'NYT': Ron Paul for President -- Of the 'Wackos'?

By: E&P Staff A feature piece in this coming Sunday's New York Times Magazine on Republican candidate for president, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, portrays his followers as including a wild mix of "wackos" on both ends of the political spectrum. Paul, a libertarian, has been gaining media and public attention of late.

The cover line reads: "A Genuine Radical for President." The headline inside: "The Antiwar, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Drug-Enforcement-Administration, Anti-medicare Candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul."

The article closes with the author, Christopher Caldwell, attending a Ron Paul Meetup in Pasadena. The co-host, Connie Ruffley of United Republicans of California, admits she once was a member of the radical right John Birch Society and when she asks for a show of hands "quite a few" attendees reveal that they were or are members, too. She refers to Sen. Dianne Feinstein as "Fine-Swine" and attacks Israel, pleasing some while others "walked out."

Caldwell notes that the head of the Pasadena Meetup Group, Bill Dumas, sent a desperate letter to Paul headquarters: "We're in a difficult position of working on a campaign that draws supporters from laterally opposing points of view, and we have the added bonus of attracting every wacko fringe group in the country....We absolutely must focus on Ron's message only and put aside all other agendas, which anyone can save for the next 'Star Trek' convention or whatever."

Asked about the John Birch Society Society by the author, Paul responds, "Is that BAD? I have a lot of friends in the John Birch Society. They're generally well-educated and they understand the Constitution. I don't know how many positions they would have that I don't agree with."

The writer concludes that the "antigovernment activists of the right and the antiwar activists of the left" may have "irreconciable" differences. But "their numbers -- and anger -- are of considerable magnitude. Ron Paul will not be the next president of the United States. But his candidacy gives us a good hint about the country the next president is going to have to knit back together."

Among many other things, we learn from the article that Paul had never heard of "The Daily Show" until he was a guest and referred to the magazine GQ as "GTU." It also notes that he was the only congress member to vote against the Financial Antiterrorism Act and a medal to honor Rosa Parks, among many others tallies, based on principle, not politics. He also is praised by liberal Rep. Barney Frank as "one of the easiest" members to work with because "he bases his positions on the merits of issues."


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