Guest Voice: The Ron Paul Internet Dilemma

NOTE: The Moderate Voice runs Guest Voice posts from time to time by readers who don’t have their own websites, or people who have websites but would like to post something for TMV’s diverse and thoughtful readership. This post is more timely than ever, given the clash in last night’s Republican debate between Rep. Ron Paul and Senator John McCain and media interest in Paul. It’s written by Alex Hammer whose blog is Politics 2.0 and who ran as an independent candidate for governor of Maine. Guest Voice posts do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Moderate Voice or its writers.

The Ron Paul Internet Dilemma
By Alex Hammer

I am not a Ron Paul fan, but I am a fan of the Internet and the powerful roles that it is playing already in the Presidential campaigns.

Ron Paul has been excelling amongst the top sites on the web: Google, YouTube, Technorati, etc.

Here’s the details:

http://hammer2006.blogspot.com/2007/05/exclusive-ron-paul-website-traffic.html

You might be surprised to learn that Ron Paul’s website, according to industry leader Alexa.com (part of Amazon.com) is currently getting more traffic than the web sites of Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain or John Edwards.

It’s true. But the mainstream media has not been reporting it. Even thought there is considerable Ron Paul chatter online.

Ron Paul’s traffic even passed Obama’s but then Obama’s site passed Paul’s back.

Ron Paul is the number one search term – in any area – on Technorati.

He excels on YouTube, and on Google.

He’s done well in online polling, although there is an issue with ABC who felt that his supporters were gaming the system (see link above).

This isn’t an article on Ron Paul’s policies. I certainly don’t agree with some of his views, and I might not have enough time to fully write about that were I to try.

But I don’t want to see the main shut out.

If there is a controversy with ABC etc. that should be explored to see what is fact and what is fiction.

When I ran for Governor of Maine, I was largely hampered by a serious auto accident shortly after announcing my candidacy that landed me in the hospital for 29 days and for ten months had me on crutches or one crutch. I’d have some experience with the media before this, but running for Governor was my greatest dose by far. I came to appreciate them, on the whole, for the way that they conduct their jobs. But I also witnessed (and this isn’t a state thing I’m sure, but a media thing in general) that there is a bit of a herd mentality in journalism in my view, that seems pretty strong. People don’t want to break out of the pack and report on things others aren’t reporting on. Once something goes mainstream, then everyone jumps in.

And there are biases. In every business, I believe, whether it be a lawyer, a police officer, a dentist, a doctor, or even a teacher, some have greater emphases on service, while others have a greater emphasis on power. Of course it is a continuum, rather than an either/or.

I believe that most people are honorable, I really do. I think that the media is a great and noble and critically important profession. It stands at the center of a free society. It would be difficult, if not impossible for us to be free, I imagine, without a free press.

But sometimes things get overlooked. I really am not sure all of the reasons in their totality.

So what is occurring online with Ron Paul? To quote the classic (but great) TV commercial:

“The world may never know”.

16 Comments

  1. Sadly, Ron Paul committed political Seppuku at the debate.

    I really like him, and held out hope that at least he could push the main candidates towards some of his positions (ala Dean).

    However, he is now just an irrelevant footnote on the upcoming exception.

  2. Sadly, Ron Paul committed political Seppuku at the debate.

    Yeah, honestly never plays well with the GOP. And of course, a Libertarian never had much of a chance.

    I think Paul’s candidacy was an attempt to push the GOP into reality regarding Iraq. He knew he didin’t stand a chance of actually winning.

    What he didn’t realize is that he didn’t stand a chance of pushing the GOP into reality either.

    Keep in mind this is the party that, for some reason, believes Guilliani is some kind of foreign policy guru.

  3. Davebo – you don’t need to turn everything into a partisan attack.

    You know that blunt honesty doesn’t play any better on the other side of the isle. The candidates from both parties say what they think they need to say to get elected, and nothing more.

    Look at Congress. Seems like a lot of the promised ‘reform’ has lost its luster now that they are in office. Not saying that snidely, just making the point. The Republicans are just as guilty.

  4. But you have to respect anyone in Washington who tries blunt honesty- because it is a one-way ticket to obscurity. The Democrats have their own truth-teller in Sen. Gravel. What does it say about us as a nation that someone who has the nerve to be honest in a debate, becomes the subject of derision by the rest of his party? IMO, the ability to delude themselves and the voters is exactly what is wrong with those in Congress and is why our system is broken- “The Broken Branch”by Mann and Ornstein is an excellent source on this phenomena. I applaud anyone who has the guts to say what they believe needs to be said, instead of what the Republican base wants to hear.

  5. Austin,

    Where’s the partisan attack??

  6. Here’s the partisan attack:

    honestly never plays well with the GOP

    Took me all of two seconds to find. :+)

  7. Oh, here’s another one:

    What he didn’t realize is that he didn’t stand a chance of pushing the GOP into reality either.

  8. And another:

    Keep in mind this is the party that, for some reason, believes Guilliani is some kind of foreign policy guru.

  9. Well, one persons partisan attack is a majorities statement of reality I suppose.

    As to Jason’s second “catch”.

    Let’s review Rudy’s qualifications.

    ……..

    Well, that was quick.

    But don’t worry, he has Bolton (of all people) advising him on Foreign Policy so things should go just swell.

  10. It would certainly aid this discussion if we were able to miraculously see the demographics of those who are pushing Paul into stardom. In one sense, it is obvious that it is largely the technorati/digg demographic…….and those guys write software programs to automatically load the web polls that don’t have visit-limiting cookies. So, for Ron Paul to appeal to them, I am now surprisingly inclined to believe that their version of “young liberalism” is actually more of the true libertarian variety than the bleeding heart variety. Interesting.

