Is 2012 Ron Paul Time?

While Texas congressman is still an underdog, conservatives starting to come his way
By: Kevin Derby | Posted: June 20, 2011 3:55 AM

Ron Paul

Ron Paul

When he ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was a persona non grata with prominent national conservatives who attacked the maverick congressman’s positions on international issues and monetary policy.

Four years later -- while Paul still generates jeers from some conservatives -- there are signs that he is not quite the odd man out he was in the 2008 election cycle, when he hammered Republicans who backed George W. Bush’s policies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While there are opponents of President Barack Obama’s policies in regard to Libya from a handful of liberal Democrats (U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio comes to mind), most of the leading critics of Obama’s campaign against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime have been Republican. The likes of Paul and fellow-minded Republicans Walter Jones of North Carolina and John Duncan of Tennessee criticizing the attacks on Libya are no surprise. But the fact that the likes of Tom Rooney are also sharply critical of the president should be a sign that some Republicans are growing increasingly wary of American military involvement overseas -- a return to the traditionally conservative positions held by Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Robert Taft and Pat Buchanan.

Paul will be heading to Jacksonville later this week to speak at the National Right-to-Life Convention and there are signs that leading social conservatives are starting to give the Texas congressman a second look.

After watching the Republican presidential candidates debate on Monday night, a prominent conservative offered some words of praise for Paul.

Ken Connor, currently with the Center for a Just Society and formerly with the Family Research Council (FRC), and well-known to Floridians for leading the state chapter of the Christian Coalition and running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 1994, on Friday offered his thoughts on the Republican field and had some kind words for Paul.

“Of all the candidates, Congressman Ron Paul deserves credit for having the most fully developed view of the role that government should play vis-a-vis the economy,” noted Connor. “In a word, according to Paul, it should be very little. An avowed libertarian, Paul stressed the importance and wisdom of letting the market determine economic winners and losers instead of leaving it up to politicians and their special-interest constituencies.

“Reason and experience prevent me from embracing the unadulterated laissez-faire idealism that animates Mr. Paul and his most ardent followers (recall Madison's observation that ‘if men were angels, government wouldn't be necessary’ – they aren't and it is); nevertheless, it is refreshing to hear a Republican espouse a coherent and unapologetic stance on issues of economic liberty,” added Connor. “The economic meltdown and subsequent recession were caused by greed, corruption, and recklessness on Wall Street and on Main Street. Bankers and lenders and traders who attempted to game the system for inordinate gain should have been allowed to crash and burn; and immature, indulgent citizens who dug themselves into a financial quagmire trying to ‘have it all’ should have been left to reap the consequences of their unwise actions.”

This is not to say that all social conservatives walked away from Monday’s debate thinking Paul was on target. Gary Bauer, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination back in 2000 and, like Connor, led the FRC, was not as impressed after watching the same debate.

“Ron Paul cracked a couple of jokes, but one of his key platforms is no laughing matter,” note Bauer. “Of all the things he chooses to target in order to rein in out-of-control spending, it is America's foreign policy and the effort to defeat the jihadists around the world. As Paul continued to make the case for an isolationist foreign policy, he seemed to suggest that American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are responsible for the Islamists' war on the U.S. He has it backward. It is because they are trying to kill us that we are fighting back.

“Paul naively suggests that if only we would leave them alone, they would leave us alone,” insisted Bauer. “How exactly did we cause 9/11? What U.S. action prompted the attacks on our African embassies in 1998? Paul seems ignorant of the nature of our enemy as well as the actions of our Founding Fathers. When radical Islamists attacked American ships in the early 1800s, Thomas Jefferson did not hide behind our borders. Instead, he ordered the Marines to Tripoli to take out the Barbary pirates.”

While Paul garners some opposition in Republican ranks, his supporters at Lew Rockwell’s website and the Randolph Bourne Institute which runs Antiwar.com keep insisting that the GOP is drifting their way -- and even some neo-conservatives are starting to say as much.

“When the Texas congressman ran for president in 2008, he was dismissed as an eccentricity, a strange but lovable libertarian grandpa who wanted the troops to come home. This time around, though, Paul seems comfortable alongside the other Republicans. His views haven't changed. But the GOP is hurtling toward him,” noted Matthew Continetti, an editor of the Weekly Standard. “President Obama shocked Republicans into abandoning so-called ‘compassionate conservatism.’ The 2012 Republican candidates sound like Barry Goldwater, talking not of making laws but repealing them. Which is where Paul has been all along.

