December 04, 2007

Several years ago I lived in a liberal college town where I was outed, due to a newspaper profile, as a card-carrying Republican.


The article noted that I was a Christian pro-life mom and the daughter of Costa Rican immigrants, believed there was an ongoing culture war, supported limited taxation, and was happily married to a male (the latter being relevant since the town was located in Massachusetts).


In another life, I was Religious Right promo material – en español.


But that was then, and this is now.


These days, according to some loudmouths, I have more in common with the “antiwar moonbats” that hold Sunday peace rallies in my former place of residence than the Republicans that are presently in power.


Truth is, I haven’t joined the NEA, ACLU, Code Pink, or the National Council of La Raza. Unlike Dennis Kucinich, I’ve never seen a UFO. I remain proud that my father served in the U.S. Army, that I have an Old Glory sticker on my small car, and that my home education policy paper was published by the Cato Institute in 1998.


My views, since that above-mentioned newspaper profile ran, haven’t altered, except that I would rather watch Lou Dobbs than listen to Rush Limbaugh.


But here’s the rub: You’ve heard of the baby doctor who has that Revolution and Internet and “We the People” buzz going? The one who happens to be a Republican? Well, I’ve decided that he is ‘da man’ who has the reputation and the voting record to take on The Man. And, I don’t mean Hillary.


I mean the Man who stands for Redistribution of Wealth, the Denial of Civil Liberties, the Military Industrial Complex, the Welfare State, and every other socialist ploy aimed at enlarging the American Empire and Hegemony and decreasing the size of the dollar and the middle class.


In fact, in the last century, right-wing types had a simple way of describing patriotic congressional representatives like Ron Paul, who championed limited federal government, believed in natural rights, respected the oath they swore to uphold, and eschewed Wilsonian-style foreign policy. We used to call them “conservatives.”


Instead, in this race for the White House, there are many surprises. Dr. Ron Paul, the ten-term Texas congressman, gets treated more respectfully by bawdy comedians like Jay Leno and Jon Stewart and independent bloggers like Glenn Greenwald, than RINO’s like Glenn Beck, David Horowitz, and Frank Luntz. Beck and Horowitz had a chummy television exchange in which the former likened Paul’s supporters to “terrorists,” and the latter said that, a fountain of fun information about Paul’s campaign, was “totally in bed with the Islamofascists.” Meanwhile, Pollster Luntz dubbed Paul supporters “crabgrass.”


There’s even a whole passel of Religious Right leadership – from Pat Robertson (Rudy’s the guy) to Bob Jones III (Mitt’s my man) to Sam Brownback (I’m for McCain) to Janet Folger (Go Huckabee Go) to the National Right to Life Committee (Fred!) to the Home School Legal Defense Association PAC (Ditto what Janet said) – who have taken an “Anybody But Ron Paul” (ABRP) stand.


Anybody but the guy who is so pro-life he’s delivered over 4000 babies and who avers that he has “never once considered performing an abortion.” Anybody but the guy who is so opposed to government pork that he has been christened the “Taxpayers’ Best Friend.” Anybody but the guy who wants to stop offering “birthright” citizenship to illegal aliens. Anybody but the guy who, shortly after 9-11, authored the Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001. Anybody but the guy who wants to shut down the IRS and the Federal Department of Education and believes the Second Amendment means what it says. Anybody but the guy who has honorably served his country in the military.


It’s clear that Glenn Beck, et. al., either don’t understand or don’t care about limitations placed on the federal government and couldn’t be bothered with such inconvenient realities as “Iraqi refugees” and American military families struggling with multiple tours of duty. It’s also clear that “the quasi-Christian right,” to borrow seminary professor and self-supporting Ethiopian missionary Dr. David Alan Black’s phrase, has no interest in a candidate with a pristine personal life who walks the walk. Again, ABRP.


