Ron Paul is in Fashion This Season
So says Yahoo! News. While I have no idea why the word "fashionable" appears in quotation marks in the headline, I like it.
They rightly point out the potential electoral value of his Tea Party small government bona fides (though he's prone to upbraid Tea Party activists for not getting that a humble foreign policy is a necessary part of constitutional and affordable government), he was against the Iraq War before being against the Iraq war was cool, and he's the only candidate clearly serious about shrinking government spending and action in an era when that's the only thing left to do.
The Week (a magazine that I love yet which managed a couple of months back to run a half-page article on what CPAC meant to the GOP presidential field without once mentioning the name of the man who won the straw poll there for the second year running, Ron Paul) wonders why he's running again. They note his desire for a national platform for ideas he's one of the few pushing, desire to perhaps shift the GOP's center of gravity on spending, money, and foreign policy and grant that indeed, "he could actually win":
Drew Ivers, a member of the state central committee of Iowa's Republican Party and a Paul supporter, as quoted by The New York Times. But 2012 could be different. Paul is "in the epicenter of the three or four or five the most critical and controversial issues in our nation today," including government spending, the war, and the financial crisis. "That's how snowballs develop, you know. They start small, and they get bigger as they roll downhill."
Counterpunch points out to progressives who will doubtless ignore them that Ron Paul should be preferable to Obama, for many reasons:
[Ron Paul] has never authorized a drone strike in Pakistan. He has never authorized the killing of dozens of women and children in Yemen. He hasn't protected torturers from prosecution and he hasn't overseen the torturous treatment of a 23-year-old young man for the "crime" of revealing the government's criminal behavior.
Can the same be said for Barack Obama?
Yet, ask a good movement liberal or progressive about the two and you'll quickly be informed that yeah, Ron Paul's good on the war stuff — yawn — but otherwise he's a no-good right-wing reactionary of the worst order, a guy who'd kick your Aunt Beth off Medicare and force her to turn tricks for blood-pressure meds. By contrast, Obama, war crimes and all, provokes no such visceral distaste. He's more cosmopolitan, after all; less Texas-y. He's a Democrat. And gosh, even if he's made a few mistakes, he means well.
Sure he's a murderer, in other words, but at least he's not a Republican!
Put another, even less charitable way: Democratic partisans – liberals – are willing to trade the lives of a couple thousand poor Pakistani tribesman in exchange for a few liberal catnip-filled speeches and NPR tote bags for the underprivileged. The number of party-line progressives who would vote for Ron Paul over Barack Obama wouldn't be enough to fill Conference Room B at the local Sheraton, with even harshest left-leaning critics of the president,like Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi, saying they'd prefer the mass-murdering sociopath to that kooky Constitution fetishist.
Jon Avlon at Daily Beast, for reasons I find unconvincing, thinks Gary Johnson is a more likely libertarian-leaning victor in the GOP presidential primaries.