An anonymous reader asks, “What are your thoughts on Ron Pauls rise in fame and in the polls. Is he the real deal? Or just another Ross Perot?”
Ron Paul has had an unusual effect on the political scene. Some pundit (I forget which one) pointed out that no other major party candidate in recent memory has gotten as many people reading as Ron Paul has. And I don’t mean the typical fluff that your typical presidential candidate puts out, I mean works of political philosophy and economics. (Unfortunately for him, some folks are also reading his old newsletters, which feature some questionable material.)
I’m not sure what, exactly, you mean by “the real deal.” Is Ron Paul sincere? Far more so than any other major party candidate of the last two presidential election cycles, with the possible exception of Elizabeth Kucinich’s husband. His consistency on the issues puts other politicians to shame, if such creatures were capable of such a condition. Does he have a shot at winning? Yes, but it’s remote. Is he going to win the Republican nomination? Nope.
Is he just another Ross Perot? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that both are Texans who aren’t going to be President, they both focus heavily on the national debt, and they share initials. But the dissimilarities are legion. Paul is far more ideological than Perot. Paul has consistent, principled stances on a broad array of issues while nobody can remember what Perot talked about aside from the debt. Also, I think (I can’t prove it) that Perot ran due to spite towards George H. W. Bush more than anything else, while Paul is running based on genuine conviction. Furthermore, Paul’s not going to run as a third party candidate.
I remember when Perot was running and everyone was complaining about a debt of around $4 trillion. Good times.