Tis the season when local TV channels traditionally replay the adventures of an angry, mean-spirited little cartoon gremlin — but this year, Dr. Seuss’s Grinch risks being eclipsed by Dr. Paul’s “Ronvolutionaries”. Jonathan Chait, at NYMag‘s Daily Intel, hilariously smacks down Andrew Sullivan’s happy fantasy of an Iowa-led RonPaul ReLOVution:
It would be nearly impossible to imagine the Republican Party nominating a candidate who spent years and years publishing a racist newsletter and has deep associations with the fringe far right. (Here he is speaking to the John Birch Society on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.) It would be even more impossible to imagine the Party nominating a candidate who favors total withdrawal from world affairs and takes a Chomsky-ite line on American power. The notion that the Party might nominate a candidate who does both these things is totally preposterous.
Now, Andrew is framing his argument as an argument against a zero chance. Well, sure. It’s not zero. Paul could win the nomination. It’s also possible that Democrats will follow the Schoen–Caddell plan of nominating Hillary Clinton over President Obama, and Obama will flip to the GOP, and Republicans will nominate Obama, and the general election will be Clinton-Obama II: This Time It’s for All the Marbles. It’s possible Newt Gingrich will announce the result of a secret experiment he undertook to resurrect Ronald Reagan through saved brain DNA, implanted in the body of a dinosaur created through similar methods, and that Reaganosaurus will rampage through the Republican field, capture the nomination and, in a climactic debate with Obama, devour him in a single bite. But reporters have good reason to ignore possibilities such as those or a Ron Paul nomination.
Paul’s supporters seem to believe that the media ignoring him is the only thing keeping him from challenging for the Party nomination. More likely, it’s the only thing that’s allowed his candidacy to progress to this point. If more people actually understood the full scope of Paul’s fringe-right views, a huge portion of his support would peel off.
However, according to Politico (take that as you will), GOP insiders are terrified by even the possibility that Dr. Paul might succeed in Iowa and “kill the caucuses“:
In spin rooms, bar rooms and online forums, the what-to-do-about-Paul conversation has become pervasive as polls show him at or near the top here just weeks before the January 3rd vote.
Paul poses an existential threat to the state’s cherished kick-off status, say these Republicans, because he has little chance to win the GOP nomination and would offer the best evidence yet that the caucuses reward candidates who are unrepresentative of the broader party.
“It would make the caucuses mostly irrelevant if not entirely irrelevant,” said Becky Beach, a longtime Iowa Republican who helped Presidents Bush 41 and Bush 43 here. “It would have a very damaging effect because I don’t think he could be elected president and both Iowa and national Republicans wouldn’t think he represents the will of voters.”
What especially worries Iowa Republican regulars is the possibility that Paul could win here on January 3rd with the help of Democrats and independents who change their registration to support the libertarian-leaning Texas congressman but then don’t support the GOP nominee next November….
The most troubling eventuality that Iowa Republicans are bracing for is that Paul wins the caucuses only to lose the nomination and run as a third-party candidate in November — all but ensuring President Obama is re-elected.
Y’know, I think anyone who brags they”helped Presidents Bush 41 and Bush 43” get elected has already had “a very damaging effect” on the nation’s well-being. If Dr. Ron’s fanboys finally convince the Permanent Governing Party (what’s left of it) to order its Media Village courtiers to start ignoring the much-massaged Heartland Voters(tm) of Des Moines, how much of a blow will it be to the rest of us?