The Youthful Magic of Ron Paul

South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint, the darling of the Tea Party wing nuts of the GOP, is urging Republican candidates to listen to Ron Paul. “One of the things that’s hurt the so-called conservative alternative is saying negative things about Ron Paul,” DeMint told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. “I’d like to see a Republican Party that embraces a lot of the libertarian ideas.”

Why the sudden enthusiasm of Republican leaders for Ron Paul? Credit his surprisingly strong showing in New Hampshire, where 47 percent of primary voters between the ages of 18 and 29 voted for him.

No other Republican candidate has come nearly as close to winning over young voters – and the GOP desperately needs young voters. The median age of registered Republicans is rising faster than the median age of America.

The Republican right thinks Paul’s views on the economy are responsible for this fire among the young. Yesterday evening, on Larry Kudlow’s CNBC program, I squared off with Larry and the Wall Street Journal’s Steve Moore. Both are convinced young people are attracted by Paul’s strict adherence to the views of Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, and Paul’s desire to move America back to the gold standard.

Baloney. The young are flocking to Ron Paul because he wants to slice military spending, bring our troops home, stop government from spying on American citizens, and legalize pot.

So do I, but I somehow doubt Jim DeMint would advise Republican candidates to listen to me, even if I were a Republican candidate for President.

Paul is attractive to younger voters precisely because of positions he takes that are anathema to the vast majority of the Republican base, including almost all Tea Party Republicans.

If other Republican candidates want to cozy up to him, fine. But if they do, they’ll have a lot of explaining to do in Bluffton, South Carolina.

On the other hand, if Republicans — or Democrats, for that matter — want to win over much of the nation’s young next November, they’d do well to listen carefully to Paul’s positions on national defense and civil liberties.

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About Robert Reich 547 Articles

Robert Reich is the nation's 22nd Secretary of Labor and a professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

He has served as labor secretary in the Clinton administration, as an assistant to the solicitor general in the Ford administration and as head of the Federal Trade Commission's policy planning staff during the Carter administration.

He has written eleven books, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into 22 languages; the best-sellers The Future of Success and Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His articles have appeared in the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Mr. Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine. His weekly commentaries on public radio’s "Marketplace" are heard by nearly five million people.

In 2003, Mr. Reich was awarded the prestigious Vaclev Havel Foundation Prize, by the former Czech president, for his pioneering work in economic and social thought. In 2005, his play, Public Exposure, broke box office records at its world premiere on Cape Cod.

Mr. Reich has been a member of the faculties of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and of Brandeis University. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

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6 Comments on The Youthful Magic of Ron Paul

  1. It is the concept of decentralization, a more natural way of being that is the attraction of libertarianism and Ron Paul’s platform.
    Technology is evermore allowing for decentralization to be utilized to our benefit, but of course they run counter to socialism.
    I am 54 years old, but as an architect who is well versed in technology and has created many “small worlds” and built environments for people, understands what the young folks see in Ron Paul.

  2. “Baloney. The young are flocking to Ron Paul because he wants to slice military spending, bring our troops home, stop government from spying on American citizens, and legalize pot.”

    Really? Way to discredit an important entire segment of eligible voters. Guess we better raise the voting age to 40 to make sure these pot-smoking, peace loving pacifist types can’t have a say. Make the demographic fit the candidates instead of the other way around.

  3. Bob,

    “The young are flocking to Ron Paul because he wants to slice military spending, bring our troops home, stop government from spying on American citizens, and legalize pot.”

    On your last point, you believe that at your own risk. The rest of your points are true. I am a 26-year old immigrant so I have had an unbiased view of American politics over the past 4 years. The first thing that got me researching about Ron Paul was the strange idea that the Fed is not the American people’s friend & they blow up the bubbles that eventually burst. The fact that Austrian economists have proved repeatedly that they can predict bubbles & busts is not a secret (well, atleast to normal people not blinded by Keynesian idiocy). The fact that so many Americans around me were struggling to find employment…and here was someone who has said something for 30 years, has facts , history & a voting record to back it up, has proved that govt intervention has made things worse & is personally incorruptible leads many like me to believe that he will do what he says when he is in office & what he says will WORK.

    It is a cliche but nonetheless true that doing something over & over again and expecting different results is insanity. That is what we have been led into with 60 years of Keynesian economics. The only ones trying to discredit Austrian economics are Keynesian economists, Big govt liberals & Big govt conservatives who have not only their public office, but their reputations to protect against someone who has stood a 30-yr test of time.

  4. You are right they are flocking to him for the military spending and civil liberty issues. DeMint is right as well they are flocking to him for the Austrian School as well. It can be both.

  5. Ron Paul is not for legalizing pot. He wants to let states choose and get rid of the unnecessary spending the Federal government allocated in trying to prosecute drug users and dealers.

    Get it right.

  6. Ron Paul, a patriot, who has honorably served his country, defends both the constitution and

    civil liberties, and is for peace and prosperity. Dr. Paul has the wisdom, foresight,

    honesty and integrity to be president.

    Dr. Paul believes spending and deficits are destroying this country. Dr. Paul’s budget plan

    would save $1 trillion in the first year. Besides the spending cuts, there are other issues

    of importance to voters. For conservatives, Dr. Paul scores an A+ on all of them: Second

    Amendment protection, pro-life record, right-to-work, pro-business, anti-tax, states’

    rights, you name it.

    Dr. Paul also believes America should have the strongest national defense on earth — which

    he believes begins with not trying to constantly police the earth. Right now, our

    government puts our best and bravest in harm’s way on a regular basis for questionable

    reasons and with no discernible notion of victory. This is not supporting the troops. It’s

    abusing them. Dr. Paul wants an end to this absurd, costly policy.

    The voters have declared Dr. Paul the alternative to the liberal, flip flopping Mitt Romney.

    The other candidates are simply irrelevant. In the New Hampshire Primary, Dr. Paul received

    more votes than all the supposed Anti-Romney (Santorum, Gingrich, and Perry) candidates


    The question for Republican voters is not whether they can afford to vote for Dr. Paul –

    it’s whether they can afford not to.

    America Needs Ron Paul.

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