By Freedom New Mexico
Ron Paul, the libertarian-oriented and commendably anti-war 10-term Texas Congressman and Republican presidential candidate, has in some ways been the most interesting phenomenon of the early going in the campaign.
Paul’s Internet-oriented supporters are not only fervent, they have supported him with record-breaking amounts of money, most notably in two single-day fundraising “bombs” of more than $4 million and $6 million respectively.
Few observers would have predicted last summer that Ron Paul, little known outside Texas, would be a financially viable candidate long after former Virginia Gov. James Gilmore, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo had dropped out.
Now, Ron Paul’s enthusiastic support is starting to show up in poll numbers. We’ll soon see if it translates into actual votes.
So far Paul has not risen above single digits in either statewide or national polls, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had actually taken the lead in Iowa before Christmas. But the most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll of likely Republican Iowa caucus-goers shows him tied with Rudy Giuliani at 8 percent, only 1 percentage point behind Fred Thompson at 9 percent, and ahead of Sen. John McCain, at 6 percent.
Most interestingly, the only two candidates showing an upward trend are Huckabee and Paul; all the others have been trending downward.
If those trendlines continue, Paul just might finish third in Iowa. He could do even better in New Hampshire, whose state motto is “Live Free or Die,” reflecting a libertarian tilt.
In Congress, Ron Paul has consistently voted against tax increases and against spending that he doesn’t believe is authorized by the Constitution. As a small-government proponent who also advocates a more modest non-interventionist foreign policy, he speaks to what many voters used to think the Republican Party stood for. His positions also appeal to a substantial number of younger people.
The Paul campaign is already the most significant pro-freedom mass movement of recent times. It’s time to find out if it brings him enough votes to at least give him a seat at the table when future policies are determined — and perhaps more.