Commentary Magazine


Ryan Reaches Out to Ron Paul Supporters

Ron Paul is apparently making Republicans nervous — either because they’re worried his over-exuberant fans will disrupt the festivities today, or because they’re gunning for the libertarian vote in November (I’m guessing the former, since Romney’s not much competition for Gary Johnson).

Whatever the reason, Paul Ryan offered an olive branch to the Paulbots in a Fox News interview yesterday (h/t Jeff Poor):

“[Ron Paul and I] see eye to eye on a lot of issues,” Ryan said. “We believe in sound money. We believe in economic freedom. We believe in the founding principles. We believe this is a watersheds moment for America, whether we are going to reclaim the American idea or a cradle-to-grave welfare state which is where I think the president is taking us. So, I think in the final analysis Ron, he and his supporters should be comfortable with us.”

“Ron is a friend of mine,” Ryan added.

“I have known him a long time in Congress. And so at the end of the day it is a choice between the president’s failed leadership, the big government that he is offering, the borrowing that he is offering, the spending and regulating that he is offering, which will give us a stagnant economy, a lost generation, not just a lost decade, and the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan plan of reclaiming our founding principles, getting back to economic freedom and liberty and reviving this economy.”

Some pro-Israel conservatives, like Seth Lipsky, have argued that, while some of Ron Paul’s foreign policy views are naive, his positions on the Federal Reserve and sound money are too important to ignore. That seems to be Ryan’s position as well — he lists “sound money,” “economic freedom” and “founding principles” as issues on which he and Paul see “eye to eye.”

Still, when considering the entirety of Paul’s career — which the GOP is doing today — it’s difficult to get past Paul’s views on intervention, terrorism-as-blowback, and the years of racist newsletters published under his name (which he says he wasn’t aware of). All seem to point to a core mental glitch. It’s not just that Paul has been wrong on a few issues; it’s that he’s willfully ignored, and continues to ignore, basic truths in order to cling to a defective worldview.

Additionally, from a political perspective it makes it harder for Republicans to criticize the DNC for giving a speaking slot to Jimmy Carter when the RNC is devoting a tribute video to (and praising) Paul. Carter may be much more overt when it comes to slandering Israel and defending terrorists, but it still weakens the GOP’s case.