Taking Ron Paul Seriously

by | May 29, 2007 | Stress Blog | 1 comment

Again, via LRC:

By Bruce Bartlett

As some readers of this column may know, the first “real” job I ever had was working for Congressman Ron Paul back in 1976. I went to visit him a few months ago and was pleased to see that he had not changed much at all since the days when I was a legislative assistant on his congressional staff.

At that time, I did not know that Ron planned a run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. When I later learned of it, I thought he was being hopelessly Quixotic — tilting at windmills. I thought Ron’s views about limited constitutional government and nonintervention in the affairs of other nations were hopelessly out of step with the vast bulk of Republican primary voters. On the war, they remain solidly in the George W. Bush camp — willing to defend the war in Iraq to the bitter end and highly intolerant of anyone who raises doubts about its wisdom or continuation. Rudy Giuliani exemplified this attitude in the debate two weeks ago when he demanded that Ron apologize for his antiwar position.

However, significant cracks have developed in the wall of conservative support that Bush enjoyed at the beginning of the war. Today, much is known about the lack of verifiable evidence of Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, and about how the White House bullied those urging caution into reluctant support and thoroughly screwed-up the Iraq occupation. Even Sen. John McCain, still a strenuous war supporter, has become outspoken on Bush’s poor management of it. Consequently, more than a few conservatives have gone over to the antiwar side. Unfortunately for Ron, they are mostly former Republicans today, unlikely to vote in a Republican primary.

Among conservatives, another factor is also at work: the growing realization that Bush has never really understood or shared a Goldwater/Reagan vision of the nature of conservative governance. And even those who still cling desperately to the view that Bush is better than the Democratic alternative mostly concede that his performance in office on a wide range of issues has left much to be desired. …

Read the rest.

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