The GOP field, Pros and Cons Today: Ron Paul

The final in my series on the GOP candidates for president

Congressman Ron Paul Congressman From Texas

The Case for:

1. Organization: Ron Paul has built one of the finest grass-roots organizations I’ve ever seen, it is national, it is organized and it is active.

2. MD: Ron Paul is a long practicing medical Doctor. That gives him a perspective different from the average pol and his long service in congress hasn’t changed it.

3. Sincere: A lot of things can be said about Ron Paul’s positions but even his staunchest foes do not dispute that Paul does not bend his beliefs to suit a donor or a fad. When Paul says something you know he believes it

4. Economics Ron Paul’s issue has been economics and spending for a decades and the countries crisis and problems have caught up with his issues.

5. Sitting Congressman: Paul is the only remaining candidate who is a sitting office holder that gives him an authority that others lack.

6. Military Service: Ron Paul is the only military vet remaining in the race.

7. Followers: No candidate has followers as loyal as Ron Paul. It is almost messianic in quality.

8. Constitution: Ron Paul stresses the Constitution a basic appeal to GOP and conservative supporters.

9. Crossover appeal: Ron Paul has a cross over appeal that is very appealing to many Obama supporters and many young libertarian voters as well.

The Case Against:

1. Foreign Policy: Ron Paul has the ideal foreign policy for the US…if it was 1897 or before. His insistence on isolation in a modern world is quaint at best and dangerous at worst.

2. Newsletters: Paul attempt to disavow his newsletters frankly are the only time I’ve ever seen him waffle. To insist that he either didn’t write or know the content of his own newsletters strains credulity.

3. Conspiracy Types They say you are known by the company you keep and the Alex Jones conspiracy types seem to flock to Paul like moths to a flame.

4. Tactics: Although this is often under the radar Paul’s tactics; from his supporters at other people’s events to some of his robocalls have been, shall we say less than by Hoyle.

5. Record: For a person in congress as long as he has been, Paul has one of the least distinguished records of actually accomplishing things. Appearing more of a gadfly you will not see many bills with Paul’s name in it.

6. Age: Although it gives him a fatherly image. Paul is a very old candidate and though he is fit, this is a large contrast not only to his GOP candidates but even more so against a youthful Obama.

Exculpatory evidence: As Paul is a man against government expansion it is natural that he would not be pushing bills, likewise his belief in isolationism naturally bring him support from US enemies but that doesn’t mean support for them. As for the Newsletters Paul is one of that last pols who came to manhood in a Jim Crow south and I suspect they are more a reflection of that time, but his position on the war on drugs and its disproportionate effect on the Black community is far more significant than opinions on the LA riots of decades ago.

Conclusion: Ron Paul is a unique candidate. Conservatives absolutely love his Economic small government positions but are horrified by his foreign policy. Liberals love his Foreign policy but are horrified by his demand for domestic cuts. It makes a tough road since it taxes a lot of voters off the table before the game even starts. However if there was ever a time for Paul’s ideas on spending it’s now. He’s has been ahead of the issue and the country has finally caught up with him. Paul needs to bring that message in a more concise way to the forefront, but a lot of the fringe elements in his camp makes it hard to mainstream a message that is actually important to spread. The real question in my mind is: Will Ron Paul use this showing as a stepping stone for his son Rand or will it be all in to either win the nomination or run 3rd party but a win in Virginia where he is head to head with Romney would change that perspective in a hurry.

My Biggest fear: A Paul 3rd party run. Although it would draw from both sides, Paul would draw from Obama in safe democratic states while he would draw from the GOP in swing states.

My Hunch: I think Paul is going to use his influence to make a big difference in the platform knowing the last thing the GOP needs is for Paul votes to stay home in November. I think his showing in Virginia is going to surprise an awful lot of people I think this is a dry run for Rand Paul in 2016 and even if not if his organization continues to play the long game they will be in a position to transform the country in a decade or less.

My advice to the Santorum Campaign: This all depends on his actual goal. If he truly wants the nomination he needs to use a combined strategy of contesting the small caucuses where his organization means a lot to going full blast in Virginia. If he can beat Romney straight up that will totally change the race. If his goal is more to advance the ideas and set the ground for Rand he needs to instead to hit every state make his case and push congressional candidates of a tea party bent. This would not only give him chits for Rand to cash in but might even give him a cadre in congress to push his ideas.