    Speaking of use of the internet, be sure to check out Thompson’s video reply to Michael Moore.

  11. I think Chait summed it up best.

    If having a macho swagger and talking tough about bad guys were enough to make a good commander in chief, we wouldn’t have the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history on our hands right now in Iraq.

  12. Davebo- I agree. Also his judgement comes into question with his close ties to Bernard Kerik, his decision to put the response center in the middle of the WTC after the first attack, and his lack of improvement of the communications between the first responders after the first attack. Rudy did clean up crime in NYC, but unlike Bloomberg, always backed the cops against the community.

  13. It seems like Ron Paul is a “long shot” for election because he’s a straight and honest politician, who believes that the public is smart enough to deal with the complex reality of a situation like Iraq, rather than the shoot-from-the-hip wild west simplified version of events they get from everyone else.

    The thing is, those are precisely the qualities that should make him appealing to intelligent, informed voters. Ron Paul is only really a long shot if voters give up on him as a lost cause, ironically because he’s too good, too smart, and too honest. If – god forbid – we actually voted for the candidate we wanted , rather than the candidate we thought had a better chance of winning, we might get somewhere. We might have more real alternatives in this election than Clinton, Obama, McCain or Giuliani.

    I know that Dr. Paul is a very very long shot in this election. But I like his judgment and his track record enough that I’m registering for the GOP just so I can vote for him. If/when he doesn’t win the primary – after all, the only people left in the Republican party are the warmongering, Giuliani/McCain types – then I’ll look at alternatives. But as long as he’s in the running, long shot or no, Ron Paul will get my vote.

  14. Austin,

    Davebo may have stepped over the line in regards to his comment “honesty never plays well with the GOP”, but the manner in which Rudi Giuliani and GOP partisans have distorted the remarks made by Ron Paul in his exchange with Rudy Giuliani are truly pathetic. Giuliani’s remarks represents just the latest incident in a long list of incident in which a pro-war Republican has distorted the truth and appealed to emotion in order to rile up the Republican base and further a pro-war, pro-interventionist position.

    Here’s what happened:

    The Fox News moderators asked Ron Paul questions during the first and second rounds of the debate and then proceeded to ignore him for the remainder of the debate until the exchange between Ron Paul and Rudi Giuliani.

    When asked a question with regards to his views on foreign policy, Ron Paul answered truthfully and forthrightly. He criticized our foreign policy as being wrong and argued that it contributed toward the hatred that many in the Middle East have towards the United States. To back up his argument, he even cited evidence from the 9/11 commission:

    No. Non-intervention was a major contributing factor. Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we’ve been over there; we’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We’ve been in the Middle East — I think Reagan was right.

    We don’t understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics. So right now we’re building an embassy in Iraq that’s bigger than the Vatican. We’re building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting. We need to look at what we do from the perspective of what would happen if somebody else did it to us.

    In response, Fox News moderator Wendell Goler asked, “Are you suggesting we invited the 9-11 attack, sir?”, implying that Ron Paul had indeed made such a suggestion.

    In response, Ron Paul further elucidated on his argument, pointing out that Bin Laden had specifically named our interventions in the Middle East as being a prime motivation for attacking the U.S. on 9/11.

    Not once did Ron Paul at any time during the debate accuse the U.S. of “inviting” 9/11.

    But this didn’t stop Giuliani from distorting Ron Paul’s remarks mere seconds after Ron Paul had made them. Giuliani said:

    Wendell, may I comment on that? That’s really an extraordinary statement. That’s an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of September 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don’t think I’ve heard that before, and I’ve heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th.

    Giuliani’s response to Ron Paul earned him loud applause from the audience despite the fact the Giuliani a) distorted Ron Paul’s remarks, and b) chose to appeal to emotion rather than actually offering evidence to make the case Ron Paul was factually incorrect.

    This was an absolutely incredibly point during the course of the presidential campaign. A number of pro-war Republicans have distorted the truth on Iraq as well as the positions of several anti-war Democrats for the last four years. But for one Republican to distort the remarks of a fellow Republican on national television the way Giuliani did was a new low for the Giuliani campaign.

    And during the last twenty-four hours, numerous pro-war Republican bloggers have repeated Giuliani’s distortion of Ron Paul’s comments. A number of thse pro-war Republicans are bloggers whom TMV regular links to (i.e. Michelle Malkin, Captain Ed, and Instapundit).

    What Giuliani did last night was dishonest and indefensible. Distorting the positions of those who criticize the war has become all too common in the Republican Party, and some of us are getting sick and tired of it.

  15. John Nichols over at The Nation has a pretty good post that focuses on the exchange between Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul during last night’s debate. Essentially, Ron Paul was armed with facts from the 9/11 Commission while Rudy Giuliani could do nothing more than distort the congressman’s position and appeal to emotion.

    And this is the man who is leading the polls for Republican Nominee for president.

  16. nic – yes, I know.

    Unfortunately, politics has always been about perception more than reality.

    Years ago (50′s), in a famous Florida race between Claude Pepper and George Smathers, Smathers gave the following as part of his stump speech:

    Are you aware that Claude Pepper is known all over Washington as a shameless EXTROVERT?

    Not only that, but this man is reliably reported to practice NEPOTISM with his sister-in-law, and he has a sister who was once a THESPIAN in wicked New York.

    Worst of all, it is an established fact that Mr. Pepper, before his marriage, he habitually practiced CELIBACY.

    Naturally, Smathers won by a landslide.

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