On Saturday, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tx., won the California straw poll, beating out Texas Governor Rick Perry who came in second, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney who took the third spot. While the straw poll was only open to a small group of the California Republican Party and their registered guests, the results reflect a gain in momentum that Paul has picked up in recent weeks in the race for the GOP nomination.
On September 21, the Monitor Breakfast will host Ron Paul to discuss his perception in the media, thoughts on rival candidates, and of course, his current run to be president of the United States.
While most political pundits consider Paul, one of the leaders of Libertarian thought in the country, to be an outsider compared to the more “electable” candidates such as Perry or Romney, he remains a central figure in the Tea Party movement. Even Michele Bachmann, who many consider to be the current darling of the Tea Party, has lost favor in recent weeks as Paul continues to generate support and money in a carryover from his 2008 presidential bid.
Paul brings to the Republican Party an independent mind, one that is not afraid to push the envelope of radical change. Paul has called for an overhaul of entitlement spending on the domestic front, such as allowing young Americans to opt out of Social Security. He wants to withdrawal all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. He also calls for the elimination of several federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Education, calling them “unnecessary bureaucracies.” Many of his positions rankle both parties, because of his unwillingness to join the rank-and-file on core GOP social issues like gay marriage, and his efforts to drastically cut Democrat-led government spending. Nevertheless, he maintains a strong, albeit slightly cultlike following among his eager supporters.
Those same supporters vehemently criticize the mainstream media for the lack of coverage he receives, especially on major networks like CNN and Fox News. They believe his unique grassroots campaign style and his ability to fund raise en masse through “moneybombs” (calling on suppoters to pledge small amounts of money within a single day) are overlooked as campaign gimmicks, when they may just tell the tale of an underdog presidential candidate who might be able to run government just as effectively as he runs his own campaign.