Ron Paul: Who cares that he's seeking the Republican nomination?
Texas Rep. Ron Paul announced his presidential bid Friday morning. He ran in 1988 and 2008. Will the third time be a charm? Libertarians hope so. But while Paul certainly has a devoted fan base, in the big picture, will anyone else care?
Patriotic Americans won't
As for Ron Paul as a candidate, my only regret is that debate organizers will probably once again give this hypocritical anti-American crank a platform. The party’s image will doubtless be harmed by giving this fool a podium and television time so that he can explain why wikileaks is awesome, Chinese totalitarians are the in thing with the kids these days, and what the Federal government needs is more earmarks (but only for stuff expressly authorized by the Constitution like shrimp marketing research). I am 100% confident that given the opportunity Ron Paul will be complaining in no time about Bin Laden’s death on national TV because of some half-cocked constitutional theory that Ron Paul will selectively use to mask the fact that, at bottom, Ron Paul is an ally of the enemies of America.
The "tea party" won't
In a word, nonsense. Paul's beliefs about the role of government do overlap to some extent with Tea Party principles. But anyone who cared to listen to him during last week’s first Republican presidential debate in South Carolina quickly understood that the Texas congressman, and his fans, aren't exactly in sync with the Republican Party or any other party, including the one named Tea.
People with first-rate values won't
Paul was the only candidate at the debate to make news, calling for the repeal of laws against prostitution, cocaine and heroin. The freedom to use drugs, he argued, is equivalent to the freedom of people to "practice their religion and say their prayers." Liberty must be defended "across the board." "It is amazing that we want freedom to pick our future in a spiritual way," he said, "but not when it comes to our personal habits." […]
In determining who is a "major" candidate for president, let's begin here. Those who support the legalization of heroin while mocking addicts are marginal. It is difficult to be a first-tier candidate while holding second-rate values.
Here's why Paul has absolutely no chance of ever becoming president: Americans were not ready to vote for a 72-year-old President McCain in 2008, so they're sure not ready to vote for a 77-year-old President Paul in 2012.
Republican voters probably won't…
Those who back Paul were certainly buoyed by a shock poll from CNN last week that showed Paul running better against President Obama than any other GOP candidate.
The problem, though, is that Paul is not running in a Libertarian primary. He has to win the support of Republican voters, many of whom have expressed coolness toward his rigorously anti-war, isolationist foreign-policy views.
…though, we shouldn't discount mainstream Republicans
Leaving Afghanistan would've been heresy to Republicans in 2008. Today, it may sound like common sense -- especially after bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, where America is not formally at war, and where he successfully hid for at least five years.
With the debt and deficit several times larger now than they were in 2008, mainstream Republicans may come around to Paul's positions on Iraq (leave), Libya (shouldn't have gone in), foreign aid (end it), and the defense budget (cut it).
--Alexandra Le Tellier
Photo: U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) waits for a television interview at a campaign stop in Exeter, N.H., on May 13 after announcing his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination earlier in the day. Credit: Brian Snyder / Reuters