To me, the most impressive part about yesterday’s New Hampshire primary results, was not Mitt Romney’s victory – which was expected – but Congressman Paul’s strong second place showing. Paul has now finished strongly in Iowa and New Hampshire, while the others hoping to bump Romney from front-runner status were left in the dust. Not only has Paul emerged as the anti-establishment candidate conservatives should want as their standard bearer, he is delivering results at the polls. Four years ago, he finished fifth in New Hampshire. With much less money than Romney and his well-oiled machine, this time around, he finished second. And when Paul congratulated Romney last night, he was right to say, “we are nipping at his heals.”
The Paul detractors like to call him a “nut case,” or in the case of Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, “an idiot.” And maybe Paul is correct, when he says those critics “call us dangerous, because we are dangerous to the status quo.” But one by one, Paul and his supporters are knocking down barriers “why he cannot be President,” including he “is not electable.” A new CBS poll, which has also been given short-shrift by the media, shows Romney and Paul as the only candidates who could defeat President Barack Obama. Paul’s age may be another myth destroyed. If elected, he would be as old as Ronald Reagan in his second term. Plus he looks in good health. Besides, age is in these days is not the big deal it once was. Baseball is about to extend Commissioner Bud Selig’s contract, keeping him on the job, until he is 80. The Pope is 85. Why should age be a factor? If anything, Paul has managed to energize the youth vote on college and high school campuses more than any GOP candidate.
The energy in the room, during Paul’s speech last night, came through the television screen, unlike Romney’s speech, which – although good – seemed like something scripted out of Hollywood. Paul’s speech was energetic, instructive, passionate and came from the heart, delivered without a teleprompter. Besides, I defy any conservative talking head – and count me among them – to disagree with what Paul said:
-“The Constitution is designed not to restrain individuals but to protect individuals and restrain the government.”
-“The Founding Fathers believed the role of government in society was protection of liberty.”
-“Liberty means you have a right to your life, privacy and the way you want to live your life, as long as you don’t hurt people. And you have a right to keep and spend your money, as you want to.”
-“Economic freedom should bring people together.”
-“The Federal Reserve takes care of banks, the military industrial complex and deficit financing. It’s a sneaky and deceitful way to pay the bills.”
-“I will cut the federal budget by $1 trillion dollars my first year in office. Other candidates are not talking about real cuts, but cuts in spending growth.”
-“America has been the greatest country ever; the most prosperous country ever; the largest middle class ever, but it’s not that way today. Our middle class is shrinking. The country is getting poorer. The wealth is based on debt. The few, who really hold the wealth, it’s maldistribution of that wealth that shifts over, due to the regulations that control government.”
-“The bleeding hearts and their good intentions don’t work. The humanitarian instincts are there across the board. What we have to convince them is, if you are a true humanitarian, you have to fight for free markets, sound money, property rights, contract rights, no use of force, and a sensible foreign policy, so we don’t waste our resources.”
Isn’t this what the conservative talking heads say? All the criticisms of Paul are reminiscent of what they said about Reagan in the 1980 campaign. Those who choose to underestimate Paul’s campaign do so at their own peril, including the GOP establishment, which fears him most. Anybody who thinks Romney has this thing in the bag, never followed Ronald Reagan in 1980. In many respects, this race has just begun.