Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Ron Paul Is the Mutineer Candidate

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Ron Paul Is the Mutineer Candidate

Article excerpt

Your guess is as good or as-wild as mine on why all that money has been heaved at Ron Paul. In December, $8 million poured in to the Republican candidate's presidential campaign--setting a one-day record that topped a single-day gob of $4.2 million in November.

Before getting to whose checkbooks are opening, it's certain whose are not: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Lockheed Martin and assorted weapons hustlers, the National Abortion Rights Action League and the double-parked fixers on K Street and Wall Street.

Paul, a 10-term congressman from southeast Texas and a pure-blood Constitution-heeding libertarian, favors relations with Cuba, so he attracts trade-minded capitalists. He vows to abolish the Internal Revenue Service, which stirs both serious-minded tax critics and the ranting-agin-the-gummint zanies. Dr. Paul is a buy with the antiwar Left because he opposed the Iraq invasion and wants the troops home immediately. And get 'em back from Korea, Japan and Europe while we're at it. Homeschoolers cheer when he pledges to close the Department of Education. An obstetrician who opposes abortion, Dr. Paul has the pro-lifers aboard. Enviros are gleeful when he says "all subsidies and special benefits to energy companies should be ended." Deficit worriers fist-pump in coiled passion when he calls for an end to profligate spending.

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Then there's my crowd: those pleased to take nourishment from whichever unconventional politician is dispensing mouthfuls of candor. I met Ron Paul when he arrived in Washington in the mid-'70s. Likable, he was unscripted, not a temporizer and assuredly apart from the usual dross that Texas sends to Congress: Think Tom Delay, Dick Armey, John Tower, Phil Gramm. I found Ron Paul oddly sensible and sensibly odd.

This was well before the Gingrich-Rove virus would infect Republican politics, a time when you could appreciate Republican members of Congress such as Mark Hatfield. Jim Leach, John Heinz, Charles Mathias, Connie Morella and John Danforth, and not apologize.

Now Ron Paul is going it largely alone, earning scant regard from the self-smitten monoculture Republican candidates he routinely out-thinks in the debates. As the Baptist Reverend Huckabee and the Mormon Romney preach rote antiterrorism sermons, Dr. Paul, claiming no direct line to a deity, impiously states that the jihadists "attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years. I'm suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it. …

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