A Principled Candidate?
Alex Knapp challenges the popular narrative that Ron Paul, whatever else you want to say about him, is a man of principle:
Ron Paul never does the hard, right thing. He always does the easy, opportunistic thing. In the 80s and 90s, that meant publishing paranoid, racist tracts to make money. In the 00s and 10s, that’s been grandiose pontificating, pandering to a liberal crowd desperate for an anti-Bush Republican and grabbing all the pork he can – all the while posing as a statesman that the “system” can’t handle.
Principled politicians, in Knapp’s view, would “do the hard work of enacting their favored principles into law,” recognize that democratic politics involves the long, hard work of process, and deal with the “small steps and the occasional setback in order to play the long game,” none of which, according to Knapp, Paul does.
Contra Knapp, I wouldn’t say that a politician’s failure or refusal to play the game means that the politician isn’t principled. A politician who limits himself to grandstanding, oppositional votes, and rigid adherence to ideology could still be principled, though he would undoubtedly make an ineffective champion of the principles he espouses.
Is Paul principled? I don’t know. I agree with a few of his pontifications, but disagree with most of them. His newsletters are a mark against his character; that’s for sure. He’s not what I’d call a model politician, not even a good one, really. Perhaps he’d do better as a talk radio host.