Daily Archives: August 16, 2011

Ron Paul: Why Not?

OK. Is there any conservative out there who really wants Mitt Romney to be president? Admittedly, my world is pretty small these days. But I sure don’t know any. Romney strikes me as McCain — although without the long and heroic stay at the Hanoi Hilton.

Yet Romney appears to play well with the mainstream media. Go figure.

But how about Ron Paul?

Well, I’m not the first or only pundit to consider this since it was all over the Internet yesterday, but how come Ron Paul didn’t get any love from the Chattering Class following his strong second-place finish in the Iowa straw poll?

Here’s Roger Simon opining on Politico, “Ron Paul remains media poison“:

I admit I do not fully understand Ron Paul and his beliefs. But I do understand when a guy gets shafted, and Ron Paul just got shafted.

On Saturday, the Ames Straw Poll was conducted in Iowa amid huge media interest and scrutiny. The results were enough to force one Republican candidate, Tim Pawlenty, out of the race, and catapult another, Michele Bachmann, into the “top tier.”

There are so many “top tier” stories in the media today that I can barely count them, let alone read them all, and Bachmann is in all of them by virtue of her victory at Ames. The rest of the tier is made up of two candidates who skipped Ames, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.

As The Daily Beast put it: “The new top tier of Bachmann, Perry, and Romney — created by Bachmann’s Iowa straw poll win, Perry’s entry into the race and Romney’s lead so far in many national and state polls — has unleashed torrents of talk about the reshaped race.”

Paul’s name was not mentioned in this piece nor in many others. A Wall Street Journal editorial Monday magnanimously granted Paul’s showing in the straw poll a parenthetical dismissal: “(Libertarian Ron Paul, who has no chance to win the nomination, finished a close second.)”

But “close” does not fully describe Paul’s second-place finish. Paul lost to Bachmann by nine-tenths of one percentage point, or 152 votes out of 16,892 cast.

If it had been an election, such a result would almost certainly have triggered a recount. It was not an election, however, and that is my point. Straw polls are supposed to tell us, like a straw tossed into the air, which way the wind is blowing.

And any fair assessment of Ames, therefore, would have said the winds of the Republican Party are blowing toward both Bachmann and Paul.

Nonsense, some would say. Straw polls are just organized bribery, with the campaigns buying the tickets and distributing them to supporters. (And, in fact, this is what I wrote before Ames.)

What they really show, many argue, is not where the philosophical heart of the party is, but the organizational abilities of the candidates.

Fine, I’ll buy that. But why didn’t Paul get the same credit for his organizational abilities as Bachmann did for hers?

I am far from a Libertarian. I believe big government is swell as long as it does big things to help the common good. But after Ames, it was as if Paul had been sentenced to the Phantom Zone.

Simon: “I am far from a Libertarian.”

Wonder how many know what Libertarianism really stands for? Let’s go directly to the source: libertarianism.

What is libertarianism?

Libertarianism is, as the name implies, the belief in liberty. Libertarians strive for a free, peaceful, abundant world where each individual has the maximum opportunity to pursue his or her dreams and to realize his full potential.

The core idea is simply stated, but profound and far-reaching in its implications. Libertarians believe that each person owns his own life and property, and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life – as long as he simply respects the same right of others to do the same.

Another way of saying this is that libertarians believe you should be free to do as you choose with your own life and property, as long as you don’t harm the person and property of others.

Libertarianism is thus the combination of liberty (the freedom to live your life in any peaceful way you choose), responsibility (the prohibition against the use of force against others, except in defense), and tolerance (honoring and respecting the peaceful choices of others).

And more:

Are libertarians conservative or liberal?

You have a better choice than just left or right. The libertarian way gives you more choices, in politics, in business, your personal life, in every way. Libertarians advocate a high degree of both personal and economic liberty. Today’s liberals like personal liberty but want government to control your economic affairs. Conservatives reverse that, advocating more economic freedom but wanting to clamp down on your private life.
Libertarian positions on the issues are not “left” or “right” or a combination of the two. Libertarians believe that, on every issue, you have the right to decide for yourself what’s best for you and to act on that belief so long as you respect the right of other people to do the same and deal with them peacefully and honestly.

I used to believe that the only libertarians I knew were students majoring in advertising. They shared an almost universal belief that people had the ability to make up their own minds and do whatever they wanted — despite the sophisticated advertising techniques and millions of dollars spent to get them to do otherwise. Your kid is glued to a death stick because of the appeal of Joe Camel. Hey Mr. and Mrs. Parent Asshat — it’s your fault. Ah, the good old days teaching media ethics. I digress.
Anyway, I kind of like Ron Paul’s message about personal liberty and responsibility.
And he’s not Mitt Romney.
Just sayin’.