139084If you build it, they will come.
If by 'it' you mean a campaign war chest, and by 'they' you mean the media.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the newly-validated Ron Paul, who set an all-time GOP mark for one-day campaign fundraising on Monday, according to the Associated Press:
Paul's total deposed Mitt Romney as the single-day fundraising record holder in the Republican presidential field. When it comes to sums amassed in one day, Paul now ranks only behind Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton, who raised nearly $6.2 million on June 30, and Barack Obama.Ron Paul's big haul was proof that he is the candidate of the Internet constituency this year – with supporters devoting a website to the one-day effort – no doubt aided by linking it to Guy Fawkes and the Wachowski Brothers' film "V for Vendetta."
(I mean, really. Can you imagine a better hook for Internet people than the guys who made the "Matrix" movies?)
And in light of his record-breaking day, the news media are beginning to cover him as more than a curiosity. The Boston Herald rang up a Harvard professor to pooh-pooh the avalanche of cash and interest:
"If you are on that third tier of candidates, attention is the biggest part of the game. He now has two months to try and transform this little bit of impetus into something more substantial, but my sense is that he won't get the traction," saidThomas Patterson of Harvard's JFK School of Government.The Washington Post's political blogger extraordinaire Chris Cilizza broke down the What It Means angle:
The practical impact of Paul's surprising fundraising strength is that he will have the money to be on television in early states in a major way from here on out. Paul is already up with two television ads in New Hampshire (watch them here and here). While the ads are somewhat amateurish -- they lack the fancy production values of commercials produced by Romney, for example -- they get across Paul's central message: we need to get out of Iraq and we need to return to the basic governing principles laid out in the Constitution.And then this morning, Paul got a solid segment on CNN that finally consisted of more than "Why are you bothering?" or "Do you seriously think you have a shot?" — even ending with co-anchor John Roberts adding "A awful lot of what he says makes a lot of sense." (Thank you, TVEyes)
So Ron Paul's big day drew some attention from the news media. And it's also going to buy some ads to spread the word even further. It's an interesting development that will create a dynamic that the GOP contenders must address in the next month.
As for now, though, he's still the 16 seed on the first day of the NCAA tournament.
He's the tree falling in the woods, without much media exposure, and making a deafening noise.
He's Howard Dean without the scream.
But he's making a serious move, if only on to force people to pay attention to his message.
Paul's supporters tied the fundraising drive to "Guy Fawkes" day, commemorating his attempt to blow up Parliament on the 5th of November in 1605 and inspiring a poem that began "Remember, remember the fifth of November …"
Regardless of what happens to Ron Paul and his candidacy, political strategists and academics will be remembering this fifth of November for some time.
(Correction: An earlier version of this post indicated that Ron Paul's campaign staff was reponsible for the November 5th event. The fundraising drive was conducted by his supporters nationwide.)