Ronverts: Breaking Up with Obama, Rebounding with Ron Paul

steven 2012/02/12 00:15:01
It's heartening to see that some sleepers are finally waking up. I might add here, too, that since FOX TV (which is showing more of their true colors lately) has seen fit to cancel Freedom Watch with Judge Andrew Napolitano, maybe the Judge should strongly consider running as political mate with Ron Paul on his ticket (ask him, Ron!)--what a Dream Team that would be! A Power Duo! Two men who know and RESPECT the Constitution--wow! Think of the damage we could undo.

And now, on with the story:

ron--what dream team power duo respect constitution--wow damage undo story

In 2008, Moses Caballero was a 21-year-old activist in New York City who couldn’t wait to cast his first presidential vote for Barack Obama. He canvassed around Harlem, he proselytized to his friends, he attended rallies and meetings downtown. Coming from a family of hardcore Puerto Rican and Brazilian-American Democrats that voted for Charlie Rangel every election cycle, he “really couldn’t give a f--k about a Republican.” He was happy that Obama planned to get our troops out of Iraq. He liked the sound of making government more transparent.

“I really loved the idea of finally becoming part of the political process,” he says. “Like it mattered what I thought about government issues.” The fact that Obama was biracial topped it off. For his Harlem neighbors and family members, having a president of color “was monumental,” Moses says. “It felt important for us to back him. I thought he would support us.”

Fast-forward to 2012. The best way Caballero can describe the way he feels is “heartbroken.” Betrayed and lied to. “I haven’t felt this pain about any other politician,” he says. He began to lose his faith in Obama when the president waffled on the wars, after he reaffirmed the PATRIOT Act, and especially when he signed the National Defense Authorization Act back in December. “He conformed to what the puppets on Capitol Hill wanted him to be,” Caballero says, with disgust. “He didn’t care about his constituents.”

Then one day a friend suggested he look into Ron Paul. Caballero watched hours of Paul videos on YouTube. He learned as much about Paul as he could, and agreed with almost everything he read and heard. He didn’t tell any of his Democrat friends, partly because he didn’t fully understand what was happening.

“It was kind of like a culture shock, to hear all that stuff about the Constitution,” Caballero explains. “He seemed like the only candidate that was being absolutely and utterly honest. It was almost like I was falling in love.”

Young people have been Ron Paul fans since the mid-2000s. They list reasons that echo Caballero's: He’s anti-war, he’s anti-surveillance, he’s pro-“liberty.” Post-recession, some Millennials are indignant that so much money has been spent (on social welfare, on wars) without us reaping the benefits of it, so Paul’s anti-spending language resonates. They usually don’t share his conservative social beliefs, but give him a pass because Paul supports the rights of states to decide on their own. They also love his consistency—“just look at those videos of him from the late 80s,” Caballero suggests. “He’s saying the same things.” He won’t trick us like those other guys will, they think. He won’t lie to us.

In 2008, a lot of young people trusted Obama the same way. They saw him as someone who would go to Washington and shake things up rather than become part of the machine. Now, a lot of previously energized young voters like Caballeros are breaking up with Obama—and, to mend their broken hearts, they’re rebounding with Paul.

Ron Paul’s base of young supporters has grown impressively this primary season. In Iowa, Paul won 18-to-29-year-olds with 48 percent of the vote, compared with 23 percent for Rick Santorum and 13 percent for Mitt Romney. In New Hampshire, he got 46 percent of the youth vote. Even in South Carolina, a state far less welcoming to Paul's libertarian brand, he surpassed Newt Gingrich's share of the youth vote with 31 percent. Still, it’s been hard to get specifics on these numbers—how many of his supporters are conservatives sick of toeing the party line, how many are newly politicized college kids going through their Ayn Rand phase, and how many are former Obama supporters for whom the honeymoon is over?

