CampaignSpot reader James offers a take on the Ron Paul phenomenon that makes a lot of sense to me:
May I offer a take on Ron Paul I’ve not read elsewhere? For your consideration, I think the Ron Paul phenomenon exists because Ron Paul has become a vessel for people’s frustration with politics in general and with the Republican party in particular. It doesn’t matter what issues Ron Paul stands for, because support for Ron Paul is itself an act of protest against a party and a government that have become self-serving, anti-democratic, arrogant, out-of-touch, and so on.
If Republicans want to neutralize Ron Paul before he becomes the Ross Perot of 2008 (a crazy Texan who delivers the White House to the Clintons), I think the first thing they should do is come clean, admit they screwed up, apologize to their base, and put out a plan to do better. Similarly, whoever the nominee is needs to back off from the optimism… it comes across as out-of-touch… and show some empathy with the frustration a lot of Republicans, conservatives, and independents like me are feeling right now.
I don’t think they will because they’re too arrogant, but their pride is digging their graves right now.
Another GOP consultant mentioned something similar to me yesterday, lamenting candidates’ constant invocation of their own optimism: “For all of his optimism, Ronald Reagan never went around and told people he was optimistic. He just oozed it, and people caught it.”