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Ron Paul: Why his silly campaign launch today really matters for 2012

Texas Republican Representative Ron Paul opens his Iowa campaign office 5-10-11

Ron Paul.

Today is the big day. Well, a big day anyway.

Ron Paul, the 12-term Republican representative from Texas, appeared on one of those morning news shows that mixes the weather, singers, weather, authors, weather, actors, weather, the scary kidnapped child story and the occasional animal tale.

Paul conversed with that little guy with the precisely-tousled hair who used to work for Bill Clinton. And 48 hours after Paul opened his Iowa caucus campaign headquarters -- News Bulletin -- he "revealed" to "Good Morning America" his candidacy for president of the United States.

Here's why Paul and ABC did this together: It seems like news. Real news is hard to come by on Fridays. Especially "exclusive" access. Less competition for a bigger headline. It also saved Paul ballroom rent money and got....

...him more national media exposure than some New Hampshire street corner scrum with supporters chanting in the background.Ron Paul Supporter Joe Martin of South Dakota simply amended his campaign sign from 2008

George Stephanopoulos likes politics. He's very good at it; in fact, he should still be doing serious work hosting ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning show instead of what's-her-name-Ms-I-know-it-all-and-have-been-there-too, which ABC execs know now but can't say yet. Stand by, Jake Tapper.

Here's why Paul has absolutely no chance of ever becoming president: Americans were not ready to vote for a 72-year-old President McCain in 2008, so they're sure not ready to vote for a 77-year-old President Paul in 2012. 

Especially not against a 50-something incumbent with one billion dollars of other people's money to throw around as only Chicago Democrats know how.

Abraham Lincoln and George H.W. Bush aside, Americans historically do not like House members as president. (Sorry, Newt. Think Dick Gephardt.) Representatives are just too puny as politicians on the national stage.Texas Republican Representative Ron Paul in Iowa 5-10-11

But here's why Ron Paul's candidacy is very important:

While his perpetual calm manner comes across as the attentive, retired ob-gyn that he is, Paul's words and impossible policies reflect the powerful distaste for usual pols, their obsequious blather and the screw-you anger of a significant sector of motivated American voters.

And these militantly unhappy folks are not just Republicans; plenty of Democrats out here are frightened too because so many things like jobs, home values, retirement and hopey-changey Obama are not going as promised.

Wasn't it Obama who ran against the Iraq war, then ordered two troop surges into Afghanistan, took on Libya and now warns Syria every few days?

Paul's been in Washington a generation, but he talks like an outsider. His followers, now with one cycle's campaign experience under their tightened belts, are like Sarah Palin's believers genuinely motivated (even with amended campaign signs from 2008--see photo above).

Met many really excited Tim Pawlenty people yet? Or by-golly Rick Santorum boosters willing to wave his placards at cars passing under an interstate bridge for hours in the rain? Well, numerous Paul people are actually moving to the first primary state to work and vote for their candidate in New Hampshire.a Ron Paul Supporter listens to his candidate in iowa 5-10-11

Paul is really good with money. Last cycle he raised more than second-place finisher Rev. Huckabee, who's enjoying a lucrative private life now. After last week's little-noticed South Carolina GOP debate, Paul raised $1 million in 24 hours.

Like a fiscal conservative who walks the walk, Paul ended 2008's bid with not one penny of campaign debt. In fact, flying commercial and staying in Super 8's, Paul had a $5-million surplus, which he put toward sowing the seeds of something called the tea party.

Perhaps you've heard of it. Ron's son Rand got elected senator that way. As did the new 2011 Republican majority in the House.

The libertarian-like movement speaks to a broad-based unhappiness with and suspicion of too-big government, too much spending, too much debt, too much war. Bureaucracies and businesses saturated with cronies who take care of each other at the expense of those folks paying the bills.

Paul wants out of those wars. Forget the American empire. Use the money back home. Cut the federal government. Follow the Constitution. Get out of people's lives. Paul's plans don't have a snowball's chance in a Galveston August of becoming reality. But despite all the tea party media mocking of two years ago, it was this movement that drove last fall's midterm election debate -- and victories. And the ongoing budget, deficit and debt limit arguments.

Now the same priorities are setting the parameters for choosing a Republican nominee to confront the Democrats' ex-change agent.

Funny how the mantle of leading drastic national reforms has so quickly fallen from the shoulders of the younger guy and into the experienced hands of the newest -- and oldest -- fellow now in the White House race. 

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press (Paul and supporters in Iowa, May 10).

