Lessons of the Paul Campaign – Introduction

June 26, 2008

Like many (if not most) of the people who worked in the grassroots of the Ron Paul campaign, I entered the “game” a political neophyte. Actually, strictly speaking, I was always politically “aware” but never “active” – which again is the common profile amongst Paulistas. I was one of the few “hardcore” who committed to the effort on a more or less full time basis. I had a variety of skillsets to bring to the table, and I did a lot of things over my year of on-again-off-again involvement, but what I worked on the most was what is called in politics “Field Operations”; phone banks and block walks, voter ID and GOTV. I did a bit of this stuff myself, but also helped organize the effort county wide – an effort that involved close to 900 people at the precinct level and around a dozen coordinators to keep ’em moving. At peak from around mid January through the March 4th primaries, I put in approximately 60 hours a week.

I learned a lot of lessons in the field ops push, as well as through my other work with the Austin Meetup Group (sometimes the largest MUG nationwide… we traded off with the NYC MUG constantly). Some lessons were bitter, some constructive. Some were lessons on politics in general, some were professional, some were ideological. I don’t know that any specific point I can make is particularly profound or revelatory; but it seems that I do have a pretty unique take overall, one that comes from my own personal synthesis (Hegelians beware) of my learning experiences.