Why Ron Paul Is the Semi-Invisible Man


If you kill him you will only make him stronger than he was

Over in the D.C. Examiner, Timothy P. Carney has a shrewd piece exploring why it is that "With Tim Pawlenty out of the race, only two active Presidential candidates scored more than 10 percent in Saturday's Iowa straw poll. Following the media coverage Sunday, you would never guess Congressman Ron Paul was one of them." Excerpt:

Why do the mainstream media and the Republican establishment persist in ignoring and dismissing Paul?

There is no one answer. You cannot chalk it all up to Paul's perceived long-term viability problems: I know no serious forecaster or GOP operative who gives Bachmann a significant chance of being the Republican nominee, yet she is showered with coverage at every turn.

In part, the media ignore Paul's success at events like Ames and the Conservative Political Action Committee because they think he's almost breaking the rules by having such a dedicated following. True enough, a cult following often does not translate into support broad enough to win an election. Is Paul the Right's Lyndon LaRouche?

Still, Paul climbed from 5th place in the straw poll four years ago to a virtual tie for first yesterday, doubling his number of votes. So he is surging. And don't forget Democrats nominated a guy last election whose strength was winning caucuses due to a dedicated core of support.

Is that even him?

So, again, why doesn't Paul get the attention he seems to deserve? Mostly because the mainstream media and the Republican establishment wish he would just go away.

One reason the bipartisan establishment finds Paul so obnoxious is how much the past four years have proven him correct -- on the housing bubble, on the economy, on our foreign misadventures, and on our national debt. […]

Again and again Paul has dissented, been laughed at, and been proven correct. That may be one reason he evokes so much scorn in certain corners of the Right.

But also, Paul lacks the eloquence and self-control to win over the barely-attentive voters that make up most of the electorate. He rambles, sometimes slipping into incoherence, and seems to eschew efforts to cast his outside-the mainstream ideas in a more palatable light. Some GOP disdain for Paul likely comes from a -- not unfounded -- belief than Obama would wipe the floor with him in a general election.

Read the whole thing here. Reason on Paul here.

NEXT: The Chicago Way

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  1. I was joking about how if Paul won the straw poll the headline would be "Bachmann comes in second in Iowa straw poll." Naturally, on Saturday I saw one along the lines of "Bachmann comes in first at Ames straw poll, Pawlenty third"

    1. But the straw poll is supposed to be a very good predictor of the Iowa caucuses and Nate Silver at 538 did a progression including respective RCP poll averages and straw poll results. Paul and Bachmann are virtually tied to take the Iowa caucus according to that. And that has to have her worried since Randy Travis won't be at the caucuses. See picture: http://www.politico.com/news/s.....61282.html

    2. "Bachmann comes in first at Ames straw poll, Pawlenty third"

      Yep, that was the front page of National Review.

  2. Is Paul the Right's Lyndon LaRouche?

    Nope. You proved it right here.

    He rambles, sometimes slipping into incoherence...

    This implies that Ron Paul is coherent at least some of the time.

    I am not aware of anyone having ever accused LaRouche of being coherent.

    1. Me and my brother pwned some LaRouchians when they were passing out flyers outside of Starbucks. They're so fucking stupid.

  3. Agree with all of it until the end. I believe, and polls have shown the same, that Paul has maybe the best chance of beating Obama in general election.

    1. I agree, and despite the meme that Romney is electable, I actually think he's the most vulnerable of the mainstream candidates due to his inability to provide a strong contrast to Obama.

    2. I think Paul would appeal to most, if they are educated about his/libertarian principles. But it takes education, he is not an eloquent speaker, he assumes that you should know the basics. and most do not.

  4. Is Gary Johnson actually running and being ignored? Or is he just on a half-assed publicity tour?

    Ron Paul a smart guy - but unlike Johnson, he has never lead anything anywhere ever.

    Paul also has a record of preaching Libertarianism while getting perks for his district inserted into bills that he votes against. He brings home the bacon like the rest so nobody takes him seriously.