So, it’s both comical and appalling to watch this cast of characters actively working to silence or ignore one of their own party’s lions. But there’s blowback to the bloviating: Paul’s support among rank and file Republicans continues to grow.


Besides contacting right-of-center Ron Paul supporters for this article, I also contacted folks affiliated with popular venues and causes – and I’m paraphrasing myself – to ask “Why so little love from your block towards the champion of limited government and all other things truly conservative?”


Free Republic, National Review Online, the ministry of Dr. James Dobson, and Red State were among those I wrote (twice to Dobson’s organization and the person I contacted at NRO was someone who had previously interviewed me) with that paraphrased question.


Only Paul Cella, a Red State editor, gamely offered a response as to why his site decided to prohibit new account users to “shill” for Paul. In an e-mail, Cella stated, “Basically, the editors who do the hard work of policing comments were fed up with Ron Paul supporters, or I should say, with that particular faction of Paul supporters who frequent websites with the notion of turning every possible discussion into another appeal for Paul. It is very disruptive. I would imagine similar action would be taken if supporters of any candidate were showing up in such numbers, and with such monomania. In fact there have been a number of incidents with supporters of other candidates – just none this high-profile.”


(Monomania? I guess of the sort an overly enthusiastic LSU fan displays for the Tigers at an Alabama football game.)


I will agree that policing comments can be a thankless job, since the mannerless and grammarless will always be among us. However, appearing like an arbitrary censor is not the best strategy to win friends and influence people.


Red State’s policy, in fact, bothered Heather Labonte, a home education blogger, who has twice voted for George W. Bush. She recently joined the Web site and was surprised to find her views “banned.” After the embargo, she promptly wrote a letter to Red State noting, “I like Ron Paul because he believes that the basis for all of our government should be the Constitution. I believe that he tries to make all of his votes and decisions starting at that point.” Added Labonte, “My number one issue is abortion. By a long shot. I would vote for a pro-life Green Party candidate, before I would vote for a pro-abortion Republican.”


George Washington (if he had lived in an age of women’s suffrage) would describe that attitude as putting principles above party.


Like Heather Labonte, Chris Dortignac of California, is also a passionate pro-lifer (he’s child numero dos in a family of 14 kids) and a Paul supporter. The twenty-something has blunt advice for his generation about the political process. “We should examine which of the candidates has the best understanding of constitutional government. If it be Guiliani, (it’s not), then vote for him. If you are not familiar with the rights and responsibilities, restrictions and standards, the Constitution gives, then maybe you should not vote.”


John Spencer is a longtime “Freeper” who agrees with Paul’s economic positions, especially on the Federal Reserve System. He joined Free Republic when it was a site that “stressed the Constitution and individual rights.” Spencer has since become dismayed with how his “neocon” brethren at Free Republic have hijacked the debate. He sums up his frustration with the kind of barbed comment that the Internet inspires: “Since the IQ at Free Republic is no higher than 90, they can’t appreciate critical thinking.”


Judy Aron is the operator of Consent of the Governed blog and ran for the state legislature in Connecticut as a Republican. She advances a theory as to why the elites don’t care for Dr. No. Aron notes, “The Republican Machine won’t stand for him. They are desperate for Rudy, and they believe he is the only one able to beat Clinton, despite the Internet numbers and polling which demonstrate Ron Paul’s popularity.”


Tom Ambrose, former commentary editor of WorldNetDaily, agrees with that sentiment. Ambrose opines, “I can only guess that the GOP faithful are afraid he (Paul) doesn’t have the firepower to beat whomever the Democrats nominate. With such foolish thinking, of course, our nation is in serious trouble.”


An aside: Anyone who has watched the 72-year-old Paul up close and personal, as I recently did at Ronstock (5,000 people!) in Philadelphia, knows that he has the firepower – intellectual and physical – to stay focused on his thankless task and keep up with the never-ending demands of a presidential campaign schedule. He also has the support of his wife of fifty years, Carol, and his children and grandchildren.