“The same is true for foreign policy. Not one of the Republican candidates defended President Obama's intervention in Libya, or made the case for a long-term American presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, or criticized the president for not doing enough to promote democracy in Egypt, Syria, Iran, and China,” added Continetti. “They want the troops to return, sooner rather than later -- just like Ron Paul.

“The CNN moderator was too busy asking about American Idol to mention monetary policy. But if he had, I bet you would've heard the candidates attack the Federal Reserve and call for a sound dollar. Who does that remind you of?” asked Continetti. “Ron Paul is still more radical than most Republicans, not to mention most Americans. But he shows how, if you stand firm in your principles, the rest of the world (for better or worse!) eventually catches up.”

Paul remains an underdog to win the Republican nomination, but his influence on the Republican race should not be underestimated. With a reeling economy and unrest over federal spending, Paul seems likely to have a much larger impact in the race than he did in 2008.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

Comments (19)

Robert Lloyd
9:15AM JUN 22ND 2011
Ron Paul is probably the only person I would consider voting for in all of Congress. Well maybe Rick Scott too should he run for Congress.
7:58AM JUN 22ND 2011
Ron Paul is the Peoples choice, Democrats and Independents alike
2:45PM JUN 21ST 2011
Wow, Bauer has it so wrong. He spouts off like Ron Paul doesn't understand foreign policy, calls it isolationism - does he know ANYTHING about Ron Paul's foreign policy stance at all? He sounds like a washed up Giulani from 08. What foolishness...
12:27PM JUN 21ST 2011
Its our job to vote for him in the republican primary.
12:28PM JUN 20TH 2011
Madison was precisely wrong: Men are not angles and that is why government can never work. It requires a fleet of self-less angles to devoted to the cause of liberty to keep it fair and just. Ron Paul might be the only one close enough to that ideal.
10:45AM JUN 20TH 2011
Not only are GOP members hurtling toward Ron Paul, so are many of us "liberals" and independents who believe in true liberty and honesty. Paul (and Johnson) is the only choice from either party that supports freedom over slavery.
10:21AM JUN 20TH 2011
Thanks to all those who have commented positively in defense of our next president, Dr. Ron Paul.
I have learned to listen carefully to the opinions of the "elites." At the same time one should listen to what they DON'T say.
Re: Mr. Baur's many negative opinions of Dr. Paul is regrettable. He mentioned the
radical Islamists attack on US in the early 1800's but failed to mention the Israeli attack on the US Liberty* on June 8,1967 which killed 34 US navy personnel and wounded 174.
This is not an endorsement of the Islamists. It is merely to set the record straight.
Pat Buchanan once said, "Congress is Israeli occupied territory." That ended his political career.
God bless him and may God bless Dr. Paul.
*Google USS Liberty/"Remember the Liberty" by Justin Raimando.
9:35AM JUN 20TH 2011
Paul seems like the only one looking out for THIS country. I like his idea for "free trade with all". but we don't need to be rebuilding entire countries overseas to have free trade with them! Let's rebuild THIS country! We need roads and bridges and high speed rail in THIS country. We need to take care of the poor and homeless and those who need extra help in THIS country. We need to rebuild our economy and get jobs going again in THIS country. LOL sorry if that sounds preachy but why can't we use our tax dollars to pay off our debts and invest in high-tech and jobs right here at home? We can be the greatest country and economy in the world again by a long shot!
George Washington
11:24AM JUN 20TH 2011
I could not agree more. He is America's Man, the American way litereally handing us the "right guy for the job," when he is needed most.

This campaign, Mr. Paul has a strong ground game, early fund raisers, high profile legislative endorsements, GOP fellow candidates who literally are echoing Mr. Ron Paul's stead fast platform, supporters not only from 1 "party related team" but supporters who are democratic, libertarian, republican, and all others. Most importantly, all those people who feel kind of "snowed over" by all the failed campaign promises of Mr. Obama, realize now that ideology and rhetoric never supersedes track record. Walk the walk and talk the talk. Mr. Ron Paul does just that.

Thank you for Your time

Ron Paul for Republican Nomination and President Please.
9:08AM JUN 20TH 2011
You cannot force our way of life and goodness through the barrel of a gun.
We must lead by example.We will only create more anger and blowback by occupying other nations.Who is going to defend the U.S. when the American people rise up against one another because we are bankrupt (as in Greece)? This fear mongering will destroy the United States just like all great nations before.Look at the police state we have created already.Wake up people.
8:37AM JUN 20TH 2011
I didn't vote at all in 2008 because I though McCain was as bad as Obama.

I've become a lot more politically aware since then. By researching Ron Paul and understanding why he votes in congress like he does, and by reading a couple of his books, I know so much more than I did back then.

