Honk If You Support Ron Paul
By Samantha Hayes in Des Moines, Iowa
January 3, 2008
When the high in Des Moines is somewhere between 10 and 15 degrees you basically run from point A to point B in order to keep from freezing. When we parked outside the Judicial Complex, this was my plan. But something stopped me in my tracks.
The Ron Paul Mobile.
I must describe it for you. It's a totally decked out Honda Civic CRX. I guess it's from the late 80's or early 90's. Whoever owns this ride painted it in red, white, and blue, stars and stripes, and on the car doors it says "Dr. Ron Paul for President." On the car roof is the image of the outline of Paul's face with the words "constitution champion."
By now you may be familiar with the Ron Paul Phenomenon. Paul is a long-time Texas Congressman who has won the hearts of many supporters who have pledges their love and their dollars primarily on the internet; apparently, also on their personal vehicles.
Paul has even raised nearly 20 million dollars in the fourth quarter, almost entirely from "money bomb" events promoted on the web. And even though he seems to remain near the bottom of national polls, his supporters consistently find ways to draw attention to themselves on the campaign trail.
During our live reports outside the Republican YouTube Debate in St. Petersburg, Florida in November, a plane flew overhead with lights flashing on its underside that spelled "VOTE RON PAUL."
A couple weeks later there was the Ron Paul Blimp.
And now, just hours before the Iowa Caucuses, Paul supporters are everywhere, and they are passionate.
As I walk around the "Ron Paul Mobile" I notice bumper stickers and campaign signs in the trunk. I think every other car in the parking lot may have been a rental. Thus, this thing really sticks out. And I must have looked a little conspicuous because the owner of the car approaches me. He's a young fella, and tall- about 6'4" or so and is wearing a cap and heavy coat. I ask him the obvious question and probe his dedication to the outspoken Republican-who-sounds-Libertarian.
"He just makes sense. He wants to get rid of the Federal Reserve, back our money with gold and limit the power of the federal government so that states can make more decisions for themselves." I discover that he believes the consequences of voting for other candidates are severe. "Everyone else just wants to go with the same old thing, and jump on the idiot bus, and I think the idiot bus is going to be driven off a cliff."
It's this radical image that strikes me as I notice several buttons on the young man's sweater. They say "Ron Paul Revolution." Inside the word, "revolution" there is a heart drawn around the letters e-v-o-l. That's love spelled backwards.
So I ask if he will be feeling the love in New Hampshire as well, where the most recent CNN/WMUR poll shows Paul in fifth place.
"Whoa." he says with a smile while he chuckles. "Probably not, I don't think my car would make it."
We both laugh, but realize at the same time that while enthusiasm is adored by the presidential candidates, what they really need on this caucus night and hereafter, is for folks to show up.