Congressman Ron Paul shook the establishment in last night's second round of 2008 Republican debates for the Presidency. Not only did his anti-war, anti-torture and pro-liberty platform stand glaring in the face of those political whores dubbed as "top-tier" but he managed to catch the ire of 9/11 criminal Rudy Giuliani for daring to suggest aggressive foreign policy would stir up blowback.
What's worse, Ron Paul interrupted the worship of establishment-selected candidates by winning the debate's own poll and forcing FOX to cover the mere "second-tier" candidate-- a distinction mainstream media have been using to marginalize those outside of direct control.
Ron Paul garnered approximately 20 minutes of air-time on Fox alone last night-- including about 10 minutes of debate questions and another 10 minutes composed of attacks and dismissals by pundits, other candidates and an interview with Hannity & Colmes.
Sean Hannity stated his "surprise" that Ron Paul was leading with 30% of the FOX News text-message poll vote, despite that fact that he also won the Republican debates on MSNBC-- a fact which the media under-reported and even censored.
At the time of press, Ron Paul also had a distinct lead-- by a huge margin-- in the MSNBC poll regarding the South Carolina Republican debate.
Alan Colmes probed to understand how Ron Paul could emerge the decisive leader in an otherwise revolting adherence to policies advocating war expansion and unrestrained use of "extreme interrogation tactics" which skirt the damning name of "torture."
Fellow "second-tier" candidate Duncan Hunter attributed Ron Paul's dominance in the FOX text-message poll to his "entertainment value," insinuating that his policies and views (including the controversy generated over 9/11 comments) could not be taken seriously.
GOPAC chairman Michael Steele went so far as to suggest that Ron Paul should not belong to the Republican party, stating that he was "done" with Paul and did not care what the results of the FOX poll were.
Debate moderators pointed out Congressman Paul's distinction as the only Republican candidate who voted against military action in Iraq as they repeatedly demanded that he answer to being in the 'wrong party' or 'not fitting in with the Republican party.' Ron Paul answered smartly-- pointing out that he wanted to lead the country, not the party, and that 65-70% of the country was against the Iraq war and long for an end to the mired conflict.
Regardless, he was attacked for his adherence to non-interventionist philosophy and defamed as some kind of 9/11 heretic-- as various pundits pretended he had faltered in the debates and claimed that anonymous South Carolina Republicans had reached consensus on the idea that Ron Paul "did not acquit himself" and must be discarded.
One pundit even goes so far to suggest that Ron Paul's success in the poll was due primarily to attention won after Giuliani attacked him on 9/11 statements, as well as organizational prowess amongst text-messaging voters.
Sean Hannity refused to believe Ron Paul won the debate, claiming he didn't have the opportunity to text in his vote.
Yet, as Ron Paul continued to win the debate poll, the live-results format pigeonholed FOX News into ongoing coverage of the winner-- as his only competition in poll results came from Mitt Romney, who briefly led the poll with 27% when Ron Paul had only 26%.
It is continually suggested that "second-tier" candidates such drop from the race and make way for the "first-tier" candidates to shine, though the only vote process at this stage-- polls-- all indicate Ron Paul as a likely winner and certainly a top contender.
Though they would like to exclude him from future debates, his back-to-back debate victory may force moderators into a position of having to invite Ron Paul-- for the time being.
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