Once more, after the newspapers and television producers had written Ron Paul out of the script, the scrappy congressman from Texas is back in the mix. And big time. Sarah Palin, of all people, put him there.
After turning down thousands of speaking invitations over a six-month period, Palin finally accepted a gig for the national tea party convention, a grass-roots phenomenon that owes its life to that unstoppable old man from Texas. And then the news that she is endorsing Rand Paul, the congressman’s son, and an emerging star in the Kentucky Senate race.
Palin is tapping into the hottest political movement going.
This is no accident, for Ron Paul, the old congressman, is the one who now stands between her and a shoo-in for the GOP nomination — not Mitt Romney, or Mike Huckabee, or Newt Gingrich.
Palin is a fighter. She quickly will approve TV ads blasting away at Romney’s flip-flops from his Massachusetts gubernatorial days. He reportedly already is moving more to the center, writing off some southern states.
Using that momentum, she probably will push him all the way off the leftist edge. Her commercials will make Huckabee’s 2008 Iowa Romney attack ads look puny by comparison.
And as for Huck? After the Arkansas parole board scandals, he will see those revolving door-Willie Horton ads resurrected and showing ad nauseum on untraceable YouTubes.
Newt Gingrich can go on James Dobson’s radio show and repent as much as he wants, he can even publicly cry like Jimmy Swaggart, but Palin’s people anonymously will spoon-feed “Dateline” and “20/20” every tiny morsel of his private life. Palin is no softy.
The fact is, Sarah Palin can be stopped on her way to her GOP coronation only by a Ron Paul ambush in Iowa. Only Paul has activists who will fall on their swords for him and will go to work early enough to make a difference.
Yes, I know. Ron Paul is too old. And he did not poll well last time. But his base really discovered him only late in the process, and it has been very busy since. He has grown on a lot of people. What looked nutty in 2008, such as actually auditing the Federal Reserve, now is accepted widely as common sense. The national tea party movement sprang from his ideas.
But the biggest and most powerful issue that separates Ron Paul from the pack is the ongoing war on terror. Every major candidate in both parties buys into the idea of a “just war.”
Palin praised President Obama’s speech to the Nobel Prize Committee in Oslo, actually claiming that the president had picked up on themes she, herself, had written in her memoir “Going Rogue.”
“Wow, that really sounded familiar,” Palin said to USA Today.
Newt Gingrich was quoted as saying Obama gave a “very historic speech.”
Ron Paul would say, “Hogwash.”
He believes that waging wars in distant lands creates 10 new terrorists for every one we kill. And only Ron Paul, among all public figures, states this clearly and has held this position consistently. While former Vice President Dick Cheney and current Vice President Joe Biden argue over degrees and who supported the surge when, only Ron Paul says that “no war” is better than any new and improved version.
Now this is significant for a very important reason. For the first time last summer, national polls showed that a majority of Americans — 51 percent — agreed that the war is not working. Less than half — 47 percent — thought it was worth the price we were paying in dead Americans.
Can Ron Paul, the fringe candidate of 2008,actually emerge in the next presidential election? Well, here is some simple arithmetic for you to ponder:
Obama, Palin, Clinton, Biden, Huckabee, Romney, Gingrich, Cheney, and all the rest can split the 47 percent of the American public who think that it is economically sound and morally effective to spend $500 million and 50 young lives to re-conquer for the third time a windswept city of 100,000, where the Taliban once lived but now have mostly abandoned. And they will not even notice when we give the city back again next year.
Meanwhile, Ron Paul alone will speak for the 51 percent who would bring back our boys. Does he have a chance? If the war becomes the issue, Ron Paul, who appeals to right and left, young and old, Democrat and Republican, gay and straight, can pull an upset.
When Palin appeared at the tea party event last week, all the television networks and major newspapers covered the moment. But not a single journalist even mentioned that the Ron Paul movement inspired this grass-roots phenomenon.
No one dared suggest that Sarah Palin was trying to co-opt the incorruptible old, iconoclastic congressman from Texas. The media remains fiercely disciplined in excluding Ron Paul from any exposure, even when his absence is itself newsworthy. The people paying those media salaries apparently don’t want to see an audit of the Federal Reserve or an end to government-subsidized banks or an end to profits from foreign wars.
But nothing they write or say, or fail to write or fail to say, can hide the truth from the millions of Americans who have heard the clarion call. In 2008, Ron Paul slipped through their nets and onto television in the Republican debates. And America will never be the same.
Sarah Palin has the right idea, and give her credit for trying. But I know Ron Paul. He is a friend of mine. And Sarah Palin, you are no Ron Paul.
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