How Conan O'Brien Sees Ron Paul, and How Ron Paul Rises in Iowa

That surprisingly raucous new Ron Paul ad "Big Dog" (which I guess I like, kind of, but its tone made me agree with a common comment thread jibe I was seeing about it: "Ron Paul's Got Electrolytes!!") is getting plenty of attention, and last night drew a Conan O'Brien parody--yet another addition to the ever growing file of unexpected new attention to the candidate everyone used to love to ignore. 

The Conan bit:

While it is half mocking the brawny " the EXTREME!!" tone and look of Paul's original, the actual content is telling about what the middlebrow intelligentsia for whom I think Conan thinks he speaks believe about Paul's particular brand of hardcore fiscal libertarianism: that trying to balance the budget the way Paul wants to will lead to a post-apocalyptic blood in the streets nightmare. While I laughed at that as comedy, combatting the idea that only a multi-trillion dollar federal government budget stands between us and the abyss is something Paul and those who think like Paul still need to work on. (Paul is intelligently quick to note, in his personal appearances, that there are plenty of places that can and should be cut before cutting aid for the destitute that people have become dependent on, though that aspect of his thinking hasn't gotten a ton of media attention.)

*Great Ron Paul on CNN clip from yesterday with Brooke Baldwin. I've been watching Ron speak publicly since 1988, and he is (most of the time) getting better at facing opposition on his feet.

This is a particular nifty CNN clip from yesterday, covering Israel and the Republican Jewish Coalition debate Paul was excluded from (Paul grants them their right to exclude him as a private organization, but adds that  "we should be friends with Israel and trade with them...but to commit another generation, we don't have the right to do it and if necessary to get involved in a war the president doesn't make that decision, the people do through a declaration of war in the Congress...I worry about carelessness of going to war every time we want...we are involved in too many wars, if Netanyahu says he doesn't need our troops over there why aren't I allowed to say that as well?"); his electoral prospects, and war.

When the interviewer suggested Paul's radical views put him "in a box," he replies: "America's in a box, I'm not in a box!....The boxing in is the American taxpayer and these unlimited commitments and endless war....I don't want anyone to have [nuclear weapons]...but I don't want to be going to war against another country that doesn't have a nuclear weapon and they're not even on the verge of it."

*ABC News notes that Paul is absolutely in there swinging with supposed dual front-runners Gingrich and Romney in Iowa, and quotes him on the Newt's personal problems:

When asked about the Gingrich’s alleged infidelity and two divorces, Paul said”people have a right to know” about the “problems in his personal life.”

“But I don’t think that that should be the big deal,” Paul said. “When it comes to Gingrich I think everyone knows about the problems he has had in his personal life, but I think we need to know more about his policies  and I think that is much more important.”

And Paul already has a campaign ad about Gingrich's policies that also got some nice play lately.

*Ron Paul on Judge Napolitano questions the whole "flavor of the month" phenomenon in the GOP race yesterday, links Gingrich to Obama via their mutual love of Teddy Roosevelt, and mocks Bernanke's claim that Congress should have known all along about all money the Fed was floating to their banker buddies.

*At the Daily Caller, Paul campaign advisor Bruce Fein defends Ron Paul as properly hawkish where it counts--actually defending America, not engaging in dangerous imperial adventures:

His foreign policy would be an adaptation of the Founding Fathers’ creed saluted in the Constitution’s preamble: Billions for a common defense, but not one cent for extravagant preemptive wars seeking world domination, a risk-free existence, and a planet purged of tyranny and sin. He would not spend $120 billion annually to confront 50 members of al Qaida in Afghanistan with 100,000 troops when international terrorists can be captured or killed with special forces.

Ron Paul would close the hundreds of U.S. military bases abroad, redeploy weapons and soldiers now dedicated to defending foreigners and foreign countries to the U.S. to defend American sovereignty and Americans, and end our multiple treaty obligations that require us to wage war in defense of other nations. Our government shouldn’t send Americans abroad on quests to secure the liberty of foreigners.

*Andrew Sullivan notes that Fox News seems to want you to know Ron Paul can't win, objective reality notwithstanding: 

Last night, I sat through both O'Reilly and Hannity to get a read on the Ailes propaganda at this moment in time. The line on Paul is clear: they all say in unison at any available moment: "Ron Paul has zero chance of getting the nomination." They never said that about Cain or Bachmann or Perry, over whom Paul has solid leads. 

For context on where this is all coming from, see my February 2008 Reason cover feature on the dawn of the Ron Paul Revolution.

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  • Stoft Chesibred||

    Regardless of what you think about Ron Paul, you must admit that most of the talking heads can't win.

