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Phase 2 of Ron Paul's Political Strategy
January 9, 2008
In Phase 1 of Ron Paul's political strategy, he achieved national name recognition among conservatives and libertarians, raised over $28 million, assembled a huge data base -- a postage-free data base -- and got network TV interviews all over YouTube, which are permanent. Nothing like this has ever been done in the history of libertarianism.
The mainstream media perceive none of this. All they perceive is the vote percentages in the primaries. This is a good thing. The blinder the mainstream media are to what is really going on here, the better.
My concern is that his recent recruits will be equally as short-sighted. So, I am writing this report.
THE MEDIA'S MEMORY HOLE
Ron Paul has been unofficially dropped down the mainstream media's memory hole.
The decision of Fox News to exclude him from the televised debate in New Hampshire was indicative of what was soon to come. In reporting the New Hampshire election results, the press did not list his name, even though he came close to beating Giuliani. It is clear that the mainstream media will no longer report on his campaign. He has become an also-ran even while he is still running.
The man-bites-dog aspect of his campaign -- the size of his on-line fund-raising -- is no longer media worthy. His numbers in the primaries are too low to pose a threat to the Establishment in 2008. He is yesterday's news.
He can and should maintain the official position that he is still running for President. That position will be non-news. Non-news is just what the doctor ordered.
When the media finally go away, he can get down to business.
What I am about to describe is a strategy that involves quietly moving below the media's radar. There is no reason for him to announce to the media, "My campaign has now moved to phase 2." I am sure he won't.
Every day that he stays in this race is another day of gathering e-mail addresses and (I hope) zip codes.
No less than 80% of his campaign spending should be devoted to running ads that produce e-mail addresses, zip codes, and donations for running more ads. Everything else is peripheral.
What I propose here is a strategy for long-term political victory. I am willing to post the basics of this strategy here because I am not posting all of it. It will therefore get no attention from the mainstream news media. This article is "hidden in plain site." It is sufficient that a hard core of his hard corps see it here and forward it to friends. My recommended strategy begins with word of mouse.
The mainstream media have a very short attention span. When you think "mainstream media" think "attention deficit disorder." The media simply cannot ADD things up. They cannot and will not connect the dots.
It is amazing what a dedicated group can accomplish at the bottom of the media's memory hole.
The two crucial questions are these: (1) How dedicated is Ron Paul's hard corps? (2) How future-oriented are they as individuals?
Out of cyberspace has come a total of $28 million in donations to Ron Paul's campaign. There will be more before the Republican national convention. If spent wisely -- and not all in 2008 -- this money can become the foundation of a new political movement.
The most important asset this movement possesses is a political leader with the following attributes:
A consistent worldview
A voting record to match this worldview
A national audience
Three decades of real-world experience
A bully pulpit: a seat in Congress
A Congressional research staff
Several million dollars in his campaign kitty
E-mail lists (no postage or printing costs)
Supporters who are fed up with the political system
New, low-cost, decentralized communications technologies
Technologically savvy supporters: "nerds with attitude"
Before his presidential campaign, Ron Paul was known to a small core of hard-money newsletter subscribers (old folks) and readers of LewRockwell.com. He was not nationally known. He is now. The media made this possible. So did YouTube. Those YouTube videos of his network guest appearances can become recruiting tools for a long-term program of recruiting and training.
This would not have been technologically possible in 2004.
Today, a new group of people know him, trust him, and will pay attention to what he recommends. It is an identifiable group: e-mail addresses and donation receipts. He can communicate with them very inexpensively. He can do it through his campaign organization. He does not need to involve his Congressional staff.
THE KEY TO POLITICAL SUCCESS
The key to political success is not an overnight grab for power at the top. The key is a 50-year program of replacement at the bottom. But, because of the American economy's prospects, we do not have 50 years. My guess is, we have a decade, if things go well -- less if they don't.
At the bottom of the political pyramid, people are becoming fed up. This would be my recommended political slogan: Fed up?. The Federal government are facing bankruptcy. The Federal Reserve System is going to have to fund the Federal government with fiat money. When Medicare goes bust and Social Security follows, the Federal Reserve will inflate. The dollar will decline another 95%, as it has since 1914, only faster.
When checks from Washington no longer buy much, there will be a monumental political transformation. This is the central premise of my recommended strategy.
The goal of Ron Paul's supporters should be to be in positions of influence locally, all over the country -- in 3,000+ counties, in every precinct. This should be done one precinct at a time.
This is stealth politics, and it is now a viable strategy for Ron Paul's hard corps. It was not a year ago.
If this political education program included an updated version of what was called the Kasten system of local electioneering, Ron Paul's troops could begin to run against and replace local political officials. In the mid-1970's, when Ron Paul first came to Congress, the Free Congress Foundation made Kasten-based training materials available. These materials need updating to include digital communications. They don't need much else.
