See Ron run (away from the White House)

Americans owe Ron Paul a huge debt of gratitude. Four years ago, while Republican candidates for president were talking positively about trillion-dollar adventures in the Middle East, the congressman from Texas built his candidacy for the White House on the principles of sound fiscal management and military restraint. Thanks to his passion, his drive, and his supporters, these principles are now back in vogue.

But some Americans also owe Ron Paul an apology. Dismissed with all manner of invective in 2008, Congressman Paul’s opponents habitually failed to answer the case that the U.S. was facing a looming economic crisis borne of the country’s massive debt. “Deficits don’t matter,” snorted former Vice President Dick Cheney. Well, that was fourteen trillion dollars ago. Today, American debt ranks as one of the most pressing issues amongst voters. It was Ron Paul who helped raise public awareness of this alarming issue.

This week, Ron Paul announced he would again explore a run for the presidency. Libertarians were delighted, as well they ought to be, for he is their fearless champion. But despite all the good he has done, and all the good he has yet to do, another run for the White House would be a bad idea.

Without resorting to the superficial and, quite honestly, insulting reasons Ron Paul should not run (too old, too extreme), there are multiple arguments for why his candidacy would be flawed.

Think of the children!

As Politico recently explained, Rep. Paul is not only a knowledgeable and eloquent advocate for libertarian ideas, but also the patriarch of a burgeoning political dynasty. With one son already safely ensconced in the Senate, and another who recently mulled a run for the Senate in Texas, Paul’s family is shaping the larger libertarian movement, and will likely continue to do so for years to come.

If the Paul brand is to endure (and libertarians uniformly hope it does), it is imperative that it is kept fresh and relevant. But if the name Paul crops up whenever a presidential election is due, the strength of the brand and the ideas behind it will inevitably diminish. Jeb Bush would be a leading candidate for president today were it not for his last name, and in 2008 Hillary Clinton could never quite shake off the accusation that is was improper for the White House to be occupied twice by her and her family.

Lightening does not strike twice

It is no exaggeration to suggest that Ron Paul led a revolution in 2008. While other GOP candidates — including the eventual nominee, John McCain — singularly failed to fire up the base of the party, Paul generated an enthusiasm amongst young voters hitherto unseen in the modern GOP. His fundraising was likewise nothing short of spectacular.

But in politics, as in so much else, moments come and go. History is replete with examples of politicians who went from rock star to also-ran in the blink of an eye. Just ask President Obama or Sarah Palin. A Paul candidacy that failed to capture the dynamism of 2008 would likely hurt the libertarian movement and give succor to those who believe only big-spending, country-invading Republicans can win election. Granted, it is possible Ron Paul could repeat his success from three years ago, but this looks unlikely because . . .

He is not alone

At presidential debates in 2008, Ron Paul was an isolated figure. But one of his finest moments came when he defended himself against Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s accusation that, by arguing for a humble U.S. foreign policy, he was the dupe of America’s enemies. While Giuliani and every other GOP candidate parroted the Bush line that American freedom could only be protected by spending American blood and treasure thousands of miles away, Paul maintained a lonely position as the only candidate who was steadfast in his defense of a modest foreign policy.

Paul was also alone in arguing about the problem of national debt. While other GOP candidates dutifully trotted out the same glib lines about cutting wasteful spending, only Paul had the vision and the record of a tax-cutting and waste-busting constitutionalist.

  • chicagochuck

    Folks I think that while Ron Paul has strong positives he has problems with charisma, age, and would have problems with electability. Rand Paul on the other hand has the same ideas, more broad appeal, less issues with being considered “wacky.” I really like Ron Paul and agree more and more with him, but the sad reality is that the negatives matter and we can’t afford to put forth anything other than our best. I think Rand Paul or Herman Cain are really the two we need in the top spot.

  • Mandy

    Mr. Whitfield is right on target with his analysis of why Ron Paul should not run for president. I agree to the points he has made as to why he won’t get the nomination as well as to add that unfortunately, he doesn’t have the physical stature to win. Sad to say but looks and age do matter as to if people will vote for a candidate and Ron Paul doesn’t possess these. Also, Ron Paul is needed back in DC doing what he does best as Chairman of the House Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee. We really can’t afford to waste his opportunity in this position to help our country financials. If he runs for office he will not be in Washington to do what needs to be done. Sadly, many politicians don’t know their limitations nor where they are best suited to serve. Their egos get in the way.

    • smtwngrl

      Ron Paul does not have an ego.

  • Ibglio

    dude who wrote this article is a retard

  • jim5321

    In my opinion ron paul has allot better chance of winning this time if f he runs because bush gave the republicans a bad name obama is making it twice as bad tripling the deficit in two years what it took bush 8 years to do and then bailing out the banks who mostly started the economy down fall I think the people are finally waking up that this isnt a game anymore high unemployment, prices going up (gas,food,etc) so I think ron paul has a real good chance of winning which I hope he does id vote for him and I a republician. Plus he wants to end the wars which obama is continuing to start with other countries for no good reason, GO RON PAUL

  • tsnew

    So b/c Ron now has a senator son, the experience of his 2008 campaign for supporters, opponents who will be talking about the same ideas he has, and a more prestigious position in congress, he shouldn’t run?

    These all sound like pro’s to running, not cons.

    • Crazy_Redneck

      Don’t be too hard on the author…just look at the tag line:

      “Dan Whitfield is a British writer living in Washington, D.C…..he arrived in the country in 2005.”