The moment I decided to stick my toe in the pool of the last group, I was pulled in headfirst. After my tweet asking for Obama-turned-Paul fans was eagerly retweeted by more than 50 Paul advocates, the responses I got were emotional, confessional, and passionate. Like Caballero, they described a love affair gone awry: “I donated my hard earned $8-an-hour income to [Obama’s] campaign when I was 19,” one woman wrote me, “only to have more of my money snatched and donated to TARP, and my poor American heart broken. I CRIED for the guy when he got elected.” Or else they described a conversion experience, a sense of feeling lost, then being shaken to the core. I read email after email from people who admitted to becoming “obsessed” or “addicted” to watching Ron Paul YouTube videos after feeling disappointed with Obama. One guy told me that he was “consumed” with listening to Paul speeches in his car and had started secretly reading libertarian literature at work.

Matthew Stanford was one of the Obama voters whose mind was blown by Paul. In 2008, he was a 25-year-old hippie who was in the habit of wearing a tie-dye T-shirt that proclaimed “Deadheads for Obama.” He was appalled by the war in Iraq, and he watched with horror as people lost their jobs and homes while the cost of living rose. “If you’re going to spend money outrageously, might as well spend it on the people here, like on health care and stimulus packages,” he reasoned.

When the Republican primary race began last year, he thought it was a big joke. He watched it mainly for “entertainment purposes,” observing the antics of Rick Perry, Michele Bachman, and Herman Cain. That’s when Stanford accidentally got introduced to Ron Paul.

Stanford found himself nodding his head along to Paul's debate rebuttals. It freaked him out—he’d always been a liberal, but Paul was speaking with a matter-of-factness he’d never seen before in politics. He started researching, eventually becoming fixated on absorbing all things Ron Paul. Every night he’d lie in bed watching YouTube videos on his iPhone with his headphones on, his girlfriend sleeping by his side.

“I started to think, ‘Just because Obama is spending money on the people doesn’t make it right and doesn’t make it a good idea for this country, because we simply can’t afford that, either,’” he says. Plus, Paul was against the war. He was against the PATRIOT Act and SOPA and NDAA. And, unlike Obama, Stanford felt like Paul was keeping it real. “His whole M.O. is that he’s not full of it,” he says.

It’s tempting to pit a truth-teller against a “liar” when we’ve had four years to evaluate the relative honesty of our current president. Dave Weigel, a political reporter for Slate who closely followed Ron Paul supporters in 2008, thinks part of the reason Paul is getting so many props from former Obama supporters is because Paul is running on some of the same promises that Obama failed to deliver.

“Obama talked about reducing military spending in 2008,” says Weigel. “He said during his campaign that he would cut the deficit in half. He said he would close Gitmo…in general, there are a lot of people who think the guy lied to us.” Back in the Bush era, Weigel says, libertarianism was concentrated on protecting civil liberties. Now that Paul is talking about reining in spending for wars abroad and drug enforcement, framing it in a recession-based isolationism, it appeals to Obama supporters who feel duped.

“The focus has shifted to an ‘old right,’ much more fundamental, America-first patriotism,” says Weigel, a patriotism that fits with the urgency of an economic crisis.

Other “Ronverts” are exchanging one outsider for another. Part of the reason why young people rallied around Obama is because he seemed to sidestep politics as usual. Alfredo Rios, a 32-year-old former Marine from Milwaukee, volunteered to canvass for Obama not only because he was against the war in Iraq but because, after seeing him on television, he thought, “Dude looks cool, and he doesn’t look like any of the other presidents we’ve ever had.” For Rios, who started looking into Paul shortly after Obama’s victory, Obama became just another acquiescent, robotic politician.

Groups like Youth for Ron Paul and Blue Republican (former Democrats who switched party affiliations to vote in the primary) abound on Facebook and Twitter. But Paul’s young supporters aren’t just hunched over their computers. Stanford, for instance, was so moved by Paul that he booked himself a hotel room in Concord, NH for few days and volunteered at Paul’s campaign headquarters. He had been impressed by the Occupy movement, but wanted to do more than “sit there and complain.” Going to work for Paul, he explains, “was my way of occupying something.”

