Monday, December 17, 2007

Ron Paul Money Bombs

In 2004, Howard Dean was an Internet meteor flashing briefly across the political sky. Ron Paul is beginning to look like a new planet.

Yesterday his supporters broke their own record by raising $6 million to celebrate the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Last month, on Guy Fawkes Day, they collected $4.3 million in 24 hours.

What's going on here? Howard Dean was a spontaneous expression of Americans turning against the war in Iraq. Ron Paul is an uprising against everything government does, prompting an explosion of money on the anniversaries of dumping ships' cargoes and trying to blow up legislative bodies.

Chief fundraiser for the Paul insurrection is a college dropout who subsists on junk food and has never voted but was so distressed by the Democratic Congress' failure to get US troops out of Iraq that he has put his digital know-how into backing the only Republican who wants to do it.

"I know my tax dollars are being used to kill people," Trevor Lyman says. "It makes me feel horrible."

As Ron Paul goes his eccentric libertarian way, there is no knowing what he will do with the money, aside from running commercials that may lift his Presidential candidacy into low double digits in some primaries.

What's clear is that the intensity of anger with the status quo this season is rising above Nader and Perot levels. Throwing money at Ron Paul is a more benign expression than heaving casks of tea or bombs, but where do the 21st century revolutionaries go from there?

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