When asked by a debate moderator to use one word to describe himself, Ron Paul said, “consistent.” It is the accuracy of this adjective as applied to the libertarian-leaning Texas Congressman that underscores the rise of Ron Paul as chronicled in a new book on the subject.
Ron Paul’s Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired is the latest book by Brian Doherty (pictured to the left of his book), the senior editor of Reason magazine. Since 1999, Doherty has witnessed and written about the ascension of the humble obstetrician to iconic status. Doherty’s important contribution to the growing Ron Paul catalog isn’t so much a year-by-year account of the enigmatic lawmaker’s political career as it is an attempt to identify a handful of factors that have fueled his rise to national prominence.
Consistency is one of the prime factors in this equation according to Doherty. “Consistency, integrity, believability, and passion” have attracted supports from the Left and the Right, Doherty told The New American in an interview about his book.
Although the existence of an army of rock-ribbed Ron Paul backers is all but ignored by the members of the traditional media, there is no arguing with the math. Paul draws thousands of cheering, chanting admirers to every stop on the campaign trail and this has been the case since he set his eyes on the White House.
The relevant question now isn’t whether a Ron Paul event will be packed to capacity, but why this is so.
Doherty admits that the undeniable appeal is perplexing given many of Paul’s less-than-mainstream policy positions. “By the normal standards of political success, Ron Paul does it all wrong,” he writes. “In conventional American political terms… Ron Paul [is] a heap of confusing paradoxes, difficult to sell.”
Again, consistency is the key to solving the equation. Ron Paul consistently espouses and promotes a strictly constitutional approach to every issue, every time, without exception.
For example, Ron Paul is the only candidate for president that proclaims an anti-war message and makes it sound believable. Supporters and detractors alike know that if Ron Paul says he will gather the scattered U.S. military from the four corners of the earth, he will do it.
Such a stance is anathema to a Republican Party that is consistently hawkish when it comes to spending American blood and treasure on the settling of global conflicts that, despite their press releases, have no bearing on the national security of the United States. In this sense, then, Ron Paul is the ultimate RINO (Republican In Name Only) and therein may be found a valuable insight into Paul’s broad appeal across the political spectrum.
While in Congress, the good doctor so reliably voted against the majority of his party on issues of foreign entanglements and domestic spending that he earned the nickname of “Dr. No.” Although some supporters argue that Paul should embrace this moniker, Doherty reports that “he doesn’t like it. It’s too negative, he’ll say. He stands for something — American liberty.” [Emphasis added.]
To his credit, despite being pilloried by big government’s shills in the mainstream media, Ron Paul refuses to throw his fellow constitutionalists and outsiders under the bus.
Doherty recounts several instances where reporters have tried to corner Paul into badmouthing other big government foils by confronting him with the positions of these allies and forcing Paul to defend them. Paul has yet to be caught in any of these “guilt by association” traps set by those threatened by his appeal.
An illustration of this brand of Ron Paul’s steadfast philosophical loyalty is found in Doherty’s book as he writes of a time when a reporter with the New York Times accused Paul of being a closet member of The John Birch Society. Without hedging whatsoever, even in the face of the Old Gray Lady, Ron Paul actually praised the Society: “Oh, my goodness, The John Birch Society! Is that bad? I have a lot of friends in The John Birch Society. They’re generally well educated, and they understand the Constitution. I don’t know how many positions they would have that I don’t agree with. Because they’re real strict constitutionalists, they don’t like the war, they’re hard-money people.”
That story is but one brick of evidence in the nearly insuperable wall of proof of Ron Paul’s devotion to the cause of the Constitution. What can be said of the depth of devotion of his legion of backers, however? Are they blindly following a man who encourages freethinking? Are they mere sycophants mesmerized by the brilliance of the Ron Paul star or are do they rank as fellow soldiers with him in the fight to restore our Republic? In my interview with him, Brian Doherty weighs in on that question:
There are two levels to a supporter’s devotion to Ron Paul. First, they start just thinking that there’s something about this guy that they like and believe in. They like what they hear and they start to trust him. Then, they start down the path with Ron Paul, but not with a cult-like devotion. Ron Paul’s message is a set of ideas that he explains fully. The allegiance grows then from the man to the message. A lot of people don’t know what’s going on with the Ron Paul campaign, but they are in it for the long haul. Ron Paul doesn’t have an army, per se; the cause of Constitution has an army.
What happens to this army when the current commanding officer retires from the field of battle? Will there by others promoted from within the ranks capable of carrying on the ensign of the Constitution? Fortunately, one such lieutenant is found in the General’s own family.
Rand Paul is a Republican Senator from Kentucky and in many ways he is the Athena to Ron Paul’s Zeus, springing from his sire’s mind.
Senator Rand Paul is not, however, a gene-by-gene clone of his father. While his father’s DNA is easily recognizable in his political philosophy and domestic and foreign policy positions, Senator Paul is his own man, despite the familiarity of the message.
In Ron Paul’s Revolution, Brian Doherty describes Rand’s role as more than that of a mere evangelist of the limited government/constitutionalist gospel. In point of fact, during his campaign for the U.S. Senate, “Rand didn’t run on those more outré ends of the Paul message. He ran against the bailouts, stressing Tea Party disgust with two-party business as usual. He believes in the Austrian business cycle and ending the Federal Reserve but hasn’t often led with those issues.”
It is this campaign savvy that will serve Rand Paul well in the future, Doherty believes. “Rand is way better at sounding that right wing talk radio tone. He can talk to Republicans and Libertarians and sound good to both. At neither time is he being insincere, however, he’s just being politically intelligent about selling himself,” Doherty explained to The New American.
One thing is for sure, Doherty insists: Rand Paul cannot take the loyalty of his father’s fans for granted. “The Ron Paul fans are not in it for the Republican Party, they are in it for the Constitution and for freedom,” Doherty stated.
Finally, when asked by The New American what one message he would like readers to take away from his book, Doherty said:
When you look back on American political history 20 years from now, everyone will recognize that the most important political story is the story of the Ron Paul revolution. Supporters are beginning to teach America that the warnings Paul has sounded for years are our problems, not our grandchildren’s problems. This awareness is beginning to seep into the American consciousness. This is the movement that may finally turn American back around into the sensible Republic it was meant to be.