On August 13th the Iowa Republican party hosted its first ‘dry run’ event of the 2012 presidential primary season. The Ames Straw Poll kicks off the real beginning of the Republican primaries and acts as a fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party as well as a chance for would-be candidates to show their ability to muster support.
This year something surprising happened. While Michelle Bachmann took the top spot as expected, Congressman Ron Paul came in a close second. This piece of news hasn’t and won’t make big headlines in corporate media. In fact, only Jon Stewart of the Daily Show seems to be chiming in on this fact.
Ron Paul is something of an abnormality in American politics- and for this he has found a following among those who consider themselves both quite conservative and quite liberal. His mix of policies include a great faith in the power of free markets with competition, an end to corporate welfare, a drawing down of America’s interventionist, imperial policies, a return to sound money and the gold standard, and an end to the costly war on drugs. These positions have won him the respect of many segments of the American people- but little respect from the status quo.
That status quo might regard his stance against the Federal Reserve as ‘too dangerous’ to be allowed to run. Questions about the Federal Reserve’s policies and our nation’s bailout of foreign interests should not be silenced by media sources. This is an important issue that should be discussed by our nation as a whole and voted on- not rammed down our collective throat by the status quo.
For these reasons his upset showing in the straw poll will be discounted and squelched. While one may not agree with the man on every issue, he is true to himself and votes honestly relating to what he feels would be best for our nation. The fact that a man like this cannot be bought is dangerous to those who are growing fat off of our bloated war purse and off of corporate welfare. Along these same lines his free market orthodoxy is perceived as dangerous to the Democratic establishment and their dependence upon the status quo.
While Dr. Paul might not be a perfect candidate, it seems fair to give light to this surprise showing as a warning to all those who laugh the man off. The fact that he provides a different, compelling path for America that does not conform to the Left/Right axis of Democratic and Republican politics- and that this message has found an ever growing following- should be enough to open the eyes of all who are politically aware.
The questions and policy solutions Mr. Paul proposes should see their day in the sun. I venture that a campaign between President Obama and Dr. Paul would be a far more interesting battle of policies than a Bachmann/Obama or Romney/Obama race. Much like Howard Dean in 2004, Ron Paul is a fascinating, strong dark horse candidate.
Perhaps America would see some real change were Dr. Paul able to become a candidate. Perhaps this is why the mainstream media would never allow this race to become a reality.