Monday, May 16, 2011
Why Ron Paul Is Looking to Run Again
Rep. Ron Paul, the 75-year-old stubborn uncle of the Republican Party, is ready to go again, with his third campaign for President of the United States. He announced an exploratory committee Tuesday afternoon in Iowa, with an eye towards kicking off an official 2012 campaign for President in mid-May. Once again, he plans to be on stage at the first GOP primary debate, this year taking place May 5 in South Carolina, to offer rather un-Republican positions on foreign policy, drug legalization and returning the U.S. dollar to the gold standard.
To hear his people tell it, this is Paul’s moment. “Price inflation and the weakening of the dollar is what Ron has been worrying about for the last 40 years of his political life,” says Jesse Benton, who worked as Paul’s press secretary in 2007, married Paul’s granddaughter in 2008, managed Rand Paul’s 2010 Senate campaign, and is in line to chair Ron’s 2012 effort. “Ron Paul is to be taken very seriously this time.” But should he? In short: yes.
That’s not to say Paul has much of a shot at winning the nomination. Many of his core beliefs remain anathema to the GOP rank and file, with his talk of “world empire” or his support of the Personal Use of Marijuana By Responsible Adults Act. In 2008, a year when expectations were blown away, Paul won exactly 1% of Republican delegates, and was denied an opportunity to speak at the national convention.
But Paul does not operate like other candidates, and need not be judged like them. He is less a leader than a symbol, the eye of an ever-widening hurricane of libertarian discontent that has seized the imagination of young people, fiscal conservatives and others across the county. It was Paul supporters, after all, who began to hold tea parties long before anyone knew what the modern Tea Party was. It was Paul supporters who pushed Congress to pass a bill to force the Federal Reserve to open its books, a once-unthinkable invasion of the Fed’s independence. The Paul-effect, in short, is felt far beyond the ballot box.
Continue reading - TIME - Why Ron Paul Is Looking to Run Again
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