Stop ignoring Ron Paul!
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Beth Cody, Writers' Group member
Iowa City Press-Citizen

I attended the Ames Straw Poll last Saturday to cast my vote for the Republican candidate whom I thought had the best ideas about how to make our nation more prosperous and to advance individual freedom.

Of course, Ron Paul has the best ideas to accomplish both of these. His message has been consistent for decades: much smaller government; a lot less government spending; lower taxes; fewer job-strangling regulations; stop policing the world; sound, non-inflationary money based on gold; personal responsibility and individual freedom.

Four years ago he was ridiculed for his predictions of economic troubles ahead and vilified by other Republicans as Un-American for being against the war.

But now that most Americans realize the futility, expense and costs to our freedom of policing the world, you don't hear much about the war from Republicans.

And now that the economy has been wrecked by the spending and policies that Ron Paul warned us about, most of the other Republican candidates now sound a lot like … Ron Paul.

Or "Ron Paul Lite" anyway: they give lip service to the idea of cutting spending, but fiscal conservatives have heard these promises many, many times before and have always been disappointed.

Many of the current crop of candidates have voting records that hardly give the electorate much reassurance that smaller government really is their primary goal.

For example, Mitt Romney's "Romneycare" is now a deserved millstone around his neck that will probably be his undoing in this race.

Other candidates focus on social issues (like Michelle Bachman's pledge to ban gay marriage – and pornography!) when it's obvious that those divisive issues are not what most voters want to hear about in these troubled times.

Voters are now starting to listen to Ron Paul and his once-"crazy ideas." He has influenced the entire shape of political debate now: serious questioning of the Federal Reserve's monetary manipulations, our military empire, our debt-ridden government, our unprecedented levels of spending.

But you wouldn't know this to read the coverage provided by mainstream media. Ron Paul is no longer ridiculed, he is merely ignored.

Ron Paul has become a ghost.

He came in a very close second place in last week's Straw Poll: Bachman got 29% of the votes, Ron Paul got 28% – only 152 fewer votes out of the 16,892 ballots cast – and the third place Tim Pawlenty got half as many votes as Ron Paul did, causing him to drop out of the presidential race.

This, together with raising more money than any other candidate than Romney, is a very significant result, showing that Ron Paul is starting to appeal to people as a candidate.

But Big Media almost completely ignores him: headlines like "Michele Bachmann wins Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty gets third," or only a brief mention that he received second place before dwelling at length on every other candidate.

This only shows why Big Media is on the decline. People don't trust it to report reality.

Is it a coordinated conspiracy? Of course not. But government-idolizers hate him, most journalists disagree with his ideas and have heard that he's a kook with no real chance of being nominated anyway, and the Republican Party itself despises and ignores him for not being a warmongering champion of the right flavor of big government like the other candidates.

The journalists are probably right that he would never be nominated by the GOP no matter how popular he becomes. They'd rather run a warmongering big-spender that turns people off (again) and lose the election (again).

But a genuine small-government conservative candidate like Ron Paul is just what the hidebound GOP needs – independents love him, young people like him and his voting record proves to fiscal conservatives that he "walks the walk."

Media: Time to sit up and notice.