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GOP would be wise to understand nature of Ron Paul’s appeal

Anticipating Ron Paul finishing ahead of Rick Santorum last night in Iowa, I had outlined a number of posts on the significance of the libertarian Republican’s strength.  Despite his third place showing last night, the Texas Republican still has a strong following in the GOP and among unaffiliated voters.

Last night in their commentary on his candidacy, both the man who managed Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign in 1984 and the woman who served as John McCain’s running mate in 2008 reminded Republicans not to dismiss Ron Paul’s significance.  I agree.  Republicans would be wise to understand the nature of his appeal.

Ed Rollins said he hoped Republicans were “smart enough to treat Ron Paul and his supporters withe respect.”  In a similar vein, Sarah Palin said the GOP should listen to Ron Paul supporters.

As Ed Crane put it a few days ago in the Wall Street Journal, “Ron Paul’s libertarian campaign has traction because so many Americans respond to his messages“.  More on this anon.

UPDATE:  I had promised more on Paul’s appeal anon and provide some of that below.  Paul perhaps better than any other Republican candidate recognizes that we have to do more than just slow the increase in federal spending.  We have to make drastic cuts in the federal budget.

His supporters share that concern.

Paul is also the only candidate to address, what Crane called, “arbitrary and discretionary powers of our out-of-control Federal Reserve”.

Now Crane concludes his piece, contending “the focus should be on Ron Paul’s philosophy and his policy proposals in 2012” as we are headed into what he dubs “a libertarian century.” And although I do see that philosophy and those policy proposals as the essence of the Texan’s appeal, you can’t dismiss the man and his associations.  After all, he would be the one in power.   We elect men not policy proposals.

That said, those (including yours truly) who have concerns about the content of his newsletters and the content of his strange statements should not dismiss the power of the message because of the messenger’s flaws.

I wonder how the Congressman would fare had he not published some strange commentary and made some himself.  He may well have won Iowa by a significant margin and be heading to New Hampshire with the wind at his back and rank-and-file Republicans rallying to his cause.



  1. Ron Paul deserves respect because his economic plans can put us back on on a sound fiscal basis but his foreign policies are are not realistic for the times we live in. But he needs to be respected to keep him in the Party. If he jumps ship will he, as a Libertarian, back Gov Johnson or will he launch an independent campaign. Couple that with the possiblity of a Donald Trump independent camapign and we´re guaranteed four more years of Obama. With a Republican Legislature either it will be gridlock or Obama issuing decrees. 2012 might be a disaster instead of the pro,ise of good things to come that we´re hoping for.

    Comment by Roberto — January 4, 2012 @ 1:09 pm - January 4, 2012

  2. Here’s how the nominee can win over the Ronulans; promise to appoint Ron Paul as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

    Comment by V the K — January 4, 2012 @ 3:16 pm - January 4, 2012

  3. The Ron Paul supporters need to EARN respect. They are the most disrespectful group of people I have encountered at CPAC and on Twitter.

    Respect has to be earned. Rep. Paul’s radical views as espoused in his newsletter, and his supporters’ zealotry do not earn respect in my book.

    Comment by Bruce (GayPatriot) — January 4, 2012 @ 3:25 pm - January 4, 2012

  4. IMHO Ron Paul is just wrong on foreign policy, and right on domestic policy (including the Fed, economics and sound money).

    The tragedy is that we can’t get anything except Bush Redux candidates… only the Big Government Republicans. Notice how all the genuine small-government Republicans have either been viciously character-assassinated in the media (I include both Bachmann and Cain in that), or dissuaded from running (I include Palin, Christie and perhaps Jeb). Only Paul got through, and because of his built-in limitations, that will only be for 15 more minutes.

    Big Media is the lapdog of the triple Big Government – Big Banking – Big Labor alliance that runs this country… working against you.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 4, 2012 @ 3:54 pm - January 4, 2012

  5. I have not heard anyone on radio or television speak for Ron Paul in any civil forum.

    My only information about him comes from the net and fairly negative reporting about how his cadre of supporters conduct themselves.

