WSJ-Blog: Ron Paul–Finally–Gets His DueSubmitted by adam1mc on Mon, 01/05/2009 - 20:00
January 5, 2009, 6:18 pm
Ron Paul–Finally–Gets His Due
Susan Davis reports on politics.
For much of the 2008 campaign, Texas lawmaker and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul and his supporters served as a thorn in the side—or a punching bag—for the mainstream GOP establishment.
Yet today, the six men vying to run the Republican National Committee praised the grassroots enthusiasm Paul tapped into during his campaign—and discussed how they would like to capture that enthusiasm to expand the party’s appeal.
“Ron Paul certainly brought a whole new generation of voters and I think it’s important going forward that we recognize the strengths and the attributes of these individuals who are out there actively building the party and building a movement, a consensus if you will, on certain issues. We can’t look that in the eye and say ‘No, we don’t want that,’” said former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, adding that the RNC needs to find “creative ways” to work with candidates supported by Paul and his followers, and to work with Paul directly to that end.
“I think, at this stage at this party, everyone who can help us should be brought into the room to help us,” Steele said.
South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson recalled memories of Paul’s supporters campaigning during his state’s early primary.
“I witnessed early on the Ron Paul army in South Carolina,” Dawson said, stressing the importance of building new coalitions. “I want people involved in my party that will hang off bridges and paint on their cars and make up t-shirts. There was a passion that I saw of those people for him and his ideas. Do we agree with all of them? No, but we are a party that has to embrace differences.”
Saul Anuzis, Michigan Republican Party Chairman, touted his outreach to Paul supporters, attending campaign functions and talking to supporters. “I think you treat [Paul supporters] like everybody else—if they want to be part of the Republican Party, if they want to participate, we have to welcome them in.”
Former Mike Huckabee campaign manager Chip Saltsman recalled seeing the passion behind Paul’s operation on the ground while the two former rival campaigns shared office space in Iowa. (Saltsman also identified Paul, an obstetrician, as “Dr. Paul”—a key distinction among his supporters.) “Dr. Paul…he is a wonderful man with wonderful ideas,” Saltsman said, “Do we agree with him all the time? Absolutely not.”
Incumbent RNC Chairman Mike Duncan agreed the GOP has to broaden their appeal, and noted that he has met with Paul on two occasions. The key, Duncan said, was respect. “I personally have treated leaders of his campaign with respect, I’ve met with them. I personally treated his foot soldiers with respect whether it was at our convention in Kentucky or whether it was the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, St. Paul,” he said.
Only Ken Blackwell did not praise Paul by name, although he agreed with the overall sentiment of broadening the party’s base. “We are a federation that invites differences,” he said, “The RNC can no longer be a social club, it must be the flagship Republican organization in this nation.”
As for Paul, he spent Monday doing what he does best—railing against federal intervention and regulation of the free market during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the alleged $50 billion Ponzi schemes of Bernard Madoff.
“It’s not the fault of the individuals at the [Securites and Exchange Commission]. They have an impossible job and they have to pretend they’re doing something to feel relevant, the same way we do here, in the Congress. We have to feel relevant in this,” Paul said, “Instead of saying what we need is the market to work, we need to get rid of the bad policies, the monetary system, and this mountains of debt. We say, well, we’re relevant because we’re going to hire more bureaucrats and we’re going to appropriate more money that we don’t have and we’re going to solve all our problems.”
Permalink | Trackback URL: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2009/01/05/ron-paul-finally-ge...
Save & Share: Share on Facebook | Del.icio.us | Digg this | Email This | Print
Read more: Political Parties, Congress