Politics & Law

The youthful magic of Ron Paul

Robert Reich

South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint, the darling of the Tea Party wing nuts of the GOP, is urging Republican candidates to listen to Ron Paul. “One of the things that’s hurt the so-called conservative alternative is saying negative things about Ron Paul,” DeMint told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. “I’d like to see a Republican Party that embraces a lot of the libertarian ideas.”

Why the sudden enthusiasm of Republican leaders for Ron Paul? Credit his surprisingly strong showing in New Hampshire, where 47 percent of primary voters between the ages of 18 and 29 voted for him.

No other Republican candidate has come nearly as close to winning over young voters – and the GOP desperately needs young voters. The median age of registered Republicans is rising faster than the median age of America.

The Republican right thinks Paul’s views on the economy are responsible for this fire among the young. Yesterday evening, on Larry Kudlow’s CNBC program, I squared off with Larry and the Wall Street Journal’s Steve Moore. Both are convinced young people are attracted by Paul’s strict adherence to the views of Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, and Paul’s desire to move America back to the gold standard.

Baloney. The young are flocking to Ron Paul because he wants to slice military spending, bring our troops home, stop government from spying on American citizens, and legalize pot.

So do I, but I somehow doubt Jim DeMint would advise Republican candidates to listen to me, even if I were a Republican candidate for President.

Paul is attractive to younger voters precisely because of positions he takes that are anathema to the vast majority of the Republican base, including almost all Tea Party Republicans.

If other Republican candidates want to cozy up to him, fine. But if they do, they’ll have a lot of explaining to do in Bluffton, South Carolina.

On the other hand, if Republicans — or Democrats, for that matter — want to win over much of the nation’s young next November, they’d do well to listen carefully to Paul’s positions on national defense and civil liberties.

Cross-posted from Robert Reich’s blog.

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Comments to "The youthful magic of Ron Paul":
    • Karen H.

      I don’t understand how any discussion about Ron Paul fails to talk about his stance against the Civil Rights Act. His denial of the role of federal intervention within a constitutional democracy to protect and advance rights that would be abridged at a local level is at best naive – and illustrates that the core of libertarianism is self-centered privilege.

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    • Lisa M.

      Ron Paul was perhaps the only Republican Presidential candidate not in favor of saber-rattling (or worse) towards Iran –

      Also, his continued call for further review/oversight of the Fed and its activities is something few other talk about, but many voters and consumers I think find appealing.

      Our country has changed; some of the electorate see that. Ron Paul may be one of the few Republicans in Congress who actually get that.

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    • John B.

      I agree with Mr. Reich and his assertion that reduced military spending and less government intervention into our lives and individual responsibility are part of the appeal. I had hoped that Obama would embody a “change we could believe in” but he turned out to be more of the same. Ron Paul lives and breathes his message. This guy is not your typical politician and he certainly has piqued my interest.

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    • hoapres

      It’s not only the GOP that needs young voters.

      The tea party is really not republicans. The republican leadership are NOT fiscal conservatives and believing in limited government. Republicans while maybe claiming to be for limited government and spending simply have a different agenda than the Democrats.

      What will prove interesting is that if Ron Paul decides to run as an independent candidate. In a three way race, Paul, Obama and Romeny then with high probability Obama wins a second term.

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    • Puma for Life

      Ron Paul does not want to legalize pot; he wants to get rid of the War on Drugs because it is a complete failure, wastes a lot of money, and is racist. He does not believe regulating drugs is constitutional and that the states can make those types of laws if they so chose. I have heard him state that drug usage is a medical issue more than a law issue, but he does not speak about legalizing pot.

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