Comments () | Archives (77)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Why anyone thinks anyone outside of Romney has even the slightest chance to win the 2012 Rep. nomination is beyond all reason. The die already has been cast. ROMNEY WILL BE THE 2012 REP. NOMINEE, NO MATTER WHAT, WHETHER YOU LIKE THAT OR NOT. That was decided back in 2008 after McCain got the '08 nomination.

WATCH as it unfolds: The Republicans will close out the nomination of Romney as soon as possible, to then attack Obama, as soon as possible.

Keep WATCHING as it happens: In the subsequent contest between Obama and Romney, Obama will win.

On Who Wants to be a Millionaire, a contestant once said, "It's easy Regis, when you know the answer." Here, it's easy when you know the future.

Those who supported the Republicans back in Nov. 2010 will turn their backs on Romney. That's why Romney is dead meat on a stick.

The only wrinkle possible in the future will be through a strong third-party candidate that pulls votes from Obama and Romney. That flies in the face of convetional wisdom, but that is the only way Obama can lose.

Plouffe knows this to be true.

I can get why Andrew says that Ron has no chance and it has hardly anything to do with Ron himself, but rather the lack of faith in most Americans. Vote based on their age? Vote based on who spends the most money? Vote based on who other people determine as "electable"? It's very easy to manipulate the average American mind into being part of the problem.

There is no chance Ron Paul will ever win more than 10-15 percent of the popular vote.

I'm surprised Andrew Malcolm has a job at the LA Times. Pathetic writing.

"Paul's plans don't have a snowball's chance in a Galveston August of becoming reality."

Really? Of course they do; a lot of people know we cannot continue our debt, wars, money printing, abuse of civil liberties, etc. Too many soldiers have died, too much debt has been taken on, and our dollar is on the verge of collapse. These things can and will be fixed if we are fortunate enough to finally have an honest President like Dr. Paul.

You're article, like EVERY mainstream media piece about Ron Paul, has no substance whatsoever. You and the rest of the media repeatedly bash Ron Paul's "Impossible" policies. Impossible? Where are you from? The U.S. right? Than you know what the Constitution is? And the Bill of Rights? You know, the "impossible" policies that our Founding Fathers put in place hundreds of years ago that allow you to write this very article and have a job as a writer. You see all the mainstream media can do is try to persuade people that Ron is just the "crazy uncle" and he has no chance at becoming President. The truth is you, nor anyone else, including Obama, would not dare debate Ron on policy, whether its social, domestic, foreign intervention or economics. None of you would stand a chance against him and thats why none of you write about his actual ideas, but instead you try to shrug him off and hope that people will read this and follow without giving him a listen. The problem there is, people ARE listening and he is building a huge following. So while the Federal Reserve continues to print money and our economy worsens, you keep writing about Ron Paul, the only man in DC who stands for your right to write. Just remember, your job is THE ONLY job directly protected in the Bill of Rights, so maybe you should use that to your advantage and start writing the truth.

When are supporters of this whack job - most especially those who consider themselves liberals or progressives - going to take the few minutes work required to find out this guy's true voting record? In pursuit of his utopia, he has opposed virtually every piece of civil rights legislation he's been asked to vote on, and he even recently said he'd have rejected the voting rights act of '64. (His son merely waffled on and tried to duck the question, but this week Dad spit it right out.)

He's taken every opportunity to vote against worker safety, and against literally any environmental restriction (or ANY other form of restriction) on corporations. He opposes regulations compelling civil rights protection for women, for racial minorities, and regardless of sexual identity.

He proudly boasts that he won't take cash from banks and insurance company, but he takes money from the American Nazi party, from Stormfront, and from other self-identified white supremacists.

He cannot cite any nation on the planet at any time in history or today that has employed his vaunted "Austrian School" economy, including Austria, and the reason is that no one else ANYWHERE at ANY TIME has been that stupid.

I'm all for cracking the Fed open, auditing, and putting an end to the secrecy. But that's no reason to even consider rolling back every advancement in this nation since the day it was formed.

Just START by reviewing his voting record, accessible through his own Congressional web site. And don't forget to also consider the legislation he's written and seen passed since he first took office in the late 70's (there was a brief break in the 80's when he chose to try and run for Senate, and lost). The number of substantive bills he's written and had passed? Go ahead, check.

Rand Paul is worse than ill-informed, myopic and a bit dim. He's actively dangerous to this country.


"1) Wasn't it Obama who ran against the Iraq war, then ordered two troop surges into Afghanistan?"