    The TEA Party has been attacked as racists and uneducated knuckle-draggers, but their representatives on radio and TV have been civil and thought provoking. However, as a TEA Party person, I want to give the Ron Paul people the chance to clear up bad impressions of who they are and how they conduct themselves.

    I doubt they are being denied the chance to present themselves as clear thinking, articulate people. So, why don’t they?

    Comment by Heliotrope — January 4, 2012 @ 6:37 pm - January 4, 2012

  6. He’s (or anyway claims to be) a Libertarian – that’s pretty good. HOWEVER, his record contains too much Nazi-like, Klan-like attitude for me to support him. I dread the thought of someone like him getting power while that abominable NDAA is in effect, until the USSC gets a chance to abolish it, returning us to the Bill of Rights.

    Comment by Moses Lambert — January 4, 2012 @ 7:32 pm - January 4, 2012

  7. I second comments #1-4.

    I’ve mostly just read about Ron Paul’s positions. I haven’t really heard from his supporters, but the ones I have heard of seem to treat him like a cult leader or something. At least that’s the feeling I get. I am not trying to say that all Ron Paul supporters are like that, or that I think they are. Only the very few I’ve heard from.

    And he’s 76.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — January 4, 2012 @ 8:08 pm - January 4, 2012

  8. “But he needs to be respected to keep him in the Party.”

    Respect is earned. Consider that of all the legislation Paul has proposed during his 20+ years in Congress, only 1 has been passed. Not much of a leader, eh? Paul obviously has earned little respect in the House, and were he to garner the GOP nomination, the racist, bigoted, anti-Israel, anti-Black, pro-extremist militia newsletters, along with his 9/11 trutherism, blame America viewpoints, pro-Iran viewpoints, etc and so on will not garner him any respect from the voting public.

    Just because he has some good ideas doesn’t mean he can’t also be a raving lunatic.

    Comment by William Teach — January 5, 2012 @ 9:38 am - January 5, 2012

  9. William, agree with you about the flaws of Ron Paul the man, but conservatives need understand the appeal of his libertarian message. Do hope I made that clear in the post.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 5, 2012 @ 10:24 am - January 5, 2012

  10. I wonder if trying to respect Paul’s base is not a bit like trying to paint radical Islam as a religion of peace. There seems to be a slight disconnect between being a big tent party and blending a side show into the crowd and assuming they won’t cripple the message.

    Comment by Heliotrope — January 5, 2012 @ 10:27 am - January 5, 2012

  11. We can´t afford to throw the baby out with the bath water. Out of the Party he is as dangerous as his foreign policies. We need his followers votes or we risk wthe danger of four more years of Obama. Offering him a cabinet post such Secretary of the Treasury he could implement some of his ideas for the economy. Some crazies have been successful like Romanov, and his Hollywood bistro, which later became a gay bar (Ciro´s) before it became the Comedy Club.

    Comment by Roberto — January 5, 2012 @ 2:23 pm - January 5, 2012

  12. The most encouraging thing about Ron Paul is the prospect that his “fringe” libertarian ideas will, over the next several years, migrate to become mainstream policy options — minus the kooky conspiracy theories and anti-semitism.

    Comment by V the K — January 5, 2012 @ 2:42 pm - January 5, 2012

  13. His foreign policy is simply unacceptable in any fashion. End of story.

    Comment by Ryan M. — January 5, 2012 @ 6:37 pm - January 5, 2012

  14. […] would I, Senator DeMint.  That is why I, like you, agree that our presidential candidates need to listen to the Texas Congressman: Sen. Jim […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » “I’d like to see a Republican Party that embraces a lot of the libertarian ideas.” — January 12, 2012 @ 12:13 pm - January 12, 2012

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