Who is the inspirational leader, the “hope and change” of the 2012 elections? That would be Ron Paul.
And if Republicans hope to win in November, they must include the libertarian congressman on their eventual presidential ticket.
Take a mental field trip with me, and let me walk you through this.
Even the fiercest critics of President Barack Obama have to honestly ask themselves one simple question: Do you really think, deep down in your heart, Obama will lose in November?
At this stage in the presidential race, it’s hard for any level-headed individual to honestly say yes.
Obama is crushing the game.
And if your gut isn’t giving you this answer, then try and argue the cold hard data points.
A recent CNN poll shows that Obama is beating all of his possible Republican rivals in hypothetical GOP match-ups. Obama leads Mitt Romney 51% to 46%, tops Rick Santorum 52% to 45%, beats Paul, 52% to 45%, and crushes Newt Gingrich (why is he still in the race, btw?) 55% to 42%.
A Fox News poll of key battleground states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin — shows the same: Obama leads Romney, 47% to 39%, tops Santorum, 48% to 38%, beats Paul 48% to 37% and crushes Gingrich, 52% to 32% (:-( Republicans).
Obama raised $11.8 million for his campaign in January, according to FEC filings released Friday. This total is less than a third of the $36.8 million he raised during the same month four years ago. He remains the top fundraiser in the presidential race.
What’s better for Obama is the complete political disunity in the Republican Party. The race has boiled down to Romney against any-flavor-of-the-month of anti-Romney. The GOP primary is turning into a meat grinder, blackening the eyes of all candidates. And there’s no end in sight. The Wall Street Journal argues that the GOP primary will run into May or June (George W. Bush in 2000 and John McCain in 2008 had won their respective primary battles by the middle of March), making this the most “grueling” GOP race since the Reagan-Ford marathon went all the way to the convention in 1976.
Welcome to hell, Republicans.
Disunity, unfortunately, is the one intangible piece in this puzzle. If Republicans were more unified in their battle to unseat one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history, then they could have a true fighting chance. But for a party that is facing an identity crisis — filled with the juxtaposition of evangelical conservatives, Tea Partiers, libertarians, neocons, and moderates —“unity” in itself will be a “grueling” process.
But unity will be the only way forward for Republicans, and if the GOP hopes to take back the White House, then they should realize that the answer to all of their woes lies in uniting Ron Paul and his supporters with the wider party.
Paul is the biggest chance the GOP has to win the presidency in 2012. His brand of conservatism is progressive enough to draw in key voting blocs and his immense grass roots base is fervent enough to challenge the “hope and change-ers” that propelled Obama to the presidency in 2008. Unfortunately, though, Paul will never be the Republican presidential nominee. He’s a fringe candidate. As such, the eventual GOP candidate must pick Paul as their running mate.
Paul would draw in massively critical demographics. He is the quintessential Tea Partier (check). Young people love him and are hugely inspired by him (check). Progressives and liberals can easily jump on the Paul bandwagon (um, super check). Military folks overwhelmingly love him (check).
The only comparable Republican who could possibly fit this mold would be Tea Party Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), but he has neither the grassroots followers nor political résumé to be a viable threat on the GOP ticket.
Continue on this mental field trip with me.
Paired with a more mainstream conservative like Mitt Romney, the GOP ticket would truly be able to call itself “electable.” Imagine the one-two punch a Romney-Paul ticket could provide: Romney’s money machine juggernaut could compete with Obama and the Democrats’ Super PACS, while Paul would rain down a storm of philosophical and policy counterpoints that would unhinge Obama’s own policy platform.
In an age of austerity and military pull-back, Paul’s ideals would trump Obama in the eyes of the average voter. In this Super PAC election cycle, Romney’s money would drown the Democrats.
There’s still the unity question. It seems any libertarian or Paulite doesn’t comprehend that Paul is running, in fact, as a Republican — under the same banner as other notable politicians including George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and Ronald Reagan, all of which I would contend libertarians don’t relate to. Libertarians seem to hate being grouped in the “Republican” category, and would be hard-pressed to buy into the Grand Old Party’s wider ideals.
And, besides, Paul in a fringe candidate. Regular conservatives think Paul is stirring a crock of … well you know. A foreign policy built on diplomacy rather than the military (as Paul states)? Are you kidding me? How un-Republican.
Then there's that whole racism thing. That'll sting.
Still, I think there’s something there, something that the Republicans should consider tapping into if they hope to have a realistic chance at the presidency.
Paul could prove to be the iconic image of the 2012 election, especially in a time when many voters are looking for such a political savior.
Ron Paul would bring the GOP to the White House.
Photo Credit: Charles Hope