The Reactionary Utopian
                      June 12, 2007

by Joe Sobran

     I guess I've known Ron Paul for a quarter of a 
century now, and I don't remember how we met. My first 
memory of him is a quiet dinner on Capitol Hill, during 
the Reagan years. He told me with dry humor of being the 
only member of Congress to vote against some bill Reagan 
wanted passed. For Ron it was a matter of principle, and 
he was under heavy pressure to change his vote.

     What amused him was that the Democrats didn't mind 
his voting against it; all the pressure came from his 
fellow Republicans, professed conservatives, who were 
embarrassed that anyone should actually stand up for 
their avowed principles when it was unpopular to do so.

     That was Ron Paul for you. Still is. The whole 
country is getting to know him now, and the Republicans 
still want to get rid of him. The party's hacks, led by 
Newt Gingrich, have even tried in vain to destroy him in 
his own Texas district.

     They're right, in a way. He doesn't belong in a 
party that has made "conservative" a synonym for 
"destructive." George Will calls him a "useful 
anachronism" because he actually believes, as literally 
as circumstances permit, in the U.S. Constitution. In his 
unassuming way, without priggery or histrionics, he 
stands alone.

     He may have become at last what he has always 
deserved to be: the most respected member of the U.S. 
Congress. He is also the only Republican candidate for 
president who is truly what all the others pretend to be, 
namely, a conservative. His career shows that a 
patriotic, pacific conservatism isn't a paradox.

     If they can't expel Ron Paul from the party, they 
can at least deny him the nomination. The GOP 
front-runner, Rudy Giuliani, who says he hates abortion 
more than any other constitutional right (or words to 
that effect), went into raptures of phony indignation 
during the first "debate" when Paul said simply that the 
9/11 attacks were a natural result of U.S. foreign 
policy. The pundits applauded the demagogue, but millions 
of viewers were thrilled to find one honest man on that 
crowded stage. (By the way, Paul is a doctor who has 
delivered thousands of babies and never killed one.)

     Ron -- I'm very proud to call him my friend -- fares 
well not only in comparison with the party's sorry 
current candidates, but also with its legendary 
conservative giants, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. 
He lacks their charisma and of course Reagan's matchless 
charm, but he excels them both in consistency, depth, 
historical awareness, courage, and honor. Heaven grant 
him some of Reagan's luck!

     Which brings us to the big question: does Ron Paul 
have a prayer? Well, he may have a prayer, but that's 
about it. He doesn't have a billion dollars; delivering 
babies, often free of charge, is not the way to amass a 
staggering fortune. He has nothing to offer the special 
and foreign interests who pour millions into Rudy's and 
Hillary's coffers. Sorry, this isn't a Frank Capra movie.

     But virtue -- honor -- is rare enough to be an 
asset, especially when the two big parties don't have 
much of it. If both offer pro-war, pro-abortion New York 
liberals next year, there could be an urgent demand for a 
third option, especially since Giuliani could smash 
what's left of the Bush-riddled GOP coalition while 
Hillary remains, well, Hillary.

     What if Ron Paul runs for president on, say, the 
Constitution Party ticket? Who knows? I can only attest 
that to know him is to love him, and knowing him for many 
years has only deepened the esteem I felt for him when we 
were both much younger men. This is a man who strikes 
deep chords in people's hearts.

     Every attempt to portray him as an extremist, or 
even eccentric, founders on his palpable probity and 
wisdom. His words are the carefully measured words of one 
given to meditation. Ron Paul is a man you listen closely 

     The odds are heavily against his being elected 
president next year. But if he is on the ballot in 
November, the odds are far heavier against his 
candidacy's being forgotten. He will say things worth 
pondering long after the votes are cast.

     Until now, the GOP has been able to contain Paul by 
pretending he wasn't there. But the silent treatment can 
no longer stifle this soft-spoken man. He has been proved 
right too often.


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