On this first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (and you know what the next one of these will bring), who would have guessed that we'd be talking about yet another Ron Paul haul? And who would have guessed that a Mormon just three years removed from supporting abortion rights would stand a real chance of being the consensus choice of the religious right?
Rep. Paul, R-Texas, reached $4.3 million in a 24-hour-period, all of it online, with his own campaign providing only minimal help to his supporters. (They were commemorating the heretofore obscure Guy Fawkes Day -- anyone see "V for Vendetta"?). That's a figure that the other Republicans who would be president can't afford (on several levels) to ignore.
With 21,000 new donors in a single day, he raised more in a 24-hour period than any of his Republican rivals, shattering former governor Mitt Romney's record of $3.14 million, which was set on his heralded "national call day" Jan. 8, per The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick.
It's almost certainly a new one-day online record, and it proves (again) that the Paulites are Web trawlers with wallets. "Dr. No" is officially better financed than Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and he'll be around for as long as he wants to be.
Nobody's trying to blow up anything this time (we hope), but the latest Paul haul drops a bomb on the GOP race. It is the latest indication that a large segment of Republican-leaning voters is angry -- at President Bush, at the Republican Party, at the entire political system. "The entire notion of Bush saying he is the decider when 70 or 80 percent of the country wants out of the war is ridiculous. He acts like a dictator," Trevor Lyman, the man behind the online explosion, tells ABC's Z. Byron Wolf.
Sixty-seven percent of self-identified Republicans still approve of the job the president is doing, according the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. Read another way, a full third of people who consider themselves Republicans are not at the president's side (to say nothing of independents who have traditionally voted Republican).
Other than Paul, no Republican candidate is making a concerted effort to reach those disaffected GOPers. Other than Paul, each remains a full-throated supporter of the war in Iraq, even as an AP bulletin out this morning pegs 2007 as the deadliest year yet for US troops in this war.
As far as reaching the GOP base goes, Romney, R-Mass., nabbed another big endorsement yesterday: Paul M. Weyrich, "considered by many to be the father of the modern religious conservative movement," per The Boston Globe's Michael Levenson. Says Grover Norquist: "This could be the beginning of all the guys who would have been with [Fred] Thompson and [Mike] Huckabee shifting over."
"It gives the Romney campaign a big leap forward to be able to say that Romney is serious about moving a pro-family, traditional value agenda as President," writes the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody, who broke the Weyrich news. "That three legged stool Mitt Romney keeps talking about just got sturdier."