Politico Arena: Now that Rep. Ron Paul is a top-tier candidate in Iowa (http://ti.me/uqMhTR) his rivals are likely to gang up on him. They may target the Texan’s associations with unsavory characters (http://bit.ly/8yF964), or a sometimes less-than-pure libertarian stance on congressional earmarks (http://lat.ms/3qVvNc). Middle East politics could also complicate Paul’s presidential bid – he once likened Israel’s defensive blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza to “a concentration camp.” http://bit.ly/bZyybG. Can Ron Paul take a punch?
Benjamin: In my view, Rep. Ron Paul is a libertarian and a realist. He rightly justifies going after earmarks as a constituent service. Technically, an earmark is not new money; it’s approved designated funding of a project from appropriated funds. This will not hurt him with Iowa Caucus voters.
His foreign aid policy — especially on Israel — is red meat to caucus voters. Rep. Paul believes that a US border fence could be used to keep Americans in a homeland concentration camp. He believes its wrong to intern American citizens, e.g., WWII Japanese Americans. Likewise, he regards a fence surrounding Gaza as tantamount to a concentration camp.
Rep. Paul will only pull his committed voters, if he succeeds, he wins. That all that counts. That’s what wins Iowa.
And can he take a punch? He’s been a media punching bag for two presidential election cycles. He’s unbloodied and unbowed. He’s as smart as Gingrich and as organized as Romney.
Libertarianism is at the heart of true conservatism. He speaks to those core values: individual freedom, states’ rights, smaller federal government, etc. Whatever the final outcome, Ron Paul will influence the GOP’s platform.
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