    1. Ron Paul is a Constitutionalist. That makes him very libertarian but also appreciative of the separation of powers aspects of the constitution. A line item veto would abolish the separation of powers control hard fought for with the Magna Carta and adopted here for good reason -- so the executive can't become a tyrant. He votes against all spending because he IS against all spending. But he also thinks that every penny that IS spent ought to be designated, or earmarked, by congress.

      that may not be 'fashionable' in red meat circles right now where people are being led by the nose to agitate to overturn a separation of powers that protects the people. However, Ron Paul is still right on the issue.

      1. Well said.

        1. Well said defense of Paul bringing home the bacon while posing as a purist.

    2. Paul also has a record of preaching Libertarianism while getting perks for his district inserted into bills that he votes against.

      Link or it did not happen.

      Also how does he have the leverage to even accomplish that?

      If he is voting against it why would other congressmen put in the money for him?

      Your accusation is not only weird but it appears to require magic for it to even work.

    3. "Is Gary Johnson actually running and being ignored?"

      Yes - social issues


  5. I don't think he's incoherent.

    But then again, I understand all the words to 'A Horse With No Name'.

    1. Horse mean heroin, which ought to be legalized. Mright?

      1. Heck if I know. I was just quoting Bull from Night Court.

      2. Yes.
        In the song, Horse means Heroin.

  6. I'm a big fan of Ron Paul, but I have to admit that Gary Johnson would probably be the better presidential candidate. That's probably why, as much as the media ignores Ron Paul, they ignore Gary Johnson even more. I think they're downright scared of Ron Paul, and terrified that he has supporters.

    All that said, despite significant weaknesses I think Ron Paul is a far better presidential candidate than any of the other candidates currently running, save for Gary Johnson.

    1. Those would be ridiculous reasons for the media to ignore anyone. Are the media somehow different from all other companies that make consumer products?

      1. Those would be ridiculous reasons for the media to ignore anyone.

        Ever watch those shows filled with left and/or right talking heads.

        Everyone one of those motherfuckers have been wrong for at least 8 years while Paul has been proven right.

        Can you imagine the likes of David Brooks or Krugman admitting that they were wrong and Brooks was right?

        Anyway the death of main stream media is happening and i think it would be impossible to distinguish market share lost due to the internet vs market share lost due to shitty coverage of Ron Paul.

        1. and Brooks was right?

          "and Ron Paul was right?"

          1. yep, on every issue

          2. yep, on every issue

    2. I mean, seriously now, is anybody in the media going to lose a job on the basis of who becomes president of the USA? In a country that has politically appointed media jobs I could understand it, but in the USA?

      Why should they be terrified of anything? They go into fires, storms, and wars, and they should be afraid of a politician? They'll have news to report on regardless of who makes it. People will buy or not buy their product based on how good it is. Like you think people aren't going to care about the news if a certain person gets elected to a certain office?

      All this discussion of media being "scared" is crazy talk.

      1. But we need enemies. Pundits and "the media" are useful foils. Also cops, "liberals" and bureaucrats. And women, of course.

  7. Or is he just on a half-assed publicity tour?

    Gary who?

  8. What awful pictures.

    They ignore him and you make fun of him. What's YOUR reason?

    1. I don't think you understand the zeitgeist.

  9. It's not enough to be able to diagnose the problem correctly; one also has to be able to come up with a plan to fix it, and the ability to persuade others to get with the program. It is with respect to the latter that Paul has demonstrated no talent. He's been in Congress for 20 years; what has he ever accomplished there other than to have a great voting record? The President is a leader, and Paul has demonstrated no effective leadership that I can see.

    1. one also has to be able to come up with a plan to fix it

      Problem 1: War on drug users.
      Solution: Stop waging war on drug users.

      Problem 2: Troops all over the world.
      Solution: Stop sending troops all over the world.

      Problem 3: The economy sucks.
      Solution: Stop the government from fucking with the economy.

      Problem 4: The government spends money it does not have.
      Solution: Stop the government from spending money it does not have.

      The "fix" to doing something stupid is to stop doing something stupid.

      If your head hurts from beating it against the wall, the "plan to fix it" is simply to stop.

      It ain't a difficult concept.

      1. Wars can only be fought against nations.

        Wars against abstractions are doomed to failure.

        Stop all wars against abstractions - the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the War on Poverty, etc. They inevitably become assaults on your own people. Just. Stop. It.

