CRF Blog

Party Crasher

by Shruti Modi

In Party Crasher in The New Yorker, Kelefa Sanneh discusses Ron Paul, his good-nature, and his beliefs and analyzes why his particular brand of libertarianism has been unable to secure the Republican nomination for President.

Paul is running for President again this year, in a field that many Republicans find disappointing. And yet, while Paul is doing better, state by state, than he did in 2008, he has conspicuously failed to establish himself as this year’s Tea Party candidate. Polls have shown that voters who support the Tea Party are actually less likely to support Paul — some have gone for Newt Gingrich, whose denunciations of Obama are pithier, or for Rick Santorum, who is more forthright in his defense of “traditional American values.” In South Carolina, where Paul received thirteen per cent of the vote, behind Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Santorum, he did his best among voters opposed to the Tea Party. The Ron Paul movement has grown, but the events of recent years — the rise of the Tea Party, the fights over corporate bailouts, the messy passage of Obama’s health-care reform bill — have done surprisingly little to raise Paul’s standing among Republicans. Last summer, Jon Stewart mocked cable news channels for “pretending Ron Paul doesn’t exist,” and asked, “How did libertarian Ron Paul become the thirteenth floor in a hotel?” The answer is embedded in the question. People don’t think of Paul as a top-tier Republican candidate partly because they think of him as a libertarian: anti-tax and anti-bailout, but also antiwar, anti-empire, and, sometimes, anti-Republican. [more]