Ron Paul: Can He Digg Out of This Hole?

Jason Tanz wrote an excellent column in this month’s Wired magazine summarizing the great job the Ron Paul campaign is doing leveraging social media to raise money, and, more important, votes. In his words . . . .,

All that buzz might be easy to dismiss but for the fact that Paul — unlike mostRon Paul other Web 2.0 phenoms — has managed to convert eyeballs into dollars. On Guy Fawkes Day, he set a record for one-day fundraising by a Republican, pulling in $4.2 million in online contributions. He outdid himself just six weeks later, tapping the Internet for more than $6 million in a single day.

The Ron Paul candidacy is a lot like the first wave of Facebook apps: thrilling as a notion, disappointing as content.

Tanz captures an idea that’s as relevant to marketing and business as it is to politics. Flawless execution of marketing tactics is hugely important. Leveraging new communication tools is hugely important. Raising venture capital is hugely important. But if the product itself fails to deliver, fails to be remarkable, then everything else can only take you so far.

I’m not completely anti-Paul; I think some of his ideas are really good, and I think it would be wise for the next President to give him a cabinet position for both his support and the support of his supporters. My problem with him, similar to Tanz’, is he just doesn’t seem presidential, and some of his ideas are simply too far out there to be practical.

The lesson? Buzz is crucial, fans/evangelists are a product’s lifeblood, but if what you’re selling has issues, it will catch up to you.


20 responses to “Ron Paul: Can He Digg Out of This Hole?

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  3. Just think where Ron Paul would be if he had Mitt Romney’s looks and Barack Obamas charisma.

  4. I was initially against Paul because I thought he sounded like a whiner in the first debate I watched. But then I started listening to WHAT he was saying instead of HOW he was saying it, and I became a supporter (though not financially). I would like to see him run as a 3rd party candidate, but then I am afraid he would put Hillary or Barrack in the WH by doing so.

  5. When I finally listened to Ron Paul, it seemed like he was the ONLY one who talked real substance. I voted for him for his ideals. Too bad the office is more about charisma.

  6. People have always voted on more than just issues. Partly because issues are always changing. Character, trust, likeability, charisma are just some. They also tend to like people who are taller and have good teeth.

  7. Wow, I think you guys are really hitting the nail on the head. That being, Paul has some great ideas – too bad he just doesn’t seem like a President. And at the end of the day, that’s probably the most important thing, and it’s also the hardest quality to define or develop (at least quickly).

    JT – the 3rd party thing would do exactly what you’re predicting, just like Perot put Clinton in the White House in 92. It would only dilute the Republican party.

    Steve – yes, taller, good teeth, and who can hear clearly enough that they don’t have to ask for questions to be repeated on nationally televised debates.

  8. Leadership is all about getting followers. What Ron Paul really lacks is leadership. It’s often typical of those in legislative positions. If he’d been a governor and showed some leadership he’d have a better chance.

  9. Your dismissal of Paul is ridiculous. He is easily the most practical candidate running for the Republican nomination. Unless by “practical” you mean maintain the status quo. Everyone who does not recognize that the status quo is completely insane has simply been blinded by ideology. What is ideology? They do it, but they don’t know they are doing it.

  10. I think we should take seriously Chomsky’s critique that in U.S. politics “issues don’t matter at all”, and that the only issues that even are allowed to come up are those in which the population at large and the elite are in agreement over.

    Of course issues do in fact come up, but it seems they come up in a subordinate aspect, the real crucial thing is “would you like to have a beer with the guy”. If that is the deciding factor in voting, you don’t have a democracy, you have a high school prom queen.

  11. I think you’re overreacting to my point. If you have a guy with great ideas but misses other factors, you end up with someone who can’t build the relationships needed to get things done.

    The position of president isn’t like being the king. You really can’t rule by edict. You need the support of your party and the ability to work with enough of the other side to get things passed.

    So let’s assume that you’re right and all Ron Paul’s ideas are brilliant, and you assume I’m right that he doesn’t have a track record of getting major things done…and where are we?