If Ron Paul's hard corps is not in this for the long haul, then this strategy will fail. It deserves to fail. If people will not commit time as well as money, politics will remain business as usual.
Ludwig von Mises was correct: we are in a war of ideas. Ideas will win institutionally only after they have become the operational first principles of an influential minority of voters -- not just in leap year's four-year national presidential cycle -- but also in every nook and cranny of the political system.
The strategy of replacement must be educational in the broadest sense. It must be evangelical: the good political news. It must be extended by people who see themselves as lifetime missionaries. But we don't have a lifetime. We have maybe a decade. We are in a race against the falling dollar.
If Ron Paul will provide the leadership, he can spearhead a national movement whose goal is to roll back the state to its Constitutional limits -- its 1791 limits, meaning the Bill of Rights. All ten of them. This movement must be based on a systematic, well-thought-out campaign to roll back the civil government in every area of life in which it is operating unconstitutionally.
That should keep us busy.
The old Right's last nationally known politician was Senator Robert A. Taft. He lost the Republican nomination to Eisenhower in 1952. He died of cancer in July, 1953.
He preached limited government. In foreign policy, he was a non-interventionist. After he died, his views disappeared from American politics. He left no legacy -- no comprehensive body of writings, no hard core supporters, no mailing lists, no training materials. He left nothing.
The only other comparable figure to Taft in modern American politics was Howard Buffett. He was never nationally known. He left the House of Representatives in 1953, just when Eisenhower took over. His son Warren has rejected his father's libertarian views.
We have lived in a political wasteland ever since 1953. It is time for a change. This change has now begun. Will it be extended?
With Ron Paul, Taft's ideas have been revived. This took 55 years, plus the Internet.
If it takes another 55 years to reverse the statist juggernaut, so be it. But the prevailing debt level in the United States will not allow another 55 years of uninterrupted prosperity. The economic crisis will come sooner. So will the attempted solutions. As real estate guru Jack Miller says, "When the public calls for a man on a white horse, there will be a lot of guys out there with brown horses and whitewash." So, we will need people with high-pressure hoses.
A COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM
I am proposing a program in political education. It is like no other program in American history. It involves two aspects.
Homeschool Curriculum. He must begin with the next generation. How about a high school curriculum in civics edited by Dr. Paul? It would begin with the Articles of Confederation and take the story to the present. It would be structured in terms of this theme: the hijacking of America.
Call it the Ron Paul's Freedom Curriculum.
Then there would be a U.S. history course presenting the same story, but not just in politics. How did the hijacking operate across the boards: in education, in art, in literature, in economics, in science, in the media?
Next, how about an economics course based on Austrian economics?
How about a course on money and banking, one that shows the dark side of fractional reserve banking and the Federal Reserve System?
I am in marketing. I assure you: the "branding" potential for a Ron Paul home school curriculum is huge.
This could all be put on a single DVD, which would include audio files and documents. Dr. Paul's FREE organization could get it into the mail for $5. Sell it for $200, and use the money to develop more materials and advertise the course.
He should oversee the creation of this curriculum. His motivation: the assumption that his grandchildren deserve a better curriculum than anything available today. Then he can sell it to the rest of his supporters.
Political Education. The educational program must also involve local political training. He should set up a website on how to become influential in a precinct. Use as a model the book by ex-Communist Douglas Hyde, Dedication and Leadership. Get there early. Stay late. Be helpful. Gain people's trust. Say little. Then, when some disaster is proposed, calmly give reasons why it should not be supported.
Get five people to do this together in a precinct, each choosing only one disaster to undermine. Raise doubts. Maybe add an amendment that guts it. But, election by election, move the precinct toward limited government.
The strategy is to move the rank and file toward liberty. The tactic is not to be obstructionist. That gets people nowhere. The goal is to raise doubts at key points, calling into question the messianic state, program by program, budget by budget.
Focus on local issues, where local influence can make a difference. Ignore any national issue that the party has made a primary goal. Concentrate on those local issues about which the opposition doesn't care too much and will not expend much time, energy, and money to implement.
Get experience. Get support. Get respect. Then get elected, or get some future Ron Paul elected.
The Primary Goal. The primary goal here is not to slice away at the salami of the American empire. The primary goal is to get positioned locally with numerous officials so as to present a united front against the Federal government when it begins to falter. When the Feds' money buys nothing, the hard corps needs to be influential locally to block all attempts of the Feds to impose controls over the local economy. This has been known historically as the doctrine of interposition.
Has this ever worked in the past? It worked during the Stamp Act crisis, 1765-70. It worked during the years leading up to the revolution, 1770-75.
NO NEW TAXES, NO NEW BONDS
People must be trained to monitor all tax hikes and bond issues and mobilize against them.
If municipalities cannot float new bonds issues, local politicians will have to face the voters after a tax hike. Those who do this can then be mobilized against at the next election.
