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Ron Paul's Summer Soldiers and Sunshine Patriots Will Go Home on September 5. The Hard Corps Will Stay. Phase 2 Will Begin.
Jan. 18, 2008
In December, 1776, Tom Paine wrote a booklet, the first installment of a series known as The Crisis. It opened with these words, which have become famous:
THESE are the times that try men's souls.
The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
Washington's troops were steadily going home. Their terms of service had run out. This continued all through 1777. He had copies of this booklet read to his troops, freezing in the snow of Valley Forge, the next winter. This persuaded the hard core of his troops to stay with the Continental Army.
Like Paine, I am writing this report early. Why? Because Ron Paul is now in a similar situation as Washington was in early 1777. The crisis has not hit yet. When the national Republican convention is over on September 5, his troops will be tempted to go home. It is then that the next phase of Ron Paul's campaign must get started.
VALLEY FORGE, 2008
The media blackout is on. How many Ron Paul supporters know that he got more votes in Michigan than Thompson or Giuliani? The media blackout, initiated by Fox News, has been successful. I said it would be the day after Fox made the announcement.
On January 16, PBS's "News Hour" ran a segment on the Republican campaign in South Carolina. It covered the big three: Romney, McCain, and Huckabee. Then the narrator introduced brief segments on "the other candidates." There was one on Giuliani and another on Thompson. Ron Paul was not mentioned.
This blackout is systematic and it is self conscious. It will continue. The days of easy recruiting are over.
This means that Phase 1 of the Ron Paul campaign has reached the hard slogging phase. It is time to face the facts. There will be no more multi-million dollar fund-raising. People will not send money to what they perceive as a lost cause. "Ron Paul for President in 2008" is a lost cause.
But it was always a lost cause. It was a hook. It hooked far more people and far more money than Dr. Paul could have imagined. This has made the Ron Paul presidential campaign a potentially transforming cause -- just not a presidential cause.
I have read that Ron Paul has 100,000 email addresses of supporters. I have previously written that his data base will be the the key to Phase 2. I compared this data base with the list of Goldwater's 1964 donors, which Richard Viguerie assembled in 1965. This led to Viguerie's emergence as the kingmaker in the New Right.
I think Viguerie must have read my analysis. He has now set up a website to get as many of these names as he can, even though he has not publicly supported Ron Paul's candidacy. To suggest that he supports Ron Paul is naive. He has said specifically that he does not support him or any candidate. This is about business. He knows a direct-mail gold mine when he sees one. He is going to get Ron Paul's supporters to sign up with his site. He will put those names to profitable use in his company.
My argument is that Dr. Paul will put those names to even better use.
The Republican national convention (Sept. 1-4) will be the visible end of Phase 1. Ron Paul's supporters now must then either move on to Phase 2 or else move on to the some new adventure, just as Don Quixote moved on.
The question is: What can Ron Paul do to keep the hard core where they belong after September 4, which is in the political trenches at the local level? They signed up to serve. But for how long? They signed up much as George Washington's troops signed up: for one brief term of service. Most of his troops went home after a year. A few stayed. Those troops became the Continental Army.
I have previously described Phase 2. It must focus on the development of a national cadre of volunteers who are ready to commit for at least a decade of hard, boring work in the trenches of local politics. I described this campaign here:
Ron Paul will soon be at the point where the summer soldiers and sunshine patriots will drift home. I suspect most will. But a hard core will not, assuming that he presents them with a practical program of local political action. If he does not do this, then the 2008 campaign will be seen in retrospect as a fluke.
The question is now one of timing. The national campaign goes on. He can meet with supporters, gather more emails, and motivate his followers to get others to contact www.RonPaul2008.com. The campaign is recruiting precinct volunteers. https://voters.ronpaul2008.com/grassroots This is the correct strategy. His supporters need to become familiar with precinct politics -- not for just one campaign but permanently.
The crucial question is: What will he and they do after the Republican national convention?
This campaign can become a decisive turning point in the history of the politics of American Constitutionalism. But will it?
MAX WEBER'S CALL TO ACTION
In 1919, the German sociologist Max Weber [Mawx Vayber] spoke to a group of students at the University of Munich. Germany had suffered a major military defeat. The monarchy was gone. Weber gave a lecture called "Politics as a Vocation." He ended his lecture with a description of what it takes to be a political leader. That person must strive for what appears to be the impossible.
Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards. It takes both passion and perspective. Certainly all historical experience confirms the truth -- that man would not have attained the possible unless time and again he had reached out for the impossible. But to do that a man must be a leader, and not only a leader but a hero as well, in a very sober sense of the word.
That describes Ron Paul. But what of his followers? Weber continued:
And even those who are neither leaders nor heroes must arm themselves with that steadfastness of heart which can brave even the crumbling of all hopes. This is necessary right now, or else men will not be able to attain even that which is possible today. Only he has the calling for politics who is sure that he shall not crumble when the world from his point of view is too stupid or too base for what he wants to offer. Only he who in the face of all this can say 'In spite of all!' has the calling for politics.
This is what it will take to return this country to Constitutional liberty.
Here is where the battle will be won or lost: in local politics. This is the slow boring of hard boards. This is Phase 2.
I served as Ron Paul's research assistant in his first term in Congress, 1976. I have spent the last three decades in direct mail. I know my business. Trust me: he has the money and the mailing lists to create long-term havoc for the anti-Constitutionalists in both parties. Phase 2's success will depend on the tenacity of his supporters and their capacity for grunt work.
How about you? If you're not sure, read ex-Communist Douglas Hyde's book, Dedication and Leadership. Then read Luke 9:62 and 14:28-30. Then decide.