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Rallying behind a long-shot

Some students want to start a revolution.

A Ron Paul revolution.

Although some Republicans may have dismissed the Texas libertarian’s viability as a candidate several months ago, Paul is gaining some ground among students nationally and on this campus. The most enthusiastic backers of his campaign, which bears the title the “Ron Paul Revolution,” aren’t rich political action committees – they’re students.

“Students appreciate a candidate who is principled and will speak truth to power,” said Jeff Frazee, the National Youth Coordinator for the Ron Paul Campaign. “We currently have over 350 Students for Ron Paul chapters across the country and more are being added each day. Students will have an enormous impact in the election and be the difference for our campaign.”

The more than 50 supporters on this campus can be seen plastering sidewalks with phrases like “Google Ron Paul” and covering bulletin boards with posters and stickers.

“He is the true Republican voice,” said sophomore government and politics major Brian Davis, the president of Maryland Students for Liberty. “The party has lost its way and are set up for a loss in ’08.”

Davis attributes Paul’s popularity among college students to his honesty and straightforwardness. He also cites Paul’s opposition to the war in Iraq, which he says is stronger than that of the Democratic front-runners.

Some students also say Paul is a homogenizing voice for students of this generation.

“His supporters also spread far across the political spectrum,” said senior history major and Paul supporter Zach Hughes. “At one sign waving I met two Democrats, four Republicans, three Libertarians, and a few moderates.”

To some his propositions are extreme; to others they are exactly what this country needs. He advocates for cutting the budget in order to eliminate the IRS and income tax, dismantling the CIA, withdrawing from the United Nations and practicing a non-interventionist foreign policy in his attempt to return the United States to what he says the founders originally intended.

Though Paul may have gained some student support, many say he still hasn’t found a mainstream audience on campuses. According to College Democrats President and government and politics major Jonathan Sachs, Paul may be the only true conservative voice, but he is not the solution.

“With all the work that needs to be done after what [the Republicans have done] we don’t need to be eliminating programs that help our citizens,” said Sachs, citing Paul’s lack of a health care plan.

Although many think of Democratic candidate Barack Obama as the voice of the younger generation, Paul supporters disagree.

“Obama is more rhetoric than substance. He’s the feel-good candidate. But when you look at his record, he is no different than the rest. He voted to renew the Patriot Act; he will not promise to have the troops out of Iraq by 2013; and he will not take a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Iran off the table. He is a status-quo politician with style,” said Frazee.

The efforts of Paul’s supporters seem to be working. Paul recently set the online record for Republican presidential fundraising, receiving more than $4.2 million from over 37,00 contributors on his website in a 24-hour period. Paul hopes to raise $10 million on Dec. 16, the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.

“Every public official swears to uphold the Constitution,” said Frazee. “Congressman Ron Paul is the only one to take this oath seriously.”

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