March 22, 2012
By Richard Moffett
I have always heard of the tenacity and determination that Ron Paul supporters possess but after reading this book, How to Win America for Ron Paul and the Cause of Freedom in 2012, I can attest to it first-hand. In the book, author Allan Stevo not only lays out a compelling case as to why Paul should win the Republican nomination in 2012, but also provides an in-depth plan as to how this feat can be accomplished. He is 100% convinced that Paul will win the nomination in August which makes the book somewhat irrelevant in a practical sense to the average reader. With Paul’s chances of earning the presidential candidacy waning every day, I believe that much of the book has already become outdated, but definitely not all of it. What this work does contain are some very good points about how we can improve the presidency and national discourse going forward. Ron Paul may not be elected in 2012 but this book gives a sincere and in-depth look at why future voters should give politicians outside of the stereotypical, political “mold” a chance to go to the White House.
After reading the short introduction paragraph, anyone with even a passing interest in politics or national debate will be hooked. I myself am not a very politically inclined person but even I was drawn in by Stevo’s argument of why Paul’s nomination would start a revolution of sorts in America. Stevo argues that the average American citizen has become too apathetic to national issues, resulting in neighbors being afraid to openly discuss politics with one another except for the occasional repeating of “media sound bites.” If Romney, a moderate “statist,” receives the nomination to challenge Obama, then this trend will only continue. Ron Paul’s nomination, however, would provide an absolute foil to Obama’s platform of statism: a platform of freedom.
Stevo believes that this presidential showdown will inspire a “Great Debate” across the nation, similar to that which sparked the American Revolution many years ago. The established order fears this debate and the ramifications of a man like Paul receiving the media coverage he deserves. This is exactly why he needs to win the nomination. American politics and discourse have become stagnant in recent decades but Paul’s candidacy would galvanize the public to rise up and decide if they want 4 more years of empty promises from Obama or 4 years of leadership from a man who has proven he will fight tirelessly for American freedom. Instead of voters choosing between, “The lesser of two evils,” they will be able to cast a vote for freedom through Ron Paul. This “Great Debate” begins with those who know the true importance of Paul’s nomination and are willing to sacrifice their time and energy to raise his name above the clatter of the popular media. This book is designed to empower these persons and give them the tools to win the White House for Ron Paul.
The next few chapters lose the initial luster that the introduction contained but are still useful in their own way. As a person who has recently worked on a political campaign, in my opinion these pages resemble very closely a handbook on how any grassroots campaign should be run. For example, Stevo explains how each Paul supporter can use their “social precinct” to garner primary votes for their candidate; a simple letter or phone call asking for their support will usually suffice. He then stresses the importance of following up with each friend near or on primary day to make sure that they make it to the polls. Most of the first half of the book continues in this way with Stevo providing the framework for individuals to help the cause without joining the bureaucracy of Paul’s official campaign staff. I would not recommend this section as a whole to the casual reader but there are some very good ideas hidden among campaigning framework. First is the plan to target peace-loving Democrats and show them that Ron Paul is the best counter to Obama’s hypocrisy when it comes to war. He lists many violent political moves that the Obama administration has carried out, including overseas assassinations and over-spending on “defense” technology. He then explains why Paul would be a commander-in-chief more focused on peace and restoring America’s good name when it comes to foreign policy. Even if peace-loving Democrats will not cross party lines come November, Stevo believes that many will vote for Paul in Republican primaries this spring.
A second good point that Stevo makes, which is helpful in all campaigns, is that it is most effective to go after the “low hanging fruit” when canvassing. What he means by this is that you should not attempt to argue with those who obstinately oppose your candidate but instead work on the more open and easily convinced public. He uses a very insightful analogy about Mark Zuckerberg and the rise of Facebook to explain this concept. While trying to grow Facebook in Texas, Zuckerberg found that the University of Texas at Austin resisted the growing phenomenon. Seeing this he instead brought Facebook to every college around UT. Once all of those campuses were hooked, the University of Texas eventually joined. Stevo argues that the fight for Paul votes should be addressed in the same manner: it is best to go after the easiest votes first and when the obstinate are surrounded, they too will see reason. Overall this section of the book will probably only be interesting and relevant to those still campaigning for Paul but I have to say I would have appreciated reading something like this before working on my own campaign. Without the focus on Paul specifically, these chapters would be enormously helpful to any first-time canvasser.
