Saturday, December 22, 2007

On The Road

Tucker Carlson has a great story over at The New Republic about his experiences on the road with Congressman Ron Paul during a recent campaign swing through Nevada.

It's worth reading the whole thing but here's one good passage:

... in person, Paul doesn't seem like a freak. He seems like someone's grandfather. I first met up with Paul after a rally at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He apparently hadn't known I was coming but accepted my arrival with Zen-like calm, welcoming me into the seat next to him in the minivan and offering me baked goods from a plate on his lap. We were both finishing our brownies when he mentioned they'd been baked by a supporter. I stopped chewing. Where I work, this is a major taboo (Rule One: Never eat food sent by viewers), and my concern must have shown. Paul grinned. "Maybe they're spiked with marijuana," he said.

If so, it would have been his first experience with illegal drugs. Though Paul argues passionately for liberalizing marijuana laws and is beloved by potheads (Timothy Leary once held a fund-raiser for him), he has never smoked pot himself. He sounded shocked when I asked him.

"I have never seen anyone smoke marijuana," he said. "I don't think I'd be open to using it." For some people, libertarianism is the philosophical justification for a zany personal life. Paul, by contrast, describes his hobbies as gardening (roses and organic tomatoes) and "riding my bicycle." He has never had a cigarette. He doesn't swear. He limits his drinking to an occasional glass of wine and goes to church regularly. He has been married to the same woman for 50 years. Three of their five children are physicians.

Ron Paul is deeply square, and every bit as deeply committed to your right not to be. "I don't gamble, but I'm the gambler's best friend," he says, boasting of his support for online casinos. He is a Second Amendment absolutist who doesn't own a gun. "I've only fired one a couple of times in my life. I've never gotten around to killing anything." It's an impressively, charmingly principled world view, though sometimes you've got to wonder how much Paul has in common with many of the people who support him.

1 comment:

Scott E. Crawford said...

I'm often told that "leadership" is the most important reason for choosing a candidate. These people seem to feel that "leadership" differs from personal character. Personally, however, I feel that character is perhaps the single greatest indicator of a person's ability to lead.

So many people assume that they can obtain the Christian vote by being anti-abortion and by making a few "controversial" remarks in defense of Christianity (ala Mike Huckabee). Yet so many of these candidates have very questionable characters. Being a "Christian candidate" is not merely being pro-life. It's about standing up for the American family. It's about trying to reduce divorce rates and single-parent families to give our children more stability. It's about working to spread peace and understanding throughout the world. It's astounding how many candidates try to obtain Christian votes yet advocate war with Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, etc. War is neccessary at times. But it's shocking how so-called "compassionate conservatives" are so eager to bring about death and destruction.

Ron Paul obviously has very strong character. He may be radical on some issues, but is always consistent. His personal characer gives him credibility. He's a Christian who truly advocates the words of Christ: "Blessed be the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." Ron Paul is a leader.