The Ron Paul phenomenon

Ron Paul blimp

“Something’s happening here / What is ain’t exactly clear.”

Ron Paul raised $6 million yesterday in the “most successful fundraising day in American political history.” Sure, it was geared as a massive one day fundraiser, but still, those numbers are impressive.

His campaign has gotten major traction from usually apolitical libertarian geeks like Chris Pirillo and Adam Curry. His campaign is flying under the radar, fueled by the net. Hey, geeks do know how to spread memes through cyberspace.

Rogers Cadenhead, like many on the left, isn’t sure whether to be appalled or excited.

I can’t decide whether that rave-like scene [the video of Paul breaking $12 million] is thrilling or terrifying.

I can’t say I’d vote for Paul — I’m a Democrat who still believes in the necessity of many federal programs he’d destroy — but I think he brings something important to our politics: a scalpel.

That’s the crux of it. Paul is saying things no other candidate is, about the size of government, personal freedom, and interventionism. That he is coming to these views from an extreme right viewpoint hasn’t really filtered out yet. But what he is saying is absolutely resonating with many. If his polls numbers keep rising and he looks to be a threat to the mainstream Republican candidates, his free pass will be over and the long knives will be out.

But for now, he’s a genuine phenomenon.