Since the unfortunate results of the Ames straw poll were announced, a constant mewling and bleating has gone up from several sectors of the political system. Faced with a media that represents (accurately) the top tier of the Republican Presidential Nominating Contest as Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, with a few idle and unproductive fantasies about Rick Santorum or Jon Huntsman recovering, the partisans of one particularly impotent politician shriek their discontent:
“What about Ron Paul?! He took second! Doesn’t he warrant a mention?”
This meme has been echoed even by the likes of Jon Stewart, whose fanciful quest to ferret out every trace of hypocrisy on the side of his opponents has instead led him down the rabbit hole of self-righteousness and false punditry, always thinly veiled by a layer of badly applied clown makeup. Nevertheless, the question must be asked: What about Ron Paul?
Let me take a crack at answering that. The reason no one wants to discuss Ron Paul as a top tier contender is because most people would rather pretend he were not a contender at all. Why? Because Ron Paul is a joke at the expense of the Right, and his second place showing in the straw poll was the bad punch line. The man tracks with (and may agree with) racist, conspiracy-mongering mongoloids so vile that they would instantly discredit libertarianism if any liberal media outlet more relevant than The New Republic ever bothered to cover them. Those who disagree are invited to explain the chumminess between Ron Paul and the Mises Institute, whose patron Saint Murray Rothbard once made a habit of paling around both with Maoists and with the followers of David Duke, for the simple reason that the responsible Right failed to display a sufficient hatred of America relative to those two groups.
What Paul’s partisans fail to apprehend is that the reason that coverage is not forthcoming for their hero is because Paul has made himself the avatar of a time-tested brand of Republicanism: That is, self-hating Republicanism. The reason disingenuous sniggerers like Stewart sympathize with Paul and Rachel Maddow will fawningly ask him to explain his crackpot theories is that Ron Paul attacks his own party with twice the zeal he ever uses against liberals. He spouts the same nonsense talking points as members of the Pacifist Left (“Iran is only defending themselves!”) and the Socialist Left (“Corporations aren’t people! Only people are people!”) with the ingenious capacity for somehow duping legions of devoted followers into believing these time-tested left wing gobs of spit are somehow true conservatism. It’s time someone explained precisely why this designation is as fantastical as Paul’s chances at election are.