WTMA commentary broadcast 1/18/08:
Campaigns are run to win, and when compared to some of the other Republican contenders, as of now, Ron Paul doesn’t appear to be the likely nominee.
But the same could be said of Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani, both of whom have received less votes than Paul, and even the top three vote getters, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee don’t have a clear cut path to the Republican nomination, much less the White House.
Whether or not Paul becomes President, he has already won. Long after the eventual nominee wins or loses the White House, Huckabee heads back to the pulpit and Romney goes back to the business world, only three things will be remembered about the election of 2008, the Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama rivalry, who wins the presidency and the Ron Paul campaign.
When it comes to conservatism, the Republican Party has been in philosophical shambles for years, where the big government New Deal liberalism of Franklin Roosevelt has become conservative doctrine. That the Democrats have inched closer to socialism and the Republicans have become yesterday’s Democrats doesn’t “redefine” conservatism – it destroys it.
Worse than the destruction of the principles that once defined the Republican Party, is what has replaced them – foreign intervention and war. I’ve long joked that if George W. Bush declared war on Canada tomorrow, GOP politicians, talk radio and many of the Republican rank-and-file would be cheering the President on, despite the fact that it would be a completely insane military action. To point out the insanity of much of our current foreign policy draws the same visceral reaction from Republicans, where to even question the government – an institution conservatives used to distrust instinctually – is seen as unpatriotic or even traitorous. In such a toxic political environment even a big government, social liberal like Giuliani can be embraced by conservatives so long as he pounds the podium for more war and keeps his trigger finger itchy.
Conversely, a strict constitutionalist and limited government champion like Paul is called a “liberal” simply for opposing our current foreign policy and is shunned by the party establishment. Once again, it seems that for a Republican Party that now embraces the New Deal liberalism of Roosevelt as their own philosophy, the liberal, global utopianism of Woodrow Wilson is also now defined as “conservatism,” further cementing the movement’s demise. What’s worse, it seems that today, these twin liberal philosophies are the only thing that represents conservatism in the public mind.
The Republican Party is not only in philosophical shambles, but might be headed for political oblivion as well, as evidenced by this primary season. Republicans have long criticized Democrats for not understanding the simple logic that low taxes make for a better economy. They are right. But the Republican Party refuses to understand the simple logic that U.S. foreign policy is the primary cause of the terrorist threat, as outlined by countless experts, the CIA and the 9/11 Commission Report. Whether McCain, Huckabee or Romney manages the current flawed policy better or worse than Bush will not matter – until the policy itself is changed the threat will remain. The Republicans are every bit as hard-headed as the Democrats and ironically, it is this issue that just might deliver the White House to the Democrats in 2008.
On the two most defining issues of modern America – foreign policy and mass immigration, every other GOP presidential candidate is either wrong or weak, and Paul is the only champion of the limited government philosophy that once defined the Republican Party. If there is to be a rebirth of conservatism, which is already starting to happen at the grassroots where a few candidates are already running as “Ron Paul Republicans,” it will be because of the Texas Congressman’s campaign, much like Barry Goldwater’s in 1964. In fact, conservative activist Richard Viguerie, who essentially built the conservative movement by using Goldwater’s donors list, believes Paul is the only legitimate conservative in the race with the grassroots support to duplicate Goldwater’s achievement.
Like Goldwater, Ron Paul has already won and I plan on voting for a winner in my own home state. The empty candidates now competing to head the empty shell of the Republican Party simply don’t have anything to offer me or this country. Even if the Republicans are victorious, conservatives will have won nothing, and if the Republicans lose – they deserve it.