The Irresistibility of Ron Paul
Around the State
It's easy to see why Ron Paul scores a fan base the envy of sports franchises and rock stars.
He's got the answers a scared-out-of-its-wits America is looking for. Come to that, he's got the answers I'm looking for.
It isn't his anti-government, pro-liberty message that resonates so well with me -- though there's nothing wrong with that. It's his plan. He's actually got one. How's that for novel?
Right off, anyone who can show me he knows how to balance the federal budget and begin to pay down the national debt has my respect and my attention and if he makes it to the ballot, probably my vote.
Paul's "Plan to Restore America" would "lose" $1 trillion from the federal budget within a year and eliminate five Cabinet-level departments. It would even slash the president's $400,000-a-year salary to $39,336 -- a move particularly near and dear to his heart because the revised figure is equal to the median personal income of the American worker.
Balance the federal budget? Libertarian Ron Paul promises -- hand-on-the-Bible promises -- that he can do it by the third year of his presidency. And I believe he knows how.
Major regulatory relief, large spending cuts and a sound monetary policy? Check out Paul's economic plan. His fix is as easy as painting by numbers.
But there is a bump on his roadmap to fiscal redemption. Admittedly, that bump is less bump-like than it is something akin to the Matterhorn. It's the ax he takes to Pentagon funding for wars. And foreign aid. He actually zeroes out foreign aid.
But, even with a national defense budget that looks more at home on a box of Fruit Loops than anywhere near the Oval Office, Ron Paul is a candidate of impeccable integrity. What he says today he said five decades ago. He never ducks a question, never retreats from a principle when defending it becomes problematic. And there is no better student of American government.
So, how come this Texas congressman, this next-to-last man standing in the 2012 Republican presidential primary -- wildly popular among his strong and close core supporters -- hasn't won a single state? How come he didn’t carry even one of Texas’ 36 congressional districts in Tuesday’s primary? Didn’t even come close.
I've heard a lot of reasons given:
Ron Paul is too fringe to be electable, he isn't spending enough money, refuses to run attack ads, his foreign policy is too docile, he is too old to run the country (at 76 years old) and, most recently, he is fracturing the Republican Party infrastructure.
The answer is "some of the above." But more than any of them, it is the sheer irresistibility and purity and right-mindedness of his economic plan.
It's a plan, after a little tinkering in the area of defense spending, that could work.
That makes it radical, and scary. Think about it:
- Paul's "Restore America" plan would cut spending by the Environmental Protection Agency by 30 percent, whack 40 percent from the Food and Drug Administration's budget and immediately freeze spending by numerous agencies at 2006 levels -- the last time Republicans had complete control of the budget.
- The plan would reduce the federal work force by 10 percent.
- Medicaid, food stamps, family support programs and the children's nutrition program would be block-granted to the states.
Try to imagine for a minute how many apple carts cuts like these would upset.
Think of the jobs lost, think of the impact to society should the federal government cease to be the massive gravy train it is today.
Think of the push-backs required from vested interests of every description.
And you think the crescendo of partisan bickering now couldn't get any more dissonant?
No. Ron Paul's candidacy, most likely the last presidential candidacy of his life, is built on an impossible dream.
When all is said and done, we can't elect a plan that would work. It would be an exercise in futility. It would be shredded to bits. It would be totally, utterly unrealistic.
Sadly perhaps, our government has evolved.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.