These two alternative opinions on the meaning of Ron Paul for the Republican Party and America are not coming from one confused hypocritical mouth, but represent a dichotomy that both the GOP and America are most definitely going to have to mind and choose about in the next year and a half.
it is becoming increasingly clear that we are living in a time when Republican politics are being shaped by a 75-year-old, 12-term Texas congressman with a son in the Senate. And incredibly, it is no longer out of the realm of possibility that this outcast of the GOP establishment may win the party's presidential nomination.
If you have not been paying attention, it is time to look around and realize that we are living in the political age of Rep. Ron Paul.
A CNN/Opinion Research poll released late last week shows Paul faring the best against President Obama of any potential Republican candidate. He trails the president by only 7 points, 52-45 percent, in a head-to-head matchup. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee trails by 8 points, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney down 11 points to Obama.
In February, Paul won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Action Conference for the second straight year.
Last Thursday, the day of the first GOP debate, one of Paul's fabulously-labeled "money bombs" exploded with the announcement of $1 million in contributions for the Paul campaign.
Writing either from utter ignorance of what Williams' said about Paul's objective juice, or just fear of it, Hugh Hewitt says: we don't need to hear any of this stuff about actually seriously rethinking the state's role in our personal and economic lives and getting it to spend within its means. In fact, it would be better for the Republicans to do everything they can to keep Americans' from hearing it. (I suspect it is the very awareness of the facts that Williams presents that makes Hewitt so desperately want to shut Paul off.)
the GOP needs to rethink its debate schedule and why the RNC should take over the operation of the debates and exile Cain, Johnson and Paul as well as every other candidate without a prayer of winning. (Santorum is a long shot, but he has a realistic though small chance of winning the nomination, while the others do not.) The seriousness of the fiscal crisis requires the GOP and its candidates to act seriously, and allowing marginal candidates to eat up time and distract from the enormous problems facing the country is not serious.
And why should the only two candidates whose limited vision of government and ability to imagine actual radical change give them the slightest hope of dealing with that fiscal crisis be kicked to the curb? Here's a bit of hint of where Hewitt is coming from, though he doesn't for a moment actually engage why the ideas of a Paul or a Johnson are better ignored. Not, uh, "strong" enough. Imperially, that is.
Our national security depends on our economy and its ability to pay for the SEALs and the rest of the amazing American military.
Really, Hugh? All the rest of it? Good luck squaring that idea with seriously solving the fiscal crisis.
Nominations are bestowed by parties operating under rules and governed by committees, and parties that want to win important elections don't waste time and money and especially argument space on marginal candidates like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, Alan Keyes or Dennis Kucinich or Tom Tancredo
Calling Paul marginal at this point requires not merely ignoring good and necessary ideas. As Juan Williams explains nicely, it requires ignoring objective facts. Which the likes of Hewitt will be happy to do forever to shut up Paul's message, and his fans.