By Kevin Price, Publisher, Editor in Chief, US Daily Review.
The media is buzzing over the dramatic and recent rise of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in his race for the presidency. He is a reflection of the old joke about “overnight success.” Overnight, give or take untold years of campaigning for various offices. Reuters is now reporting that Paul is now only one percentage point behind the latest “anti-Romney” front runner, Newt Gingrich in one of the only places such polls matter, which is Iowa. The Daily Caller is reporting that Paul, may in fact have the lead as Gingrich begins to shrink. Many are asking the question, can we take Paul seriously?
Rush Limbaugh is feeling rather “bullish” about the GOP’s prospects in 2012, stating that any of the Republicans — except for Ron Paul — could win in 2012. Why do more traditional conservatives fear the rise of Ron Paul and fundamentally believe he cannot win in November of 2012? There are several reasons, but here are a few of the more obvious ones:
- Paul’s approach to public policy is very 18th century. When he talks about “constitutional” government, he means that literally. In many areas, this resonates, but when it comes to foreign policy it creates incredible angst. For example, he has become a perceived apologist for the Iranian regime. He says that “sovereign countries” have the right to defend themselves anyway they desire, including with the accumulation of nuclear bombs. He pretends that the Iranian regime is somehow legitimate and is only interested in its own protection and if its efforts are more ambitious than that, it is that government’s business. Watch out Israel, look out domestic targets in the US. Mickey Mouse would be able to easily dismember Paul’s arguments and Obama — who has plenty of vulnerabilities in the foreign policy front — would appear to be a hawk compared to Ron Paul.
- His “blame America first” philosophy turns more off than on. The Democrats have made a living out of discrediting the United States and “apologizing” for its behavior on the world stage. This approach will not fly among the GOP. He is surrounded by supporters that are called “Truthers” who believe the US government was behind September 11th and has expressed that he “understood” why terrorists would want to take down the twin towers (a “result” of years of US intervention around the world). This approach will get Paul no where with independents or the GOP rank-and-file. The Democrats might love this view, but they can get that from Obama. This approach to issues promises to marginalize Paul to a point of obscurity.
- He is obsessed with pet issues that simply cause most voters’ eyes to glaze over. Maybe the best example of this is his view on the Federal Reserve. Paul makes it clear that virtually all of our economic problems are rooted in a monetary policy that fosters the rich and powerful and crushes the rest of the population. There is no doubt about it, the Federal Reserve is at the root of many of our economic problems, but there are not enough ten second soundbites, 30 second commercials, or 4 minute debate answers to get the American people to see it as important as he does.
The bottom line, Paul cannot win the general election in 2012. He is simply “too much” for the vast majority of Americans today. However, what happens if he places very high in Iowa? What if he continues to resonate with big returns in the South (he will likely get no where in New Hampshire because of the large amount of independents who will vote in the GOP primaries)? What if he accumulates too many delegates to be ignored, but not enough to deserve the nomination? Enter his son, Rand Paul as a possible vice presidential candidate.
Rand Paul offers many things that his father does not to voters today. He is younger and understands the political realities in a way his father clearly does not. He knows that his speech has to be able to garner votes and not divide voters. He has a strong sense of the importance of liberty, like his father, but would prefer to tell an audience about the impact poor government policies have on jobs rather than lecture a crowd on the horrors of the Federal Reserve. Although highly suspicious of an interventionist foreign policy, he is not foolish enough to believe that you can replace the eagle as our national symbol, with an ostrich. He is quick to point out the failures of nation building and foreign aid, while not pretending the US can be entirely isolationist. In many respects he is a perfect balance between traditional conservatives and libertarians. His lack of experience is some what beneficial for someone running for the number 2 post on the ticket. He is a conservative darling and Tea Party favorite of whom no one questions his conservative convictions. Since he ran as recently as 2008, he is highly vetted and should not be the source of unwelcome surprises.
If Rand Paul was on the ticket, libertarians of every stripe might be attracted to the GOP in a way not seen in years. Even big “L” libertarians might even cast a vote for him. Meanwhile, the enormous and well fought Ron Paul machine would have something to campaign on. Depending on the top of the ticket, Rand could be an exceptional choice.