Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The yeomanry of the country possess the lands, the weight of property, possess arms, and are too strong a body of men to be openly offended - and, therefore, it is urged, they will take care of themselves, that men who shall govern will not dare pay any disrespect to their opinions.”     Richard Henry Lee

June 16, 2007

Democrats For Ron Paul ?

by Doug Mataconis

Reason Magazine’s Brian Doherty went to a Ron Paul meetup in Pasadena this week and was surprised to meet a few (former ?) Democrats:

The meeting, which I stumbled into by accident (I hadn’t signed up for Paul’s meetup group myself and was unaware it was happening), had, even two and a half hours after its official beginning, a good 75 people filling the room. Attendees told me more than 100 were there at peak—which I found quite impressive, but the Paul rally coordinator I spoke to seemed disappointed. There were more people under the age of 30 in this room then I saw at the national convention of the Libertarian Party in Portland in 2006.

When I asked one former Democrat at this gathering, who told me he got excited by Paul during the first televised GOP debates, whether he was a common phenomenon, both he and another supporter (who came to Ron from the hard money side) shook their heads wonderingly as if I’d asked them something as ridiculous and obvious as if Ron Paul believes in the Constitution; it’s a constant phenomenon, they insist. The hard money guy, who likes to wear his nifty “Ron Paul Revolution” t-shirt (with the “evol” in revolution laid out to make the “love” backwards part stand out), says he’s constantly approached by interested civilians, many of them Democrats, excited and eager to know more.

All either of them had was anecdotes, not thorough data. But no one is polling Democratic voters on their thoughts on Ron Paul, so that’s all we’ve got to go on. The appeal makes sense on some level, especially when you look at the weak-kneed pasts of most of the antiwarriors leading the Dem pack and contemplate the list of issues that sum up Paul on a business card being handed out at this event.

It has the “ronpaul2008.com” address on top, and lists as Ron’s stances: “Voted against Iraq War. Voted against Patriot Act. Never voted to raise taxes. Never voted to increase government. Opposes Internet regulation. Opposes War on Drugs. Opposes Torture. Supports non-interventionist foreign policy. Supports habeas corpus.” (That’s the full list.)

As Doherty points out, there are many reasons why Ron Paul could be appealing to some of the same people who are attracted to Democratic candidates like Barak Obama:

One of the keys to why Paul should have wider appeal is that while he is certainly very libertarian, he is in many ways more federalist and constitutionalist than libertarian in a strict sense. He’s willing to leave all sorts of things to the states rather than imposing small-government solutions from the top down. He represents—or should, to most thinking voters—little in the way of a threat to their interests, insomuch as their interests don’t involve living off the federal teat or using federal power to their advantage. As Paul told me when I interviewed him for my book Radicals for Capitalism, “the freedom philosophy shouldn’t be challenging to too many people, when you emphasize that all I want to do is leave you alone.”

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.

In the end, Doherty thinks that most progressives will not able to give up the opportunity that the 2008 election promises for them — namely the opportunity to retake the Presidency and bring back the dream of the do-it-all-cause-we-tax-the-rich government. But that really says more about them than it does Ron Paul:

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.

It also speaks volumes about our political system when the one candidate running for office who actually thinks the Constitution means what it says doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning.

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17 Comments

  1. It also speaks volumes about our political system when the one candidate running for office who actually thinks the Constitution means what it says doesn’t have a chance in hell of winning.

    I’ve been accused of being “extreme” for arguing the same point. Yet, another reason I don’t vote…

    Comment by js290 — June 16, 2007 @ 9:52 am
  2. ron paul rocks!! i saw him at the Colbert report and he is the right guy.. believes in constitution and has guts to speak his mind..he is fresh and pragmatic and thats what we need..

    this news says that was “obscure” and now a huge hit online..that shows the people are now listening to him and like his message!! way to go Paul!!

    bhumika
    US News Desk,The NewsRoom

    Comment by bhumika — June 16, 2007 @ 10:04 am
  3. I wish that Paul was 4 years younger. If a Democrat is elected in 2008, then by the time their 4 years is up, I think the populace will realize that they aren’t that much different from the Neo-Conservative big government Republicans.

    Once people finally come to that realization, and understand that Democrats are only against the War in Iraq, not nation-building, and not democratization by force, surely the Freedom Message will resound even more so.

    We will need some more to run, and get in Congress. We need more Paul’s, we need more in the Liberty Caucus. I think the time is very ripe for this Party to grow. By this Party, I mean something like the Libertarian Party.

    Comment by Dick Allen — June 16, 2007 @ 10:49 am
  4. Libertarianism alone is kind of implausible for the public because there are no positive examples of libertarian cities or states existing, and the American people are nothing if not pragmatic. But candidates who don’t lie and take hard stances on anti-federalism, cutting taxes, and non-interventionism I think may make headway if America ever figures out it’s been duped by some nutcase theory of “expanding democracy abroad” (Americans being pragmatic should ask when exactly this has succeeded) and that even at home we’re increasingly not in charge of our own politics. Having candidates who follow the Enlightenment tradition of actually providing reasons for their actions instead of emotions might also have some appeal to Americans. But maybe this is just wishful thinking. I don’t think anything will change with the current centralized-power-outside-politics-running-politics and sham debate system unless some kind of fiasco or problem is exposed which throws dirt on both of the major parties and the media.

