Rational Irrationality: Why Ron Paul Isn’t Just Another Right-Wing Nut
With six days until the Iowa caucus, which marks the official opening of the 2012 election, all signs point to victory for a man who wants to abolish five government departments (Commerce, Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, and Interior) slash the federal budget by a trillion dollars, eliminate the income tax (and the taxes on inheritances and capital gains), abolish the Federal Reserve system, restore a gold standard, end foreign aid, repeal the “Brady Bill” and the ban on sales of fully-automatic assault weapons, gut labor unions, repeal Roe v. Wade and pass a “Sanctity of Life Act,” pull the United States out of the United Nations, give big tax breaks to homeschoolers, and repeal Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and Sarbanes-Oxley.
Is this a big deal? Not according to many big-name political pundits and political strategists. If recent polls from Iowa showing Ron Paul ahead prove reliable, and he finishes at the head of the Republican pack in the caucuses there on Tuesday, it won’t mean very much at all, say these authorities, most of whom regard the spindly, seventy-six year old Texas congressman as some sort of novelty act. The savants have already moved past Iowa, and past New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and the other forty-six primaries, too. Whether they’ve said it publicly or not, and some of them have said it, they agree with the unnamed Romney operative who remarked to New York magazine’s John Heilemann: “I don’t see any scenario where we’re not the nominee.”
That’s it, then. To save the other candidates and the American public the bother, and to preserve the sanity of writers (myself included) who would otherwise have to spend the next six months covering a contest with a preordained result, we might as well call the whole thing off and hand the nomination to Mitt. (It would be doing him a favor, too. Just think—no more rope lines or meet and greets where he has to think of something to say to folks who can’t afford to bet Rick Perry ten thousand dollars and who might consider it cruel to strap their Irish setters to the tops of their cars.)