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The Paul Power Play

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Why are young voters so attracted to Ron Paul? Many believe his ideas are so radically different from his colleagues that they actually appeal to generation X. Many of his ideas take them back to a time when they didn’t exist – they also yearn to know more about the gold standard. Many young people don’t favor America’s military interventionism and believe, as Paul, that we should become more non-interventionist around the world. In other words, it resonates with the younger generation that we should mind our own business. Obama’s campaign platform was ending the wars, yet he has only recently initiated the steps to honor his promise. Many young people see this change as a reelection ploy rather than a principled position.


An interesting storyline is beginning to develop on the campaign trail of Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX). It may only be news to me, but if it’s true, I don’t like the power play one bit.

Pundits and reporters alike across New Hampshire are dutifully covering the nuanced moves of every candidate. And while Rep. Ron Paul is busily vying for a granite state win, some are suspecting his moves outside the state are angling him less for a GOP acceptance speech later this year in Tampa, and more in anticipation of a successor-in-waiting.

Some are speculating that Rep. Paul is aggressive on the campaign trail not because he actually believes he can win the nomination, but more to position his son – Kentucky Senator Rand Paul – to eventually become a viable presidential candidate himself.

The evidence is certainly there. Rand Paul was seen in Iowa and on the platform with his father in several venues these past few months. You say that doesn’t matter; after all, it is his father. Aside from the family allegiance, why wouldn’t Paul want to see his legacy of minimalist government carry on? Even the elder Paul himself said over the weekend that he hadn’t really given much thought to what he would do if he were elected. It was less a policy question and more like one you get when asked, “You just won the lottery, what are you going do now? Gee, I’m not sure…” came Paul’s reply.


Look, that’s beside the point of this column.

If Ron Paul is moving to position his son as his successor on the presidential trail, he should come out and acknowledge the point. Sen. Paul himself should begin to echo the case of what his father stands for, and how he believes he could carry that mantle in his own unique fashion. After all, the Tea Party movement is here to stay, and that’s many instant supporters in his camp – some of the same ones who sent him as one of two of Kentucky’s favorite sons.

Further, Sen. Paul should begin preparing himself by assuming a bigger leadership role in the Senate, if not in the true sense of the GOP hierarchy, at least in taking some tough stands – beginning with the debt ceiling. Sure, we know where he stands, but will he LEADhis party and this country.

Finally, I’m not sure the “legacy fatigue” of the Bush/Clinton (yes, remember Hillary ran for president) eras has fully been washed from the brains of the electorate. If Ron Paul is, in fact, quietly leading this effort -- it’s a power play the American voter may not welcome.

Paul can’t win the 2012 nomination, but he has a cause and a collection of followers looking for its next genuine leader. Perhaps his son is the right person to step into that role. Only time will tell.


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