What Can The GOP Do To Reach Out To The Ron Paul Crowd? Not Much.

by John Hawkins | March 19, 2008 7:50 am

From the Washington Times[1],

“Ron Paul says the legions of newcomers his presidential campaign brought to the Republican Party are getting the cold shoulder from John McCain and from the party.

The Texas congressman says neither he nor his supporters have heard from Mr. McCain or Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan since March 4, when the Arizona senator accumulated enough delegates to clinch the party’s presidential nomination.

“I don’t think they want them,” Mr. Paul told The Washington Times, adding that indifference doesn’t surprise him because the party’s establishment has deserted traditional conservative principles for big government and foreign intervention.

“We don’t agree with them,” he says. “We agree with the Old Right, and they’re the New Right, which is ‘The Wrong,’ [because] the New Right has morphed into neoconservative.”

Many of his 800,000 presidential nomination votes were from newcomers to the Republican Party — the kind of dedicated small-donor volunteers the party needs, he says.”

Honest question: how in the world can McCain appeal to these people? Ron Paul has flat out said he isn’t going to endorse anyone who’s pro-war, so isn’t he going to be useless.

So, take away the war issue and what do you have?

* Hard core Libertarians? McCain is a fiscal conservative, so he may appeal to them on that basis, but otherwise there’s not going to be a lot he can do to make them happy.

* Conspiracy kooks? McCain isn’t crackers or politically suicidal, so he can’t really do much to reach out to the Truthers and North American Union nuts.

* White Supremacists? McCain isn’t a bigot; so there’s not much he can do there.

* People who want to abolish the Federal Reserve and go back on the Gold Standard? Not happening.

What’s left of Paul’s support once you take those groups out? To be honest, not very much.

The problem is that Paul’s support was built on fringe elements, who, as a general rule, despise the Republican Party and mainstream conservatives as much as they dislike the Left. As a practical matter, I don’t see any way of tapping into that group of people without doing something that would be much more damaging in the general election, like offering Ron Paul the Veep slot.

If the Republican party machinery wants to reach out to these people, that’s fine. If Ron Paul has any ideas of how to get these people on board, short of gutting the Republican Party and turning it into an unelectable Libertarian Party light, I’m all ears. But, from what I’ve seen of Paul’s hard core supporters, at least 80% of them are going to be completely uninterested in any sort of outreach from the Republican Party.

  1. Washington Times: http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080319/NATION/231391516/1001

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