It wasn't what I expected-- in a good way.
If elected, Dr. Paul would withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, abolish the IRS and the Federal Reserve system, and return the country to the gold standard.
There were other speakers addressing these topics, and many of the people attending the event were apparently there to hear about these things-- anti-war activists, gold bugs, even a contingent of conspiracy theorists. I expected these people to dominate the rally, and I was prepared to just keep my head down and avoid contact with them.
But most of the people in the audience-- which I would estimate at over 500 people-- were just regular Silicon Valley people. They didn't respond so strongly to that kind of rhetoric. Instead, I think they were there seeking the real value of Dr. Paul's campaign: having a real alternative to the current one-party system in this country.
Seriously, when all we're given is a choice between a tax-and-spend Democrat or a tax-and-spend Republican, what's the point of voting? Dr. Paul is running as a Republican, but he's trying to save that party by returning it to its roots, not just perpetuate its current problems.
Dr. Paul got a lot of strong applause and a standing ovation at the end. I was able to chat with a number of people at the rally and at a campaign luncheon afterward, and was pleased to discover a number of mainstream Republicans-- and Democrats-- who might never have considered voting for a third-party candidate.
I also had the pleasure of spending some time with CNET chief political correspondent Declan McCullagh, a long-time Libertarian activist, and John Gilmore, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Just for the record, McCullagh was the first person to flaunt an iPhone in front of me (well, he wasn't really flaunting it; in fact, he seemed vaguely embarassed every time he brought it out-- but he did seem to bring it out a lot :-) and Gilmore gave me my first hands-on with an XO from OLPC.
All in all, a great day, even better than I expected...