by Jonah Goldberg

Maybe some will think this is so much nitpicking, but it’s the sort of thing that vexes me (and it’s in the wheelhouse of my forthcoming book). On yesterday’s Meet the Press, Kathie Obradovich of the Des Moines Register explained:

You know, I think that we’ve got a different electorate than we did in 2008 because the Democrats don’t have a contest. So you have people who are independents in particular who want a caucus and a lot of them are going toward Ron Paul. He is the least ideological on the social issues. And also what we’re getting is, I think, a desperation for real change. And I think a lot of those folks are flocking toward Ron Paul because he is a guy who is completely different.

What vexes me is the idea that Ron Paul’s position on social issues is any less ideological than Rick Santorum’s or, for that matter, Barack Obama’s. My point isn’t to criticize Paul; his mix of personal responsibility and federalism — as espoused recently, at least — probably comes closest to reflecting my own views, my own ideological views.

There’s this tendency to think that any views that align with independents, liberal elites, social liberals, etc., are non-ideological. If there was ever a candidate whose views are strongly, nakedly, ideological, it’s Ron Paul. Just because his ideology — libertarianism — is more superficially palatable to liberals on social issues doesn’t make it any less ideological.

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