Ron Paul may not win, but his influence will be lasting

“[T]here’s something weird going on when Paul, the small-government constitutionalist, is considered the extremist in the Republican Party…” - Jonah Goldberg

Establishment Republicans have worked hard during this election to play down the impact Ron Paul is having on the race. Why? They’re scared of him. Paul, with his anti-war and passion for the Constitution, represents a change in the traditional way of thinking in the Republican Party.

Ed Crane, president of the Cato Institute, explained this recently in an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal, noting that Paul “has traction because so many Americans respond to his messages.” Crane says:

Support for dynamic market capitalism (as opposed to crony capitalism), social tolerance, and a healthy skepticism of foreign military adventurism is a combination of views held by a plurality of Americans. It is why the 21st century is likely to be a libertarian century. It is why the focus should be on Ron Paul’s philosophy and his policy proposals in 2012.

Most of us can recall Paul predicting the financial crisis and many of the problems the country currently faces from an economic perspective. And while many Republicans are quick to dismiss Paul as being loony on his claims of increasingly diminished liberty, all you need to do is, you know, pay attention to the last few weeks as Congress passed and President Obama signed the NDAA; legislation that allows for the detention of American citizens.

Some Republicans, in their foolishly hawkish ways, would have us believe that Paul’s foreign policy views are dangerous. But Michael Scheuer, who led the CIA’s Bin Laden unit (Alec Station) and has authored several books on terrorism and America’s response to it, has endorsed Paul’s foreign policy and supports him for president:

In the Founders’ non-interventionist design for U.S. foreign policy that is championed by Dr. Paul, Iowans will find a proven road to the maintenance of America’s sovereignty, independence, peace, and prosperity. In the realm of common sense, Dr. Paul beats his fellow candidates, the Obamaites, and the media hands down. Dr. Paul challenges the interventionists in both parties on their plans for spreading secular democracy — and causing wars thereby — on historical grounds that are irrefutable because they are just good commonsense. We, the British, the Australians, and the Canadians have been building our republics/democracies since Magna Charta in 1215 — that is for nearly 800 years — and we are not yet quite perfect. If Iowans and all Americans truly think about what Dr. Paul is saying — and not what the interventionists say he is saying — they would respond favorably to the Texan’s logical conclusion that what we have not fully accomplished in eight centuries cannot possibly be attained in Egypt, Afghanistan, or elsewhere in the Muslim world in 6 weeks, 6 months, or six years, not least because none of those places separate church from state. Dr. Paul’s precise use of history and commonsense exposes the exorbitantly costly effort to build democracies in the Islamic world for what it is; namely, Washington throwing money down the drain for a cause that is impossibly lost from the start and one that will involve us in wars where we have no interests.

Yes, Paul’s path to the nomination is unlikely — part due to his anti-war position, but his influence in the race could be substantial and his limited government, libertarian-leaning views may have a lasting influence in the Republican Party.

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