Explaining The Appeal Of Ron Paul
Are political analysts finally starting to figure out why someone who was, until earlier this year, an obscure Congressman from Texas has garnered the support that Ron Paul’s Presidential campaign has seen ?
With Paul, the positions aren’t the point. His candidacy is tonal, aesthetic in nature. It’s a movement united behind Howard Beale: They’re mad as hell at politics, and not going to take it anymore. The force of that statement is far more important than whether Beale’s political opinions or likely comportment in office precisely match up with what his supporters would desire. Paul’s candidacy is an indictment of the system, not an argument for who would best administer it.
And Andrew Sullivan:
Paul’s candidacy is a moment of protest from all those who once saw the GOP as their home and who have become enraged at what Bush and Rove have done to conservatism. So many of us feel like refugees – forced out of our homes by Christanist intolerance and neoconservative fanaticism. The Paul campaign is a refugee camp, pitched temporarily at the border of old-school conservatism, as we wait to see if our politics is really over in the Republican party, and whether a freedom agenda can still have a future in America.
Incidentally, Sullivan endorsed Paul a few days ago:
[T]he deeper reason to support Ron Paul is a simple one. The great forgotten principles of the current Republican party are freedom and toleration. Paul’s federalism, his deep suspicion of Washington power, his resistance to government spending, debt and inflation, his ability to grasp that not all human problems are soluble, least of all by government: these are principles that made me a conservative in the first place. No one in the current field articulates them as clearly and understands them as deeply as Paul. He is a man of faith who nonetheless sees a clear line between religion and politics. More than all this, he has somehow ignited a new movement of those who love freedom and want to rescue it from the do-gooding bromides of the left and the Christianist meddling of the right. The Paulites’ enthusiasm for liberty, their unapologetic defense of core conservative principles, their awareness that in the new millennium, these principles of small government, self-reliance, cultural pluralism, and a humble foreign policy are more necessary than ever – no lover of liberty can stand by and not join them.
He’s the real thing in a world of fakes and frauds. And in a primary campaign where the very future of conservatism is at stake, that cannot be ignored. In fact, it demands support.
When Sullivan’s right, he’s right. Ron Paul isn’t perfect by any means, and I’ve detailed some of my disagreements with him, and discomfort with some of his supporters, here more than once. But he’s a damn sight better than any Republican running for President this year.