Many of Paul’s events and groups are organized by young people. Caballero is wrangling supporters for a New York City rally on February 25. Several other groups, including the Blue Republicans, are organizinga rally in D.C. February 20. Rios started the Ron Paul 2012 Milwaukee Area Activists; out of 200 members, he says he's recruited about 40 of them personally.

Paul has quenched the thirst of young people looking for a grassroots movement they can own; if you ask them, the Paul buzz is more authentic than even Obama’s ascension. As one 28-year-old, self-proclaimed feminist named Erin Monda put it, Obama was “generic”— people were “espousing this kind of ‘change is good!’ rhetoric without knowing what they were supporting,” she says.

Obama was a big-media darling, after all; Paul material mostly lives on YouTube, Facebook, and message boards, where people can choose their level of involvement. Most of the supporters I talked to came to understand Ron Paul through some sort of private evangelic moment, or had a person they trust convince them of his greatness. It’s a more deliberate—and contrarian—process than getting caught up in the collective fervor of Obama. Even Paul’s suggestion of settling social issues among states opens up opportunities for activism.

“I’m pro-choice,” Monda says. “And if a state outlawed abortion, I would be extremely active in my community to get that overturned. I would speak out against it and petition. I think it would feel good to be able to wield that kind of power.”

Several other people told me switching from Obama to Paul was their way of proving they could think for themselves. Ronverts aren’t necessarily the stereotype of those college kids searching for a libertarian demagogue; in a way, they’re rejecting that model altogether. With Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, their effort would get swallowed up by SuperPACs and euphemisms. With Ron Paul, they’re on their own—and they like it that way.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Gage Skidmore.

Read More: http://www.good.is/post/rise-of-the-ronverts-break...

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Top Opinion

  • Technotrucker_exposingthetruth 2012/02/12 04:59:18
    If people would start paying attention to the Paul message, realize that he is the only one defending them against the theft of their liberties and extortion of their pay, they might get on board with the revolution.

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  • HipJipC 2012/03/13 03:08:33
    No rebound here, I've supported Ron Paul for 8 years now. I hate to see what's going to happen next election if the status quo is kept up and what's left of the middle class completely disappears. Civil war?
  • LAAD Gunner - USMC 2012/02/16 07:03:44
    LAAD Gunner - USMC
    I just don't understand it...the people that still don't support him...what are they missing!? Why is he so rejected by certain people? And this is pretty interesting of the Ronverts (switching from Obama to Paul) how are there still such Obama-maniacs? What are THEY missing??
  • TuringsChild 2012/02/13 22:22:51
    Ironically, Obama may turn out to be the best thing that could have happened to America.
    He just may actually wake the Sheeple up!
  • Tennessee3501 2012/02/12 21:49:26
    Good article. The problem is that Ron Paul's views on foreign policy are unrealistic given the role Amwerica has taken in the world since World War II! However, he expresses my views on domestic issues better than any other candidate!
  • Turings... Tenness... 2012/02/13 22:24:59
    But the role America has taken since WWII has been a direct RESULT of interference by those who have worked so hard to steal America from us!
  • Tenness... Turings... 2012/02/14 23:23:02
  • Turings... Tenness... 2012/02/14 23:38:30
    Google 'bilderbergers' some time. I've already been insulted and blocked once today because I mentioned them, so I'm afraid you'll have to do your own research IF you're serious.
  • Tenness... Turings... 2012/02/15 17:27:06
    I am sorry. Now I know what you are talking about. I read a book about "The Bilderberg Group" just a few years ago. There have been shows about them on TV. My wife is a true believer in the conspiracy. I have my doubts as to the extent of their influence.
  • Herb 2012/02/12 20:57:10 (edited)
    but paul will not win , hopefully paul will give the gop the nod and all his people will stay.
  • Bozette Herb 2012/02/12 21:20:04
    Freudian slip Herb? lol
  • Herb Bozette 2012/02/12 21:28:01
    yes thanks.
  • Bozette Herb 2012/02/12 21:55:33
  • Turings... Herb 2012/02/13 22:27:43
    I hope not. The GOP is no better than the DNC. BOTH Parties work together to whipsaw the People senseless so their Authoritarian agenda can slip into place while we argue about trivialities. We've drifted away from the Constitution, and are paying the price of that error.
  • WannaBeRSC the Contrarian SOB 2012/02/12 20:39:11
    WannaBeRSC the Contrarian SOB
    Well done. No "republican" will ever get these votes, and for good reason.