        1. I assume you mean by failure that government intrusion into everyday life increases as liberty increasingly exists only in memory.

          Some would define that as success.

    2. True, Ron Paul's voice has not persuaded many in the Parliament of Whores. But President Ron Paul could accomplish much as commander-in-chief. One hopes that if the role of commander-in-chief entitles the President to wage war without a Congressional declaration of war, the President could also cease kinetic military operations without a Congressional declaration of peace.

  10. Paul tripled his votes from last time, not doubled them.

    Even Carney undervalues him.

  11. Dude is no less corrupt than the rest of them.


    1. Shut up, anonbot.

  12. Bachmann is way better looking. Really is there any mystery here that the media gives all the attention to the charismatic new star over the old guy who constantly wins these things but fails to get any further?

    I get the feeling this post exists because reason realized feels guilty too. I mean this story is 95% block quote from some other guy.

  13. I greatly admire and respect Paul, and think history will treat him very well: he deserves enormous credit for calling attention to government overspending and overreach long before there was a Tea Party, and 30 years from now, I'd guess a lot of people will be kicking themselves for not listening to him.

    That said, I don't think he's going to become President. You can critique his speaking style for a lack of polish (I'd agree that he doesn't do enough to explain the importance of sound money or the logic of business cycles, given how few people understand them), but that's largely a matter of taste: an awful lot of people don't seem bothered by it. What's going to sink his campaign is illustrated by the recent debt-ceiling crisis: most Americans still aren't ready to get serious about downsizing government, and I think they'll still respond to promises of free lunches. In other words, he's still ahead of his time, and he's not a young man anymore.

    1. "30 years from now, I'd guess a lot of people will be kicking themselves for not listening to him."

      30 years from now, there will be a lot of people pissing on the graves of the Greatest Generation and the Boomers for not listening to him.

      1. I'll piss on the Boomers' graves right now. Assholes.

        1. Libertarians require scapegoats. Trapped in a world they never made, and so on.

    2. If he gets the nomination, then he'll win the election if Obama loses it. That is, who the Republicans nominate won't make a difference as to their nominee's electability. The election will be a referendum on Obama. People will either vote Obama back in over anybody, or anybody over Obama. And that's going to depend on how conditions are next year.

  14. If the election were:

    Obama - D
    Romney - R
    Paul - C

    What do you guys see as the outcome?

    1. I think it would be more likely that if Paul were to run as a third candidate it would be as L or I rather than C. Unfortunately, in your scenerio Obama gets another term.

    2. Paul doesn't win. Tea Party/disgruntled votes peak in the low 20s.

      Obama/Romney a dead heat. Disgust with Obama vies with defections/lack of excitement on robotic RINO Romney. I honestly couldn't pick a winner, which means its probably within the margin of fraud for Obama.

    3. Paul draws away enough of the R vote to give Big O a second term.

      1. And is never forgiven.

    4. 1. Obama wins a second term
      2. Ron Paul becomes the GOP's "Ralph Nader", and they forever blame him for the 2012 debacle.
      3. Rand Paul's career in the GOP suffers do to his father "losing" the election for the GOP. Delays a Rand Paul bid from happening in 2016 Possibly distances himself from his father both politically, and ideologically.

      1. umm, when Paul continues to be right, why would rand distance himself ideologically. One assumes Rand is not Romney and looking for polls to tell him what his ideology is.

        1. He's done it in the past with Gitmo:


          In a GOP where Ron Paul is blamed for "losing" the election for his party, it doesn't matter if he's always right. Principles are secondary when party politics are involved.

          "Rand is not Romney and looking for polls to tell him what his ideology is"

          I don't believe he's Romney, however I do believe that he's a politician who will do what is necessary to get elected. If that means not fully embracing a non-interventionist foreign policy (he hasn't), or taking a moderate approach on the Drug War (he has), so be it.

    5. Obama takes 3rd Paul takes 2nd and Romney wins.

      anyway the outcome is entirely unpredictable. I only placed the above to demonstrate any out come with that match up is impossible to determine.

      The conventional wisdom of Obama win and Romney 2nd with Paul last does not match up with current poll numbers of likely voters.

