Taking Paul Seriously
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
First it was Bachman, then Perry, then Romney, and finally Gingrich. Now as the voting is virtually upon us, Ron Paul has moved into the lead in the Republican Iowa caucus. Paul has virtually no chance to be elected or to be nominated. He has stayed somewhat above the fray and remained relatively consistent in his views. In fact of all the Republican candidates his views have been the most public and well known and should be, therefore, the most disconcerting.
For Jews the disclosure by a staffer who worked for Paul for more than six years that the Texas Congressman is only anti-Israel and not against Jews should hardly be reassuring, especially if Paul should truly pick up steam in the campaign— even if he fades later. This is a distinction that is not a difference, although Paul and his backers are now out spinning it as such. His racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic views obviously resonate among some Republican primary voters; all primary voters being by definition that part of the citizenry which is highly engaged for a partisan cause. Maybe some of the Obama haters need to leave aside what it is says about Ron Paul himself, and consider what it suggests about whom some of his growing followers in the Republican Party are prepared to support or at least tolerate.