    Ron Paul, 2012!
  • WGN 2012/02/12 17:17:48
    All rebound relationships end in catastrophe and this is just another case of that.
    Ron Paul is too far out in right field to be taken seriously. I pity any one who actually follows his inane conservative rhetoric.
  • steven WGN 2012/02/12 19:31:17
    Ron Paul is right where the founders said we should be as a nation. If he appears to be too far right, it is because everyone else has shifted radically left. I pity anyone who can't see this.
  • WGN steven 2012/02/12 22:28:01
    Yes, and the ff's have been dead for over 200 years and we have moved on. It is they who made us capable of change. They never said that their way was the only way.
    Too bad that the right does not understand this and has not moved on at all.
    The Constitution is a changeable, amendable document that is the framework for how the government functions. It does not say that we have to have capitalism as our economic system, it does not say how society should be, and it changes with, and as, society changes.
    Now, if the right would only see that we have moved forward, they would not be stuck trying to move backwards.
  • DDD WGN 2012/02/13 13:52:57
    The Constitution was and still is the basic Law that makes this country great. We are not a country of people, neither mob rule (democracy) nor dictatorship (all the others). We are a nation based on LAWs.

    As you 'hint' but don't seem to support, the ff's also gave us a reasonable, fair, and just mechanism for change of those laws, Amendments, which are still within the scope of the constitution. When we "move on" and step off of that path, it is like being partially pregnant or partially aborted, the whole thing dies.

    Today most Politicians AND Bureaucrats AND Judges try to sidestep that path. Just like the thugs in the street, they are lazy and coniving and lying. (They are Politicians and not Statesmen.) They think it is just too much work to obey the law/Constitution and put forth an Amendment for YOU AND ME to consider and vote on; even though that is the exact approach required by their sworn oath in their 'employment' agreement.
  • Turings... WGN 2012/02/13 22:29:24
    Unfortunately, we haven't moved forward. We've moved BACKWARD to an Authoritarian form of govt.
  • WGN Turings... 2012/02/14 02:42:48
    Thank Reagan for those seeds. Even though he tried to decrease the size of government, he also reiterated and intensified the conservative idea of a wealthy elite ruling the country and doing just what it wanted to: Ollie North, Sandinistas, Arms to Iran, support of South American dictators, etc, etc, all with disregard to the Constitution of the US.
  • Turings... WGN 2012/02/14 19:54:46
    The seeds are far older than Ronnie. Try Woodrow Wilson.
  • WGN Turings... 2012/02/16 03:26:20
    Try the industrialist of the 1920's who brought on the first great depression by their elitist conservative policies.
  • Bozette 2012/02/12 16:10:39
    Dr. Paul is consistent. Young people don't like to be lied to and have more energy and idealism than most of the older voters. Where a lot of the older voters believe they must vote for the "lesser of two evils" or feel that a vote for RP is a vote for Obama, the younger ones aren't willing to settle.

