Hawks to the left of me, hawks to the right…here I am…
Kevin Drum writes:
But Will [Wilkinson]— along with Jon Stewart and all the others who think the media is being unfair toward Ron Paul — is missing the single biggest difference between Paul and Bachmann: Paul has already run before. We don’t have to guess about Ron Paul’s appeal: we know exactly what it is, where it comes from, and how big it is. What’s more, we also know whether it’s changed since 2008, and unless I’m missing something, it hasn’t. At all. He’s basically got the same group of fervent followers he’s always had, and nothing more.
It’s not unusual for someone who ran and came close to run again (cf. Ronald Reagan, John McCain, Mitt Romney). But if you run a very distant fourth, winning no states and collecting 1.6% of the delegates, you really need to have a compelling story if you decide to run again. Ron Paul doesn’t, and everyone knows it. Like it or not, he’s a novelty candidate and he’s had his 15 minutes. It’s time to move on.
Move on…where? Look, Paul is a novelty candidate. He’s an Austrian-economics touting anti-war libertarian doctor from Texas and an old curmudgeon to boot. Plenty of people have tried to smear him as an isolationist and a racist and any other number of things that, I believe, are simply not true. I think he’s associated in the past with pretty dubious people that might hold some of those views, and that’s a mark against Paul to be sure, but the smears serve only to shift focus from where Paul is truly important: his views on foreign policy. He wants us to get the hell out of the foreign wars and return to a basically non-interventionist status quo. I don’t think I can stress how important this is to the future of America and the world enough.
So move on, sure, but where? To the Romney/Perry/Bachmann axis on the right? To the hawkish Obama administration? Gary Johnson is even more invisible than Paul, and Jon Huntsman is…wait, who is Jon Hunstman? The pundits’ candidate, that’s who. Meanwhile the insipid center as represented by Tom Friedman and crew are waiting for superman. Personally, I don’t want to see Mayor Bloomberg in tights and a cape.
All these people are crazy, just as crazy as Ron Paul. They just don’t see the farce as clearly as he does. And maybe he sees problems where none exist. I can’t get on the gold train, for one thing. But it’s no crazier than wanting to bomb Syria, or Libya, or Iraq. I’d say it’s a whole lot less crazy, but that’s just me.