      Though some weight should be given to Obama and Romney simply because they would have the RNC and DNC political machines behind them.

      Any independent will always be at a disadvantage.

  15. If the election were:

    Obama - D
    Romney - R
    Paul - C

    What do you guys see as the outcome?

    1. Continued American failure.

      No one is interested in the technical aspects of why we're failing. They just want the soothingest talking head to tell them its the jews other teams fault.

  16. One reason the bipartisan establishment finds Paul so obnoxious is how much the past four years have proven him correct -- on the housing bubble, on the economy, on our foreign misadventures, and on our national debt. [...]

    I watched most of David Gregory's "interview" with Bachmann yesterday morning. Gregory was able to snuggle in his comfortable cloak of smug liberal superiority without any effort whatsoever; Doctor Paul makes that much, much harder. That's what makes it seem as if he's "cheating". He won't play the role he has been assigned in their three penny melodrama.

    1. Ron Paul is a good guy and all, but can we stop addressing him as "Doctor"? That honorific is irrelevant to Paul acting in his capacity as a politician and gives off a strong whiff of zealotry.

      1. In a way it is important. To be a successful physician one must understand that not every problem can be made to go away simply by throwing a lot of spin at it.

        Frankly I think that we need more politicians who have really learned that lesson: machinists, plumbers, engineers, medicos I don't really care where they learned it, just that they did.

        1. Instead we get a continual string of these whack-jobs like Obama and Boehmer and Pelosi and and and who show not the least sign of understanding that sometime it didn't work because there was no way it could have worked.

          You know...the ones who look down on the "reality based commnity".

  17. what has he ever accomplished there other than to have a great voting record?


    1. He felt lots of vagianas.

  18. reason: what's up with the media giving all the attention to Bachmann while ignoring Ron Paul? By the way check out our 500 articles on every detail about what Palin is up to.

  19. Apart from his ideas, Ron Paul is terrible as a candidate. He's simply not very good at swaying the uncommitted. And I say that as someone who admires the guy. Sadly, presidential politics today is as much about charisma and coming off well on TV as anything else, and Paul just doesn't have what it takes to do that.

    1. Sadly the uncommitted are just looking for a lover that promises to beat them softer next time.

  20. What a stupid fucking post backed up by an equally absurd (and, unsurprisingly, completely one-sided) article. Carney's colleague Phillip Klein shatters the delusions of the Paul cult here. If only Reason would apply the same scrutiny it reserves for statist conservatives to candidates that it actually likes. Ed Morrissey hit the nail on the head a few months ago: Ron Paul has some decent economic views, but he is otherwise a nut.

    1. Sadly, even those that believe they are libertarians believe that libertarian candidates are nuts. More sadly, this is why a libertarian will never be president as the libertarianism movement cannot move as a group to support a candidate. We are doomed to be ruled over by those that can organize over a compromise candidate because we cannot compromise.

  21. I believe it is a stretch to say that Obama would wipe the floor with Paul. It's the economy stupid, and by next year the economy is going to be so bad independent voters will have fled from the president like the plague. The right will NEVER vote for Obama. Besides in a head to head matchup poll, Paul was only polling 4% behind Obama. And that is WITH the media blackout, and WITH all the negative coverage. Why don't you quit telling us how unelectable he is. Don't we get enough of that from the mainstream media???

  22. I like to think that we can elect a president based on his ideas and record instead of how well he prepares sound bites for morons.

  23. Ron Paul himself correctly answered the question - why the media, DEM and GOP ignore him.
    1) One group simply does not understand him (mostly because Austrian school of economics is not taught in most of USA universities.)
    2) The other group understands part of what he is saying, but thinks that their own interests would not be served by free market and liberty (no bail outs, small government, no privileges to Affirmative Action recipients [75% of adult population], no endless wars, etc.)

  24. just a note for accuracy's sake, but that's Magneto, not Batman, in the second image. ("RonPaulBatman.jpg")

  25. just a note for accuracy's sake, but that's Magneto -- leader/founder of the Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants who believes in mutantkind's rightful dominion over humankind -- not Batman, in the second image. ("RonPaulBatman.jpg")

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