Posted on December 28, 2011Ron Paul
In the Feehery family primary, held over the Holidays, Ron Paul won a surprisingly high percentage of votes. While he didn’t win, he had committed delegates who argued forcefully for his positions.
Mitt Romney won the primary, but just barely.
Ron Paul may be a conspiracy theorist. He might be a nut job. He might be a racist, homophobe, anti-semite and a variety of other things that he has been charged with over the last month or so. I don’t know. And I can tell you that the Ron Paul supporters don’t care.
What Ron Paul brings to the equation is the pure philosophy of the populist Republican. He is running against government, which is smart, because the government is less popular than the bubonic plague right now.
He is against the Federal Reserve, which is politically smart, because most Republicans hate Ben Bernanke.
He is against the police state. He wants to legalize drugs, internet gambling and a variety of other victimless crimes. That fits in with the voters who are sick and tired of cops telling them what to do.
He is against foreign adventurism. He thinks Israel should fend for itself ( a sentiment that is far more common than most political pundits would like to admit).
Ron Paul represents a challenge to the Republican status quo. And whoever the Republican candidate turns out to be (and my guess is that it won’t be Ron Paul) will have to tread carefully on the Paul question.
Should Romney (who is probably going to be that guy) completely dismiss the Paulistas, he will most likely give Ron Paul and his team an additional excuse to go the third party route.
Should Romney start sounding too much like a Paulite, he will alienate a significant chunk of the primary voters who find Ron Paul to be the devil himself.
My own view is the Romney needs to start talking more about how he will reform government to encourage more personal responsibility, how he will ask the federal government to get out of the business of telling people how to live their lives (no individual mandates, no more stupid laws on internet gambling, no more police states), and an understanding that while we do have world-wide obligations when it comes to national security, that doesn’t mean we are going to blunder into another war.
In many ways, Ron Paul has already won. He has shifted the debate fundamentally for the Republican Party, making it far more libertarian than it was only four years ago. As someone who finds much to admire in the libertarian philosophy, I think that is a good thing.