Friday, January 06, 2012

enemy of the state

NewYorker | For the past six months or so, the Republican-primary electorate has had a polite, patient, reliable, steadily employed suitor chatting with Mom and Dad in the parlor, while a series of more exciting but less appropriate rivals have come knocking at the back door. Mitt Romney will probably win in the end, but each of his serially surging competitors enjoys more immediate access to some essential region of the Republican soul. Herman Cain is the tough, no-bullshit businessman, Rick Santorum the devout pro-lifer, Rick Perry the hypermasculine cowboy, Michele Bachmann the evangelical populist, Newt Gingrich the swashbuckling geostrategist.

It seems fitting that the final surge should belong to Ron Paul, who speaks most directly to one of his party’s deepest emotions: hostility to government. At seventy-six, Paul has aged perfectly into his personality. He’s a white-haired, wide-eyed prophet—it’s easy to imagine him in white robes, instead of a business suit—who must rail against the outrages he has witnessed. To a pinched, stressed, war-weary, declinist nation, he offers the clearest program of any of the candidates. Five federal departments gone in Year One. Ten per cent of the federal workforce laid off. Income tax abolished, along with the I.R.S. Regulations and social programs repealed. No more foreign wars; no more foreign aid; not even very much foreign policy.

Especially to the self-selected group that comes to the Iowa Republican caucuses, Paul’s positions are pulse quickening. If you are antitax, Paul has that sentiment nailed more than any other candidate. If you are antiwar, Paul is right there with you. If you fear for your personal freedoms, Paul has you covered. And if you want a sweeping philosophy, deeply grounded in fundamental texts (Hayek, von Mises, Rothbard), Paul is your man. Nobody has a better claim to be a protest candidate. He’s the only one who has ever run for office from a third party. He’s not about passing bills; he’s about root-and-branch change. His popularity, even if it’s temporary, demonstrates that all politics isn’t necessarily local—that big ideas can exert a pull on voters, too.


nanakwame said...

Hayek is so misused; it is a shame. Would Ron support a minimum wage? History is present, if anything we will crawl for a long time. What bothers me, my heroes: screamed, bleed, deified, and sacrificed.  "He’s the only one who has ever run for office from a third party" Is this true Doc?

The newest U.S. monthly employment data show the creation of
200,000 nonfarm jobs in December, better than the expected 155,000 and more
encouraging compared to 120,000 in November, signaling that the market is
picking up. The unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent—the lowest in nearly
three years—from 8.6 in November. The encouraging numbers provide clues to the
strength of the U.S. economic recovery, with stronger hiring in the private
sector mixed with continued cutbacks in the government realm.
...I am glad you are not a betting man.