by Mark Anderson - July 30, 2007
THE MEANING AND IMPACT of Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential bid is becoming clearer by the day, as Paul’s “Texas Straight Talk” resonates deeply with a diverse spectrum of Americans and changes the political climate in a way that makes establishment candidates appear dull and unappealing. Pundits and observers reluctantly point out that Paul’s consistent views and adherence to pro-American principles impress voters enough to support him even when they disagree with him on specific issues.
According to Paul himself, in Georgia, Dr. Paul Broun defeated State Sen. John Whitehead in a special election to Congress. How? By sticking to constitutional principles. In other words, the “Ron Paul approach” disarmed a well-funded establishment candidate and allowed a better man to fill a seat in Congress, where constitutionalists are nearly extinct.
“John had all the establishment and money on his side. But [Broun] discussed obedience to the Constitution, limited government, the failure of the national Republican leadership and a less aggressive foreign policy. And he won. Columnist Robert Novak said this ‘terrified’ all the establishment types in the Republican Party,” said Paul, who had talked to Broun during his campaign and was “thrilled” to congratulate him on his victory.
“There is a new wind blowing,” Paul said in a news release posted at ronpaul.com. “Our bottom-up campaign—not top-down in the usual official fashion—has gotten far bigger and more successful, at a faster rate, than even I dreamed. And the sky is the limit. Don’t we owe it to our great forebears, and to our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren down through the generations, not to lose our country? We can win the fight for the ideals of the founders. We can have freedom, peace and prosperity. We can be blessed by our fellow citizens, and by all those who come after us.”
Paul’s campaign press secretary, Jesse Benton said the Broun-Paul issue underscores the power of truth.
“There are a lot of parallels between Ron and Dr. Broun,” Benton told American Free Press. “Both are medical doctors; both are strict constitutionalists. It’s a strong indicator that if a real constitutionalist runs, they can overcome establishment backing and deep pockets of campaign finance.”
Indeed, the establishment flagship, The Wall Street Journal, ran a July 23 commentary by John Fund, who wrote that Dr. Broun told him: “The race boiled down to someone who represented the status quo versus someone who wanted to vote for change.”
Fund noted that Broun “prevailed by using direct mail and telephone messages to go over the heads of party leaders with a pledge that, once in Congress, he would apply a four-way test before voting on any bill: Is it constitutional and a proper function of government? Is it morally correct? Is it something we really need? Is it something we can afford? He has said that, like libertarian congressman and fellow physician Ron Paul of Texas, he will always carry a pocket copy of the Constitution with him and consult it before voting. In an effort to limit pork-barrel ‘earmark’ projects, he says he will even apply that standard to requests for federal funds made by local officials in his district.
“[Broun] capped off that legislative commitment by offering strong support for efforts to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo [vs. New London] eminent domain decision that upheld the power of local officials to seize private property for private uses. He also strongly endorsed the abolition of the IRS and the replacement of the income tax with a national sales tax.”
Notably, Paul has said repeatedly that he differs on that point, saying he would abolish the IRS and the income tax but would not replace the income tax with anything. He would deeply cut spending so less taxes are needed in the first place.
Interestingly, Fund added: “The conventional wisdom in Washington is that someone in Congress who votes against federal spending that isn’t in accord with the original conception of the Constitution will have trouble getting re-elected. But Rep. Paul, who has made his votes against almost every federal program a centerpiece of his insurgent GOP presidential campaign, says he finds that he gains more votes from people impressed with his consistency than he loses from those upset that he isn’t a passenger
on the federal gravy train.”
AFP takes the approach of setting the constitutional standard and seeing who reaches it. So far, Paul is the only one to genuinely do so, objectively speaking. AFP makes no election predictions either way. The Constitution is the basic thing to which all officials take a sworn oath to uphold and defend. News reporting should observe that standard as the measure of a candidate. Anything else becomes a mere battle of personalities, as well as repackaged legislative tinkering that has had its chance in the public domain and failed.
Benton also noted another parallel: Broun won due in part to the support he got from a combination of traditional conservatives, libertarians, assorted constitutionalists and even progressives.
This same combination, ranging from the age of 18 to the elderly, also is supporting Paul. Benton said many progressives who are bored by the Democratic presidential candidates were initially attracted to Paul by his anti-war stance but are sticking with him because of his apparent integrity and championing of liberty.
“He’s not a packaged politician” and they know that, Benton told AFP.