    …voting for someone else in the general election.

  12. Northernsong – I agree with your second comment more than your first.

    I definitely think there’s a lot more to an American election than the issues, regardless of what we say. But where is that different? I would daresay that America actually gives more weight to issues than any other country.

    In reality, charisma and leadership is what gets you elected, and issues are what get you booted after you’ve been elected.

    In the case of Paul, I like SOME of his take on issues, but not enough to favor him, regardless of how ideological that makes me. And, since this is an American election, where charisma and leadership DO affect the outcome greatly, then Paul is at a disadvantage from the start.

  13. While I’m at it, to Dave’s comment, I also really appreciate how Ron Paul is obviously concerned with the state of America. He seems to be very good at identifying the problems. I’m just not convinced he has the right solutions.

    Which is why he would be an excellent advisor for any President.

  14. oh this whole argument about charisma is ridiculous. Paul was ignored and ridiculed by the media as soon as they saw that he had some support. It’s the same thing they did to Howard Dean. They blasted the scream all over the place and then apologized 3 weeks later saying they played the clip without the “background noise” and of course it made him look crazy.

    Everytime, the media mentioned Paul’s name it was surrounded by “long shot”, “libertarian”, “fringe”…and so on. Instead of calling him “Dr”, “intellectual”, maybe “true conservative”, “small government”. They labeled him and treated him accordingly. Every debate, they asked about the 3rd party run and never took him seriously…so then people got the perception that he wasn’t presidential.

    And why? because he wanted to take away their power and the federal governments power? Once an entity has power, they don’t like giving it up. Shortly before Howard Dean’s scream he talked about breaking up the big media…make no mistake, they took note and acted accordingly. They did Paul the same way. And the other thing those candidates have in common? Their own Party’s leadership didn’t want them to win.

    charisma? leadership? please.

  15. Moth1 – your point is interesting in light of the original theme of my post: that being that Paul has a real grasp on one medium (the web) and it appears as The Media is not so open to him.

    You’re definitely right on the media not giving him the fairest shot at the whole thing, but that goes for most of the non-frontrunners. TV stations need the ratings, and that means give the face time to the big dogs. It’s not right, but it’s how it is.

    Oh, and charisma and leadership do matter. That’s why Hilary is starting to struggle. Obama has tons of it, and Hilary ain’t got a drop. Just ask her husband.

  16. Well if that was the case with the media then they would have had stories about Ron Paul all the time. CNN, Fox, and MSNBC repeatedly said whenever they mentioned his name or had him on that their numbers went up.

    so if your main focus is ratings, wouldn’t you have the person on who gives you the highest ratings?

  17. ELECTION 2008
    Obama’s pastor disses Natalee Holloway
    ‘White girl goes off and gives it up’ in Aruba, preacher pal says

    Posted: January 27, 2008
    6:49 pm Eastern

    © 2008

    Natalee Holloway

    Sen. Barack Obama’s longtime friend and spiritual adviser trashed the memory of a missing and presumed dead American teenage girl, according to church publications reviewed by WND.

    Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the controversial minister of Obama’s church in Chicago, cited the case of Natalee Holloway’s disappearance in Aruba in complaining about what he sees as the media’s bias in covering white victims of crime over black victims.

    “Black women are being raped daily in Darfur, Sudan, in the Congo and in Sub-Saharan Africa. That doesn’t make news,” Wright said in the August 2005 edition of Trumpet Magazine, a publication of his Trinity United Church of Christ.

    But, “One 18-year-old white girl from Alabama gets drunk on a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and ‘gives it up’ while in a foreign country, and that stays in the news for months!” he added. “Maybe I am missing something!”

    (Story continues below)

    The circumstances involving the coed’s disappearance remain unclear, and the case remains unsolved. Holloway left Mountain Brook, Ala., on a May 2005 senior class trip to Aruba.

    Barack Obama

    Attempts to reach her family for comment were unsuccessful. But her mother, Beth Holloway, has written a book, “Loving Natalee,” in which she reveals her daughter named Jesus Christ as one of the most influential people in her life in a trove of writings she found in her bedroom.

