Drew Ivers, Mr. Paul’s campaign chairman in Iowa in 2008 and again this year, said the last time around they had money, but $6 million of it came in a mid-December burst that didn’t give them much chance to spend it strategically.
This year, the money has come in fast and steady throughout, and the campaign has what many political pundits deem the best organization in the state — a big advantage in caucuses, where turning out and keeping your voters in line is critical.
In 2008, independents and disaffected Democrats appeared to be a much higher percentage of Mr. Paul’s supporters than others in the GOP primary, and they weren’t as reliable as longtime mainstream Republican voters.
Analysts have taken notice.
“I do think he’s doing a better campaign, but I also think the times have changed and his party is much more receptive to his message than it has been,” said David Yepsen, who was a longtime political columnist for the Des Moines Register and is now director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. “A lot has happened since four years ago. Timing is everything.”
Much of Mr. Paul’s appeal is that his prophecies have come true. He warned of impending fiscal problems and of an overreach by the Federal Reserve, and now voters across the political spectrum share his fears.
His latest warnings involve the recent defense policy bill that passed Congress, which Mr. Paul said effectively repeals Posse Comitatus rules restricting U.S. military action within the nation’s borders, and he said another pending bill on Internet piracy would let the government “take over the Internet.”
He foresees “violence in the street” if the nation doesn’t turn around.
Mr. Paul makes some specific pledges: He would shrink the federal regulatory code and eliminate five Cabinet departments, would like to repeal the USA Patriot Act and would cut the budget by $1 trillion his first year in office, chiefly by recalling American military forces from most foreign postings.
But he offers caveats.
At his second stop of the day, in West Des Moines, he said to make good on his pledge to shrink government he would need to see a sea change in Congress, too.
“To say that just the single election of one person going to Washington can magically wave a wand and accomplish a $1 trillion cut, that’s not likely to happen,” he said.
Mr. Paul brings the broadest political philosophy of anyone in the Republican field, but also freely acknowledges that he won’t be able to strictly abide by it.
In one instance, he says that while Medicare, the government’s health care program for all Americans 65 and older, isn’t authorized by the Constitution, it would be too much of a jolt to end it. Instead, he proposes offering an alternative system to cajole younger people away from the government-run program.View Entire Story
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Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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