Conrad Black is optimistic about our political future. “As long as there is a candidate that can speak and tie up his shoelaces in the morning,” he writes, “I do not believe Obama can be reelected.” Further, he continues, the election of a Republican will be seen as a mandate for the party’s small government platform and for a tougher stance against Iran.
I’m not nearly as optimistic. If Ron Paul doesn’t win the nomination, there’s no reason to believe that a new Republican administration would govern any differently than any of the Republican presidents have since Eisenhower. And that means deficits, increased spending, and fake tax cuts. And more war, of course.
I do think that Black is correct that a GOP president would be tougher on Iran. Unlike him, I don’t think this is a good thing. Especially not for the cause of small government.
But there’s something else Black is missing–Ron Paul’s power to influence the race. Dr. Paul is emerging as a front runner in Iowa and New Hampshire, and if he wins either state, getting the nomination will be in the realm of possibility for him.
But even if he doesn’t win the nomination, he’ll still have an opportunity to greatly affect the general election. According to recent polls, if Paul runs as a third party candidate, he would garner around 18% of the vote. That would be the death knell for Romney, no matter how unpopular Obama is.
Now, Paul has said that he has no intention of running as a third party candidate. He hasn’t categorically ruled out the possibility, however, and once he considers the benefits of running as a Libertarian or as an Independent (ticking off a lot of the bad guys, getting much more attention, and preventing the election of a bad Republican), I think it’s very likely he’ll take advantage of the opportunity.
Contra Black, therefore, Obama’s reelection is a very real possibility. And while that is not a cause for optimism, neither would be the election of any of the establishment Republicans.