The Lure Of Ron Paul
Perhaps The Texas Congressman’s Appeal Is The Lesson Of Compromise
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul. Image by Gage Skidmore and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
By John Monahan
Special for Modern Times Magazine
July 20, 2011 — Ron Paul is undoubtedly the grass roots phenomenon of the new millennium. He has inspired throngs of fervent supporters that supply him with money and presence — just enough to remain relevant.
But how does this happen? How can a guy so on the fringe demand such passion and loyalty? By following his heart. And, luckily for him, his heart is also firmly planted in the fringe so his niche within the electorate is easily sequestered.
A RINO to some, he is also a RINOBTPCCGE (republican in name only because third party candidates can’t get elected). He is pretty far from the republican “platform” on a variety of positions, including, but not exclusive to, things like abolishing the Federal Reserve System. That idea might be popular among some factions of the electorate, but definitely not from bankers and those in the financial sector.
But enough people out there agree with Paul about the Federal Reserve, or ending the War on Drugs and hop on his bandwagon with full force because these are issues that have very strong grassroots support but no one but Ron Paul is talking about them.
Everyone knows the political tenor in the U.S. right now is incredibly polarizing. It’s gotten so bad lately that it seems like the only reason one of the political parties takes a stand against something is because the other party is for it.
But Ron Paul just calls ‘em likes he sees ‘em and for a lot of people that means someone might also feel the same way about a policy few others share. Finally hearing a politician speak a fringe idea on a national issue is what churns out Ron Paul devotees with regularity.
But Paul has never been able to crack 10 percent in national polls precisely because of what his core supporters find so appealing. He supports issues that generally cross party lines and political ideologies. Take Paul’s position on “illegal” drugs and abortion as examples. He believes life begins at conception but that the any ban should be handled at a state level. That is a mainstream republican position that he could run on.
But then he goes and shoots himself in the foot politically and declares that the war on drugs should be ended and medical marijuana be a state issue. Holding that position and running for the republican nomination are clearly not compatible. The republican electorate clearly wants to continue the war on drugs.
What Paul’s greatest contribution to the modern American political scene might be that he alone seems able to stand upon whatever political philosophy he feels most comfortable — even in the face of sure defeat. He is trying to do what he feels is best for the country.
In a way, he is a living, breathing compromise of political ideologies.
It may not get him elected president, but hopefully, it is a new beginning of politicians that can transcend party and re-establish politicians as advocates for the American people and not spokespeople for the dogmas which have elected them.
Or maybe, those “tea party” members of the republican party will finally go it alone. A multi-party system might be just what this country needs.
Ron Paul, you may just accomplish something after all.
John Monahan is a freelance writer living in Connecticut.