Ron Paul's 2012 Run For President: Why the Media Should Stop Ignoring Him
Why the Media Should Stop Ignoring Ron Paul.
Despite nearly winning the last month’s Ames Straw Poll and polling ahead of Michelle Bachman, most media pundits are ignoring the Ron Paul campaign for the 2012 GOP nomination. The media keeps referring to
But according to a recent Gallup Poll, Paul has knocked Bachman out of third place.
I can understand why the media might still focus on Bachmann - she is certainly more charismatic than the mild- mannered Paul. But I can’t give the media a complete pass with this argument because most of the media would rather talk about the moderate Mormon John Huntsman than Ron Paul.
C’mon! For crying out loud… Huntsman is polling at a paltry 1%!
Well, at least somebody in the media, Jon Stewart, recognizes the media’s omission of the relevancy of the Paul campaign.
As a presidential candidate, Ron Paul is a long shot to win. But that doesn’t mean he should be ignored. Here are four reasons why the media should pay close attention to the Paul campaign:
1. He Has the Most Loyal, Passionate Followers in the GOP Field.
Ron Paul commands the support of about 8 percent of the Republican electorate indefinitely. That’s not enough to be the nominee, but it is enough to change the trajectory of the Republican Party for the next generation.
Will Lutz, managing editor of the Lone Star Report, says that what Paul supporters lack in numbers they make up for in passion. "He has a group of supporters that might be 10 percent of the Republican primary voters. But they are very, very enthusiastic," Lutz said.
Even Hillary Clinton recognizes the enthusiasm in Paul’s supporters.
Unlike the ragtag collection of Paul supporters in the 2008 campaign, this time his supporters may be better at translating enthusiasm for votes.
This year, Paul’s supporters hired seasoned operatives who are more focused on ballot box results, as demonstrated by Paul’s success at the Ames Straw Poll.
And his supporters are contributing money. Paul is raising big money, including a $1.8 million score on his Aug. 20th birthday.
2. Ron Paul Has the Most Consistent and Ideological Pure Message of Any Other Candidate.
Unlike Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, or any of the other candidates who have seen bursts of sudden support, Paul is not in the race because of his personality, biography or stump speech. Instead, Paul’s backers support him because he offers the purest articulation of libertarian principles of any national-level politician and refuses to change his tune in pursuit of broader support.
For decades, the 76-year old Texan Congressman has preached much of the same brand of libertarian politics and Austrian economics—restoring the gold standard, abolished the Federal Reserve System, permitting states to legalize drugs and prostitution, abolishing the income tax, slashing the size of the federal government and the social safety net, and dramatically reducing our military presence across the globe.
To many mainstream voters, Paul’s unapologetic libertarianism is too radical, but for his passionate supporters this purity of voice is a source of strength.
A lot of politicians like to say that they are leading a movement, not running a campaign. In Paul’s case, that is actually true. And while Bachmann has seen her support diminish amid questions of her viability and some of her gaffes, Paul has no such concern because his backers don’t care if he’s not the frontrunner. They just want him to be true to his cause.
3. Maybe Paul’s Ideas in 2012 Don’t Seem Quite As Extreme As They Did in 2008.
As early as 2003, Paul complained that the Federal Reserve, by keeping interest rates artificially low, and Congress, through Fannie and Freddie, would create a housing bubble.
Paul warned that our runaway federal spending and our sprawling global, military footprint would bankrupt and ruin our country.
In 2008, his GOP rivals ignored him or used him to score points in televised debates. Remember how Rudy Giuliani got a wave of applause for his response to Ron Paul’s argument that the U.S. was attacked due to meddling in the Middle East?
What a difference four years makes. No wonder some see Ron Paul as a prophet.
The world has certainly changed in many ways that affirmed Paul’s views. His vision of an eroding Constitution, expanding federal government, and Washington-Wall Street cabal helped to spark the Tea Party Movement.
Gold prices have risen to lofty, all-time highs in the face of a weakened U.S. dollar.
Even many conservatives who once labeled Paul’s foreign policy as being “isolationist” have grown weary of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now, in Libya.
His calls for a more transparent and accountable Federal Reserve are no longer fringe issues; these topics are now mainstream Republican talking points. Even GOP frontrunner Rick Perry has jumped on this bandwagon by suggesting it would be “almost poisonous” for Fed Chairman Ben Bernake to pump more money in the economy.
And people are paying attention to these issues by seeking out answers in some of Paul’s favorite inspirations. Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Friedrich August Hayek’s Road to Serfdom have been seen a huge surge in sales during the past two years as a result of Obama’s economic policies.
4. Maybe Paul Can Beat President Barack Obama.
The president and Paul are running almost dead even in a hypothetical 2012 election matchup according to the latest Rasmussen Report.
Just a month ago, Barack Obama posted a 41% to 37% lead over Paul. Now, Paul earns 38% of the vote to President Obama’s 39% in the latest survey of likely U.S. Voters. Fourteen percent (14%) like some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) remain undecided.
Paul picks up 61% of the Republican vote, while 78% of Democrats fall in behind the president. Voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties prefer the longtime congressman by 10 points – 43% to 33%.
Paul, popular with many in the Tea Party movement, runs better against the incumbent than another Tea Party favorite, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Obama leads Palin 50% to 33% among all likely voters, making her the only potential GOP candidate to date against whom the president’s support has risen out of the 40s.
Paul supporters realize that the chances of winning the Republican nomination are slim, and don’t care, choosing instead to endorse the platform that affords the widest degree of economic and personal freedom.
If they remain loyal to their beloved candidate, hopefully the Republican Party will continue to adopt some of Paul’s positions. For the first time in a generation, many Republicans sounded like fiscal conservatives during the debt ceiling crisis.
Regardless of the outcome of Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign, his influence on public policy will continue to grow. That is reason enough for America’s most visible libertarian to embark upon what detractors might view as a hopeless quest-- even if the media won’t pay attention.
Photo: AP Contact
Erik Uliasz at firstname.lastname@example.org
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