With practically each passing day, we are becoming ever more familiar with the recently identified PDS — Paul Derangement Syndrome. Also known as “Paulophobia,” PDS, it has now been determined, compels its victims to create for themselves an alternate reality, a parallel universe that is, in some critical respects, quite literally the mirror image of our own.
In the real world, those who are looking for a tireless, consistent champion of “limited government,” “individual rights,” “states’ rights,” and the like — i.e. “conservatives” and constitutionallist Republicans — know that there is but one person in the field of GOP presidential candidates to whom they can turn. That person, of course, is Congressman Ron Paul. In the real world, of this field of candidates, the former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, has a record that exposes him as the least likely of such candidates to advance these principles.
But in the parallel universe that the Paulophobe labors incessantly to create, Mitt Romney is the GOP’s “frontrunner” while Ron Paul is treated as if he is marginal at best, non-existent at worst.
In the real world, Ron Paul has proven himself second to none in eliciting as devoted and enthusiastic a following as any politician of our generation — including Barack Obama and Sarah Palin. This is no mean feat at a time when the electorate seems to have become as disenchanted with politicians as it has ever been. At least as impressive is that this following is as substantial in size and diverse in quality as it is loyal to their candidate.
In the Paulophobe’s alternate reality, however, Paul supporters are somehow less than real voters, maybe even less than real people. At a minimum, they are neither respectable voters nor respectable people. Those who endorse Ron Paul are depicted as constituting a marginal group of cultists. Paulophobe extraordinaire, nationally syndicated neoconservative Republican talk show host Michael Medved, as purely as any PDS patient illustrates this tendency to reduce Paul backers to intellectual and/or moral paupers. That Medved routinely refers to Paul’s supporters as “Paulistinians” is, to put it mildly, telling.
In the real world, most national polls have steadily assigned Ron Paul third place for months, and the Texas Congressman defeats all competitors in one straw poll after the other. A candidate’s straw poll performance, though certainly not determinative of how a race will end, is still a not insignificant indicator of the strength or weakness of his or her candidacy.
In the world of the Paulophobe, either Ron Paul doesn’t participate in straw polls or, if he does, his rankings in them — not necessarily the straw polls themselves — are dismissed as meaningless. When Paul’s supporters protest that their candidate is being treated unfairly, the Paulophobe is as dismissive of their complaint as he is dismissive of Ron Paul himself: the “Paul people” are “paranoid” and “conspiratorial,” he insists. At the same time, though, to explain away Paul’s fortunes, the Paulophobe conjures up conspiracy theories of his own: “The Paul people” rigged this poll or that, etc.
In the real world, Ron Paul argues for redeploying our troops from overseas lands to our own porous borders. That Paul receives more contributions from active military personnel than our current President and all of the other Republican presidential candidates combined demonstrates that his message resonates with legions of those men and women who, presumably, know best when it comes to matters of national security.
In the parallel universe of the Paulophobe, in glaring contrast, Ron Paul is an appeaser, a virtual pacifist, “nuts on parade,” as Paulophobe Rush Limbaugh described him not too long ago. No, a President Paul would be America’s last President, because it wouldn’t be long after his inauguration that America would meet her demise and the entire planet would come under “Islamist” rule.
In the real world, Ron Paul has pointed out what the bipartisan “9/11 Commission,” the Central Intelligence Agency, and Islamic terrorists themselves have long noted: anti-American Islamic hostilities, from the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 through 9/11 to the present are primarily designed as responses, not to our beliefs regarding ourselves, but to our conduct toward the Islamic world. In drawing our attention to what is obvious to all who have thought about this issue, Paul, of course, never meant to excuse or justify the heinous acts of those horrible men who are determined to murder Americans. After all, shortly following 9/11, Paul spared no time in casting his vote in favor of invading Afghanistan. And he most certainly never meant to suggest that it is the American citizenry who deserve blame for the terrorist attacks that they have suffered. Rather, it is precisely because Paul cares so deeply about the wellbeing of his country, because he so highly values peace and a strong national defense, that he seeks to analyze our situation in ideologically-neutral, even if politically risky, terms.
In the Paulophobe’s universe, Ron Paul is exceedingly naïve when it comes to confronting “the Evil of our time” — i.e. “Islamofascism.” Paul fails to grasp that “Islamists” want to ruin America because of her “exceptionalism,” her unrivaled freedoms and liberties. America is the only nation in all of human history to have been founded upon a universal “proposition” or “idea,” the proposition that all men (and women) are created equal. It is this — the “exceptional” character of America — that makes her the target of the “Islamist’s” animus. Not only, though, is Ron Paul naïve; he is as well dangerously close to being an anti-American himself, for Paul never spares an occasion to “blame America” for 9/11 and other acts of terrorism.
While it is understandably exasperating for the inhabitants of the real world to abide his delusions, they should consider taking pity upon the Paulophobe, for in the imaginary world of the latter, “Ron Paul people” constitute a dispensable — indeed, even an irritating — ragtag band of misfits whom he would just as soon see disappear.
In the real world, however, if Paul doesn’t get his party’s nomination — if his supporters oblige the Paulophobe and disappear come Election Day 2012 — Barack Obama will sail to a second term.