How Ron Paul Will Change the GOP in 2012Submitted by bobbyw24 on Tue, 12/27/2011 - 09:14
The dominant storyline at the Republican convention will be figuring out how to appease Paul.
The libertarian upstart isn’t just stirring controversy; he’s threatening to expose profound divisions within the GOP. Peter Beinart on how Paul will change the Republican Party in 2012.
We haven’t even said goodbye to 2011, but I want to be first in line with my person of the year prediction for 2012: Ron Paul. I don’t think Paul is going to win the presidency, or even win the Republican nomination. But he’s going to come close enough to change the GOP forever.
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Washington Republicans and political pundits keep depicting Paul as some kind of ideological mutation, the conservative equivalent of a black swan. They’re wrong. Ask any historically-minded conservative who the most conservative president of the 20th Century was, and they’ll likely say Calvin Coolidge. No president tried as hard to make the federal government irrelevant. It’s said that Coolidge was so terrified of actually doing something as president that he tried his best not even to speak. But in 1925, Silent Cal did open his mouth long enough to spell out his foreign policy vision, and what he said could be emblazoned on a Ron Paul for President poster: “The people have had all the war, all the taxation, and all the military service they want.”
Small government conservatism, the kind to which today’s Republicans swear fealty, was born in the 1920s not only in reaction to the progressive movement’s efforts to use government to regulate business, but in reaction to World War I, which conservatives rightly saw as a crucial element of the government expansion they feared. To be a small government conservative in the 1920s and 1930s was, for the most part, to vehemently oppose military spending while insisting that the US never, ever get mired in another European war.