  • wareagle||

    Andrew Sullivan notes that Fox News seems to want you to know Ron Paul can't win
    Fox keeps trying to prop up Rick Perry, including his ridiculous new ad that sounds like someone wanting to be theologian-in-chief. It's like Perry has no clue that gays served in the military prior to the dissolution of DADT and that school is not the forum for organized prayer (not that virtually every kid has not asked for divine intervention prior to certain tests).

  • Apatheist||

    I would agree about prayer organized by employees of the state but I think students should be able to organize their own prayers.

  • ||

    I certainly have no problem with that, provided that his fellow students are free to tell the loud and overt student prayer-organizer to shut the fuck up and sit down.

  • Apatheist||

    The problem really is public schools in general. I went to a private high school that didn't allow any organized prayer on campus. Perfectly fine. In public schools the pendulum has swung too far and in my view the student's first amendment rights (both speech and religion) are being squelched. I understand that "children" don't necessarily have the same rights as adults but free speech isn't one where there is any justification. So long as it is not in the middle of class the should be able to speak or pray as they want.

  • ||

    The Free Exercise right is just as important as the Establishment clause, which is something that often gets lost in these discussions. Largely because of government involvement in things maybe it shouldn't be involved in.

  • ||

    Where is this magical non-religion based private school you speak of?

  • ||

    LOL, what? Try Google maps, dude. That should help you find the closest one.

  • Sparky||

    O'Reilly has some kind of problem with libertarianism in generally. He has Stossel on every Tuesday and only lets him speak for about 20 seconds out of every 3 minute segment. The rest of the time is spent on him mocking libertarian ideas. The unfortunate part is that a lot of people watch his show and believe whatever he tells them to.

  • Yup Yup||


    Also, I like Stossel, but his shows are pretty lame. It should just be called "Libertarianism for Illiterates"

  • Dick Fitzwell||

    I think it's supposed to be an introductory to libertarianism. Or something.

  • Mike E||

    He still needs to get enough ratings to stay on the air. If his show turned into Old Mexican, Pro Libertate, and Epi debating each other, the show would be off the air in a week (not a dig at those three, actually a dig at America).

    While I consider myself a libertarian, I find it amazing how much libertarians go out of their way to marginalize themselves. It is like they want to be the tiny majority. And if suddenly everyone agreed with them tomorrow, they would change their ideas.

  • ||

    Apparently, Rick Perry said that he ran for president because he thought "God" wanted him to. It remains to be seen whether that means "God" wants him to win.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Franco-British Fear of Reunification Coming True

    “Despite our differences with the Europeans, the EU has been the most comfortable partner for Russia in its centuries of history,” Karaganov said in an interview. “Now, unless Germany saves it, we will face a new threat from Europe as a factor of instability.”

    I believe there was another Russian leader who considered Germany a comfortable partner?

  • Pip||

    Peter the Great?

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Russia and Germany, not Prussia!

  • Raston Bot||

    Catherine liked lippizans.

  • ||

    Not to mention that Catherine was German.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Doesn't sound that great.

  • ||

    Oh, she was great, at least from the Russian perspective. And she was one of the classic enlightened total despots of the era. "I love Voltaire, what a guy! Kill those uppity serfs!"

  • ||

    The Origins of Stallionism in Russia.

  • ||

    I liked the Ron Paul "big dog" ad. If nothing else, it's funny, and it's incredibly refreshing to see a political ad discussing real policy positions instead of bullshtein generalities.

  • ||

    I read a comment (in the comments section, not something that Rand said) at Transterrestrial Musings that said, more or less, that a Paul presidency would wreck the economy. That has to be one of the more insane comments I've read, and it shows how far some of the leftist statists have left the reservation. Taking money out of the economy to spend on stuff most people don't want is good; leaving it there to be spent in a way most want is bad. Really extraordinary ignorance about how markets work.

  • NeonCat||

    As much as I like Conan, when it comes to politics you have to remember he's a Hahvud mahn, and like our President is a big Teddy R fan as well as a Lincoln fan.

  • ||

    The only people who aren't Lincoln fans are the ones who took the time to actually study Lincoln in greater depth than a high school textbook.

    And virtually anybody who has done this abhors the man.

  • ||

    Any reading recommendations?

  • Britt||

    You should ask libertymike. He'll give you the straight dope on ole Abe.

    They're filming the movie here in Richmond, they've got our Thomas Jefferson designed state capital building all tricked up to look like the White House circa 1860s.

    I went over to Hollywood Cemetery last week just to see if I could hear Jefferson Davis spinning in his grave.

