Ron Paul showing strength

Ron Paul at CPAC in 2010
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Ron Paul is showing greater strength, and his followers are showing more enthusiasm. Tonight’s debate will show whether he is strong enough.

More Ron Paul praises

Several politicians have surprised observers in the media by endorsing, or at least praising, Ron Paul. Last week, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) openly said that Republican leaders should listen to Ron Paul. Though many of his employees endorsed Mitt Romney, the senator did not.

You don’t have to agree with everything he’s saying, but if the other candidates miss some of the wisdom about what he’s saying about monetary policy … that will be to our detriment.

Senator DeMint means that Republicans should heed Ron Paul when he warns them that the government spends far too much overall. Ron Paul has also proposed ending the Federal Reserve system in favor of gold-standard banking. These are probably the “libertarian” ideas with which the Senator most strongly agrees.

State Senator Tom Davis (R-SC) forthrightly endorsed Ron Paul last night. He did so for the same reason that Senator DeMint did. Ron Paul proposed drastic cuts in spending and taxes. That is more than any of his rivals have promised. Davis has a reputation in South Carolina for arguing for tax and spending reform. For that reason, Ron Paul’s people knew that Davis could “change the game” by endorsing Paul.

The Ron Paul platform

Ron Paul, official portrait

Representative Ron Paul (R-TX-14). Photo: US House of Representatives

Ron Paul emphasizes tax and spending cuts in his advertising in South Carolina. In his latest ad (not available at posting time), he repeats: he will cut spending by $1 trillion in the first year. He will do it by dropping five Cabinet departments (Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, and Interior). He would also drop the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Security Administration. (The latter is the most hated agency in government. The latest outrage about contraband cupcakes is the prize example.)

He would also repeal the health care reform bill and the Dodd-Frank financial “protection” bill, and audit the Federal Reserve, with a view to dropping it altogether.

Ron Paul supporters and opponents

Ron Paul’s supporters insist that he is electable and will win. They note that more active-duty armed-services members contribute to him than to all other candidates combined. Laura Trice, writing in The Huffington Post, cites six reasons to vote for him. Some of these are rebuttals of the most common criticisms that his opponents make. (See here for Laura Trice’ full archive.)

Tea Party activists cannot make up their minds about him. Many support him on the same tax, spending, and money-policy grounds that DeMint and Davis cite. Many others oppose him because they think he “blames America first” and would not support the Republic of Israel as much as they think that a President should. (Whether he truly would be a worse President for Israel to deal with than past Presidents have been, is not a settled question.)

In tonight’s debate (9:00 p.m. EST on Fox News Channel), Ron Paul will face off against Rick Santorum, more than any other candidate. Santorum attacked Paul on foreign-policy grounds early in the debate season. Paul seemed to retaliate two weeks ago with an ad accusing Santorum of “betraying” the country with votes for more, not less, government spending.

That debate also takes place as many wonder whether Iran will soon have an intermediate-range missile, and a nuclear warhead to arm it with. A former military intelligence officer suggests that the Iranians might already have nuclear weapons but don’t dare use them. (He also cites Israeli officials who say confidently that they can handle Iran by themselves if the United States lets them. See video below, where he appears with Judge Andrew Napolitano.)

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