    In the same 2005 church publication, Wright suggested “white America” had the 9/11 attacks coming, while calling for business “divestment from Israel,” which he refers to as a “racist” state along with America.

    “In the 21st century, white America got a wake-up call after 9/11/01,” he wrote on page 7. “White America and the Western world came to realize that people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just ‘disappeared,’ as the Great White West kept on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns.”

    Obama says he is “proud” of Wright and values their 20-year friendship.

    Though Wright has nurtured Obama’s political career as a close adviser and mentor, the Democrat presidential hopeful says they don’t agree on everything. Wright married Obama and baptized his daughters.

    Louis Farrakhan

    In the November/December 2007 issue of Trumpet, Wright sang the praises of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has described whites as “blue-eyed devils” and Jews as “bloodsuckers.”

    “He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest,” Wright said. “Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African-American religious experience.”

    Wright then held Farrakhan up as a pillar of “integrity.”

    “His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation’s most powerful critics,” he continued. “His love for Africa and African-American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose.”

    Farrakhan’s photo is splashed across the cover of the church magazine, which gushes “the Minister truly epitomized greatness.”

    On Nov. 2, 2007, Wright presented Farrakhan with a “lifetime achievement” award during a Trumpet gala held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The tribute included a three-and-a-half minute video lionizing “the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.”

    “For his commitment to truth, education and leadership, we honor Minister Louis Farrakhan with the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award,” the video announces.

    Last week, Obama distanced himself from Farrakhan, but did not distance himself from Wright or disavow his praise for Farrakhan.

  18. ELECTION 2008
    Obama aide wants
    talks with terrorists
    Foreign adviser’s ‘anti-Israel policies,’
    sympathy for Hamas, raise concerns

    Posted: January 29, 2008
    1:00 am Eastern

    By Aaron Klein
    © 2008

    Robert Malley
    JERUSALEM ? While officials here largely maintain a policy against interfering in U.S. election politics, some Israeli security officials quietly expressed “concern” about an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama who has advocated negotiations with Hamas and providing international assistance to the terrorist group.

    The officials noted Robert Malley, a principal Obama foreign policy adviser, has penned numerous opinion articles, many of them co-written with a former adviser to the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, petitioning for dialogue with Hamas and blasting Israel for numerous policies he says harm the Palestinian cause.

    Malley also previously penned a well-circulated New York Review of Books piece largely blaming Israel for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David in 2000 when Arafat turned down a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern sections of Jerusalem and instead returned to the Middle East to launch an intifada, or terrorist campaign, against the Jewish state.

    Malley’s contentions have been strongly refuted by key participants at Camp David, including President Bill Clinton, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and primary U.S. envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross, all of whom squarely blamed Arafat’s refusal to make peace for the talks’ failure.

    (Story continues below)

    “We are noting with concern some of Obama’s picks as advisers, particularly Robert Malley who has expressed sympathy to Hamas and Hezbollah and offered accounts of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that don’t jibe with the facts,” said one security official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    The official stated he was not authorized to talk to the media about U.S. politics, noting Israeli officials are instructed to “stay out” of American political affairs.

    In February 2006, after Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament and amid a U.S. and Israeli attempt to isolate the Hamas-run Palestinian Authority, Malley wrote an op-ed for the Baltimore Sun advocating international aid to the terror group’s newly formed government.

    “The Islamists (Hamas) ran on a campaign of effective government and promised to improve Palestinians’ lives; they cannot do that if the international community turns its back,” wrote Malley in a piece entitled, “Making the Best of Hamas’ Victory.”

    Malley contended the election of Hamas expressed Palestinian “anger at years of humiliation and loss of self-respect because of Israeli settlement expansion, Arafat’s imprisonment, Israel’s incursions, Western lecturing and, most recently and tellingly, the threat of an aid cut off in the event of an Islamist success.”

