Ron Paul, for the People

Can a libertarian Republican appeal to Democrats?

(Page 2 of 2)

Progressive gadflies at the Nation such as Alexander Cockburn and John Nichols have had kind words for Paul, the former bordering on an endorsement. Paul has spoken of his affection for, and cooperation with, progressive Dem favorite Dennis Kucinich. Democratic voters need to decide, after eight years of Bush, if they can dedicate themselves mostly to stopping government from doing all the bad things they think Bush has done, from wars to Patriot Acts, or if it is more important to use government’s power to do all the good things they insist must be done.

I suspect they will ultimately fall back on the latter, and not rush into every open primary state away from their own lame pack to push Paul forward in Republican primaries.

In the voting booth, momentum often seems to overcome affection (was Kerry really particularly beloved by anyone, even his family?) and the inertia of centrism often overwhelms potentially exciting change.

And undoubtedly, culturally and intellectually, Ron Paul is coming from a very different place than most Democratic voters, and especially from most Democratic intellectuals. (At this Pasadena meeting, the most prominent literature being handed out was issues of the Birch mag New American.) See the Suicide Girls softcore hipster porn web site for a list of reasons why most American progressives, the more they learn about Paul, might want to run away. And no matter how much evil they see in Bush, it is very hard for American liberals to let go of a dream of a powerful do-everything state that will do just what they want it to do, and no more.

Ron Paul is the most energetic and consistent advocate on an issue of paramount political importance, especially to left-progressives—ending our involvement in Iraq. He’s willing to leave many controversial issues to states and localities. He wants to leave most of us alone to manage our own affairs, as either individuals or smaller polities. He’s a dedicated enemy of some of the most evil and repressive policies currently afoot in America. If America’s progressives can’t manage to give him at least two cheers, the fault lies not with their candidates, but with themselves.

Still, I’m not taking any bets on Ron Paul being the chairman of the RNC in 2009, either.

Senior Editor Brian Doherty is author of This is Burning Man and Radicals for Capitalism.

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