Saturday, December 22, 2007

On the road with Ron Paul's merry band of misfits and his hooker fan club

by

"One thing you can say for certain: The crowds at Ron Paul rallies aren't coming to be entertained. Stylistically, a Paul speech is about as colorful as a tax return. He is the only politician I've ever seen who doesn't draw energy from the audience; his tone is as flat at the conclusion as it was at the beginning. There are no jokes. There's no warm-up, no shout-out to local luminaries in the room, no inspiring vignettes about ordinary Americans doing their best in the face of this or that bad thing. In fact, there are virtually none of the usual political clich├ęs in a Paul speech. Children may be our future, but Ron Paul isn't admitting it in public.

Paul is no demagogue, and probably couldn't be if he tried. He's too libertarian. He can't stand to tell other people what to do, even people who've shown up looking for instructions. On board the campaign's tiny chartered jet one night (the plane was so small my legs were intertwined with the candidate's for the entire flight), Paul and his staff engaged in an unintentionally hilarious exchange about the cabin lights. The staff wanted to know whether Paul preferred the lights on or off. Not wanting to be bossy, Paul wouldn't say. Ultimately, the staff had to guess. It was a long three minutes."

"Mr. President, NORAD has identified what might be a flight of Russian Backfire bombers heading for US airspace."

Silence

"Mr. President we need to act now, we must scramble our available offensive aircraft and begin moving all planes from the ground in case the incoming bombers have orders to destroy our military airfields. We must get you aboard Air Force One, and we need to know what members of the Joint Chiefs you want with you. While doing that, the Secret Service will accompany members of Congress to safe havens and we'll require an executive order to accommodate their families, then..."

"Um, planes heading here, you say? And, ah, what was that middle part again..."

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