Andrew Sullivan: Why Ron Paul Still Scares the GOP

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Writes The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan:

"Ron Paul won't quit the race, insisting that actual conservatives have a candidate to vote for at the Convention. He has been smeared as a racist by association, as now seems to be the main way to destroy or attempt to destroy any genuinely reformist politics in America. But his legacy will endure because, as Michael Grunwald points out, he actually represents something honorable:

When his fellow candidates denounced big government, Paul was there to remind them that President Bush and the G.O.P. Congress had shattered spending records and exploded the deficit. When they hailed freedom, Paul asked why they all supported the Patriot Act and other expansions of executive power. And when they called themselves conservatives, Paul asked what was so conservative about sending thousands of young Americans to try to transform the Middle East.

These questions have not and will not go away. At its very best, Iraq, it is now more than apparent, is a decades-long, bankrupting, utopian liberal attempt to build a democratic culture where no such culture has ever existed; and at worst, it is a corrupting, demoralizing cancer on America's reputation and power in the world. At home, the long term fiscal situation is at a crisis-level, with Republicans adding $32 trillion to future unfunded liabilities by the federal government in seven years, and with a commitment not to raise any more revenue for the indefinite future. Neither Obama nor Clinton has any plan to tackle this debt or to restrain entitlement spending in any serious way. Millions of private individuals have  taken out idiotic mortgage loans on houses they cannot afford and should never have been reckless enough to buy. The dollar is headed into the toilet as much of the US economy is leveraged on the bona fides of a still-authoritarian regime that is currently brutally suppressing human rights in Tibet and across its territory.

For all his quirks, and for all his unseemly past associations, Ron Paul had some serious view about the gravity of the situation and a philosophy that was once called conservative and is now smeared as nuts. History will be far kinder to him that today's chattering classes."

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