Ron Paul gets a bad rap with conservatives. Mostly because he has a contingent of staunchly ideological supporters who are as equally malcontented as any leftist you will come across. Reading the rabid responses to Paul's victory in the CPAC poll told the story of the chasm that exists with conservatives today. We can nearly all agree on the things we do not want however we cannot come to a meeting of the minds on just what it is we do want.
Instead of , at least, reveling in the idea that people, particularly young people (it was pointed out on FOX this morning that the CPAC poll was influenced by a large number of people 25 and under) are open to the ideas of limited government, abolishing the Fed and the message of our Founding Fathers, posters on leading conservative message boards are throwing out adjectives such as mentally unstable, nuts, kook and whacko. Hardly inclusive talk that is looking for common ground to secure the leadership position in Washington come 2012.
Ron Paul is as clear a litmus test on limited government as we might get for a long time. He has a pro-freedom resume that is solid. Yet, we are told over and over again that he is not conservative because of his "only respond if attacked foreign policy". When did an interventionist foreign policy agreement become the litmus test for conservatism?
True, Paul does not understand radical Islam and the threat it poses to western civilization. Conservatives do not understand we are not going to save western civilization by fighting half hearted wars in countless foreign countries all while Islam proliferates in the capitals of Europe and American cities. Something has to give.
Ron Paul isn't going to win the GOP nomination, but he's bringing new, young fiscal conservatives to the cause. When they come to that cause rather than the leftist dogma they were steeped in from cradle to grave we need to embrace that hope. Not only American youths either. Young minds from Istanbul to Oslo are listening to his message and are hearing ideas they have never heard before. For all their lives they've been bathed in cheap Social-Democratic rhetoric and all of a sudden they have a man talking something that stirs them.
As conservatives of all stripes, we need to come together on the principles of liberty we can agree on. All the other stuff, we can work out later. We must understand this one salient point of history; no republic ever fell due to invasion or due to being conquered from outside. Every single republic, from the beginning, fell due to internal economic policy failures. It is for that reason alone, that Ron Paul cannot be dismissed, even for his other errors.
At this standing Barack Obama can not beat any single unified candidate in the 2012 general election. His 41% strongly disapprove numbers are largely irreversible. A single unified fiscally sound and conservative candidate is unbeatable. The trick is keeping our marriage of convenience together and not slipping into 1992 Perot style defeat. The times are too serious and the stakes too high.