As predicted, Ron Paul's V for Vendetta fundraiser has attracted some (mostly uncritical) attention. Nobody seems to have noticed that his forum is encouraging foreigners to contribute to the campaign (indirectly). And a surprising number of supposedly savvy bloggers are buying into the notion that there's really a phenomenon going on.
David Freddoso over at National Review's Corner:
Among those for whom a sustained Iraq occupation is not a make-or-break issue, Paul's big day is going to win him a second look. But he has to lay off the gold standard schtick (at least for a while) and start speaking to conservatives again about the many issues he has in common with them. If he does, he might actually be able to make something of all this.
I know this is tough for some people to believe, but the gold standard thing is not a schtick. It's central to Ron Paul.
By far the most significant and interesting political story of the past 24 hours is the extraordinary, record-breaking outpouring of support for Ron Paul's presidential campaign. Therefore, it is being ignored by much of our establishment press -- not a single article about it in The New York Times or The Washington Post (though it is discussed on a couple of their blogs), nor even a mention of it on the websites of CNN or CBS News (which found space to report on Stephen Colbert's non-candidacy). But MSNBC and Fox News did at least both post the AP article on the Paul story.
Regardless of how much attention the media pays, the explosion of support for the Paul campaign yesterday is much more than a one-time event. The Paul campaign is now a bona fide phenomenon of real significance, and it is difficult to see this as anything other than a very positive development.
As Stan from South Park once said, "That's retarded." It is easy to forget that while money is the mother's milk of politics, it is only useful to the extent that it can get people to vote for you. While Paul's 40,000 donors is impressive, when you look at them as 40,000 voters you get a more realistic idea of what his chances are. Rasmussen polling has noted that Paul has never gotten above 4% in any of their national surveys. His supporters are committed (some would say they should be) but they are still only a tiny fraction of the electorate.
The internet makes it possible for libertarian cranks and 9-11 cranks and Patriot Act cranks and Federal Reserve cranks to get together and raise some dough, but it does not mean that their candidate is going to attract more than cranks.
Greenwald goes on to compare the Ron Paul express to the Howard Dean bandwagon. But Dean had real support in the liberal blogosphere. I'm reasonably connected with the conservative blogs and I don't know any of them who've endorsed Ron Paul; most consider him a carnival clown.
You can see what the rest of the blogosphere thinks about Ron Paul raking in the bucks at Memeorandum. Allah sees the same mistake in the National Review post that I did:
The gold standard stuff is not a “schtick.” Neither are the batty foreign policy or the associations with Alex Jones et al. That’s who Ron Paul is. It’s like that Denny Green interview — Paul is exactly who we think he is. Which means he’s a Bircheresque crank who happens to be running as a Republican, and who is allowing himself to be an empty vessel for whatever crankery isn’t otherwise represented by any of the other candidates.
Update: See here for some very unsavory people working for Paul. Hat Tip to Michael P. in the comments.