Tuesday, October 9, 2007

National Review warming to Ron Paul?

I was surprised to find strong praise for Ron Paul on the National Review Online blog:

This weekend, I attended and spoke at the Second Amendment Foundation’s annual Gun Rights Policy Conference, which was held at a convention center in northern Kentucky, a few miles away from Cincinnati. What I saw and heard there changed my mind about the viability of Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy; Paul is going to far outperform the expectations laid out for him.

... Last Saturday night, at the buffet dinner and reception, the speaker was Ron Paul. The difference between Paul as a speaker in 1988 and in 2007 was startling. In 1988, he was perfectly competent. This time he was electrifying. In 1988, his campaign could do little more than leave some literature on a table. This time, he had volunteers to hand out literature, including (for the recipient audience) devastating material on Romney and Thompson.

...Most impressive, however, was the large crowd of young people who showed up to hear Paul’s speech. They were enthused and energized, many of them sporting Ron Paul Revolution t-shirts. (The shirts are very clever, since they use “Revolution” to also say ““LOVE”,” which makes revolution seem a lot nicer.)

Is Paul still a longshot? Yes, but so were George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, and Gary Hart. It is true that Republicans have, for over half a century, nominated whoever was leading in the first Gallup poll after Labor Day. But the past doesn’t control the future. Until 2000, for instance, no-one who had lost the New Hampshire primary had ever won the general election.

Polls show that about quarter of Americans are libertarians, in a general sense, so Paul has lots of room for growth. If he can keep raising enough money to get his message out, then with some strong finishes in the early states, he will start getting earned media. And beyond that, Ronald Reagan is among the many candidates who have proven that many voters will support someone even if they disagree with him on many issues, if they respect his integrity and find hope in his optimistic vision.