On Tuesday afternoon the Ron Paul Exploratory Committee officially revved its engine for the first time in Iowa by opening a campaign office in Ankeny. The office is the first one in the Nation that the Congressmen has opened in his current test drive for a White House run. Wasting no time, the Ron-voy rolled into town so the candidate could personally christen the property, introduce his Iowa exploratory staff, and take part in a brief Q and A session with the media.
Exploratory Committee Chairman Drew Ivers opened by highlighting the unique characteristics of Ron Paulâ€™s Congressional background and summarizing his small government message. Among the selling points he covered is that, in twenty years in the House, Mr. Paul has never voted for a tax increase, an unbalanced budget, or to give the Executive branch more power. To go along with this voting record he has never taken a tax payer funded junket and has long refused Congressional benefits.
As far as the exploratory staff introductions, four of the five were on hand and introduced. They are Executive Director Steve Bierfeldt and Regional Directors Ryan Flowers, Ani DeGroot, Rachel Karnia, and Rocco Moffa. In keeping with the demographic of his most ardent supporters, all were young. Mr. Bierfeltd let it be known that the team will have a presence in all 99 Iowa counties as they try to gauge the level of support their candidate currently has with Iowa voters.
Unquestionably the biggest news to come out of the gathering was Mr. Paulâ€™s prediction that his decision to run or not will be made within a week. You donâ€™t have to have a John Nash-like â€œBeautiful Mindâ€ to calculate what this meansâ€¦The decision has been made. Unless he hired a staff, held an event to announce them, and signed a 10 day lease for his office, this time table confirms the obvious and makes his deciding to run a near certainty (a decision that likely became certain after last Thursdayâ€™s post-debate million dollar online fundraiser).
In his opening statement and subsequent answers, it is clear that Paul is banking on the high level of enthusiasm that he and his message have encountered lately, and that the quality (i.e. enthusiasm) of his supporters will eventually lead to quantity. His up-beat and energized demeanor on this scorching May afternoon surely suggested that this enthusiasm has already worn off on him.
Mr. Paul is keenly aware that the current condition of the economy and the plummeting public support of our current foreign engagements will provide his unique and decades-long message with a broader and more receptive audience than it had in 2008. While the ground is indeed fertile, just how many of these people that he and his team are able to reach and seal the deal with remains to be seen. What no longer remains to be seen, and what was on full display Tuesday in Ankeny, is how long the â€œexploringâ€ in Iowa will last. It will be over almost as soon as it got started.
The Ron-voy is in full throttle and the finish line for him and his pit-crew is not in Iowa, itâ€™s in Washington D.C.