Ron Paul is killin’ it in recent polls -- and suddenly the GOP’s grandpa is looking like a serious contender in Iowa. As the numbers and packed campus auditoriums suggest, there’s an unexpected crew that’s supporting his bid…but why?
At first glance, it might seem strange that the elder Texan statesman and staunch libertarian (Kurt Loder can explain what that means), who clocks in at a spry 76, is mobilizing the same age group that made “Jersey Shore” a worldwide phenomenon.
But the stats speak for themselves – in terms of Iowans under 45, Rand racked in 33% to 16% for Romney and 11% for Gingrich, both of whom are supposedly the elephants who can kick Obama’s donkey derriere in 2012.
The best analogy we’ve seen so far for this under-the-hill coalition comes from WashPo’s Alexandra Petri - who calls Ron Paul “the Betty White of GOP Politics.”
Like the former Golden Girl, a cult of personality has organically sprouted up around the quirky, consistent and curmudgeonly Congressman – but is Papa Paul’s youth army just showing up at rallies for another episode of “Old People Say The Darndest Things?”
Photo: Old school Ron Paul kickin' it with another Ron -- Ronald Reagan.
Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast doesn’t think so. He argues that the MTV demo is taking RP for real despite both parties dissin’ his candidacy because he earned it, the old-fashioned way. And because his freedom-first straight talk is striking a real chord with Millennials and the young 99%. Writes Sullivan:
“There is no way over the long term that Americans will be or should be prepared to endure greater relative poverty in a free trading world when they also have to pay almost the entire cost of global order and stability required to uphold it…The young get this. They were not brought up under the Cold War and mercifully have not absorbed its toxic fumes as children. Their formative war is neither WWII nor Vietnam, but Iraq. They want an America that is not bankrupting itself either by too expensive a welfare state at home or too unwieldy a war-machine abroad.”
But becoming the front-runner has put Paul in everyone’s line of fire, and some of the bullets are putting serious holes in his credibility. The biggest question brought up is summed up in this recent BET headline: “Is Ron Paul a Racist?”
A series of newsletters published under Ron Paul’s name in the 80's and early 90's have popped up and they say some incredibly insane and insidious things about African-Americans (Paul claims a ghostwriter penned them) – which is why Andy Ostroy from HuffPo really wants all young Americans to look hard at the candidate who’s winning their hearts.
Whew. This is A LOT to digest. But we want y’all to have all the info before you jump on the RP bandwagon. It’s clearly a big deal for the GOP to attract more young voters -- right now there’s an all-time high 20% difference between young and old who rep Democrat or Republican -- but is Ron Paul the right Republican? Tell us in the poll, below!