by John Keller (Reprinted from LRC with permission)
Ron Paul’s surge to the top of the polls in Iowa, and increasing likelihood that he will win is causing angst among many of you “Establishment Republicans”. You are quick to try and dismiss a potential win as some sort of fluke, or owing to Independents registering to vote for him. Your typical argument against him is that “Ron Paul is too far out of the mainstream”, and that his rise in the polls could be bad for Iowa’s standing as the first caucus and bad for the Republican party. Let’s address the idea that Ron Paul is out of the mainstream, and by implication, unelectable.
Divide Ron Paul’s positions into domestic and foreign policy. Domestically, Ron Paul is Mr. Republican. As the ideological founder of the Tea Party movement, he has put forward a plan to cut $1 Trillion dollars from the Federal Budget year one, and he has the voting record to make it credible. He has never voted for a tax increase. He has never voted for a program not authorized in the Constitution. He names 5 agencies that he proposes be eliminated: Energy, HUD, Commerce, Interior, and Education as well as the TSA. This sounds radical, but consider that in 1980 Ronald Reagan promised to eliminate the Department of Education if elected. As his plan points out, these cuts would return spending to 2006 levels. So his domestic policies, low and no tax plan, and budget plan should seem like a dream come true for you. Foreign Policy must be where Ron Paul is “out of the mainstream”.
Ron Paul’s domestic policies quickly tie into his foreign policy. He proposes to bring home US troops from all around the world. This he claims, rightly, would be his prerogative as Commander in Chief. Note that this is not a reduction in overall military force, although defense budgets would be cut too, but the immediate savings from eliminating the cost of stationing troops abroad, with all the attendant logistics issues, foreign rents, and base maintenance costs. This is where you “Establishment Republicans” disagree with him. The boogeyman of Iran is constantly floated in the debates, acting as a foreign policy litmus test .
It is here, dear Establishment Republican, that Ron Paul’s position is in step with the rest of America as well as the rank and file in the military, while you are out of step. Consider that George W Bush won in 2000 largely due to the mainstream being tired of Clinton’s police the world strategy. “A humble foreign policy” was a nice alternative to the Democratic nation building most perceived would continue under an Al Gore presidency. In 2008, 7 years post 9-11 with the Iraq war lies coming to light, the mainstream again voted for the peace candidate, Barack Obama, and against John “bomb Iran” McCain. For you Establishment Republicans reading this, I’ll say it again.
The main reason McCain lost was because he represented Bush III – a continuation of the neo-con hijacking of American foreign policy. McCain was out of the mainstream on his foreign policy, so he lost. Fast forward to today and consider. In the debates you have Republican Establishment candidates Romney, Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum arguing to see who is more hawkish. The lone voice on the stage urging caution and diplomacy, the long voice advising that this sounds a lot like the Iraqi war propaganda, the lone voice warning that we can’t afford another 8-year “cakewalk” like Iraq of Afghanistan – Ron Paul.
You Establishment Republicans argue that Iran really, really is a threat, no we mean it this time. The mainstream American, however, and most importantly, the rank and file in the military disagree. Few are in a better position to assess the risk posed by foreign powers than those actually deployed overseas. The active duty contributions to Ron Paul spell it out in dollars and cents who they want as their Commander in Chief and President. They want US Air Force Flight Surgeon and defender of the Constitution, Ron Paul. They know he won’t risk their blood over non-existent or hypothetical threats from Iran. So unless you Establishment Republicans are ready to call active duty military personnel uninformed or cowardly, you would do well to pay attention to this fact, and consider that it is you who are out of the mainstream. Ignore the caucus results at your peril, because Mitt “Obama-lite” Romney and Newt “Freddie-Mac” Gingrich are unelectable against Obama.