You appear not to know much about Obama's campaign. He specifically said he supported the war in Afghanistan. He didn't hint at it, he didn't speak in code, and he sure didn't flip-flop.

He said he was demanding a withdrawal from Iraq - which per his campaign promise has been ongoing, and at the pace he promised. And he said exactly what he planned to do with Afghanistan, and he's kept to that promise.

Maybe you're one of the handful who didn't hear him. Maybe you didn't like what he said about Afghanistan, and so ignored it. Maybe you think you heard him say what you wanted him to say - but he DIDN'T.

I don't like his policy on Afghanistan. I think I can intelligently rebut it. But I won't and can't in good conscience do that by pretending I don't know what he actually said.

There's no need to extrapolate from what he said about Iraq to invent/create or "find" his policy on Afghanistan. He had much different policies on both wars, and he spelled out both of them in considerable detail.

If you're fond of depressions that make the Great Depression look like a day at the park then by all means support Ron Paul.

I see the comments from his supporters that he's prescient, etc... I don't see too many of them actually looking at the consequences of what he proposes.

Hey, Malcolm. Nice to see you again. We'll see if we can't shake things up a bit, hmm?

And this time, he might actually win. His ideas are a lot younger than anyone else's who's running.

(AM responds: Hey, we're both back again, eh? Should be interesting. This time seems like the Dr. has some more steam coming in.)

Chuckle. Only white males, huh? I know numerous, numerous females who will vote for Ron Paul. True, mostly white... but that's because the, er, "non-whites" are the ones who either want to be here illegally or else unnecessarily take government handouts (translate: from your and my pockets). Ron Paul is a kind man, a truthful man, and a blunt man-- a man who knows the constitution, unlike the presidents we've had in the last several decades. Not everything will pass in Congress that he wants passed, and he knows that, but our country will be a much better place with him as President. Go Ron!

Mr Malcolm.

You may well be right that he is unelectable... but not because he is wrong about any of the issues, and not because he doesn't have rock-solid integrity, well thought out positions, and intellectual honesty; traits that are lacking in all other American politicians.

He will only be unelectable if it is really true that people are too stupid to vote their own self-interest, and that elections can only be bought by special interests.

God help America if that is the case.

Articles like this, try to convince the populace that Dr. Paul has no chance of winning, so why even vote....

The author of this article has already been bought and sold....

im ready to vote for Dr. Paul should the chance arise. And I'm 36. And dont think for 1 second that I'm the only one

America should be so lucky.

The Republicans are going in so many directions with their philosophies of which way to take the country, it likely going to be impossible to unseat an incumbent President. As for less government, that's a laugh. There are more laws and bills concerning abortion now than ever before. And, one of the biggest things that increased our deficit was the Bush tax cuts for all, especially the rich.
Then add two wars that were unfunded. The irresponsible Republicans are trying to keep the government "starved" of tax revenue, so we will all sink further into recessions and depressions, except for the wealthy, of course. The wealthy won't create jobs when they can invest in oil speculation, banks, etc. The Republicans have always wanted to get rid of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. But let's keep the tax breaks for the oil companies, so they can gouge, and get richer and richer. This country is going to have to revolt to get our priorities resolved. What comes around, goes around. The economy works better when we use government to distribute tax revenue to enrich peoples' lives, not just the rich. ADC used to be used to describe "aid to dependent children. Now it means "aid to dependent corporations", who have no compulsion to be taking tax breaks from the government. We need single payer health coverage and stop the insurance companies for making a profit out of health. We need the drug companies to comply with giving discounts on their drugs, especially when they use government research to develop them.
I could go on and on.

Ron Paul has managed to get elected in coastal Galveston/ Texas for so long how? Oh that is right.... all the oil companies.

I wonder why he wants less federal government intervention..... Oh... That is right.... for all the oil companies.

Look at his voting streak. Clearly anti anything that involves regulating GH emissions and supports new refineries. It would be a great ideal to elect him. That way we can punch the planet in the face some more.

If it splits the nuts then I'm all for it...

Andrew Malcolm, Here I am back again 4 years later reading your columns. Nice to see that you are maintaining your cool, detached, but entertaining writing style. I know writers don't always write the headline, but "silly" was not necessary, unless you are just trying to bait Ron Paul supporters.

Not sure if you're right about the age issue. It is a shame if you are. One comment I read put it in perspective. Something like: "Of course Ron Paul can handle the rigors of the job-- all he has to do is show up about once every week or two and veto a stack of bills."

