By Kevin Price, Publisher and Editor in Chief, US Daily Review.
In 2008 Ron Paul was something of a laughing stock. Supporters of him would immediately go into a lengthy defense of their position which would include a case for their own mental health. In 2012, people are beginning to take Ron Paul seriously. Pundits and journalists are scratching their heads in amazement, but the reason for Paul’s rise is simple, regardless if you believe in his philosophy, he is, without a doubt, the “genuine article.” When you look at the Texas Republican Congressman’s positions — and record — there is virtually complete congruity. Unfortunately, many of those positions stand way outside of the mainstream. The best of examples of this are his views on foreign affairs (we can trust Iran with a nuclear bomb), as well as his very strong libertarian positions (such as his views on drugs). In spite this, he has caught the attention of Republicans in a way few other candidates have. The reasons for this are numerous and should not cause bewilderment at all.
- The congruity factor. Virtually every presidential candidate in the GOP has promised more frugal government and fiscal integrity for years (make that decades). But their words rarely matched their records of governing. None of the current group of GOP candidates — with the exception of Ron Paul and (maybe) Michele Bachmann — have a record of integrity on the issue of less government. Even Bachmann, who is certainly more consistent than most, lacks the ideological purity of Ron Paul in her record and rhetoric.
- Then there is the notion of “realpolitik.” There is the rhetoric you run on and the reality you must govern by. For example, today Paul has argued that it is Iran’s right to have a nuclear bomb to defend itself. However, in the real world, as the problem of a nuclear Iran became more real, I could easily see him take the issue to Congress to give them the opportunity to fulfill their constitutional mandate to declare an act of war. We have not declared war since World War II, which is why we have never cleanly won one since that time (if we had won any at all). I think many voters believe once people see the challenges the US faces internationally, Paul would modify his positions to catch up with the 21st century. It is this area, however, that the rank and file voter fear the most about Paul.
- The “do nothing” factor. There is a very high likelihood that four years of Ron Paul would be four years of accomplishing little, if anything, legislatively. His “extreme” positions may not move in a far more moderate Congress. But that would be so much better than the “do everything” government we suffer from today. One of the cornerstones of a free market economy is a predictable legal environment. If one can expect no major increases in regulations, taxation, expenditures, etc., that is a government in which companies and people can not only survive, but thrive.
- There can (and would be) significant reform without legislation. After decades of presidents governing by edict (also known as “executive orders”), there are plenty of things a free market president can do to get government back in line without passing a single law. There are literally thousands of pages of new regulations under Obama alone that are begging to be modified or eliminated. The scope of reform a President can do without Congressional approval is far reaching indeed.