Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Economist Magazine: Ron Paul Serious Contender for Texas Senate Seat

E.G. at Economist writes:
At Texas Monthly Paul Burka, surveying the likely Republican field, reckons that if Paul pere runs he will be "very difficult to defeat". I agree that Dr Paul would be a serious contender; as I said earlier, I don't think there is an obvious choice among the current prospects. The lieutenant-governor, David Dewhurst, is the most obvious heavyweight. He's held that office for nearly ten years, and it's arguably the most powerful in the state, depending on your conception of political power. But he hasn't run a campaign with a high national profile, as the 2012 Texas Senate is likely to be. Dr Paul is one of those legislators whose long tenure in his district has more to do with his longstanding service than his politics per se. But he has a national profile, thanks to his 2008 presidential campaign, and the success of his son Rand's Senate campaign in Kentucky shows that staunchly libertarian candidates can attract plenty of national money and state-wide support (even if, as Mr Burka points out, the principles of such senators may undercut their state's capacity to win federal funds).
E.G. then goes on to mute his own analysis by saying that the rise of the Tea Party movement "diminishes the fierceness of Dr Paul's supporters."

That's a bit hard to see. What Texas Tea Party name is he proposing that would have stronger national recognition than  Ron Paul? A national recognition that E.G. considers so important. Further, a Ron Paul senate run might do a bit to motivate a few Texans.  (Like in a few million.)


  1. IMHO, here is why he shouldn't even think about it.

    #1. He waited an extremely long time to get his Chairmanship of the House Monetary Policy Subcommittee. Why give that up after two years?

    #2. When Dr. Paul ran for POTUS in 2008, one could argue he had more influence on this country than his previous 16+ years in Congress. Running for POTUS in 2012, even if he does not win can bring about a strong wave of influence (maybe stronger than in 2008 now that he has some real name recognition).

    #3. If Ron does not run for POTUS in 2012, then who? I don't think I can find one candidate I would even consider voting for. Gary Johnson is alright, but he would never stand a chance when legalizing drugs is one of his main policy issues. It's all he ever talks about.

    #4. Even if Dr. Paul ran for the Senate and won who knows what kind of power he would have, if any. Wouldn't he basically be starting over? Low ranking member on a new committee with very little influence? I hardly think that seems worthwhile.

    There is too much risk involved with very little, if any, real benefit. He has a pretty powerful chairmanship right now, and if he runs for POTUS in 2012 his influence would be greater than that of 2008's run. Even if he loses in 2012 he can still win his house seat and retain his chairmanship where he will continue to have real influence over the Fed. We have yet to even see one hearing with "The Ben Bernank". I for one am dying to see this happen A LOT!

    So, where is the upside to any of this? I wonder if there is a push for him to run for Senate so that he doesn't run for POTUS. That question has to at least be considered, no?

  2. I think having a senate seat trumps the monetary sub-committee or a failed presidential run. Even a junior senator has more influence and can affect policy much more than a senior congressman could.

    Also, on the sub-committee all he can do is ask embarrassing questions. Any audit, bill, or whatever would have to pass the committee chair that oversees his sub-committee, and to my mind, that's a crap-shoot because the committee head is a neo-con.

    Running for president would be influential in a national sense, but it wouldn't affect policy in a way. While influential in changing how a very small minority of people think, his 2008 run didn't massively change the way government works at all. Why would his 2012 run be any different?

    In 2008, he got about 15% of the primary vote. In 2012, he'd probably get 20%-25% and like last time, maybe convert a few thousand people into hardcore austro-libertarians. But in the end, not much would change on the national policy front, and while his profile would raise he still wouldn't be able to affect any real change.

    To end, in addition to a senate seat being more influential than a congressional seat, a senate seat is much, much easier to win than a presidency. And while he's the most steadfastly idealist politician to ever exist, he is still pragmatic. I think it makes more sense to go for the senate seat, and that's what I expect him to do.