The Corner

Ron Paul’s Electability

On Radio Derb and elsewhere I’ve been retailing the conventional wisdom that Ron Paul is unelectable. A listener takes issue:

Mr. Derbyshire:

In spite of his success in the recent Iowa straw poll and his continued ability to raise funds, I keep hearing that Ron Paul is “unelectable” for any number of reasons. This is silliness.

Yes, I cede your point about the number of liberty seeking Americans being less than the number of Americans wanting to live on the dole. It is a good point. But as a demonstration of his electability, one must only observe that Ron Paul has been a member of Congress since 1976. You only get there by winning elections (Texas isn’t Chicago, after all), and he has won quite a lot of them. Ergo, Ron Paul is demonstrably electable.

Isn’t that, as you might say, Q.E.D.?

If we look at statistics, by sheer number of elections won, he is perhaps more electable than anyone else trying out for the job right now.

Personally, I encourage people to vote their convictions rather than listening to the media about electability. Obama was considered unelectable at one point, if I recall correctly.

Certainly there are candidates aside from Ron Paul who may be able to tickle the ears of voters. But then haven’t we had enough of those people? I know I have.

If there is anyone in the group of asylum escapees who want to be the next President, I’m only certain that I know what Ron Paul would actually do. The rest, I’m fairly certain, will run off and do whatever is in the best interests of their re-election hopes, as have so many that have come before them. If Tea Partiers are more than just a bunch of former 700 club members, then I suspect Dr. Paul has a significantly better chance than he is being given by the conservative media, if there is such a thing.

I’d pick a few nits there. Dr. Paul has been in Congress for only 22 of the 36 years since 1976; and I find it hard to believe that anyone ever described Barack Obama as “unelectable.” Who would have dared?

My listener has a point, though. Dr. Paul has won 12 elections in places that look a lot like America. “Unelectable” doesn’t seem like such an apt word to be using. I shall stop using it.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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