  • ||

    Back when I was president of the UT Libertarian club, decades ago, a Trotskyite shouted at me:

    "You Libertarians are just anarchists who want police to protect you from your slaves."

    Being an awful Libertarian pol, I said he had a point and that that statement was pretty clever. It sort of flummoxed him. My mother was an actual Red so unlike most so called "Marxists," I actually know my theory.

    The point is that the police function is probably the number one reason for the state, and a libertarian state would be no different. It is sad we have to explain this, but it just shows how degenerate political knowledge has become that people seem to think libertarians would do nothing against banditry and marauders.

  • protefeed||

    The point is that the police function is probably the number one reason for the state

    No, the police function is the number one bulwark of state power.

    An extremely libertarian state would not have public police forces, but rather private personal protection services that you can subscribe to, if you don't choose to just arm the heck out of yourself.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Whereas the first thing a Communist state generally does is overtake the police/security forces in order to eliminate any "competition".

    I'm waiting to see what happens in Mexico as the government there loses its monopoly on force. It's pretty much standard for the wealthy to contract with, um, private personal protection services there.

  • ||

    It happened over a decade ago.

  • chris||

    Classical liberals were around and held office long before the first police force was ever organized, so your left anarchist friend's statement is devoid of content.

  • ||

    Fucking optimism infecting my stupid brain...

  • protefeed||

    The link to the ad was SugarFreed due to a copyright claim.

    Here's a link that hasn't been pulled down as of right now:

    Conan spoofs Paul

  • ola||

    "Last night, I sat through both O'Reilly and Hannity to get a read on the Ailes propaganda........."

    I think I've watched the last of O'Reilly (unless the Judge is on vacation, or there's a football game on) after tuning in for his bloviating with Stossel the other night. Old Riley had the goods on Stossel though. He claimed "There is a big government study that says marijuana is a gateway drug for kids into hard drugs. Once a child smokes marijuana or gets drunk on alcohol, their childhood is over." aaaaahhhhhh.

    A hundred million Americans might disagree.

  • RoboCain||

    Coco YouTube was taken down.

  • ||

  • Raston Bot||

    Newt's recurring hypocrisy is a treasure for RP. Glad to see Ron finally giving it good 'n hard for a change.

  • Colin||

    He's lying when he says he's not anti-Israel. He has said over and over that Israel shouldn't exist -- that it should never have existed.

  • chris||

    Who gives a fuck.

  • ||

    Even if that was true (and it's not), so what? Ron Paul is competing to be the President of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, not your precious Israel.

  • ||

    So he's going to dismantle it himself, then? Personally?

    Or, more likely, he'll just let Israel and its many very wealthy supporters worry about Israel, while he worries about the U.S.

  • affenkopf||


  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Please provide at least two times where he said Israel shouldn't exist.

  • I, Kahn O'Clast||

  • ||

    I wish Japan owned all of our debt. With a bunch of Japanese teen girls, that would have been watchable.

  • Juice||

    Japan owns a little bit less US debt than China, which owns a bit less than the Fed.

  • Name Nomad||

    Since the original was taken down, here's a link to Coco's spoof of the Ron Paul ad. Pretty meh (as is to be expected from those types of shows).

  • Phil N Blank||

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you...

  • ||

    We've been through this. We're stuck in the ignore, laugh, fight cycle.

  • Discuss||

    How many blog commentators watch Conan and get their political philosophy from TV shows?

  • Juice||

    I always thought Conan stayed out of politics, or at least when he was making fun of politicians he didn't make fun of policies.

  • Hugo Longbone||

    Talk about subtle slander, shows the first ad to the point when he wants to talk about the departments on the chopping block and then starts a new ad putting his own thoughts of fiscal conservatism in their place. Pretty slick for a ginger.

  • ||

    Ron Paul is old enough to be that news anchor's grandpa. Her whole line of questioning was just stupid. He knows more of whats going on that she does..

  • ||

    "Middlebrow intelligentsia?"

    What, like people who read Kevin Murphy?

  • Nike Dunk Shoes||


  • ||

    Ron Paul shouldn't be put at a disadvantage by the media making claims that he "can't win" It muddy's the water and creates bias. Anyone who throws their hat in the ring should be given a fair shake.

  • ||

    The crazy thing about Paul is that he won already.The guy is moving into 1st in Iowa. Now how do you tell Americans it's all a spoof. Get real, it is time to address a fu$� up country. Kensayen ecomomics failed. Oh and by the way he will win Iowa.

  • ||

    It's amazing how many 10cent comedians come out to compete with Americas best Jon Stewart. I will give an E for effort. I have laughed harder after watching the Spit room with pinhead or Hannity's insanity hour.


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