What McCain Could Learn From Ron Paul

Sunlight disinfects.

In every presidential pageantry, the electorate knows what to expect.  The candidates hire the same pollsters and gurus; tramp the same snow in Iowa and New Hampshire; dine on the same rubber chicken; and mouth many of the same platitudes ad nauseum.  They're always boring.  They're always predictable.

The only real fun is the anticipation of a third party candidate that is willing to dance on the wild side.  These "dark horses" have the freedom to try new things because they would rather be booed by large crowds than cheered by small ones.  In politics, attention is priceless.

Some new ideas, like Ross Perot's hour-long infomercials, flip-charts, and "crazy ain't in the basement," recede unlamented into history's dustbin.  Others, like Howard Dean's aggressive Internet fundraising, become ongoing fixtures regardless of the defeat of their originator.

This year's spark plug is Ron Paul.  Over the last few months, Ron Paul has managed to raise a truly awe-inspiring amount of money.  A few days ago, he raise $6 million in a 24 hour period.  This broke his previous one-day record of $4.2 million.

At various times, he's not only had the most cash on hand of any candidate, he's had more than all the other Republicans combined.  And unlike many candidates with wealthy relations or shooting buddies, Dr. Paul has collected most of his money from small individual donors - that is, ordinary American workers who have decided to support him with their hard-earned dollars.

How do we know this?  In a historic first, the Paul campaign is running a real-time feed over the Internet of all donations. You can actually sit back and watch his bucks pour in!

But as a researcher, you can also trawl through them to see from whence they came, and analyze them in any number of ways.  Since many of Dr. Paul's supporters are quite technologically sophisticated, there are now independent analytical sites, offering nicely-formatted charts and graphs showing the sources of his funds.

Notably, the Chinese People's Liberation Army is not listed as a major donor.  Nor are Buddhist monks who have taken a vow of poverty, nor yet Norman Hsu.  What's more, with all the names out there available for both supporters and enemies to trawl through, it's far less likely that Paul will smash headlong into a fundraising fiasco.  So not only can we determine that his funding is clean, we can also have a fair degree of confidence that it will remain this way.

What a tremendous contrast this presents to the absurd loopholes and restrictions of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance "reform," which has brought us such disgraces as the General Betray-Us ad via the "527 rule." All the money is still in politics; now it's just outside of the direct control of the candidate, which means the ads can be even more vile than they were before.  How is this helpful?

Dr. Paul has, by accident or design, presented us with an eminently practical and even Constitutional solution: remove all restrictions on campaign fundraising (except bribery, obviously).  Simply require the campaigns to furnish a live feed of donors.  This way, if someone is taking money from a nasty player, everyone can find out about it and vote accordingly - thus giving the campaign an incentive not to look the other way.

Money, as has been said, is the mother's milk of politics.  We'll never separate the two - and in a nation of 300 million people needing to be informed, we shouldn't try.  It's only a question of where the money comes from.

Attempts at regulating it have failed utterly, so enough of this already!  Forget all the rules, laws, and loopholes.  Just one simple rule:  Say where it came from, right away, publicly.  The American electorate, and the nature of partisanship, can take it from there.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments

I think Dems like Hillary would love this.  And they would still court donors like the Chinese.  The hundreds of millions they get would buy them far more positive press and signage then the few hundred thousand people who were turned off by knowing where the money came from.  They would win in the end.  I do think that *some* restrictions are good.  Perhaps a domestic vs. international line.

December 19, 2007 2:04 PM

Great article, and I agree with Peter.

December 21, 2007 3:17 PM
great article, thank you for posting it. There's nothing sneaky about this grassroots movement. The donors are real, regular people who want to bring back a free, prosperous nation. GO RON PAUL! YOUR DONATION MEANS SOMETHING FOR YOUR FUTURE AND YOUR CHILDREN"S FUTURE!!
January 21, 2008 2:13 PM
There IS A LOT more than this that John McCain could learn from Ron Paul. You could fill this site with nothing BUT articles about their differences.

When McCain and Feingold implemented the now-infamous campaign finance "reform" act, they basically destroyed what politic freedom is all about. I can't help but think that 200 years ago, John McCain would have been hung from a tree on the courthouse lawn for even suggesting such a concept. I am not advocating any such behavior; only demonstrating the severity and feindishness of what he did.
January 21, 2008 3:56 PM
I don't know what Ron Pauls problem is, but he could learn a thing or two when it comes to background check reform in the United State congress. Crime is everywhere.

January 21, 2008 5:17 PM
...and out of left field, with a sleazy endorsement post for an equally sleazy website.. comes..


Please, troll, crawl back into your cave and stop posting spam. God I detest blog trolls like you.
February 18, 2008 11:30 AM
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