Getting Serious About Ron Paul
by Steven Greenhut
I can’t forgive myself for voting for Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor during the 2003 recall. I selected a “winnable” loser rather than Tom McClintock, a principled conservative who knew what policies to pursue to right California’s sinking fiscal ship. If everyone who voted for Schwarzenegger under the belief that McClintock couldn’t win had voted for McClintock, who’s now a congressman, perhaps he would have won the governorship.
The Schwarzenegger vs. McClintock race springs to mind as Ron Paul, the quirky Texas congressman with unwavering libertarian principles, pursues the GOP nomination for the presidency. Paul is not a dynamic personality, but he has a firm grasp of the issues. Currently, he is near the top of polls for the Iowa caucuses, and his national support has remained strong.
We know that none of the other Republicans will seriously slash the size of government, even if they have Republican majorities in Congress. None of them will bring the troops home, regardless of how costly those wars have become or how contrary they are to the traditional Republican belief of nonintervention in foreign affairs.
Despite encouraging rhetoric from some candidates (i.e., Rick Perry’s description of Social Security as a Ponzi scheme), the “serious” candidates will not try to swap U.S. entitlements with private alternatives.
None of them will address the Federal Reserve, which, according to Paul, makes it easy for the feds to print the money needed to finance their free-spending ways. At best, a winning mainstream Republican will tinker around the edges of reform, perhaps limiting government just enough to let the economy heat up again.
Even if Paul pulls off the upset of the century, he may not have the skills or congressional support to succeed. He can be obtuse, such as the time when he was asked about his favorite Ronald Reagan legacy and gave a boring answer about the money supply. But despite his many flaws, he at least he understands that the nation’s problems center on its gargantuan government.
Too bad everyone knows he can’t win.