Ron Paul can restore conservative values to the Republican Party

Alex Potter

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Third quarter fund-raising headlines: Obama $22 million, Hillary $27 million, Ron Paul $5 million. Lest you think 2008 is the year of Obama, Hillary and the Democratic Party, it is in fact the last candidate and dollar amount that should shock you and inspire you.

Why? Because Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate to raise more money this quarter than last, TWO TIMES more. Contrast Ron Paul’s incredible 114 percent increase in fund raising to Republican favorite Giuliani’s 40 percent decrease.

So who is Ron Paul, how is he getting this money, and why does it matter?

Ron Paul is the anti-war libertarian Republican congressman from Texas whose campaign is characterized by its support among young people and fiscal conservatives. It is also defined by its reliance upon online fund raising: Seventy percent of his third quarter $5 million was raised online.

Democratic grassroots have already harnessed online fund raising to an incredible degree in this campaign. Actblue.com is a perfect example of a fund raising platform upon which Democratic candidates at any level, from city hall to president, can raise money. It allows both candidates and supporters to start their own fund raising platforms, enabling anyone to become a fund-raising activist. John Edwards has already raised $4 million on Actblue.com alone.

While online fund raising is of vast importance for front-runners in the presidential race, with Democrats trouncing Republicans in the arena, it is particularly interesting to see how the Internet enables marginalized voices to get national coverage.

Ron Paul will not become the next president of the United States. That doesn’t really matter. Intra-party politics can be less about winning and more about alignment. Just as the Christian right successfully aligned the Republican Party with its goals for much of the last decade, Ron Paul represents a new shift.

On Oct. 2, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “GOP Is Losing Grip on Core Business Vote” and showed that over 40 percent of people thought Democrats would do a better job reducing the deficit, while less than 20 percent thought Republicans would.

Ron Paul for President is not about Ron Paul, it is about limited government. Limited in all ways, be it taxes, your library records or military intervention. It is also about taking party philosophy out of the hands of the RNC and putting it back into the hands of American conservatives.

Should you think that it is foolhardy to support a candidate that can’t win, think again. Howard Dean “lost” the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, but now he is heading up the Democratic National Convention, which defines policy, strategy and how money is allocated in the Democratic Party.

Republicans need to recognize that online fund raising is an enormous resource, something Rudy Giuliani, who has only raised a bit over $1 million on the Internet, has completely failed to do. But more than Republicans in general, fiscal conservatives need to seize Ron Paul’s example and use online fund raising not just to win elections but to redefine the discourse of our party and the nation.

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