Good News, Bad News

The good news over the weekend was that a Republican candidate raised $6 million in one day for his presidential campaign.

The bad news was that the candidate was Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), the least likely of the candidates to get the Republican nomination.

When looking at the general election match-up between a Republican and a Democratic candidate, the most troubling thing for the GOP is the money gap.

Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960 by running to Nixon’s right, talking darkly about a missile gap that had allegedly grown between the Soviet Union and the United States, with the communists winning the war on Ike’s watch.

The missile gap may or may not have been true in 1960. The money gap in 2007 is very true.

I always get a kick out of the canard that the Republican Party is the party of the rich while the Democratic Party is the party of the working class. Look at the campaign contributions to see the real truth. The Democrats are the party of the very rich.

Tim Burger has a great story on Bloomberg about how Bill Clinton has invested with some of his rich friends to get even richer. The former president is making a boatload with all kinds of tax-free investments in the Cayman Islands. I wonder whom the Clintons will have to pardon after these deals come to light, should Hillary become president.

In any case, Republican candidates aren’t exactly lighting it up when it comes to campaign contributions. The biggest single campaign contributor for the GOP, of course, is Mitt Romney, who is betting on himself. After that, most rich people are giving their money to the Democrats.

Ron Paul, on the other hand, has inspired a loyal and determined following, who are giving their time and, most importantly, their credit cards to the slightly befuddled baby doctor. They are doing so because they like Paul’s message of libertarian reformation.

When Republicans outside the Beltway talk about spending cuts, they are talking about Ron Paul-type spending cuts. In other words, real cuts that will have a real impact (for good or for ill) on real citizens. When all the other Republicans running for president talk about spending cuts, they are talking about slowing the growth of the increase.

Ron Paul is a phenomenon that has largely missed wider media attention. He is anti-war, not just in an Iraq sense, but in also in a historic Robert Taft sense. He thinks we should get out of Europe, get out of Korea, get out of Africa and get out of the Middle East.

Sounds good, in a general sense. But when we leave these playing fields, other, less friendly forces move in. The Chinese, the Russians, radical Islamists — they all would love to see us retreat from the rest of the world. It gives them more room to do what they want to do.

It is a small world, and our interests go well beyond our borders. An increasing percentage of American jobs come from exports. Somebody has to ensure that our interests are being protected. And it won’t be the Red Army, I can tell you that.

It is certainly good news for Ron Paul that he has been able to attract that many supporters to his cause of radical downsizing. Other Republicans should pay attention, but not go overboard in their support for Paul’s ideological crusade.

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