The L.A. Times employee formerly known as Matt Welch goes directly to the competition to scream "Go Ron Paul!" before hanging up. In a Washington Post Op-Ed, Welch and Reason editor Nick Gillespie explain Dr. No's cross-cultural appeal. No report on the Ron Paul phenomenon would be complete without swipes at the mainstream media's long silence on his campaign (to which there were some honorable early exceptions) and the really loathsome terms with which the new right has attacked this avatar of the old right:
Yet Paul's success has mostly left the mainstream media and pundits flustered, if not openly hostile. The Associated Press recently treated the Paul phenomenon like an alien life form: "The Texas libertarian's rise in the polls and in fundraising proves that a small but passionate number of Americans can be drawn to an advocate of unorthodox proposals." Republican pollster Frank Luntz has denounced Paul's supporters as "the equivalent of crabgrass . . . not the grass you want, and it spreads faster than the real stuff." And conservative syndicated columnist Mona Charen said out loud what many campaign reporters have no doubt been thinking all along: "He might make a dandy new leader for the Branch Davidians."
When conservatives feel comfortable mocking the victims gunned down by Clinton-era attorney general Janet Reno's FBI in Waco, Tex., in 1993, it suggests that a complacent and increasingly authoritarian establishment feels threatened.
"How to make sense of the Ron Paul revolution? ... Paul set a one-day GOP record by raising $4.3 million on the Internet from 38,000 donors on Nov. 5 - Guy Fawkes Day, the commemoration of a British anarchist who plotted to blow up Parliament and kill King James I in 1605. ... When a fierce Republican foe of the wars on drugs and terrorism is able, without really trying, to pull in a record haul of campaign cash on a day dedicated to an attempted regicide, it's clear that a new and potentially transformative force is growing in American politics."
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