The Ron Paul Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Richard Blair: Ron Paul's third place showing in the ultraconservative Texas straw poll gives his grassroots supporters a reason to believe.
This post, written by Richard Blair, originally appeared on All Spin Zone

This week, cadaverous Fred Thompson (R-Law and Orderâ„¢) is expected to finally pull the trigger and announce his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination. I'm hopeful that, as he makes it official, other GOP candidates greet his entrance appropriately. Thompson isn't exactly presidential timber, and there are rumors of a lot of skeletons rattling around in his closet that should be falling out into the public view in 3...2...1...

Bottom line - Thompson may be exiting the race a lot faster than he decided to get into it.

Quixotic candidate Ron Paul, on the other hand, continues to gather a bit of momentum and positive press. On Friday, Associated Press published a rather fluffy piece on Mr. Paul and his growing legion of libertarian GOP supporters:
Passengers on a plane leaving New York could see three words in 4-foot block letters painted on an East Village rooftop terrace as they ascended: GOOGLE RON PAUL. The entreaty to search the Internet for news of the Republican congressman from rural Texas is one of the more visible signs of enthusiasm from a do-it-yourself base of Web fans. Their support doesn't show up in public opinion polls, but it's unmatched among presidential candidates in its passion...
The supporters have an entrepreneurial drive and get their political news from Internet sources outside the mainstream media, especially blogs and news aggregators that rely on popular vote to determine news value.
That same spirit inspires them to canvass parade routes in 100-degree heat, argue campaign strategy in two-hour meetings or paint the roof of a Manhattan apartment building.
"To get your arms around everything and understand what is going on is really impossible to do," Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said of supporters roaming the Web...
Then, on Saturday - let's not forget it's a holiday weekend here in the states - the Texas GOP held a presidential candidate straw poll. Voting was not open to just anyone who had the price of admission in their pocket (as was the recent straw poll in Iowa). The Texas GOP straw poll was only open to current and former state-level and federal-level GOP convention delegates. In other words, Bush's base. How did Paul finish? Third, behind anti-immigrant jingoist Duncan Hunter and aforementioned Thompson.

On the face of it, a third place finish might not seem like such good news for Mr. Paul's campaign. Digging a little deeper, though, reveals that it's another energizing finish for his supporters. Let's be realistic. Participants in this poll were die hard Republicans, and probably more to the point, die hard TEXAS Republicans. They are anti-immigration in the extreme, ergo one of the reasons that Hunter garnered so many votes:
...Hunter got 534 votes, or 41% of the vote. Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee, who is expected to announce his candidacy this week but was not at the event, came in second with 266 votes, or nearly 21%. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas came in third with 217 votes, or 17%.
Crowd support seemed split between Hunter and Paul, whose supporters waved signs and chanted his name throughout the day...
Richard Blair is the blogmaster of All Spin Zone.
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