The principled, antiwar, Constitution-obeying, Fed-hating, libertarian Republican congressman from Texas stands firmly outside the bounds of permissible dissent as drawn by either the Republican establishment or the mainstream media. (Disclosure: Paul wrote the foreword to my 2009 book.)
But in a crowded GOP field currently led by a collapsing Newt Gingrich and an uninspiring Mitt Romney, Paul could carry the Iowa caucuses, where supporter enthusiasm has so much value.
If Paul wins, how will the media and the GOP react? Much of the media will ignore him (expect headlines like "Romney Beats out Gingrich for Second Place in Iowa"). Some in the Republican establishment and the conservative media will panic. Others will calmly move to crush him, with the full cooperation of the liberal mainstream media.
For a historical analogy, study the aftermath of Pat Buchanan's 1996 victory in the New Hampshire primary. "It was awful," Buchanan told me this week when I asked him about his few days as the nominal GOP front-runner. "They come down on you with both feet."Rep. Paul didn't use both feet but his one mouth to tear into the Republicans who are ahead of him in the polls. As Forbes notes, he took advantage of an appearance on The Tonight Show to take his shots.
In a startling break with tradition, Ron Paul took a few quick jabs at his Republican rivals on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Friday. Asked his opinion of Michele Bachmann, who Paul had clashed with earlier in the week over the question of a nuclear Iran, Paul said Bachmann “hates Muslims” and “wants to go get them.”
Leno asked Paul his opinion of Rick Santorum, asking whether he talked about anything other than gay people. “Gay people and Muslims,” Paul quipped.
He said Romney was a nice guy who maybe should stay in Massachusetts and that Jon Huntsman is “thoughtful.”As I wrote at the top of this post, you either like or dislike him. And the International Business Times takes a look at why people do.
Paul is able to inspire his unusual loyal following for two reasons.
First, his political positions (small government, noninterventionism, protecting civil liberties, etc.), voting record and even life choices have been consistent for years.Aw, come on, why take the gloves off when a man holds positions such as that?
Second, many of his political positions stand out from the seemingly-disconnected view of "mainstream" politicians. Most people, for example, do not like Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and object to codifying the indefinite detention of Americans. Many people want fewer wars and an alternative to the failed "War on Drugs" policy.