So why does the Republican establishment loath Ron Paul’s candidacy so much? One word: War. Ron Paul’s philosophies are a threat to all the modern Republican Party has come to represent and sponsor: foreign spending, meddling, and interventionism. In fact, no faster than the U.S. formally declared an end to the war in Iraq, were Republicans beating away on the next drum; propagandizing a new buildup for war with Iran.
Paul, however, has remained rightfully cautious; hesitant to dabble irresponsibly in absolutes and machismo. He recognizes the need for diplomacy first and intrinsically understands the “unintended consequences of a covert operation” officially recognized by the CIA itself as blowback.
Unfortunately, the modern Republican Party, and the modern Democratic Party for that matter, does not reward caution, though; nor see it as a virtue, but rather a weakness. Gone are the days of a formal congressional "Declaration of War." In fact, the U.S. has now acted without express congressional military authorization on 125 separate occasions; a list that continues to grow.
The Republican establishment argues that Paul’s propensity for caution makes him unrealistic and unelectable in a complex modern-world dominated by threats and acts of terrorism. But the idea that somehow Paul, who took an oath of office which included the phrase, “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” would simply turn a blind eye to the safety of the U.S. is speculative. After all, Paul supported authorization for use of military force in Afghanistan.
Reservations regarding Paul’s electability have been permitted also to transpire largely unfounded. According to one November NBC-Marist survey conducted among 2,896 registered voters, Ron Paul ties Obama at 42% in a general election in Iowa.
Furthermore, Ron Paul leads Obama by thirteen percentage points among independent voters and fourteen percentage points among voters under 45 years of age. Ron Paul also attracts as many as fifteen percent of Iowa’s Democrats. Which begs the question: What other Republican candidate has this kind of appeal?
Paul, whose demeanor is often unfairly misconstrued, may be a tough pill to swallow for some, but it doesn’t mean he isn’t the right antidote. At a time when the U.S. national deficit is eclipsing $15 trillion, his plan cuts a much needed $1 trillion in federal spending in just the first year -- more than any other candidate -- and calls for eliminating the Department of Education, Commerce, Energy, Interior, and Housing and Urban Development Departments.
Paul’s record on economic and social liberties is impressive also. A staunch unapologetic proponent of States’ Rights, Paul voted against the Patriot Act -- declaring it a “radical departure from [the] 4th Amendment”; he opposes a National ID card; opposes tax-funded elections; and fervently opposes the unchecked role of the Federal Reserve.
Indeed, discovering a presidential candidate in today’s political spectrum so enthusiastic to adhere consistently to the living document upon which our exceptional nation was erected, is a rarity. Americans would be well-served to step out of their comfort zones and embrace the prospect before it passes them by.
Loran Maxwell is a freelance political columnist and chapter president of Students For Liberty at BYU.