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The Buchanan Treatment Won't Work on Ron Paul

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

Should Ron Paul win the Iowa Caucuses, the media narrative is the Republican Party establishment will go scorched earth on the quirky libertarian Texas Congressman, just as they did Pat Buchanan back in the day.


But unlike that successful kamikaze mission of yesteryear, this one won’t work. In fact, if the Republican Party establishment chooses to go down that road they might just propel Paul to the nomination.

That’s because Ron Paul isn’t Pat Buchanan, and the environment this go-around is dramatically different than it was back then for two reasons.

First of all, Paul’s campaign apparatus is dramatically superior to anything Buchanan ever had. His Iowa Caucus campaign is a well-oiled machine, and the envy of the entire process. They’re running the best commercials. They’re the best organized. They’re the most loyal. And look beyond Iowa, too. Paul wins straw polls all over the country, including CPAC and even at the 2011 Values Voters Summit. I know several of these people who are the masterminds of Paul’s organization, and these folks don’t put their phasers on stun when it comes to their opponents and know what they’re doing. They’re not kooks, they’re sharp cookies and losing is not an option in their strategy. They have no problem burning down the entire system, because they distrust it anyway.

Buchanan still needed the system. He still needed jobs on cable news networks or help publishing/selling his books and columns. Paul isn’t running to reform the system. He’s running to reboot it. Buchanan has never had an organization this good. In fact, no insurgent candidate in modern American political history has had an organization this professional and well-funded.

Second, voter angst and anger towards Washington and Republicrats in general is at an all-time high. In 2004 the voters gave George W. Bush and the Republicans control of Washington. In 2006 they made Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House. In 2008 they made Barack Obama President of the United States. In 2010 they fired over 700 Democrats running for re-election around the country. Meanwhile, marriage continues to remain undefeated at the ballot box whenever pro-homosexual activists attempt to challenge it, but at the same time the American people seem content with normalizing homosexual behavior in popular culture.


That’s a schizophrenic swing of energy and emotion in less than one decade. In just six years the American people voted for a quasi-socialist welfare state they didn’t want to have to pay for, and a return to Judeo-Christian moral values they themselves don’t want to be accountable to.

That tells me the American people are looking for someone – literally anyone – to show some leadership on the issues. Voters aren’t satisfied after trying both parties’ milquetoast ruling class, and are looking to drain the swamp.

Enter Ron Paul.

Paul has already been heavily vetted. He’s a national figure, who has run for president several times and has been running for the last five years. His quirks are known. His positions are known. Believing the American people will not vote for someone who wants to return us to 1789, is like believing the American people will never vote for someone who wants us to look like West Germany circa 1978 when they just did.

We are a confused people. We know what we’re supposed to be and supposed to look like, and yet we have no idea for how to get there. We lack the spiritual and moral foundation to rebuild the wall, if you will. Minus a Nehemiah showing the way, a civilization will either choose one of two paths—self-indulgence and ultimately self-destruction, or hit the control-alt-delete button in order to start over again.

The liberals represent the former, and Paul and his libertarian brigade represent the latter.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Make no mistake—voters are desperate. Therefore, trying to give Paul the Buchanan treatment will actually entrench Paul’s support all the more, because voters don’t trust the source of the attacks. It’s impossible to underestimate how little regard the American people have for political parties, and the Republicrat ruling class and its crony capitalism. They will see Buchanan-type attacks against Paul as the system trying to defend its indefensible self, and rally to him all the more. Folks are much angrier and desperate then they were during Buchanan’s presidential runs. Thus, the crankier and crazier Paul sounds the more they’ll love him. He’ll be getting attacked by all the people they can’t stand and don’t trust.


The peasants want to storm the Bastille, and in many respects the philosophy Paul is espousing of individualized liberty for the sake of self is right out of the French Revolution—so it fits the mood of the country perfectly.

This brings us to how to defeat Paul.

Paul is a man with powerful ideas, some very good and some very bad. If human history has taught us one thing it’s that bad powerful ideas can only be defeated by good powerful ideas.

Instead of trying to cram milquetoast flip-floppers down voters’ throats, the Republican Party needs to champion candidates who have good powerful ideas about how to return to the roots of the American Revolution—which begins with the premise individuals have liberty and rights from God alone, and the role of government is to protect those God-given rights and then get out of the way to allow liberty to flourish.

The more Rudy McRomneys the Republican Party serves up, the more popular someone like Paul will become. Frustrated voters will use Paul as a blunt instrument, or maybe even a sharp object, to attack a failed system with.

The Republicrats deserve Ron Paul. The ruling class created the Ron Paul phenomenon by its own actions. And the more they persist in being tone-deaf to voters’ angst, the more likely they are to suffer at his hands.

And as much as I disagree with Paul, I’d choose him over the Republicrat ruling class any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

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