    Malley said the U.S. should not “discourage third-party unofficial contacts with [Hamas] in an attempt to moderate it.”

    Hamas is responsible for scores of deadly shootings, suicide bombings and rocket attacks aimed at Jewish civilian population centers. The past few weeks alone, Hamas militants took credit for firing more than 200 rockets into Israel.

    Hamas’ official charter calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel.

    Hamas maintained a national unity government with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas until the Palestinian leader dissolved the agreement and deposed the Hamas prime minister last year.

    In an op-ed in the Washington Post two weeks ago coauthored by Arafat adviser Hussein Agha, Malley ? using could be perceived as anti-Israel language ? urged Israel’s negotiating partner Abbas to reunite with Hamas.

    “A renewed national compact and the return of Hamas to the political fold would upset Israel’s strategy of perpetuating Palestinian geographic and political division,” wrote Malley.

    He further petitioned Israel to hold talks with Hamas.

    “An arrangement between Israel and Hamas could advance both sides’ interests,” wrote Malley.

    In numerous other op-eds, Malley advocates a policy of engagement with Hamas.

    After the breakdown of the Camp David talks, Malley wrote a lengthy New York Times piece that mostly blamed Israel and the U.S. for the breakdown of the negotiations.

    Malley was a special assistant to Clinton for Arab-Israeli affairs and was a member of the U.S. peace team during the Camp David negotiations. He currently serves as director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at the International Crisis Group, which is partially funded by billionaire and Obama campaign contributor George Soros, who also serves on the board of the Crisis Group.

    Ed Lasky, a contributor to the American Thinker blog, calls Malley a “[Palestinian] propagandist” who, he charged, bends “the truth to serve an agenda that is marked by anti-Israel bias. … Malley’s writings strike me as being akin to propaganda.”

    Lasky points out Malley’s father, Simon Malley, was a personal friend of Arafat and wrote in support of numerous struggles against Western countries. Simon Malley founded Afrique Asie, a French magazine that was known for its advocacy for “liberation” struggles throughout the world, including the Palestinian cause.

    Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, called Simon Malley a “sympathizer” of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which, headed by Arafat, carried out numerous terror attacks.

    “[Robert] Malley has seemingly followed in his father’s footsteps: He represents the next generation of anti-Israel activism,” wrote Lasky.

    Obama spiritual adviser also anti-Israel?

    Obama the past few days has taken note of his growing negative image within the pro-Israel and Jewish activist community, reaching out yesterday to a coalition of Jewish and Israeli newspapers.

    Obama told Israel’s Haaretz daily there is a “constant virulent campaign” being waged against him, aimed particularly at weakening support among Democrat voters within the Jewish community.

    Obama said “false” e-mail campaigns calling him Muslim and accusing him of not pledging allegiance to the U.S. have been especially visible in the Jewish community.

    The presidential hopeful urged Haaretz and U.S. Jewish newspapers to use their “megaphone” so people can hear “from the horse’s mouth” that anti-Israel accusations against him are “unfounded.”

    Mass e-mail distributions have pointed out Obama’s spiritual adviser, Jeremiah Wright Jr. of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, recently presented Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan with a “Lifetime Achievement” award. Farrakhan has expressed consistent anti-Israel views.

    Wright, who reportedly married Obama and baptized his daughters, has called for divestment from Israel and refers to Israel as a “racist” state.”

    Obama called Wright’s heralding of Farrahkan a “mistake” but has not spoken out against Wright’s views regarding Israel.

    Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick noted in a column last week, “Obama has taken no steps to moderate his church’s anti-Israel invective. Obama’s affiliation with Wright aligns with his choice of financial backers and foreign policy advisers. To varying degrees, all of them exhibit hostility towards Israel and support for appeasing jihadists.”

  19. Moth1 – You’re right. I would think they would show the guy with more ratings. Of course, they’ve probably got some other folks padding their pockets or promising interviews to make them think otherwise.

    You got links on the media saying that about Ron Paul?

  20. I heard Barack is really Al-Qaida.

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