Reason’s Brian Doherty on the Ron Paul rEVOLution

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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When it comes to consistency, Rep. Ron Paul has been “saying and acting upon this same set of ideas since the early 70’s,” explains Brian Doherty, a senior editor of Reason Magazine, and the author of a forthcoming book called, “Ron Paul’s rEVOLution.”

“He entered politics — from the beginning — with an ideological mission,” Doherty adds.

With Paul surging in Iowa, and former Gov. Gary Johnson about to launch a bid for the Libertarian Party nomination, I have been interviewing libertarians. And I was especially interested in talking with Doherty in order to gain a better understanding of Dr. Paul. (You can listen to a streaming podcast of our full conversation here.)

For folks who are just becoming familiar with Paul, Doherty explains that he first entered politics “when Richard Nixon went off the gold standard and instituted wage and price controls.” And for those who argue that Paul isn’t a good politician, Doherty offers this interesting piece of trivia: Paul “has been elected to Congress as a non-incumbent three different times.”

Regarding the upcoming caucuses and primaries, Doherty notes the early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire are “uniquely suited” for Paul’s diverse followers.

“The Iowa Ron Paul people … tend to be more the homeschooling Christian-type of Ron Paul fan,” Doherty said. “Whereas the New Hampshire Ron Paul fan tend to be more of the, you know, ‘F’ the state, fighting, anarchist, rebel-type of Ron Paul fan.”

“He has an enormous fan base among the anarchists, says Doherty. While many anarchists don’t believe in voting, he explains that many say: “It’s okay to vote for Ron Paul.” But Paul is also popular among some Evangelicals. “What unites them is the general message that ‘I want the government mostly to leave you alone,” he says.

Regarding Paul’s handling of the incendiary newsletters published under his name, Doherty said: “While Ron is definitely surrounded by some savvy and intelligent political operators … Ron Paul is not manageable by his staff.”

In terms of a possible third party run, Doherty said “it is extremely unlikely Ron Paul will do anything third party — mostly because of [his son] Rand.”

Despite the fact that the two are nearly identical ideologically, “Rand Paul seems to be okay with a lot of your more standard Beltway people — in a way that his father is not,” said Doherty.

“There’s something about Rand that seems to be more comfortable to the Beltway, in a way that leads me to believe that — were Rand Paul to run for president next time around — he would both keep his father’s audience, and be able to build to an audience that his father has not yet reached.”

Listen to a streaming podcast of our conversation here. Or download the podcast on iTunes.

Matt K. Lewis