3:00 PM EST, December 20, 2011
The Sun and other national media have come under fire from Ron Paul supporters for ignoring their candidate. There's a reason for that: He himself said that he would be a different kind of president, one that got out of the way. It's hard for the media to cover his absence of an agenda.
While Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich would take an active role in trying to improve the country, Congressman Paul's plan is simply to remove the obstacles to prosperity put up by government. Other than that, his platform leaves nothing for the media to report on.
It's not a matter of not getting enough exposure by the media, because everybody understands where he would take the country. It's more a matter of deciding whether or not voters want to go there.
Do the voters trust that once we withdraw from the Middle East, hostile governments like Iran will no longer want to harm us?
Do voters really want the freedom and accountability that comes with the withdrawal of the federal government to the degree Mr. Paul advocates? Or do even the so-called conservatives favor government involvement in things like credit unions and housing?
The biggest problem Paul supporters have is not the media but rather the absolutism of Mr. Paul. Both liberals and conservatives like the candidate that is ideologically purest. But the most of the presidents who are remembered as being effective worked with members of the other party: Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neil, Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich.
Under a Ron Paul presidency, there is no doubt Democrats would be in the back seat in a similar way that Republicans were in the back seat in the first two years of President Obama's term. And Republicans would be sitting back there right next to them because Mr. Paul seems just as unwilling to work with them as with the Democrats.
Clearly Mr. Gingrich, who worked with President Clinton and sat on that infamous couch next to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is willing to extend a hand across the aisle. Nobody doubts that Mr. Romney would do the same.
So Republican voters have to ask themselves if they're ready for the backlash a Paul presidency would create from the half of the country that thinks the federal government can actually benefit America in ways that are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.
Ron Paul and his supporters are compelling, but judging by the polls, and despite the tough talk from conservative quarters, it seems as though Republican voters would rather elect someone who is not ideological and absolute.
Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Romney will compromise with the half of the country that doesn't get its way in November's election. Ron Paul will not.
Fred Pasek, Frederick
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun