The Secret of Ron Paul’s Success

January 3rd, 2012 at 11:11 pm David Frum | 30 Comments |

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Based on the tiny unrepresentative sample at the precinct caucus I attended: his core group are true believers, who have absorbed his message on Austrian economics and foreign policy non-interventionism.

But when they communicate to the broader Iowa Republican rank-and-file, they repackage Paul as a much more conventional conservative: pro-life, pro-military, small government, and supportive of the operation that killed bin Laden. If Paul ever does gain altitude, he will be very vulnerable to negative advertising that exposes the truth of his beliefs and background.

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30 Comments so far ↓

  • nhthinker

    Ron Paul has been the most candid politician about what he would do. He obviously does not have cronies waiting for the spoils of potential victory. Ron Paul is winning 50% of the young Republicans… That fact alone must be driving Frum absolutely nuts.

    What would Frum be willing to give up to in order to get 50% of young Republicans?
    Certainly not an American military shield over Israel.

    • aleek

      David Frum: You spend a lot of air time trying to negate Ron Paul’s possibility of winning. I detect a hint of panic in your voice when you mention his name. What are you so afraid of? Hmm…. I see you are on the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition… as well as a bona-fide member of the 1%. Now I understand. You are one of the beneficiaries of the status quo…who will stop at nothing to keep Ron Paul from becoming president. Ron Paul is not a puppet of the special interest groups, he doesn’t believe the US should be the private army of Israel, and he can’t be bought or sold and therefore is very scary to you.

  • Reflection Ephemeral

    Agreed. The entirety of the GOP must go into overdrive, making sure that everyone knows that Ron Paul has no place in the Republican Party.

    After all, you don’t want to jeopardize the GOP’s all-white, all-elderly strategy. What could possibly go wrong?

    (Ex-Boehner buddy Scott Galupo writes, “If anyone attracted new and younger voters to the caucuses, it was Ron Paul—who I can say with certainty will not be the nominee. … The party appeals mostly to a segment of the country that’s literally dying.” http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/scott-galupo/2012/01/03/iowa-caucuses-bring-troubling-returns-for-the-gop ).

    • sweatyb

      see above picture of white elderly man.

      • Reflection Ephemeral

        Well, sure. And with his newsletters, he’s not the ideal outreach spokesmodel to make the GOP less than 95% white.

        But he at least generated some grass-roots enthusiasm among young people. I mean, it’s not like America’s youth and recent youth are all, “oh boy, Newt Gingrich, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and John Boehner– those guys sure have been right about a lot of stuff! I sure am glad to be a Republican!” No one under 40 is a Republican unless they’re an heir to a fortune or a closeted homosexual. And just to keep it that way, they’re going to drum Ron Paul right out of the party.

  • jjack

    So, Ron Paul is not pro-life, pro-military, pro-small government?

    David just cannot get his head around the idea that there actually are conservatives who are tired of endless, self-defeating wars. And his dismissal and smear-by-anonymous-association of Ron Paul’s supporters as racist, anti-Semitic crackpots seems to be a substitute for thinking.

  • hisgirlfriday

    It’s not a coincidence that people under 30 are sick and tired of endless wars and questioning the wisdom of our military deployments around the globe. After all, it’s this generation that’s having to fight the wars and having its future mortgaged to pay for it all.

    Not to mention that this generation has lived in a world without a real challenger to America’s power in the world with little to no memory of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc and where even our biggest rivals are trading partners.

    Ron Paul’s foreign policy views seem alien to everyone in the establishment, but to a lot of people they seem a breath of fresh air. And it’s just nice to have a vigorous debate on foreign policy instead of just everyone reading from the same script of following whatever the defense contractor lobbyists or various other interest groups are demanding of Washington.

    Obviously I’m not a fan of his newsletters and I find Austrian economics leaving much to be desired, but I have to say I am happy to see a candidate who actually wants Congress to declare war before it is waged by a president and who is urging caution against the war drums being pounded by the Iran hawks get a fifth of the GOP vote tonight.

  • SteveThompson

    Here is an interesting article showing the financial situation of five of the Republican primary candidates including Mr. Romney, Mr. Santorum, Mr. Paul and Mr. Gingerich, what assets and debts they hold and details about where they derive their income:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2012/01/republican-primary-candidates-they.html

    From the investing strategy of Mr. Paul, it is quite apparent that he thinks “outside the box”.

