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Old 12-14-2007, 10:00 AM  
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GOP Can Learn from Ron Paul

Excellent article, and analysis IMHO.


December 14, 2007
GOP Can Learn from Ron Paul
By Kimberley Strassel

Ron Paul is no compassionate conservative. His supporters love him for it.

If there's been a phenomenon in this Republican presidential race, it's been the strength of a fiery doctor from Texas and his message of limited government. As the GOP front-runners address crowds of dispirited primary voters, Mr. Paul has been tearing across the country, leaving a trail of passionate devotees in his wake.

Paul rallies heave with voters waving placards and shouting "Liberty! Liberty!" Money is pouring in from tens of thousands of individual donors--so much cash that the 10-term congressman recently admitted he wasn't sure he could spend it all. A fund-raising event on Guy Fawkes Day (in tribute to Mr. Paul's rebel persona) netted his campaign $4 million, the biggest one-day haul of any GOP candidate, ever. He continues to inch up in the early primary polls, and even bests Fred Thompson in New Hampshire.

Mr. Paul isn't going to be president. He trails in national polls, in no small part because his lack of a proactive foreign policy makes him an unserious candidate in today's terror world. But his success still holds lessons for the leading Republican candidates, as well as those pundits falling for the argument that the future of the GOP rests in a "heroic conservatism" that embraces big government. Mr. Paul shows that the way to many Republican voters' hearts is still through a spirited belief in lower taxes and smaller government, with more state and individual rights.

It helps, too, if voters know you mean it. In nearly 20 years in the House, Mr. Paul can boast he never voted for a tax hike. Nicknamed "Dr. No," he spent much of the time Republicans held a majority voting against his own party, on the grounds that the legislation his colleagues were trying to pass--Sarbanes-Oxley, new auto mileage standards, a ban on Internet gambling--wasn't expressly authorized by the Constitution. He returns a portion of his annual congressional budget to the U.S. Treasury--on principle.

On the stump, Mr. Paul whips up crowds with his libertarian talk of "less taxation, less regulation, a better economic system." While Mitt Romney explains his support of No Child Left Behind, Mr. Paul gets standing ovations by promising to eliminate the Department of Education. Rudy Giuliani toys with reducing marginal rates; Mr. Paul gets whoops with his dream to ax the income tax (and by extension the IRS). Mike Huckabee lectures on the need for more government-subsidized clean energy; Mr. Paul brings cheers with his motto that environmental problems are best solved with stronger property rights. His rhetoric is based on first principles--carefully connecting his policies to the goals of liberty and freedom--and it fires up the base.

Yes, the Paul campaign--with its call to bring the troops home--is also profiting as the one landing pad in the GOP race for those Republicans and independents unhappy with the Iraq war. Mr. Paul's insistence that he isn't an "isolationist" so much as a "non-interventionist" who rejects nation-building has also won him voters who might otherwise have been wary of his passive foreign policy.

Still, it's Mr. Paul's small-government message that has defined him over the years, winning him election after election in Texas--well before Iraq was a question. His appeal has only grown, too, over seven years of a Bush presidency that has moved the party away from its limited-government roots.

"Compassionate conservatism" was a smart move on George W. Bush's part, maybe even necessary to win. The GOP was dogged by a reputation as the heartless party, amplified by the 1995 government shutdown and the clunky Dole campaign. And it had learned from the success of welfare reform that message matters. Many Republican voters believed Mr. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" was just that: a way of selling conservative reforms. Tax cuts would help the working poor. Vouchers would help minority kids. Charities would fare better getting people off drugs than government bureaucrats.

Mr. Bush got his tax cuts, but voters found out too late that he was no small-government believer. School vouchers were traded away for more education dollars. A new Medicare drug entitlement has added trillions to the burden on future taxpayers. Government-directed energy policy is larded with handouts to political patrons in the corn and ethanol lobbies. A lack of budget discipline encouraged a Republican Congress to go spend-crazy, stuffing bills with porky earmarks. Much of this was simply a Republican majority that had lost its way. But at least some of it was promoted by Bush advisers who specifically argued that "compassionate conservatism" was in fact a license to embrace government--so long as government was promoting Republican ideals.

That idea has become even more vogue, with a wing of the party now arguing that the small-government libertarianism that has defined the Republican Party since Goldwater is not only immoral, but an election-loser. Former Bush speechwriter Michael's Gerson's new book, "Heroic Conservatism," calls on Republicans to give in to big government and co-opt the tools of state for their own purposes. "If Republicans run in future elections with a simplistic, anti-government message, ignoring the poor, the addicted, and children at risk, they will lose, and they will deserve to lose," he writes. Then again, Republicans have already been losing, and losing big, in no small part because they've taken Mr. Gerson's advice.

The men vying to lead the Republican Party might instead make a study of Mr. Paul. One shame of this race is that for all the enthusiasm the Texan has generated among voters, he hasn't managed to pressure the front-runners toward his positions. His more kooky views (say, his belief in a conspiracy to create a "North American Union") and his violent antiwar talk have allowed the other aspirants to dismiss him.

They shouldn't dismiss the passion he's tapped. If Mr. Paul has shown anything, it's that many conservative voters continue to doubt there's anything "heroic" or "compassionate" in a ballooning government that sucks up their dollars to aid a dysfunctional state. When Mr. Paul gracefully exits this race, his followers will be looking for an alternative to take up that cause. Any takers?

Ms. Strassel is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board.
Page Printed from: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/art..._ron_paul.html at December 14, 2007 - 10:56:10 AM CST

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Old 12-14-2007, 10:05 AM   #2
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One shame of this race is that for all the enthusiasm the Texan has generated among voters, he hasn't managed to pressure the front-runners toward his positions.