At the end of chapter 6 the author does something that I have never seen before: he tells the reader to stop reading. Stevo wants his audience to go out and begin the process of campaigning and save the rest of the book for a later date. This truly shows the sincerity and dedication Stevo has for Paul’s candidacy and validates, for me, everything that he says throughout the work. The second half of the book, or what the author calls “Book 2,” would definitely be more applicable to the casual reader. It lays out why Ron Paul would be a viable candidate for the presidency but also dispels the common rumor that Paul is not truly trying to win. Many people believe that Paul is running to bring certain issues to the forefront of society but Stevo fights this notion vehemently. He asks the reader: why would a 76 year old man spend millions of dollars to be abused by the public and media if he was not actually trying to win? Even though I once believed that Paul was simply a “protest candidate,” I was thoroughly convinced by the author that Ron Paul truly wants the White House.
The one chapter in Allan Stevo’s book that stands out among all the rest is chapter 12. This chapter details why Paul is a candidate that will enact drastic change in Washington but also stay within his Constitutional power to do so. First Paul will make a clear distinction between national defense and militarism. The Obama Administration spends billions of dollars every year to improve our military strength around the world but in reality most of this is done to appease the powerful military contract companies. Ron Paul understands that national defense can be accomplished with a much smaller budget and the eradication of a militaristic attitude. He wants to eliminate the perception around the world of the US being a “bully” in foreign relations and halt the “gravy train” of the wealthy defense contractors. Stevo’s message really resonates when he says that Paul does not need to be the leader of an “international police force” that liberates countries like Iraq and forces conflicts with Iran because, unlike so many past and present leaders, he does not have an ego. He only wants to do what is best for the American people and what is actually necessary for national defense. This reduction in military spending will also provide an immediate and enormous relief to the national debt.
While Ron Paul has many plans for change in Washington he also understands the constitutional limitations of the president and federal government. He will not enact legislation to legalize or abolish gay marriage because that power is solely in the hands of the states. Even though he is 100% pro-life he still will not allow the federal government to make laws about abortion. Stevo argues that his stance on federal abortion laws is the most impressive sign of his integrity, namely he will not let his personal beliefs cloud his judgment about what is constitutional. Ron Paul would also end the federal war on drugs because once again, it is not listed as a federal power in the Constitution; only a Constitutional Amendment, like the prohibition of alcohol, would allow the national government to prohibit drugs at the federal level. For anyone that does not know much about Paul’s politics, this chapter was incredibly enlightening and persuasive. I would definitely recommend this chapter as a stand-alone resource for those interested in learning more about Paul.
In conclusion, Allan Stevo’s work on Ron Paul is an intriguing and innovative look at the 2012 election and beyond. While much of it may seem irrelevant because of Paul’s waning candidacy there are a bunch of good ideas contained within. Stevo makes a great case for why there must be an increase in public discourse about public issues and why this will never occur when we have presidential elections between such similar candidates. As it seems more and more likely that Mitt Romney will be the Republican candidate for president, I can definitely see how the average voter can become apathetic. A race between Obama and Paul would surely bring important issues to the forefront that will be largely ignored in 2012. I will not be sold on Ron Paul after reading only one book about his politics but Stevo has absolutely made me enthusiastic for a national debate of that magnitude.
Probably the best part of the book is Allan Stevo’s unabridged dedication to Ron Paul’s candidacy. So often I meet people who are apathetic to politics in general or who are fanatical about a candidate without truly knowing what they are all about (Obama 2008 anyone?). It is very refreshing to read a zealous, but also extremely factual account of why I should support a political candidate. Stevo has made Ron Paul seem much more like a concerned human being than a political figurehead in it for the power. Reading this book has given me a glimpse of why Ron Paul has such a loyal movement behind him. I think that if Stevo put many of these great ideas in a different context than the 2012 election, in which Paul will most likely not be participating, then they would be an even more rewarding read. Despite this I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in politics with the aforementioned disclaimer. I believe that a quote that Stevo takes from the Washington Post is the best description of the Ron Paul candidacy, “His supporters would walk through fire to vote for him. But, there just aren’t enough of them to make a dent in the larger presidential race.” I have no doubt that Allan Stevo would walk through fire for Ron Paul, and after reading his book I might just consider it myself.
DISCLAIMER: THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN OLDSPEAK ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF THE RUTHERFORD INSTITUTE.