    As one of the older Paul supporters, I hear a lot of my conservative friends say that they will settle rather than chance a vote for Paul because they don't believe he can beat Obama. Problem is, voting in one of the other Republican candidates will just be more of the same. There is little difference between the parties, and it took both parties working together to achieve the mess we are now faced with.
  • steven Bozette 2012/02/12 19:33:26
    I hear the same sad refrain and so many fall for the lies and deceptions of a media that has been bought off by government or corporations. Only courage to break new ground will save us as a nation now. Willingness to give life, wealth and sacred honor, like our founders.
  • Bozette steven 2012/02/12 19:36:15
    I totally agree.
  • dayowayne Bozette 2012/02/12 21:06:14
    Well said.
  • Bozette dayowayne 2012/02/12 21:18:42
  • BoomLover 2012/02/12 06:47:50
    Good article. Mainly focused on young people. However, speaking as a member of the "older crowd', I'll say Ron Paul has appealed to me, ever since the first time he ran, and I'll be voting for him this trip around, too. He is refreshingly honest about the true state of this country, and has valid remedies, as far as I'm concerned. WAY too much Central Government Power, need to break that up, give power back to the States and the People, as this country was intended from the get go. Get rid of the IRS, Dept. of Education, bust those Government Unions, lots of work to do. Like the man said, "...It's yours, if you can hang on to it!"
  • steven BoomLover 2012/02/13 02:57:43
    Technically speaking, power was never taken from the states, but we've been bamboozled into believing that DC statutes are binding law elsewhere--they are not! Nor is an Executive Order. Liars, cheats, thieves and traitors--most of them.
  • DDD steven 2012/02/13 20:27:22
    The States could easily reassert their powers. All the legislature of any one state would have to do is recall their Senators and appoint new ones, a right the Constitution gives them. Senators were supposed to be appointed (not elected) as long term (6 year) Statesmen. They were not originally intended to be voted in by whatever current mass hysteria might exist in the streets.

    Then that State would reestablish their stable and responsible voices in Washington DC. At present every country/nation/state government in the world has a voice, a recognized spokesperson, in DC, EXCEPT for the individual 50 STATES within the United States. The present Senators, like the House Representatives, are elected under the rules of a supposed democracy (defined as the "worst form of government" by Mr Franklin). They spend too much of their time seeking re-election and working out compromise DEALS with their peers.

    However... if any one State Legislatures did that, they would likely face three significant opponents: 1) the wrath of a bamboozled (aka. guvm't educated) citizenry AND 2) armed federal troops entering the state capitol to stop a purported "revolution" AND 3) a MEDIA swarm seeking to rile up the populace and film all the bloodshed for the evening news.
  • Ken 2012/02/12 05:37:35
    FOX News is becoming just one more outlet for the liberal propaganda, Obama's group must be using the fear of retaliation on Murdock, and he must be intimidated.
  • BoomLover Ken 2012/02/12 06:49:24
    Not to mention almost 50% share going to the Saudi's...
  • steven BoomLover 2012/02/13 03:00:05
    There you go--thought it was more, actually. Saudis are NOT our friends, really.
  • steven Ken 2012/02/13 02:59:27
    Agreed. Also, a major stockholder is an Arab, which we know Obama is a sympathizer to. Not saying it is a factor, but worth wondering over and following the trail.
  • Ken steven 2012/02/13 03:15:30
    The collaboration keeps getting deeper and deeper.
  • Technotrucker_exposingthetruth 2012/02/12 04:59:18
    If people would start paying attention to the Paul message, realize that he is the only one defending them against the theft of their liberties and extortion of their pay, they might get on board with the revolution.
  • steven Technot... 2012/02/13 03:01:57
    People don't listen. They have been taught to expect fast answers to everything and get impatient if it isn't instant. That's why buzzwords and soundbites work on them so well. Basically, they are intellectually lazy.
  • Technot... steven 2012/02/13 04:32:07
    The fact that the LSM leads them to who is going to be the next shepherd has some to do with it as well.
    sheep walking off a cliff
  • James 2012/02/12 01:52:38
    I'm waiting for the day Fox News gets rid of the John Stossel show.
  • steven James 2012/02/12 03:45:43 (edited)
    Stossel is awesome. He says what few others will and he is almost always correct. But then if FOX drops Judge Napolitano, then I wouldn't be shocked if they did Stossel, too. FOX may be selling out to their 52% owner--some Arab sheik, or such, I think.

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