Defecting for the cause of liberty
Grassroots juju & progressive pull: Why you (and the media) should take Ron Paulfor President seriously
For homegrown Congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The last time Paul ran for President — back in 2007 — the media never gave him much attention. One could argue that it was more justified then. At the end of August 2007, Paul was only polling at 1 percent, and by the end of September, he was still averaging less than 3 percent.
This time around, however, things are different. Paul’s polling numbers currently put him in third, tied with Michele Bachmann. Yet, according to data compiled by the Pew Research Center, Paul receives only the ninth-most media coverage among Republican candidates.
In the days following his close second-place finish behind Bachmann in the Iowa straw poll, Paul was only mentioned 29 times in a survey of news media coverage — compared to Bachmann’s 274.
The folks at Pew Research weren’t the only ones to notice this odd disconnect between Paul’s popularity and his treatment in the media. In an infamous segment of The Daily Show (an instant classic), Jon Stewart hilariously exposed the mainstream media for doing anything it could to avoid legitimizing Paul.
It’s a testament to Paul’s message that he has the amount of support that he does — despite a virtual media blackout.
The media wants you to believe that Paul is marginalized in its coverage due to a lack of viability. But is this really true, or is it a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Ron Paul the candidate — for real
Paul doesn't only fare well among Republican primary voters. In head-to-head polls against President Obama, he actually proves to be a significant challenge. In the latest Rasmussen poll, he only trails Obama by one point.
Among the heavily contested independent vote, Paul is the clear winner by double digits. However, Sarah Palin gets absolutely demolished (33 percent compared to Obama’s 50 percent), and she's bestowed three times the media coverage.
Yet we're supposed to believe that media coverage is based on viability? Palin might not even run. How do you get any less viable than that?
Even Paul’s Republican opponents have been trying to steal his grassroots juju, though they might not say so publicly. Recently, Governor Perry and Bachmann have both expressed skepticism about the Federal Reserve System. This platform is a unique bit of economic esoterica that Paul has championed for the last 30 years, and it has been gaining traction among Tea Party voters.
The real trick for Perry and Bachmann was to convince voters that they'd actually heard of the Federal Reserve before their staffers told them it was popular to poo-poo the printing machine.
To further augment the viability of Paul, no other candidate (with the possible exception of Jon Huntsman) has more potential to pull progressive voters away from Obama. The reason is simple: Ron Paul holds positions on war and civil liberties which are more likely to be embraced by the left.
When it comes to war, you will find no candidate more principled in his or her opposition. With more than half the country looking for a swift end to the wars abroad, there is no doubt that Paul would come through.
Squaring off with the president
Obama, on the other hand, would have no qualms with starting a new war, and seems to be dragging his feet on pulling out of others.
On civil liberties, the Obama administration has done everything it can to expand on Bush-era abuses. One of the most egregious abuses is the case of Bradley Manning. For those unaware, Manning was accused of leaking 250,000 documents to WikiLeaks. After being taken into custody, he spent 10 months subjected to inhumane conditions, including solitary confinement.
Psychologists are increasingly coming to accept that solitary confinement is a form of torture, which has been shown to lead to permanent and harmful changes in brain physiology and mental states. Supporters of solitary confinement argue that it's necessary in cases where inmates pose serious risk to other inmates and guards.
Of course, Manning is not an aggressive and hardened criminal from the streets, but a man with a conscience who felt it was his moral duty to expose corruption. He poses no physical threat to anyone.
So if Manning hasn't been placed in solitary confinement for the safety of others, then why?
Simple. Obama has been corrupted by power. Obama lacks the inner strength to obey the rule of law and treat humans with the dignity they deserve.
In a speech earlier this year, Paul voiced the opinion that such whistleblowers should be given immunity, and further stated, “Maybe [Manning] is a true patriot who reveals what is going on with the government.”
Tap, tap, tap — is this thing on?
Another example in which Paul’s principles outshine Obama’s is on the issue of warrantless wiretapping. Obama’s Department of Justice has repeatedly argued that the government has the right to spy on American citizens with no warrant. This argument has been shot down as unconstitutional more than once.
Not to be deterred by such formalities, Obama continued on with this clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.
But what would Ron Paul do?
In a 2008 speech before Congress, Paul stated, “U.S. citizens [having] their private communications intercepted by the government without a search warrant is anti-American, deeply disturbing, and completely unacceptable.”
No means no
Admittedly, it's possible that Paul could go back on his word. However, this is unlikely. Paul has proven for decades that he doesn't violate his principles. He’s garnered the nickname “Dr. No” for often being the sole “nay” vote on bills he sees as violations of the Constitution.
Not even Paul’s staunchest opponents can doubt that he has the cajones to stand up for his principles. His principled cajones are so big, well, they even rival this guy's.
There are numerous ways in which Paul can build bridges with liberals that Obama cannot. Of course — let's be honest — there are many areas where Paul and liberals would be in bitter disagreement, too. But that makes him no worse off than the other Republicans.
With strong polling numbers among conservatives and independents and the potential to lure progressives to defect for the cause of liberty, Ron Paul’s viability as a candidate seems well established enough. That the mainstream media would deny him his due coverage is perhaps proof that being an informed voter in today's world means turning off your television — and logging onto the Internet.