Ron Paul’s Political Skillsby Doug Mataconis
Most people dismiss Ron Paul as a political hack on the fringe of the Republican Party, but the Cato Institute’s David Boaz makes an interesting observation:
Similarly, Ron Paul is the only current member of Congress to have been elected three times as a non-incumbent. Given the 98 percent reelection rates for House members, itâ€™s no great shakes to win three terms â€” or 10 terms â€” in a row. Itâ€™s winning that first one thatâ€™s the challenge. And Ron Paul has done that three times.
He first won in a special election for an open seat. He then lost his seat and won it back two years later, defeating the incumbent. After two more terms he left his seat to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate (and thereby did his greatest disservice to the American Republic, as his seat was won by Tom DeLay). Twelve years later, in 1996, after some redistricting, he ran again for Congress, again defeating an incumbent, this time in the Republican primary. Some political scientist should study the political skills it takes to win election to Congress without the benefit of incumbency â€” three times.
It can’t be easy, that’s for sure. Granted, Paul was helped by the fact that he was running in areas of Texas where the prevailing political beliefs are conservative, but a conservatism that is of the Barry Goldwater/Ronald Reagan leave-me-alone type than the interventionist/Christianist conservatism that prevails elsewhere in the country. Still, facts like this should put to rest the idea that Ron Paul is just some lone nut.