12 - Ron Paul
9 - Sarah Palin
7 - Michelle Bachman
5 - Glenn Beck
3 - George W. Bush
3 - Mitt Romney
3 - Newt Gingrich
2 - Mike Huckabee
2 - Ralph Nader
Here's a breakdown of the February 2008 Alaska all-party caucus vote:
Barack Obama --- 6,471
Mitt Romney --- 5,177
Mike Huckaby --- 2,596
Hillary Clinton --- 2,138
Ron Paul --- 2,004
John McCain --- 1,837
At the time, my friend, Fred James, informed me that the way the computers were set up in the Alaska GOP candidate preference forums was, to borrow Shannyn Moore's term, "hinky." Informants from Anchorage, Wasilla, Palmer and Fairbanks told him there were far more Paul supporters at those events than were represented in the results emanating from those polling places.
Since then, a financial meltdown, which Paul had predicted, increasing concern that our Israel-centric Middle East policies do not serve our national interests - again - something Paul long ago articulated, and rapidly growing frustration with party hackery from both the Democrats and the GOP, have given him a resonance that reaches a point where the media can no longer refuse to cover him.
He isn't nearly as sexy as Sarah Palin, nor does he raise slush money nearly as effectively as Palin, but he reaches across party lines more effectively and sincerely than has any figure in recent American politics.
Paul's victory in the CPAC poll, close second in the SRLC poll and fairly shocking statistical tie with Obama in an early 2012 match poll by Rasmusson, all combine to make one wonder why about 5,000% as much print is wasted on the vapid Palin than on the high information Paul.
Justin Raimondo has posted a very good post-tax day essay on Paul's durability at antiwar.com. Here is an extract:
His message, in short, is eat your spinach – not something any politician who hopes to keep his job (or get one) would normally say. But then again, as I said above, these are not normal times: far from it. The crisis of the American republic is acute, as we teeter on the brink of bankruptcy and our overseas empire shows every sign of imploding, just like the old Soviet Union – and, what’s more, the American people know it.
As our corporatist masters feast on our tax dollars in Washington, out in the provinces voters faced with economic ruin are looking for some explanation, a conceptual framework that gets at the root of the problem and provides some solution. Paul’s rising popularity is due to the fact that he does indeed have a consistent philosophical approach, one that has propelled him from being a mere marginal figure – a "gadfly," as they said – to a very real contender. Yes, that’s right, I said a contender for the White House: it’s real, it’s possible, and here’s why.
Paul has consistently emphasized two themes that successfully capture the sentiments of the average American voter, and address the top two issues on their minds: 1) Fiscal sanity, and 2) A non-interventionist foreign policy. As regards the first point, Ron is the foremost opponent of government spending in Congress, and has earned the sobriquet "Dr. No" many times over. But of course practically all Republicans at least pay lip service to this ideal, although none that I know of lives up to it like Dr. Paul. However, it’s the second point – opposition to imperialism, and especially opposition to our crazed post-9/11 foreign policy of perpetual war – that is the key.
Here's Rep. Paul a week ago, on a Jesse Ventura-hosted episode of the Larry King show (with an incredibly improbable panel!), when asked about the viability of Palin as a 2012 candidate:
Notice how gatekeeper Stephanie Miller misses the opportunity to lend support to building a new coalition, in her avoidance of Paul's positive framing, by changing the subject to Sarah Palin's clothes.
As much as the apparatchiks of mainstream media, new media and emerging media want to avoid dealing with why somebody like Ron Paul has far more resonance than the figures those media pimp as being important, Paul may be on the point of catching a wave, or benefitting from the eye of the perfect storm.