The Web Finds Its Man, and Takes Him for a Ride
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 10 — From posting video on YouTube to enlisting friends through Facebook, all of the presidential candidates are looking for ways to harness the Internet. In the case of Ron Paul, the Internet has harnessed him.
Mr. Paul, a 10-term Texas congressman who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, came into the campaign with conservative platform: a return to the gold standard, abolition of the I.R.S., a literal view of the Constitution. His campaign was bare bones. Then he started appearing in debates. His emphatic presence and fierce opposition to the war in Iraq set him apart from his fellow Republicans. Setting him even farther apart were ideas like blaming American foreign policy for the attacks of 9/11 and abolishing the Federal Reserve.
. . . In an interview on Friday, Mr. Paul, 72, a retired physician and a grandfather, acknowledged that his Internet support had surprised even him . . . “We always knew it was supposed to be important,” he said of the Internet. “My idea was you had to have someone who was a super expert, who knew how to find people. But they found us.”
. . . He added, “It’s kind of sad, but the money is what has given us credibility, not the authenticity of the ideas.”
There’s not much to be added to that, other than the fact that the Internet (unless Congress gets its managing little fingers on that too) has only begun to replace TV, radio and newspapers as a force in elections.