Ron Paul declares he is running for President on Friday the 13th
In probably the worst timing in the history of announcing a presidential candidacy – Friday the 13th – Ron Paul made it official this morning that he thinks “the time is right.” The man often known as Dr. No for his opposition to governance is running for the highest position of governance in the land – President of the US of A. So can Dr. No win?
However, he has proven that he marches to the beat of a different drummer by pooh-poohing the new trend in announcing a candidacy via Twitter tweet and instead going straight to the people by announcing on Good Morning America. Yes, shocking. Who knew that GMA was even still on the air? In any case, Dr. Paul the Elder is likely making his last run at the Presidency in 2012. After he is effectively a no-show in the primaries he’ll step aside unbeknownst to most of America and in 2016 or beyond we’ll start seeing his son, Rand Paul, run similar candidacies.
To be honest, it’s probably not fair to Dr. Paul to say he will be a no-show in the primaries. His brand of libertarianism might actually garner significant votes in Iowa, the first state to sort of cast ballots in the Republican primary season (sort of in the sense that Iowa is a caucus state, whereas technically the first public voting primary is New Hamsphire, from whence, like Romney, Paul made his announcement). And Paul is, as the Washington Post put it, the godfather of the tea party movement. His views have epitomized much of what the tea party claims to stand for, i.e., getting rid of the IRS, the Department of Education, etc. He polls high with people who identify themselves as tea party folks. So with the tea party folks pumped up Paul should be a shoo-in, right?
Well, maybe not. Paul has fundamental conflicts with the tea party. For one, Paul is an profligate proponent of pork. When the Republican party made a fake show of a pork moratorium last year, Paul was adamantly in opposition. He likes his pork. Also, unlike many in the tea party/conservative wing of the Republican party, Paul is violently anti-war (pun intended).
So what can we expect from a Ron Paul candidacy? To begin with, expect a lot of fundraising via the internet to go his way, thus draining the supply of small donors from other desirous candidates. Paul made a name for himself on these small donors last time, and with him getting a large part of that demographic it leaves the rest of the field to rely on big corporate donors and “Citizens” United like the big corporations and wealthy folks that feed organizations like Karl Rove’s (“we don’t have to disclose our donors”) money machine. Not sure how that fact will play to the masses. In addition, Paul will definitely up the entertainment value of the Republican debates, as his straight-talking Texas twang tends to say what he really thinks. The contrast with the traditional doublespeak of most polished politicians can be stark. It also can mean things get said that reveal more about what the tea party calls conservative ideals than perhaps is wise. Not to mention a shock to real conservative ideals.
In any case, Ron Paul is in the race, along with Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich, a couple of people no one ever heard of, and a few politicians to be named later. He won’t even come close to being nominated by the Republican party, but at least he’ll make the early debates more interesting while the GOP tries to decide if it wants a traditional suit with perfect hair or a “maverick” teetotaler.