  • PW43

    The secret to Paul’s success: he’s anti-war. It’s a credit to Americans that they are fed up with these wars, in spite of how natural and necessary their own media make them out to be. I can’t help but notice that Australian, Canadian and European politics are not producing any Ron Pauls.

    I’m not as comfortable with Paul’s economic vision. However it is somewhat nihilistic which may be what we need given the criminal corruption of the global economy. More importantly, Paul can depict all these wars as an albatross on the US economy, thus drawing more populous support than just the anti-war crowd.

    What I don’t get is an intelligent man like David Frum behaving the way he is. What’s the latest? Not that Paul is misleading mainstream republicans and garnering votes he’ll lose when light is shed on his true policies. No it’s some of his nameless supporters who are doing this. What a ridiculous assertion. The only dishonesty is coming from Mr.Frum. The simple fact is that Paul’s policies are favoured my many Republicans/Americans and will continue to accumulate support as the media blackout of Ron Paul has been breached. This has got to be killing David Frum and any other Canadians/Americans who put Israel first.

    The consolation in all this: Mr.Frum’s panic over Paul’s ascendancy is a clear sign to me that he fears a Paul victory. Or maybe he just fears an open discussion on matters the American public has been shut out from for too long?

    • dante

      The problem is that most Republicans (including DF) can’t attack Ron Paul for many of his policy positions without revealing their own hypocrisy. How does a massive military fit with the definition of small, limited government? How does intrusive anti-terrorism bills like the Patriot Act fit with Constitutional liberties? How does corporate and agriculture subsidies fit with less government spending?

      They don’t.

      Ron Paul is that person who asks the tough questions of his fellow Republicans, and people hate him for it. It’s showing the true hypocrisy of the current neo-Con aspect of the Republican party, and instead of debating him he’s just dismissed. I don’t agree with much (any) of Ron Paul’s economic policies, but I applaud him for bringing it up and (hopefully) forcing the GOP to come up with answers….

    • nuser

      @PW43
      ……he’s anti-war. Precisely! One could go a step further and say he does not give a rat’s as@
      about Israel and that will never do with the powers that be. Paul is a little strange to be sure,
      but he is also putting the spotlight on Israel where it needs to be!

  • ottovbvs

    Paul is to all intents and purposes crazy. In any reality based universe he’d be a joke confined to the far fringes of a mainstream political party but he can corral the support of around 20% of the GOP which tells you as much about the present state of the GOP as it does about Paul. However, I will predict that the Republican establishment are going to be awfully nice to Paul to ensure he doesn’t go off the reservation and mount a third party run!!

    • LFC

      Ron Paul is generally crazy, but also says some things that are very realistic and sane. At this point I think that puts him ahead of the rest of the GOP field that has collectively said virtually nothing that is sane. What policy (a.k.a. position of the hour) has Romney put forth that is truly sane? His signing on to the whackadoodle Ryan “plan”? His kneejerk support of anything Israel does? His view that negotiating with states you don’t like is appeasement?

      Let’s face it. The so-called establishment candidate has a lower percentage of sane things dropping out of his mouth than Ron Paul. That should scare the crap out of all of us.

    • PW43

      He may be crazy on some points but he is the only option to more of the status quo. That’s why he’s gaining support. This isn’t just a GOP thing. Much of Paul’s support are independents who were suckered into supporting Obama and his pseudo anti-war policy four years ago.

      By the way, in a reality based universe one would not pretend the democrats are any better than the GOP. They are both corrupt to the core which is why people are turning to Paul.

      • ottovbvs

        “Much of Paul’s support are independents”

        Except there’s no such thing as independants. There are left leaning and right leaning voters who call themselves indies but who in reality are soft Dems or Republicans. In a general faced with the choice of a generally acceptable candidate they will vote against their basic prediliction.

  • gmat

    The secret of Ron Paul’s success is no secret.

    It is his non-interventionist foreign policy.

    The Defense Establishment, and especially the AIPAC faction of the Defense Establishment, are scared to death Americans are going to wake up and pull the plug on them.

  • Dex

    OK, David, you object the false packaging that is being given to Paul to make him palatable to the majority of voters. Fair enough, I do too.

    However, I object equally strongly to the false packaging that is being given to Romney to make him palatable to the majority of voters. For example, pretending that the ex-corporate raider who penned an editorial on the topic of “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” is actually a “job-creator”.

  • nitrat

    Some free associating :

    There are 2 options re: the newsletters: He knew about and agreed with their contents or he did not.

