Ron Paul, the libertarian wolf dressed in Republican clothing, blasted his fellow GOP presidential aspirants on Monday in a video that calls them the same kind of politicians as President Obama.
Paul, who finished second in the Ames straw poll just 152 votes away from winner Rep. Michele Bachmann, has an ardent following in the GOP’s libertarian wing and on the Web, where he has been a money-raising powerhouse. Despite his popularity in conservative and libertarian circles, he has had problems moving into the higher digits on the national scene though he has placed well in some polls.
In the video, he lumps former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota’s Bachmann together with Obama and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “smooth-talking politicians” caught in the games of “he said, she said.”
The ad is designed to remind Republicans that Paul has always been the outsider despite representing Texas in Washington, often voting against his party on “every tax increase, every unbalanced budget” and against raising the debt ceiling. And in 2012, being an outsider is a help.
Paul is “the one who will restore liberty,” the narrator intones. Paul is “the one who can beat Obama and restore America now.”
In the wake of the straw poll, the media has focused most of its attention on the trio of Romney, Perry and Bachmann, generally ignoring Paul despite his strong second-place finish. But polls have shown over the years that Paul can rise a bit beyond just being a gadfly and could play a role in the nominating process.
Perhaps more importantly, Paul has set the intellectual tone for at least part of his party and paved the way for the “tea party” movement and its strength in the GOP. He has ridden the wave of fascination with Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek and his free-market vision of small government as the road to freedom. In his video, Paul also pledged to “stop the spending, save the dollar” and “create jobs” -- the mantra in the 2012 presidential sweepstakes.
On foreign affairs, Paul said he will “bring peace,” ending U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and the U.S. role along with NATO in Libya. As a libertarian, Paul has long opposed U.S. intervention abroad, putting him at odds with parts of his own party that favors a robust U.S. presence on the world scene.
The video ad is scheduled to play in Iowa and New Hampshire, where the first presidential nominating contests will be held in February.