Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2012, at 12:32 PM
ATLANTA -- Chris Cillizza notices that Ron Paul -- Ron Paul! -- is the only Republican candidate polling reasonably well among independents. Thirty-eight percent look upon him favorably. Thirty-five percent don't. No other Republican gets his head above water on that question. It reminds me of the speech I heard a Paul surrogate give at this past weekend's Tennessee Conservative Union conference, a litany of polls proving that Paul, not anyone else, was electable. And the media was covering this up!
The irony: Paul's only doing this well because the media's covering him with benign neglect. When Paul came in a close third in Iowa, I guessed it would be a blessing. There'd been new media scrutiny as Paul surged, with reporters revisiting James Kirchick's old scoops about Paul's conspiracist 1990s newsletters. When Paul faltered, the scrutiny stopped. The vetting articles at sites like HuffPost were replaced by stories about Rick Santorum's fraternity days. Paul himself spent more time in harder-to-get-to states, with less media chasing him. The result: Stories like this one about an Alaska visit, from the Fairbanks News-Miner.
Paul skewered the Bush-era Patriot Act — a bill he said should have been called “Repeal the Fourth Amendment” — and ripped Congress and President Obama for supporting the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the military to arrest and hold a U.S. citizen indefinitely.
He said a liberal tendency to control the economy through over-regulation has stifled growth, while a bullying policy toward other countries has sullied our international reputation.
Paul said some Republicans have told him to soften his anti-war stance — a mention that drew a loud “no” from some in the crowd. He said it simply makes sense to reject “a foreign policy driven by perpetual war.”
See? If I'm a liberal or an independent, that sounds fantastic. The less-desirable items of the Paul platform; well, I'm not hearing anything about them.