The party of Ron Paul?

  • Article by: Jonathan Bernstein , Special to the Washington Post
  • Updated: May 24, 2012 - 6:38 AM

After social conservatives rallied to Pat Robertson in Iowa in 1988, and soon took over the formal structure of the Republican Party in many states, it rapidly became very difficult to win a GOP nomination for anything higher than dog catcher without a perfect pro-life position.

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roscoe2511May. 24, 12 7:31 AM

"The Paulites are going to have to learn to compromise;" That is really funny! This is the party that compromise is a dirty word for weaklings. No one in the GOP is capable of it!

northerndaysMay. 24, 12 7:40 AM

You make the argument that the GOP will essentially become irrelevant if it adopts the libertarian movement. I would argue the opposite. The neoconservatives that run the GOP today have already alienated many people through the belief that war is patriotism, that conservative big government is better than liberal big government, and that civil liberties can be attacked if it advances an agenda. Libertarians believe in social tolerance and fiscal responsibility. This is a message that the majority of Americans can get behind!

buffalobullMay. 24, 12 7:43 AM

If the Republican party is going to give us candidates such as GWB, who broke the record (and set a new precedent for Obama) in regards to federal spending. We simply have no choice. All of this spending is BORROWED money (not to mention if they ruin the fiat). What you dont understand is Ron Paul base is young, very young, and dedicated. So you say its not appealing, but if we continue this slide and the baby boomers begin to yeild to the people who are responsible to pay for all this debt. Things can change quickly. Very quickly.

Truckman182May. 24, 12 7:46 AM

These GOP liberatarian people are on the fringe but they don't realize they have paved the way for the election of Jessie Ventura, Al Franken and Mark Dayton. Time for the GOP to unite and these knuckleheads have divided it further.

fwdthinkMay. 24, 12 7:48 AM

Yeah yeah yeah...the last two presidents are the problem so the solution is to do the extreme opposite of everything they did, right? WRONG! This anti-government, anti society rhetoric is indeed appealing to those who never paid attention in civics class (and sadly that is a fair portion of the population)but NOBODY wants the solution the Ron Paul crowd is peddling. If the far right wants long standing democratic majorities in office locally,regionally, nationally they should keep it up with the crazy talk.

lawstarMay. 24, 12 7:57 AM

Not to fret. If the choice is Romney or Obama Romney will get the votes.

matthewJamesMay. 24, 12 8:00 AM

Let the Rep. party and Dem. parties become one, because they pretty much are right now. Then the Liberation movement can really take place. Still a two party system, but this time with two entirely different agendas, and a real choice when we vote.

my4centsMay. 24, 12 8:01 AM

While there are many more, a couple of things stand out in this article as ways the writer is attempting to slant his story in order to make a group appear wackier than they are. First, this group in not "the party of Ron Paul." Ron Paul is simply the best known politician who shares many of their views. The issues that Ron Paul endorses are shared by many, but that doesn't mean he makes the best political candidate. Even his campaign is a bit quirky. Judging libertarianism on the success of a particular candidate would be like judging the Democratic party on the success of Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Secondly, Bernstein treats eliminating the Agriculture Department as a joke since we're talking about Iowa, an agricultural state. What he fails to mention is that the platform seeks to eliminate only the federal agricultural department - not the states. It is perfectly understandable to believe that Iowans know better than a group from Washington what the best agricultural policies are for the state.

ravensfordMay. 24, 12 8:02 AM

Regarding the belief that something has to give if libertarian principles and the desires of the American public are competing goals within the Republican party, the fact is, whether or not people want to cut specific programs, neither entitlement programs nor a bloated military industrial complex can be maintained. Choices will be taken away through economic collapse and hyper-inflation. The sooner we start having adult conversations about this, the more hope America has of dealing successfully with the coming painful economic realities.

swmnguyMay. 24, 12 8:08 AM

There is an inherent contradiction in running for government office on an anti-government platform. The GOP has been straddling this crevasse in logic for about 40 years now. Their solution has been to socialize private-sector losses, while privatizing public-sector gains. A less polite description would be "looting."

Many of the wealthiest of the elites in America gained their wealth via government. The largest corporations use government to stifle their competition. If it weren't for government, our entire finance industry would be about 1/8th the size it is today, as it was for generations, and it would run on sound principles or it would be utterly insolvent and bankrupt. Either way, we would be better off as a nation but the insider elites would be less wealthy and they will do anything to avoid that.

Most Ron Paul-ites I've spoken with want the roads to be paved, the internet to work perfectly, and water to come out of the tap when they turn it on, but they don't want to pay taxes. They also think health care should be on an ability-to-pay basis, and if you can't afford to eat, don't. They tend to be middle class, and they don't tend to know how things really work in our highly complex society.

The conflict between the elites and the Ron Paul-ites is going to end badly. The elites will win out, of course. But the GOP may be destroyed in the process. Some other coalition will come out of it. The Republicans themselves only appeared out of the wreckage of the Whigs, once they broke up over their own internal contradictions.


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