Ron Paul's grandfatherly advice for Iowans
There. Now you don't have to pay attention for the next few months to the Republican presidential race.
But you will. And so will I. Why? Because it's like watching a car wreck: You know what's going to happen, but you can't turn away.
Plus, because one of the "drivers" is Ron Paul, it heightens the surreal aspect of it all. It's as if your eccentric grandfather suddenly ran for president, and people actually started paying attention to what he said.
For Paul, no problem is so complex that there isn't a simple solution. Take this excerpt from a Times story Wednesday on a speech he gave in Iowa:
He drew applause for his attacks on foreign aid and overseas entanglements ("Stop the wars. Stop the spending. Bring our troops home"), a federal government assault on individual liberty ("I'd like to repeal the Patriot Act."), big banks ("The people who got bailed out, they should suffer. They should go bankrupt, not us") and federal spending (cut $1 trillion at the outset and eliminate the Education Department and other federal agencies).
Forget 100 days. President Paul would solve our nation's problems by lunch on the first day. Wonder what he'd find to do by the end of the week?
But Romney isn't taking any chances. Ever the daring campaigner, he took after Paul over his stance on -- Iran. Romney said he believes Tehran poses a great security threat, despite what a certain unnamed rival (Paul) says.
He made his comments at a coffee shop in Muscatine, Iowa. I'm sure it set the place abuzz. Having once worked in Iowa, I can tell you from personal experience that the folks there are mighty concerned about Iran, its leadership, its pursuit of nuclear weapons and so on. Those kind of stories are usually high up on the radio and TV news shows, right after pork belly prices, beef prices, the grain report and the weather.
As for Gingrich, he was somewhat less subtle about Paul: "I think Ron Paul's views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American."
Ouch. Of course, Gingrich -– or rather, a pro-Gingrich Super PAC, which he doesn't control, wink wink -- isn't much happier with Romney. It put out a flier this week in Iowa that labels Romney "the second most dangerous man in America." (After President Obama.)
Imagine what he'd say if he hadn't decided to run a totally positive campaign. Or what he'll say once he loses in Iowa.
But I'll let next week's winner have the final say. Call it Grandpa's thought for the day:
Paul closed his remarks by reminding Iowans that "a message is going to be sent" from next week's caucuses, the first voter test of the 2012 nomination contest.
"It's going to go one way or the other," he said.
Photo: Ron Paul speaks during a campaign stop in Dubuque, Iowa, earlier this month. Credit: Charlie Riedel / Associated Press