Today’s Courier Herald Column
Ron Paul needs to win the Iowa Caucuses. There, I said it. Right up front.
For all the Paul supporters that accuse the media of ignoring the Texas congressman who has achieved rock star status among his followers who demonstrate cult like devotion, I shall now forever be able to point to the first eight words of this column to not only demonstrate that I am well aware of their candidate, but have even found a way that he can positively contribute to the Republican nominating process. Should the eventual GOP nominee (who will not be named Ron Paul) win the Presidency, Paul winning in Iowa could actually be a benchmark that helps the new President deliver the agenda that must be essential to this campaign.
As you can imagine from this opening, I am not a huge fan of Dr. Paul’s policies. He has been a consistent clarion call for fiscal reform and limiting the scope of the federal government which are worthy goals which I share. His prescriptions, however, are often akin to prescribing a double barrel shotgun to cure a headache. While it would in fact cure the problem once and for all, most doctors with a focus on the well being of the patient would prescribe something between an aspirin and an extra strength Motrin. Paul supporters would take pride in this analogy, claiming it would prove that most political “doctors” are just different flavors of the same school of medicine. They are correct in asserting that Dr. Paul is quite uniquely different.
It is those supporters who have held strong with Dr. Paul through his multiple Presidential campaigns, greeting each person as if they’ve never heard of Dr. Paul before. Their assumption is that no one has ever heard the arguments they learn in their meet ups and repeat for anyone who dares mention politics in their presence, and that anyone that disagrees with them has never studied economics. Long before Herman Cain’s supporters claimed the “positive intensity” metric to show dedication of supporters, Dr. Paul’s supporters invented it. Their enthusiasm in spreading their message can be quite off putting, to be charitable.
One of their strongest arguments is that because Dr. Paul is ignored, that he will be nominated once his message gets out. What they miss is that not one negative ad has ever been run against Dr. Paul in any coordinated attempt at demonstrating his negatives. Should Paul actually be successful in Iowa, we can expect this to quickly change, and thus we’ll save those for another day. After all, I’m trying to be positive here. Trying.
And in that spirit, I will move along to where Ron Paul can actually be helpful to the Presidential debate. Paul, bucking the trend of a long line of Presidential hopefuls, has asserted that he is for stopping the various subsidies that prop up the corn based ethanol industry. In Iowa, ethanol is the third rail of Presidential politics. $6 Billion annually is provided to farmers and producers under the guise of green energy, despite the fact that it takes roughly 1.6 gallons of oil to produce one gallon of ethanol.
There are many other green fuels that are much more energy efficient than turning corn into ethanol, which is literally food into fuel. As basic economics would suggest, removing this corn from the world food supply has increased not only the price of corn, but the other food from animals that feed upon it. And thus, subsidies for corn based ethanol do nothing to help us become more energy efficient, increase grocery costs, and increase the national debt by an extra $6 Billion per year.
Ron Paul has focused his resources in Iowa, and the media that has generally only looked to him for a quote attacking a front runner has turned to him to keep the horse race interesting. He is much more organized in Iowa than front running Newt Gingrich. He has unquestionable pro life bonafides, perhaps making him more acceptable than Mitt Romney. And thus, perhaps, he can pick off the first caucus in the nation. Their votes will be cast in just three weeks.
While Iowa does not have a great track record of picking Presidents, it does have the power to pick a message. Should Ron Paul win Iowa, the eventual nominee can face every constituency going forward and say “If Iowa can give up ethanol….”
The next President will have to convince Americans to give up some things they expect from the Federal Government if the budget is to be balanced, if the economy is to be stabilized. Iowa has long benefitted from leading the vote for Presidential nominations. Iowans should now take the lead in giving up the pork, theirs of the corn-fed variety. The best way Iowans can do this is to caucus for Ron Paul.