Heck, if Obama were not in permanent campaign mode, he could get in a round of golf every day and take a week-long vacation every month. Or is he already doing that?

(AM responds: Great to see you back here, Greg. Long time no see. This time it seems many of the issues are with Dr. Paul. Will be interesting. Thanks for reconnecting.)

The saddest part about this whole article? The notion that "following the constitution doesn't have a snowballs chance...".

That speaks volumes about where this nation is headed.

The disdain is evident beginning in the very title of the OP and evokes visions of a second rate, grade school student publication.


Outstanding work.

How far have degenerated as a nation that we find ourselves in times where truth is seen as treason, degradation of civil liberties is accepted and expected, costly foreign military engagements are simply background music, and politicians who champion Constitutional values are seen as "fringe types"?

I am astounded at the number of willing fools bent on maintaining the false paradigm and protecting the status quo, all the while ignoring the truth and proceeding against their own interests.

Ron Paul 2012

It's not 'silly' at all - when the established order feels threatened it likes to put things into convenient little boxes, like the 'silly' box.

Paul's been right about everything - the housing bubble, the crash, the lack of an economic recovery after the crash, the lack of a need to bailout Wall Street, the debasement of the dollar, the rise in commodity prices, the wars, etc. etc.

Look at the left's master businessman/economist, Warren Buffett - he never saw a housing bubble, he didn't predict the crash, he thought bailing out Wall Street would save everything, etc. etc.

How many times can you deride him without realizing that he's been dead right?

Single white female here. (someone said only white males wouls vote for R.P.)

I am for Ron Paul and I am a democrat. I like Ron Paul's ideas and values. I voted for Obama in 08 but I think he focused too much on healthcare and I think we need someone who really understands the economy more desperately now. I think think Ron Paul can help the value of the dollar with his knowledge of Austrian school economics.

Also, he wants to audit the federal reserve. Who couldn't like that idea?
He makes so much sense!

Please, Give America the breather She deserves. Giver her back her Constitution.

To feel the "change," as professed by Mr. Obama in 2008, please join me and so many others in 2012 for Ron Paul. If you view his issues as radical, please, i beg of You to invest a little time to research exactly what is being talked about. America cannot afford more of the same.

Constitutionally, legislatively, and morally, Ron Paul has no equal. His 22 year voting record speaks for itself. The World is watching. Ron Paul for President in 2012.

Thank You

ttp:// The facts speak for themselves

So happy to see so many Pro Paul 2012 People :) It mirrors what I see in my personal life as well.

If I may please;
Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate who would cut enough spending to avert a debt crisis. Only he will restore constitutionally sound money. And, only he will strengthen our national defense by bringing our troops home and putting an end to the nation-building that is draining our country.
Watch Dr Paul question Ben Bernanke if you doubt Paul understands subtle aspects of the economy you've never thought of.
Other candidates speak flowery words and tell nothing of how anything will get done. Mr. Paul is very different.
Constitutionally, legislatively, and morally, Ron Paul has no equal. His 22 year voting record speaks for itself.
The World is watching.
Ron Paul for President in 2012.
Thank You

After four paragraphs of jibber jabber about nothing important, I was hoping to be enlightened after the drum roll of "here's why Paul has absolutely no chance of ever becoming President". Aaaaaaaand this guys "reason" was centered around Paul's age & and that since McCain lost to Obama in 2008, and since McCain was 72, it must mean that someone older than him cannot win in 2008. Ummm, wow. Talk about MAJOR assumptions in cause and effect. What exactly does"not ready" mean anyway? People threw that around when Obama was running, America is "not ready" for a black president, America is "not ready" for an older president, America is "not ready" for a female president. BLA BLA BLA. How much do they pay these guys to write utter garbage? Seriously.

You missed the point that his funds didnt start the Tea Party - the money started Campaign For Liberty ( - please don't associate Ron Paul with the tea party - if you want to know what Paul stands for look at CFL website above and read his latest book (Defining Liberty).

Liberals should honestly get behind Paul, he cares about the country and his fellow citizens, unlike 99% of pols that claim otherwise. He wants your state to decide whats right, if California wants gay marriage and abortions then let them choose that at the state level but don't try to force Texas to be California - bad idea - that hasn't worked so far.

You say his policies are impossible, but on what grounds? All he wants is a return to the principles our country was founded on, because obviously the system we currently have is failing badly and the people in this country are starting to realize it. So to say Ron Paul has no chance of winning is just ignorant sir.

Ron Paul 2012

You can try putting him down all you want but truth prevails and we will win this time


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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