    Comment by Connelly Barnes — June 16, 2007 @ 11:15 am
  5. Although judging by Ron Paul’s popularity on the Internet, simply forcing people to do all their political action on the Internet and encouraging one’s friends to ONLY get political information through the Internet (i.e. deliberately forcing cultural norms to change) may have a profound transformative effect on politics. Why is Ron Paul so popular online, and not on television? It’s the medium of course: television isn’t compatible with thought-out arguments, while the Internet is.

    I’m not sure who will get power, but I doubt it would be the same as the “Big Media” who seem to maintain power due to the high cost of television stations. It’s probably the more honest politicians who will gain power if politics is done through the Internet, so this may be worth pursuing.

    I’d like to see a politician with the campaign motto, “We’re only on the Internet!”

    Comment by Connelly Barnes — June 16, 2007 @ 11:21 am
  6. I’m a Democrat and Green Party leaner, and I love what Ron Paul has to say. Non-interventionist and sound monetary policy are two things that our country needs now more than ever. I hope the Republicans don’t freeze him out in the coming debates when they whittle the field down.

    Comment by Erik — June 16, 2007 @ 11:50 am
  7. Who IS Ron Paul? They still need to know!!
    NOBODY explains Ron Paul
    BETTER than Ron Paul himself!

    Here is an interactive audio archive of
    Ron Paul speeches and interviews as a resource in chronological
    order.

    http://www.ronpaulaudio.com

    Comment by goldenequity — June 16, 2007 @ 12:29 pm
  8. As I posted on the Reason blog, there are two reasons that masses of Democrats would support paul, and neither exists in this election. Those reasons are:
    1) Not having a candidate as anti-war as Paul (most Dems don’t care about being anti-war, just anti-Iraq, and besides, there’s Kucinich and Gravel)
    2) Not having a chance to win (also not the case, they’ve almost got in the bag short of a miracly in Iraq)

    Comment by Seer — June 16, 2007 @ 7:46 pm
  9. Will this ‘ron paul’ thing EVER go away?
    http://www.IHateRonPaul.com – ‘…they hate us for our Freedom”.

    Comment by Rudy G — June 16, 2007 @ 8:34 pm
  10. I thought for a long time that the only way to make Dr. Paul’s candidacy work is for a lot of us to register as Republicans and vote for him in our state primaries. That way, no matter who gets the Democratic nomination, the Republicans are forced to clean up their act and shove the neo-cons over the side. Regardless, this election may well be a major turning point. Dr. Paul is changing the conversation. Good.

    Comment by Billy — June 16, 2007 @ 9:49 pm
  11. I just hope that all people, democrats, republicans, independents, and libertians all change their party affliation to republican and please for the sake of our GREAT country and our children please support and vote for Ron Paul.

    Comment by Richard — June 17, 2007 @ 9:00 am
  12. I don’t think that Ron Paul has much of a chance of being the GOP presidential candidate…they have never supported him and are not about to start now, however,what if he changes parties now. Personally I could care less about the Republican or Democratic parties, they are one and the same in their ideology. Ron Paul is our last hope for this country to return to it’s roots. He will begain the process of ridding ourselves of the cancer that has been running our federal bureaucracy since 1913 ! God bless Ron Paul !!

    Comment by charlie — June 17, 2007 @ 12:07 pm
  13. Go Ron Paul! Go Ron Paul! God Bless Ron Paul! Ron Paul for President 2008!

    Ron Paul in CNN debate on June 5, 2007!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwJKGfAWQUo

    “In the time of universal deceit, telling the truth
    is a revolutionary act” GEORGE ORWELL

    Comment by chris lawton — June 17, 2007 @ 12:16 pm
  14. Ron Paul is still out of the loop. Individuals have to get Ron Paul on the Ballot first. Since the GOP hates him this will take some doing.
    Nothing good comes easy.

    Comment by geoff — June 17, 2007 @ 5:18 pm
  15. Here is the story of Americans denied habeus corpus in Iraq. Unlike Guilianni, who laghed at Paul in the debate when he said “I will never abuse habeus corpus,” this American victim of the secret prisons knows our rights are important.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19226700/

    Comment by C. Loew — June 19, 2007 @ 10:57 am
  16. People say that Democrats and Republicans are the same, but I believe they stress different things. Democrats want big government for their social ambitions, Republicans want big government for the sake of security. Unequal in terms of means, but equal in terms of outcome and equally bad in terms of preserving our constitution and republic.

    Comment by Adam — June 19, 2007 @ 11:29 am
  17. The only Republican presidential candidate who stands a chance at winning the November, 2008 U.S. Presidential Election is Ron Paul.
    Most Republican congress criters have alienated themselves by their voting record. The Democratic Party presidential candidate is most likely to win the final election, unless enough Democratic Party supporters vote in the primaries for Ron Paul. Without Ron Paul on the presidential agenda in November, 2008, whoever the Democratic contender is will certainly win and we will live under an even more socialistic regime for God knows how long. DEMOCRATS FOR RON PAUL we need you!

    Comment by Whistle B. Currier — June 30, 2007 @ 5:14 pm

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