Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Does the Establishment Media Fear Ron Paul?

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Want proof that the establishment (the so-called “conservative” establishment, that is) fears Ron Paul and needs Mitt Romney to win the Republican campaign for President? Read this headline from the Wall Street Journal: "No one has done more to help Mitt Romney than has the libertarian candidate Ron Paul, who has no chance to win the GOP presidential nomination himself."

The author continues:

If Mitt Romney wins the GOP presidential nomination, he's going to owe Ron Paul a fee for services rendered. No one has done more to help Mr. Romney than has the libertarian candidate, who has no chance to win the nomination himself but has savaged the rest of the field while giving the former Massachusetts governor a pass.

The intended message is as subtle as a two-by-four upside the head: Ron Paul can’t win, so he’s going to handle Mitt Romney’s light work and run interference for him, clearing the former Massachusetts Governor’s way to the White House.

What could compel Ron Paul, a “libertarian,” to carry water for Mitt Romney, the very model of the status quo, big-government, country club Republican?

Two reasons are posited in the Wall Street Journal article:

First, “Perhaps Mr. Paul figures that by attacking the others, he might emerge as the last challenger standing.”

How is it possible that a man could survive the primary gauntlet, bring an end to the campaigns of all other competitors, and yet still have “no chance to win the nomination?” 

How does that proposition make sense? Wouldn’t such a formidable opponent — one with such proven appeal to a broad-based, national electorate — have a legitimate chance at giving Romney a run for his money? Is that what neo-con mouthpieces such as the Wall Street Journal fear most, and is that why they and other similar outlets are constantly pouring poison down the Ron Paul well?

The next possible explanation for the assist by Ron Paul that will lead to the Romney slam dunk is that “Mr. Paul figures his best chance to run as a third-party candidate is if Mr. Romney, as the establishment favorite, is the GOP nominee and doesn't give Mr. Paul enough prominence at the convention or in the party platform.”

So, Ron Paul knows that despite finishing within a few points of Romney in Iowa, despite coming in second place in New Hampshire, and despite surveys that indicate he would be at least as serious a challenger to Barack Obama as would Romney himself, Dr. Paul doesn’t have much faith in himself so he is setting the stage for a third-party run. The author points out that Ron Paul “hasn’t ruled out a third-party run” although he has, in fact, repeatedly done just that.

Furthermore, how are Ron Paul’s chances of becoming President better as a third-party candidate, especially in light of the author’s insistence that he has “no chance” to even become the choice of one of the country’s two major parties? Think about that.

As if Ron Paul’s complicity in this conspiratorial “non-aggression pact” isn’t incredible enough, the author points out that Romney is playing his part effectively, as well. So grateful is Mitt Romney for Ron Paul’s laying down of cover fire, that “he never criticizes Mr. Paul.”

Could there be an alternate reason behind Romney’s reluctance to engage Ron Paul directly? Could it be that Romney realizes that in order to make a successful run through the primaries he needs to keep himself cloaked in the conservative mantle and that should he rattle sabers with a genuine constitutionalist such as Ron Paul it might be revealed that the emperor has no clothes — giving reasonable Republicans a reason to reconsider Ron Paul?

Consider for a minute another possible explanation for Ron Paul’s eschewing of attacks against Mitt Romney. Ron Paul knows who he is and he appreciates the identity of the audience to whom his constitutionalist message appeals. Those voters satisfied with the status quo, those voters for whom the individual mandate of ObamaCare is no concern, voters for whom bailouts are no big deal, and those voters who see the growth of government as an antidote to the economic and social ills that are plaguing our Republic will never vote for Ron Paul, and no one knows that better than the Texas Congressman.

The salient question would be what percentage of Republicans participating in the primaries are truly conservative. Assuming that a third of that universe of potential supporters are solidly behind Mitt Romney, that leaves two-thirds of likely voters up for grabs. Mindful of the math, perhaps Ron Paul believes (and rightly so) that this wide band of the Republican spectrum can be persuaded to pull the lever for a candidate who is pro-life, pro-liberty, and puts the interests of America first.

Despite the ravings of pundits painting the picture of a Paul presidency as nothing more than the addled fantasy of marginal extremists, such a proposition is not at all far-fetched. Witness this poll conducted by CBS News and published by Forbes:

A total of 47% of independent voters said they would choose Ron Paul compared to 45% of independent voters choosing Mitt Romney against Obama, and 41% of independents saying they would choose Rick Santorum.  If a Paul-Obama showdown were ever to take place, 47% of independent voters would vote for Paul, 81% Republicans and 10% Democrats for a total of 45% of the vote. Obama would get just 40% of the independent vote in that contest, with 85% of the Democrats choosing Obama and 9% of Republicans choosing the President on election day in November. Obama would win the general election by a narrow one point margin if the election was held today between the two.

The answer to the question, then, perhaps lies behind the numbers. The data reveal that Ron Paul can displace Barack Obama. The polls show that Ron Paul is considered a viable candidate by a significant percentage of Republican voters. 

Furthermore, consider the question of whither the independent voter. Nearly half of those surveyed responded that they would support Ron Paul over Mitt Romney. Combine the independents with over a quarter of Republicans and Ron Paul has the numbers in his favor.

Perhaps what is ultimately more important is the fact that Mitt Romney’s record is irrefutable: He supported the bank bailout, he supported the related TARP legislation, he signed an individual mandate into law, and he unapologetically advocates military action against Iran and Syria.

Examine those positions and ask yourself, what is the difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? Policy-wise — nothing. Mitt Romney will assume powers not granted to the executive branch in order to solve the crises facing this nation.

Are there any voters who believe that Mitt Romney will be bound by the enumerated powers of the Constitution? Is there a more reliable metric by which Americans should measure the conservatism of a candidate?

When it comes time to enter the voting booth and register their choice for who would most faithfully adhere to the presidential oath of office, perhaps voters should follow Mitt Romney’s advice and defer to the “constitutionalist.”