The public is always ready to hear a bad word against taxes and bonds. It is just that so few bad words are ever heard.
Local activists must be trained in stealth politics to monitor the local government's stealth spending programs.
How about a home school course on local government? Who could oppose that? What would students learn to do? Monitor the city council. Monitor the committees. Post websites that openly discuss what is going on. Let in some digital sunlight!
How would the city council oppose this? What politician wants to attack some well-scrubbed teenager with space on Blogspot or MySpace? "Every politician who opposes civics education for our youth, please stand up!"
Local politicians are skilled at hiding things from the local media, which are bought and paid for by local advertisers. They are not prepared to deal with the Web.
As fewer people read the local newspaper, the ability of local politicians to spin or control the flow of information shrinks. At the same time, e-mail grows, RSS feeds grow, and digital communications expand.
Ron Paul is uniquely in a position to work with home school parents to distribute digital blowtorches to be used against local politicians who are skating on thin ice.
How about training how to do mass mailings of Vote No postcards just before a bond issue vote is held? Mail the cards by first class stamped mail. This way, there is no warning. If necessary, mail them from outside the county. Let them hit on the Saturday before the vote. The cards direct people to a web site that goes into detail about how much money the bonds will cost property owners.
Can you imagine the havoc such unanticipated mailings could do to local politicians with big plans to expand the government?
I even have some domain names set aside if Dr. Paul want to take ownership of them.
UNDER THE RADAR
Precinct by precinct, town by town, county by county, a decentralized political movement could begin to undermine the legitimacy the existing political structure. It can do so politely, helpfully, and sympathetically.
The central issue is legitimacy. The supreme goal is to undermine the legitimacy enjoyed by the prevailing central state. This task is doable. We have the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve System working for us: a debt disaster to be funded by fiat money.
When the dollar dies, political legitimacy dies with it. This is the central premise of my recommended strategy.
Hardly anyone wants to do this kind of invisible work: laying the foundations for a decentralized program of comprehensive political replacement. I call it the dogcatcher strategy. It is based on this familiar slogan: "I wouldn't vote for him if he ran for dogcatcher." So, run against him. Start at the bottom. Then move up. Don't make a premature grab for power.
As Wee Willie Keeler said of a baseball player's wisest hitting strategy, "Hit 'em where they ain't."
Most people want to start higher than dogcatcher. They want applause. They want credit. They want recognition. And they want all this soon. There are very few exceptions. The main exceptions are the handful of families that have dominated the politics of America for over two centuries. This is why they still rule.
In a C-Span interview with Gore Vidal in 2000, Vidal made a fascinating comment. He said that the real rulers of America over the past 250 years -- the first families -- do not care if the media expose scandals among the "hired help" (politicians), but they do not allow embarrassing reports of their families and lives.
Reversing the statist juggernaut would take a long time if it were not for Federal deficits, the level of government debt, and the Federal Reserve System. The steady build-up of debt has taken three generations, beginning in World War I. Debt has spread to every nook and cranny of the international economy. At some point, the bills will come due. The ability of the Establishment to delay this event has amazed a lot of us. But the reality of debt that compounds far faster than economic growth is inescapable: default.
When the day of default arrives, we can get out from under the radar.
The top of the political pyramid is controlled by the Establishment. This means the Establishment will become the donkey into which a ten thousand pins can be stuck when the economy implodes.
But who will do the sticking?
Ron Paul has millions of dollars to spend. The way to spend it is on ads that draw people to a website that gets them to sign up. The web page should also ask them for their zip code.
If he can assemble a series of e-mail lists tied to zip codes, he can turn this nation around, assuming that his followers are serious enough to commit time and money to a program that will seem frustrating for years.
This is not kamikaze politics. It is stealth politics. It is possible only through steady work, but work with a specific goal: to place principled people in positions of local authority in preparation for the day the dollar dies.
Some group will exercise such local authority. Better us than them -- the fundamental principle of all politics.
The American Establishment -- political, economic, media, and educational -- has bet the farm on a program of control from the top. Technology is moving the other way, toward control from the bottom. Newspapers are dying, except for the Wall Street Journal. The TV networks are dying: lower market share every year. Printed political magazines are dying. Subscription publications are dying. Reporters are being laid off -- permanently. Columnists are graying, and their pensions are in doubt.
Isn't the Web wonderful? The Establishment's outlets of official opinion are like the Titanic. They have hit the digital iceberg and are sinking.
Matt Drudge has more grass roots political influence than the New York Times, and everyone in the game of politics knows it. This fact galls liberals, but there is not a thing they can do about it. The Web has changed the rules of the political game -- and most other games as well.
Ron Paul's philosophy of civil government is consistent with control from the bottom. This is his great advantage. I hope he presses this advantage.
Note: I served as Congressman Paul's research assistant during his first term in Congress, 1976.