Ted Maravelias, who was one of the original members of the “Buchanan Brigade,” remains politically active in GOP circles. He thinks that if Paul wins his home state of New Hampshire in the Republican primary, like maverick Pat Buchanan did in 1996, the attacks will only intensify. “The GOP has gone so far left under the pseudo-conservative Bush Administration, that a conscientious constitutional conservative, like Ron Paul, sticks out like a sore thumb,” observes Maravelias. He adds, “I will not settle for the lesser of two evils, no matter what. I am done with that. When asked if he would support the Republican nominee, regardless of whom it was, Ron Paul seemed to share my view. He reserved the right to see who it will be and what the person stands for.”


Like Maravelias, Charlie Meadows is a religious traditionalist and an active political conservative. Meadows, however, admits to being conflicted about Paul, because he doesn’t agree with the doctor’s position on the so-called “War on Terror.” That difference aside, Meadows, in a widely circulated e-mail to Religious Right activists in Oklahoma, wrote, “I believe Ron Paul would be the best person to occupy the Presidency to oppose the people and ideas which represent a threat to continuance of the American experiment from within.” Although a talk radio aficionado, Meadows disapproves of how the congressman has been caricatured by certain infotainment pundits. He brings up one familiar name: “I think [Sean Hannity] has the freedom to trash Ron Paul, but many true conservatives don’t care for Hannity. He’s a compromised conservative.”


Quasi-Christian, pseudo-conservative, compromised conservative … the Ron Paul candidacy has caused an unexpected separating of the goats from the sheep moment, hasn’t it? Will the real conservative please stand up? Is it those who will continue to support the New Age Monarchy, Big Brother, War is Peace policies of Team Bush via a Rudy McRomney presidency? Or is it those who will stand for the government envisioned by the Founders? Admittedly, if you wholeheartedly toss your lot in with the former, you’re going to be smeared by the professional chickenhawks and other sanctimonious sell-outs – those we wish would stick to mooning over their rising Halliburton stock options, blathering about their squishy candidates, rigging polls against Paul, gushing over the make-believe Jack Bauer, and leave the serious business of restoring a dying Republic to the adults.


Although the Ron Paul Revolution transcends cliques, it brings together a diverse coalition of Americans, because it is a thinking man and woman’s revolution.


After attending Ronstock in Philly, I concluded that Paul’s supporters come from all walks of life. They are the grassroots, not crabgrass. They are proactive, civic-minded volunteers who collect ballot signatures, hand out leaflets, donate money, write letters to the editor, attend Meetup groups, drive long distances in so-so weather, stand on a street corner with a sign, and register to vote. In short, people who are too busy to be spamming polls or concocting half-baked schemes to overthrow the government. Doug Bandow, the prolific op. ed. writer, even found a supporter who was selling his big screen TV on Craigslist in order to donate the funds to the Ron Paul 2008 – Hope for America campaign.


As Paul himself has said, “I like my special interests – individuals.”


So, if I, and other decided voters—e.g. social conservatives with a libertarian streak—find ourselves breaking bread with a pierced protest rocker or an exotic dancer or a nerdy tech guru or a Quaker pacifist or a rapper with street cred or a Vendetta mask wearer or a guy who favors a “nerdy and white” sweatshirt or an Ayn Rand acolyte or a “Don’t tread on me” flag waver, and, yes, even a Massachusetts “antiwar moonbat,” well, hallelujah. This is an inclusive civil rights movement for the unrepresented American. All are welcome—even recovering ABRP neocons—who embrace the message of liberty, peace, and rule of law and who are tired of injustice, death, and fakes.


In fact, in the 1980s, conservatives had an adjective for such a diverse coalition: Reaganesque.


Let freedom ring!


Izzy Lyman has been published in the Miami Herald, Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Investor’s Business Daily, Boston Herald, Los Angeles Daily Journal, Daily Oklahoman, (Lancaster) Sunday News, Ventura County Star, and even in National Review.


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