For Rand Paul, Boring May be a Good Thing

By Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief, USDR

This is from Kevin Price’s most recent column from the Huffington Post.

In 1967 and 68, politics was an “old man” endeavor. Then, the image of every political campaign, particularly for president, was typically of older white males. In those years, you had to be 21 to vote, and those that were that young and were involved went to lengths to look as mature as they could. Age meant credibility. In those years the masses of “hippie” youth looking for a way to get the US out of the Vietnam War were also seeking a presidential candidate that shared their values. A Democrat, Lyndon Johnson, got them in that war and the GOP gave the impression they wanted the US to expand the conflict. Enter Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-MN). McCarthy advocated a rapid withdrawal from Indochina and young people who agreed with that goal were quick to jump on board his presidential campaign. However, their long beard and “hippie” style had the potential of harming, rather than helping, the candidate. It was no surprise that there was a new message coming from the McCarthy campaign: “Get Clean for Gene.” These young people did the unthinkable at the time, submitting their faces to razors and heads to clippers. Although McCarthy was eventually out performed by the surging campaign of Robert Kennedy (who was also opposed to the war and likely would have won his party’s nomination if he had not been assassinated), the Minnesotan was successful in changing the debate.

Fast forward to 2008 and 2012 and the campaigns of Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX). In both of those efforts, the libertarian Republican had significant, but very temporary impacts on those elections. In 2012 in particular, Paul attracted huge audiences and even came in third in the Iowa caucus, but he could never get the momentum to win the nomination. His “coalition” was actually a fairly narrow group made up of old school (big “L”) Libertarians who moved to his camp by the lure of possible electoral success, young people fed up with the disingenuous nature of politicians in both parties, extreme isolationists, free market advocates, and various other groups that believed this country needed a radical shift in direction. The fact that many of these groups seem to overlap in several areas only shows how narrow is his support. Ron Paul’s supporters were often seen as “odd,” “radical,” even “dangerous” (particularly in the foreign policy arena).

If someone with a philosophy like Ron Paul was going to get elected, it would have to come from a much larger…(read more)

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