Paul has been the only candidate for President, this year, in either party, who has shown an understanding of the grave danger posed by the reckless spending of an irresponsible Government, in pursuit of unconstitutional ends, at home and abroad. This is a towering issue, which we must run with.
In taking the Paul case to potential primary voters, it is well to keep Ronald Reagan's "Eleventh Commandment," in mind. It is not necessary to speak ill of other Republicans' loyalty or integrity, to emphasize the mistaken positions of the other Primary candidates. We should stick to the issues, the positive reasons for supporting Dr. Paul. There are a lot of "urban legends" being formulated, as to secret agendas behind the Bush foreign policy, for a prime example of our point. These may make interesting conversation, but our task, in persuading Republican voters to see the errors in that policy, will actually be set back, by injecting any interpretation of the Administration's motives, which may be seen as insulting or unfair to the person or persons, we seek to win over. We have arguments on the issues, for which Ron Paul's foes have no adequate answer. We should play our strong cards, and not let ourselves be diverted into intellectually interesting but, at least at this stage, speculative assertions, which can only weaken the effect of our far more easily verifiable points.
Always remember, that the one thing more powerful than the oft repeated lie of the demagogue or mountebank, is the oft repeated, easily verifiable, truth. We have the truth on our side--powerful truth, on powerful issues. In this campaign--still uphill, against great odds--we should never speculate on what may be only the possible, or even likely, motives or secret designs of anyone. Those we seek to reach can accept the idea that they may have been mistaken, either in past thinking or in supporting mistaken candidates. No one wants to admit association with some of the characterizations, which come to mind, when one looks at the character of the majority of those with high profiles inside the "Beltway." We need to stick to the issues, the easily verifiable facts, and the task of the moment--securing the Republican nomination for Ron Paul.