It's not that Ron Paul was repellant to the Republican base. Compare his consistency on abortion, illegal immigration, and gun control with the rest of the flip-floppers in the presidential race. No, it wasn't issues that did Ron Paul in.
Nor was lack of money. That's for sure.
Someone will say, "The MSM was against him." But Fox News aside, the MSM was sympathetic. Tucker Carlson, Pat Buchanan, and George Will expressed support. Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough, and Wolf Blitzer were warm and polite. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were enthusiastic hosts. And when you appear twice on Jay Leno, you can't say you're being overlooked. So let's not blame the MSM.
So who can we blame for his lackluster performance?
His own staff, that's who.
Take a look at this link: Graniteprof. It reports ad buys for the biggest TV station in New Hampshire, WMUR. John McCain's campaign spent $1.1 million in ad buys, while Ron Paul's spent only $270,000. McCain outspent Paul on advertising by a factor of four. Could that have anything to do with why McCain received four times as many votes?
True, ads have to be purchased months in advance, but even as early as the end of the third quarter last year, Paul had millions more in the bank than McCain. So 'long lead buy time' is not an excuse. Something is not right here.
You see that by looking at the jaw-dropping lack of professionalism in the ads themselves. Here's the infamous first one, and I'll let the Youtube comments speak for us all: "ROFL, this ad is hilarious!" "really fake sorry but it is" "Best Candidate. WORST AD EVER!"
Ron Paul graduated from medical school, served ten terms in Congress, and has written several books. Since he isn't an idiot, why is his campaign acting like one?
The campaign skimped on ad buys. The ads it bought were amateurish, a sure sign the money wasn't spent on production values. So what was the money spent on?
Maybe you think it went into organization, but nope. Here's a pro-Paul blogger who ominously entitles his entry, "Getting Ron Paul elected in spite of the campaign":
The push to collect enough signatures to get Paul on the ballot in Virginia was a success, but only because the grassroots local guys worked their asses off. The national office told them everything was taken care of, and it wasn’t until very late in the drive that people realized nothing was being done whatsoever. Ballot access is not some trivial detail - it is the number one priority of an electoral campaign to get the candidate on the ballot!
. . . Apparently there are many, many more examples of no brainer campaign tasks being dropped or bungled.
It sounds like the plot to The Producers: run a campaign, collect contributions, and deliberately fail -- and under current campaign spending laws you're allowed to keep the remaining funds for personal use. Paul himself was reluctant to run for President and long ago rejected his Congressional pension as 'immoral,' so he appears above reproach. But too often his staffers have put themselves first, campaign and candidate second. Sadly, there's a long history of Paul choosing staffers of such questionable loyalty.
You may have heard of Eric Dondero. He was a Paul Congressional staffer for years, who broke with Paul over post-9-11 foreign policy and has since become a real thorn in the side, even running for Paul's Congressional seat. The point: does it speak well of Paul's personnel judgment that he hired such a disloyalist for his staff?
When asked about Dondero's betrayal, Paul said, " . . . if Eric Dondero is the only thing I have to worry about, then I don't have a lot to worry about." That may be all too true. Dondero, after all, was never tainted financially.
With that in mind, this article of his says something we should heed:
Rep. Ron Paul’s 1988 Libertarian Presidential campaign started with great promise: A former four-term Republican US Congressman running on the ticket of America’s third largest party. But it ended in failure and even scandal. Many were predicting over 1 million votes—a Libertarian record. Paul ended up with 435,000. On the money front it was even more of a downer. By some estimates over $3.5 million was raised. Most of it was squandered on full-page NY Times ads, escapades to the Republican National Convention, and lavish luncheons for visiting Libertarian luminaries. On Election Day scores of Lawyers, and Accountants raided the Ron Paul for President Campaign Headquarters and closed down the campaign operation. Campaign Manager Nadia Hayes was arrested by the Nassau Bay, TX Police Department and later convicted for embezzlement of roughly $140,000.American Libertarian magazine November 1988 described the situation: “…a bizarre twist tough-talking campaign manager Nadia Hayes was sacked the day before the election. And the much awaited last minute campaign media blitz largely failed to materialize….
Déjà vu. What does this say of Paul's inability to discipline his staff?
We see the same underlying problem in the scandal about those 1990s newsletters that were published with Paul's name on the header and racist remarks within. Paul claims he never saw the remarks and blames a staffer. Coming from any other politician, I'd call this evasive, but knowing how Paul consistently lets his staffers walk all over him, it's not surprising it happened or that he refuses to this day to name the staffer -- on the advice, of course, of his staff. They do look out for their own, no matter the cost to the candidate, and the candidate invariably allows himself to be dragged under.
This is not a man in control of his destiny. That was manifest on day of the New Hampshire primary, when his sole public response to the erupting scandal was to repeatedly chant "It's old news" as he walked to his car. That he's talking about it at all tells us that deep down he knows that suppressing information is wrong. And yet he allows his staff to intimidate him into official silence.
How vulnerable is Paul to staff bullying? Tucker Carlson writes of a likeable, intelligent, and yet pathologically flawed personality:
He can't stand to tell other people what to do, even people who've shown up looking for instructions. On board the campaign's tiny chartered jet one night . . . Paul and his staff engaged in an unintentionally hilarious exchange about the cabin lights. The staff wanted to know whether Paul preferred the lights on or off. Not wanting to be bossy, Paul wouldn't say. Ultimately, the staff had to guess. It was a long three minutes.When there's a scandal in the Rudy Giuliani campaign, Giuliani has his fingerprints all over it. But Ron Paul? A man who can't tell his staff to turn on a light probably is in the dark about his campaign finances, too.
The staffers aren't just out to loot the campaign and undermine the candidate, they're also out to get the volunteer movement too. A glaring example occurred in July 2007, when the New York Times Magazine published an article that quoted a letter sent from a Meetup group head to the national campaign headquarters, describing the typical Ron Paul Meetup as full of people who ". . . consider each other ‘wackos’ . . . ." At the time, the media flap was over whether the slur was valid, but let's not forget something far more sinister: somebody on the staff leaked a confidential letter, thereby feeding the reporter the 'wacko' angle. There can only be one motive for the leak. The official campaign staff wanted to discredit the independent volunteer campaign as much as possible.
We're the wackos? We're not the ones publishing racist newsletters or being convicted of embezzlement, are we?
Why would the official campaign staff want to discredit volunteers? Perhaps, because they fear that someday we might go over their heads and talk to the candidate about what they're doing, and that's the end of their power.
As long as power is in their hands, they'll only use it for the sake of power. We're the ones who raise the money and get things done. Look on Youtube -- we even produce better ads than they do, on zero budget! They may have twenty-five million dollars -- the money we raised -- but in terms of campaign visibility, it's like they're not even there. We volunteers are the ones who are making the Revolution happen.
That's something to think about, assuming we still want anything to do with the campaign. Or is it time to leave candidate and staffers to their decades of complementary dysfunctions, and transform the movement we've created into something larger than any one personality?