Ron Paul, Attack Dog

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 6 2011 12:30 PM

Ron Paul, Attack Dog

Having covered Ron Paul off and on since 2007, and having been, occasionally, one of two or three reporters bothering to show up at Paul-for-president pressers, I'd figured out why other candidates got more attention. They attacked. They could be counted on to further storylines by scorching their opponents. Given the natural push-pull of politics, that made them relevant, in a way that a philosophically-minded paleolibertarian isn't relevant to the horse race.

Everything's different now. Paul is the first 2012er to go negative, on air, against Newt Gingrich.

He's rewarded for this with a true rarity.

Screen shot 2011-12-06 at 12.01.31 PM

Go get 'em, I say, but I really wonder what will happen to Paul if another candidate gets torqued off and slaps back at him. I voted for Paul in the 2008 primary, and expect to vote for him or for Gary Johnson this time, but I did/do so with the knowledge that he's an ally of the John Birch Society who, in the 1980s, lent his name to newsletters with really nasty stuff in them. Both of these stories would dog candidates in competitive races. But Paul has remained in a bubble of his own creation, a candidate with supporters no one thinks they can steal.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.