Seriously. Can you think of any politician off the top of your head?
One thing you can say for certain: The crowds at Ron Paul rallies aren’t coming to be entertained. Stylistically, a Paul speech is about as colorful as a tax return. He is the only politician I’ve ever seen who doesn’t draw energy from the audience; his tone is as flat at the conclusion as it was at the beginning. There are no jokes. There’s no warm-up, no shout-out to local luminaries in the room, no inspiring vignettes about ordinary Americans doing their best in the face of this or that bad thing. In fact, there are virtually none of the usual political clichÃ©s in a Paul speech. Children may be our future, but Ron Paul isn’t admitting it in public. […]
Being at the center of attention clearly bothers Paul. “I like to be unnoticed,” he says, a claim not typically made by presidential candidates. “That’s my personality. I see all the excitement and sometimes I say to myself, ‘Why do they do that?’ I don’t see myself as a big deal.” Ordinarily you’d have to dismiss a line like that out of hand–if he’s so humble, why is he running for president?–but, in Paul’s case, it might be true. In fact, it might be the key to his relative success. His fans don’t read his awkwardness as a social phobia, but as a sign of authenticity. Paul never outshines his message, which is unchanging: Let adults make their own choices; liberty works. For a unified theory of everything, it’s pretty simple. And Paul sincerely believes it.
You may read this as ageism (it’s not), but the guy is too old to hide who he really is. He’s the genuine article, warts and all. He believes in what he says and his supporters, in turn, believe that he means it. A bit of a departure from the normal poli-speak and one of the reasons I find him so refreshing. And one of the reasons I’d like to see him mount a 3rd party campaign. We need his straight talk in the debate, and if Paul starts drawing double digits on the national stage, he’ll get into the debates.
Take this bit about unpasteurized milk for instance…
Most Republicans, of course, profess to believe it too. But only Paul has introduced a bill to legalize unpasteurized milk. Give yourself five minutes and see if you can think of a more countercultural idea than that. Most people assume that the whole reason we have a government is to make sure the milk gets pasteurized. It takes some stones to argue otherwise, especially if nobody’s paying you to do it. (The raw-milk lobby basically consists of about eight goat-cheese enthusiasts in Manhattan, and possibly the Amish.) Paul is pro-choice on pasteurization entirely for reasons of principle. “I support the right of people to drink whatever they want,” he says. He mocks the idea that “only government can make sure we’re safe, so we need the government to protect us. I don’t think we’d all die of unsafe food if we didn’t have the FDA. Someone else would do it.”
By the way, I knew a woman who drank raw milk and swore by it.
Me? I’ll stick with skim.