As often happens in our quadrennial game of presidential pursuit, certain assumptions become accepted by the political cognoscenti by virtue of their very existence. These notions leap into the realm of established public opinion, although they are often posited by the left and should therefore be subject to the strictest scrutiny; but sadly this is not generally the case.
Conservatives frequently complain that our presidential candidates are chosen by the media for us but give little thought to how this is actually possible. It is, and has been for decades, the modus operandi of the media to work hard to predispose the attitudes of voters toward their candidate by planting the seeds of doubt about the chances of his opponents. It is also their wont to make sure that, once entrenched in the minds of an otherwise disinterested and uniformed electorate, their propaganda takes hold as if it were fact: the dreaded "everybody knows it" syndrome. Once established, it is easy for even the most ardent citizen to lose interest, roll over and play dead.
But sometimes a leftist can unintentionally provide an insight which helps prove that, at least in election years, truth can indeed be stranger than fiction. One of the most entertaining is this missive from sometime documentarian Michael Moore, who warns Barack Obama that, "There are enough pissed off people that will go somewhere else" if he doesn't stop taking money from Wall Street. He cautions that the intrepid supporters who manned the phone banks and went door to door for Obama in 2008 might not be back unless he cleans up his act.
But where might they go? This brings me to the first cracked nugget of 2012 political wisdom: that, should Ron Paul decide to run as an Independent, it will be a disaster for the GOP, as he will siphon many votes away from whoever the Republican candidate might be. This is undoubtedly true, yet no one seems to admit to the possibility that a Paul candidacy might also hurt Barack Obama. So maybe Mr. Moore was on the right track, seeing that most of those hope-and-changlings from '08 were college kids and other such dreamers with stars in their eyes.
The point is, that there are such voters in both parties who are sometimes kindly referred to as libertarians. But although this is a broad term with a big tent--encompassing views from Constitutionalism to Socialism to anarchy -- the folks on the left I'm talking about are mostly either young college dopes or old hippie dopers. And a guy like Ron Paul can draw them all in like a crotchety pied piper.
This wouldn't be the first time that the magnetism of a renegade candidate attracted those who would normally be on opposite sides of a campaign. Back in 1964, another crusty, charismatic crusader emerged on the presidential horizon. His name was Barry Goldwater; a man regarded by some as the father of modern conservatism, yet who had the support of many young people who were future leftists, including most notably, Hillary Clinton, who said of him: "I liked Senator Goldwater because he was a rugged individualist who swam against the political tide." Sound like anyone currently running for president? So an Independent effort by Paul will not only attract some on the far right, but will also appeal to Moore's fellow purveyors of anti-war pixie dust.
The other conventional wisdom being bandied about, is that the Bain flap and other attacks on Mitt Romney will be much worse "once he goes against Obama"; that we ain't seen nothin' yet. I fail to see how much worse it can get when right now he's got four guys stabbing him in the back while the media is already giving him the shiv in the front. No, this shibboleth is another invention of the left to further plant in the mind of American voters the inevitability of a second Obama term, and to encourage his fellow Republicans to do their work for them, in the name of toughening him up. This ruse has the added benefit of creating sound bites to be used against them when all the present candidates coalesce behind the eventual nominee.
Now, I'm not the biggest Romney fan in the world, but I was present at CPAC in 2008 when he announced he was dropping out of the race. I remember the applause when Laura Ingraham introduced him as "the conservatives' conservative" and the palpable shock and dismay in the room when his speech ended and the crowd realized he was gone. And while it's true that, when compared to John McCain, that reaction is more understandable, nevertheless, many conservatives were crushed when he quit; ultimately delivering Barack Obama on a silver platter to the nation. This grudging longing for Romney is sure to return when conservatives realize that it may be inevitable that he is their only bulwark against four more years of Obama.
Hard truths, but there it is. Again, he is not my favorite candidate, but make no mistake about it: no matter what they say, it is Romney that the left fears most, and their mouthpieces in the press are doing all they can to take him out now. A Google search on "Bain" and "Washington Post" should tell you all you need to know about the media's desire to end the Romney candidacy.
So, don't buy into the scare tactics about Ron Paul hurting only the GOP or the canard that the media is in any way holding its fire on Romney, and that when he gets the nomination--if indeed he does--they will ramp up the attacks even more. No, once the nomination is secured they will be too busy playing defense; and their guy is going to need plenty of it.
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