He must have missed the last three debates where they progressively stole more and more of his platform. Huckabee didn't start talking about the flat tax until after the Reagan debate where Paul said he wanted to get rid of the IRS.
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Old 12-14-2007, 10:07 AM   #3
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what the hell is "violent antiwar talk"?
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Old 12-14-2007, 10:09 AM   #4
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One shame of this race is that for all the enthusiasm the Texan has generated among voters, he hasn't managed to pressure the front-runners toward his positions. His more kooky views (say, his belief in a conspiracy to create a "North American Union") and his violent antiwar talk have allowed the other aspirants to dismiss him.
A shame indeed. I've been waiting for a Republican to run on many of the libertarian ideas of Ron Paul for a long time and when he finally shows up he polutes his entire candidacy with populist fearmongering over an imaginary American Union and with a utopian appeal to the false god of neo-isolationism.
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Old 12-14-2007, 10:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Taco John
He must have missed the last three debates where they progressively stole more and more of his platform. Huckabee didn't start talking about the flat tax until after the Reagan debate where Paul said he wanted to get rid of the IRS.
My understanding is that Huckabee has been a proponent of the FAIR tax for a long time. His support for that form of a flat tax has nothing to do with Ron Paul's candidacy.
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Old 12-14-2007, 10:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fishpicker
what the hell is "violent antiwar talk"?
It's when you blame America for the GWoT by way of "blowback" and endorse appeasing Osama bin Laden by doing everything he demanded when he declared war on us thereby implying that that will be enough to buy us peace.
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Old 12-14-2007, 10:14 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by patteeu
My understanding is that Huckabee has been a proponent of the FAIR tax for a long time. His support for that form of a flat tax has nothing to do with Ron Paul's candidacy.

He might have thought about mentioning this prior to the Reagan debates then...
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Old 12-14-2007, 10:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Taco John
He might have thought about mentioning this prior to the Reagan debates then...
I don't know that he didn't. I don't see any reason to believe that Ron Paul influenced his decision though. You realize that there have been lots of Republicans in favor of flat income taxes or flat consumption taxes (like the FAIR tax) for a long time don't you? Ron Paul didn't innovate in this area.
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Old 12-14-2007, 10:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter
Excellent article, and analysis IMHO.

December 14, 2007
GOP Can Learn from Ron Paul
By Kimberley Strassel
But at least some of it was promoted by Bush advisers who specifically argued that "compassionate conservatism" was in fact a license to embrace government--so long as government was promoting Republican ideals.

That idea has become even more vogue, with a wing of the party now arguing that the small-government libertarianism that has defined the Republican Party since Goldwater is not only immoral, but an election-loser. Former Bush speechwriter Michael's Gerson's new book, "Heroic Conservatism," calls on Republicans to give in to big government and co-opt the tools of state for their own purposes.
Well, I think many us now know this is just NeoConservatism.
It is also referred to as National Greatness Conservativism. ( Newt Gingrich-wing is in here).

Quote:
"If Republicans run in future elections with a simplistic, anti-government message, ignoring the poor, the addicted, and children at risk, they will lose, and they will deserve to lose," he writes. Then again, Republicans have already been losing, and losing big, in no small part because they've taken Mr. Gerson's advice.
Well, this is what I've been saying. It elected RR too. It does sell. Patteeu promotes the idea that it doesn't, or that it's just not practical.

Quote:
If Mr. Paul has shown anything, it's that many conservative voters continue to doubt there's anything "heroic" or "compassionate" in a ballooning government that sucks up their dollars to aid a dysfunctional state. When Mr. Paul gracefully exits this race, his followers will be looking for an alternative to take up that cause. Any takers?
Unfortunately, I think it will take a humiliating loss before there are any takers.
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucEyedPea
Well, I think many us now know this is just NeoConservatism.
It is also referred to as National Greatness Conservativism. ( Newt Gingrich-wing is in here).

Well, this is what I've been saying. It elected RR too. It does sell. Patteeu promotes the idea that it doesn't, or that it's just not practical.

Unfortunately, I think it will take a humiliating loss before there are any takers.
I think you are right, on all counts.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by patteeu
I don't know that he didn't. I don't see any reason to believe that Ron Paul influenced his decision though. You realize that there have been lots of Republicans in favor of flat income taxes or flat consumption taxes (like the FAIR tax) for a long time don't you? Ron Paul didn't innovate in this area.
Given TJ's grasp of copyright law, it's understandable he'd botch this one too.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:33 PM   #12
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I especially love the flatout neocon lie that there is no NAU, when it has been pushed in the media for years. North American Union, Nafta Superhighway, Transtexas Corridor doesn't exist, now where is that picture of the Iraqi information minister. Part of it is being built not 1 mile from my house, ok LOL nice one there. Also you may note there isn't a European Union either.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by KILLER_CLOWN
I especially love the flatout neocon lie that there is no NAU, when it has been pushed in the media for years. North American Union, Nafta Superhighway, Transtexas Corridor doesn't exist, now where is that picture of the Iraqi information minister. Part of it is being built not 1 mile from my house, ok LOL nice one there. Also you may note there isn't a European Union either.
Very convincing.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by KILLER_CLOWN
Also you may note there isn't a European Union either.
Boy you could have fooled me.
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:55 PM   #15
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Boy you could have fooled me.
There is plenty information out there, but you would only scoff at seeing actual government documents. I have to run now, but your homework is due upon me returning, here is a good place to start....

http://www.jbs.org/nau
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