You may disagree, and you're welcome to point me to other sources (there's only about a half-dozen political blogs I read with any regularity), but I think my approach to Paul's candidacy, at least in my mind, has been somewhat unique (up to now). I've made no predictions on his chances, and still I remain skeptical about them. The two most common approaches I see from other enthusiasts is the positive-thinking approach ("we're going to win!") and the approach that concedes that Paul is gaining the power to have an important and positive impact on the other candidates (make them "more honest," I guess; whatever that means). The first approach is fine; nothing wrong with cheer leading. The second approach is worthless and dumb. There is absolutely nothing any of the other candidates can do to appeal to anyone who supports Paul and knows why. To those who know why, really and seriously, conventional politics will never, ever fool them again.
They have become atheists to the religion of political personality and sweet sweet lies. They have been cured from the zombie-ism that inflicts all democrats and republicans who give any stock at all to their favorite liar. Here's my assessment, in a nutshell: There is a big difference between liars and honest, non-compromising men of integrity; differences between liars, whether 'D' or 'R,' are superficial and superfluous. Once you know the real deal, the manner, scale, cleverness or even appeal of liars is forever lost on you. Perhaps good men still labor in the lies of politics because they have believed that honesty and integrity is impossible. So far, Paul is the single exception that disproves the "rule," so maybe hopeless despair isn't absolute, after all. Just maybe. Do we have cause and reason to welcome just a glimmer of hope, here?
I said at the beginning that I believe my approach to this has been rather unique, until now. That's because, via Lew, I note that Nick Gillespe and Matt Welch nail it pretty solidly in a Washington Post article that's simply a must read. Key excerpts:
When a fierce Republican foe of the wars on drugs and terrorism is able, without really trying, to pull in a record haul of campaign cash on a day dedicated to an attempted regicide, it's clear that a new and potentially transformative force is growing in American politics.
That force is less about Paul than about the movement that has erupted around him.
Precisely. This is key. And thank god: this is far bigger than Paul; he's pretty much along for the ride (and, bless his heart: he admits it). Now, it would certainly be nice to see him actually win the presidency. Why? Utopia in America? Certainly not; but, I really believe he'd unwaveringly and uncompromisingly stand on the same principles and
uphold his oath do the job he's paid to do, just as he's always done -- and damn the torpedoes of politics. If that were to happen, it disproves the rule that it can't be done; and in a choice between a world where I have to have half of what I produce stolen and called "good" from high places, and a world where I have to have half of what I produce stolen and called "theft" from high places, I'll enthusiastically take the latter. Then the dynamics of honesty have taken root.
Incidentally, it had to happen this way to be something to take seriously. Reagan was a fool's mission precisely because it was more about Reagan the personality that about the ideas or even a movement bigger than him. The so-called "Reagan Revolution" was that, and only that. It was a personality movement.
Yet Paul's success has mostly left the mainstream media and pundits flustered, if not openly hostile.
They have a big stake in your continued enthusiasm for flipping on the daily programs and reading the daily columns for your daily dose of mundane, banal lies. And hand it to them: either they're very clever or you're all very dumb, because they seem to be able to pull off shouting match after shouting match over the most superfluous of "distinctions." Most of you think yourselves the epitome of informed and insightful about the politics and issues of the day. In reality, you've been fooled -- enthusiastically so -- into making a big deal over the equivalent of whether to wear brown or black.
And conservative syndicated columnist Mona Charen said out loud what many campaign reporters have no doubt been thinking all along: "He might make a dandy new leader for the Branch Davidians."
When conservatives feel comfortable mocking the victims gunned down by Clinton-era attorney general Janet Reno's FBI in Waco, Tex., in 1993, it suggests that a complacent and increasingly authoritarian establishment feels threatened.
Yep; fuck the entrenched republican establishment and their media stooges. I was right when I said they should loose bad last November, and their general response and treatment of Paul and his genuinely concerned, benevolent, generous and hard-working enthusiasts proves it.