I will definitely vote for him, and him alone, this time. Even if I have to write him in. I do not agree with "voting the lesser of two evils", so I hope the GOP gets it right this time
6:24AM JUN 20TH 2011
I voted for Obama in 08, but after finding this interview on the Tavis Smiley show, I felt it was in my best interest to Register Republican so I could vote for Ron Paul. I want my boys home. Interview: http://dotsub.com/view/bee4613f-883e-4f0a-a14d-311b573aa325
Rich Turner
7:13AM JUN 20TH 2011
I voted for McCain in '08. I agree with Nancy. Its time to stop expending our national energies in the 3rd world. I read this great phrase on the net a few days ago and I agree with it, it said "Ron Paul will stop the wars, bring our troops home safely and save a trillion dollars in the process. Maybe we could use that money to balance the budget." That is why I have chosen to support Representative Paul in 2012.
5:36AM JUN 20TH 2011
I'm still undecided about who I will vote for, but after watching the first two debates, this Ron Paul guy seems to make the most sense. He also seems to be the most sincere and trustworthy.
6:33AM JUN 20TH 2011
Agree. He said the same thing in last election and before that. I will vote for him this time.
Matt Daniel
6:24AM JUN 20TH 2011
I've been looking at all candidates and Im still undecided but leaning towards Ron Paul currently because of his economic stance being so upfront and because he is the only candidate who clearly understands the u.s. president's role as commander in chief. The author on this article is ignorant to foreign policy and how the "american empire" has created enemies abroad. A book called "Blowback" written by a former CIA operative will clearly tell any american the cold hard facts about the middle east occupations since the cold war era. We create enemies by occupying their land,and changing our positions on who is our "ally" and who is our "enemy"..clearly the author is incorrect about "them wanting to kill us first"....we bombed all those nations and propped up dictators which infuriated them because we physically brought aggression upon their families and lively hood.
Charles Easterly
8:34AM JUN 20TH 2011
Mr. Daniel,

The author of this article was quoting Mr. Gary Bauer "who ran for the Republican presidential nomination back in 2000" and not necessairly sharing his own opinions on foreighn policy. Otherwise your analysis is correct according to several learned individuals who have studied terrorism in general and suicide terrorism in particular (including Professor Johnson who's book you referenced) .

Here are a few points I've shared before:
"The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland"

"The evidence shows that the presence of American troops is clearly the pivotal factor driving suicide terrorism."

"Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us."

"The central motive for anti-American terrorism, suicide terrorism, and catastrophic terrorism is response to foreign occupation, the presence of our troops. The longer our forces stay on the ground in the Arabian Peninsula, the greater the risk of the next 9/11, whether that is a suicide attack, a nuclear attack, or a biological attack."

"Bin Laden is out to drastically alter U.S. and Western policies toward the Islamic world, not necessarily to destroy America, much less its freedoms and liberties. He is a practical warrior, not an apocalyptic terrorist in search of Armageddon. Should U.S. policies not change, the war between America and the Islamists will go on for the foreseeable future. No one can predict how much damage will be caused by America's blind adherence to failed and counterproductive policies, or by the lack of moral courage now visible in the thirty-year-plus failure of U.S. politicians to review Middle East policy and move America to energy self-sufficiency and alternative fuels"

"The suicidal assassins of September 11, 2001, did not 'attack America,' as our political leaders and the news media like to maintain; they attacked American foreign policy."

"Terrorism by definition strikes at the innocent in order to draw attention to the sins of the invulnerable."


Matt Daniel
6:23AM JUN 20TH 2011
I've been looking at all candidates and Im still undecided but leaning towards Ron Paul currently because of his economic stance being so upfront and because he is the only candidate who clearly understands the u.s. president's role as commander in chief. The author on this article is ignorant to foreign policy and how the "american empire" has created enemies abroad. A book called "Blowback" written by a former CIA operative will clearly tell any american the cold hard facts about the middle east occupations since the cold war era. We create enemies by occupying their land,and changing our positions on who is our "ally" and who is our "enemy"..clearly the author is incorrect about "them wanting to kill us first"....we bombed all those nations and propped up dictators which infuriated them because we physically brought aggression upon their families and lively hood.
6:21AM JUN 20TH 2011
I voted for Obama, but after seeing Ron Paul on his interview with Tavis Smiley from 2008 I realize he's more inline with my thinking. So, I Registered Republican just so I could vote for him. I'd rather spend that War Money in America helping to pay for teachers and construction workers instead of bombs. Tavis Smiley interview: http://dotsub.com/view/bee4613f-883e-4f0a-a14d-311b573aa325

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