    We have more options: 1. he was a totally uninvolved, inept manager of a company that had his name plastered all over everything it produced, but didn’t know a blessed thing about what it was doing. 2. he is a liar, a big time liar. Both should be disqualifiers for holding public office, even dog catcher. Do people suspend their good sense to support this man?

    BTW, watching his reactions to questions about the newsletters, my years of experience interviewing and investigating people for assaulting their children, I think he is lying.

    Ron Paul has run as the Libertarian he is in the past. He switches parties to whichever one will benefit him the most at a particular time. Just because he is consistent in his ideology , in what he says, doesn’t mean he is not as self-serving as most politicians. Ron Paul is an political opportunist.

    We need to pay less attention to politicians saying what WE WANT TO HEAR and more to the cold, hard facts that we learn about how they have lived their lives and careers. When we start electing honorable men and women, we will need to worry less about ideology.

    If he were truly honorable, Paul would be running as the Libertarian that he is. Just like the other local and state politicians you know who are Libertarians above all else. But, they make use of the GOP and the GOP has encouraged them doing so. But, when you attract fringe candidates, when the candidates go away so do the fringe voters…they are too pure to support anyone else.

    (Exactly what does he do with all his leftover campaign funds? He does seem to be one of the professional, perennial candidates the GOP breeds who seem to run as a part time job.)

    The GOP has done this to itself. When I was a teenager, Jerry Ford was minority leader in the House and Everett Dirksen in the Senate. I loved the Ev and Jerry Show. It was how our politics should be – the LOYAL opposition.

    Compare those two to Mitch McConnell, Jim DeMint, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and the other pure T freaks in the House and you will understand how far the Republican Party has sunk. The only thing this bunch is loyal to is their fund raising capabilities.

  • Primrose

    It is one thing to say one is anti-war and another to say one is anti all intervention, including monetary. He takes away the stick and the carrot, as if we will never have to use either again.

    He doesn’t want us to be an empire, ok. But what is he going to do to be sure Iran or China don’t take our place? Both have been empires in the past, both think this is their rightful place in the world, and both seem poised to be one’s again. Will the result be better if they are in charge? Given that one is run by an insular theocracy and the other by an insular oligarchy, I am not sanguine about the result.

    Also, what is the point of taking away corporate presence in government if we let the market decide every issue in our life? (Mr. Paul’s answer). Sure they have less power over the government but now they have more power over us.

    I’m glad to hear Mr. Paul wants us to declare war before we go to war. I’d be more glad to hear that his fellow congressman did. Congress has the means to forbid such actions. Why don’t they do it? Why do they pass the patriot act? I think we have got to stop depending on the executive branch to refuse power and start demanding the other institutions to stop offering it.

    • gmat

      I can see Iran and China as regional hegemons, each with considerable influence in its near abroad. China would be balanced by India and Iran by Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

      I can’t see either one as a global hegemon on the scale of the US.

      Of course it must noted that China already wields economic power world-wide, and this without a single Chinese soldier deployed anywhere beyond its borders (except for UN peacekeepers here and there).

      • ottovbvs

        “I can’t see either one as a global hegemon on the scale of the US.”

        Are you serious? China has a population of 1.6 billion and a GDP that will almost certainly surpass that of the US within 10-20 years. They currently spend at least a third as much as we do on military expenditures and when they catch up with us GDP wise will be spending almost as much. This is not to say they don’t have problems notably their dictatorship is much less flexible than our democratic system with all it’s frustrations but there’s no doubt whatsoever that China will emerge as a geopolitical equal within the next 30 years or so.

        • gmat

          All true, but they’re not stupid enough to try to operate a global military force that’s stronger in every single region of the world than the strongest player in that region. In other words, the kind of global hegemon the US is now.

          No doubt they’ll be the geopolitical equal of the US in 30 years, especially because a declining US will probably meet them halfway. But I still can’t see them trying to operate warships in the Caribbean or conducting electronic reconnaisance flights within 70 miles of Hawaii.

  • Candy83

    Republican Party is trying in 2012 to do to Ron Paul what the Democratic Party did eight years ago to Howard Dean: kill his bid.

    Real secret to the success of Ron Paul: he’s in touch with the electorate more so than the establishment — and lots more than the media.

    Naturally this upsets the narrative, and everyone who ever shows on up as a pundit on broadcast and cable news does their gig in minimizing Ron Paul.

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