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.