Until now the neoconservatives had all but ignored Ron Paul as a contender for the Republican nomination. They had focussed their attention instead on those potential candidates that were in the mainstream of Republican politics hoping to find one that goes along with neoconservative ideology, particularly with regard to foreign policy relating to Israel and the Middle East.
As yet, the neoconservatives, as I noted over a week ago, don’t seem to have actually settled on anyone that they are entirely happy to give their full support to. All had flaws that the neoconservatives felt did not quite reflect full neoconservative values and the hint was that others better qualified, at least as far as the neocons were concerned, might yet enter the race even at this late stage. Since then, nobody else has stepped forward and the one potential candidate the neoconservatives would definitely not support, Ron Paul, has consistently been up there in the polling as the various debates unfolded and it seems the grass-root rank and file Republicans are increasingly giving Ron Paul the thumbs up. To what extent this will translate into actual votes that count for the nomination still remains to be seen but certainly the support he is getting now is beginning to worry the neoconservatives who today found it necessary to write a lengthy hit piece against Ron Paul portraying him as a maverick libertarian extremist and an outrageous conspiracy theorist. Up until now, the neocons had barely given him a mention believing him to be a rank outsider with no chance of getting up.
Ron Paul’s popularity comes not so much from his extremist libertarian ideology of no government interference in anything – though this has a certain appeal among the middle classes that have managed to hang on to some of their wealth – but, rather, from his anti-war isolationist views. For the neoconservatives, this translates to ‘anti-Israel’ since Ron Paul’s policies include no more US aid – not just to Israel, but to any nation – and also no more wars especially against Middle East nations that are Israel’s enemies.
Since Obama came to be President on the back of a promise to end the wars – which he then promptly reneged on – those that voted for him are reluctant to give him another go. On the other hand, it is only Ron Paul among the Republican contenders that is anti-war; all of the others seem to have been bought off by the Israel lobby who are champing at the bit for war against Iran in order to save Israel from being ‘wiped off the map’. Ron Paul, therefore, has won the hearts of those disillusioned with Obama’s promises, and also of those who like Ron Paul’s libertarian stance.
It’s going to be an interesting New Year which is very likely to disappoint the neocons if it’s going to be left to the current crop of candidates to look after the neoconservative’s interests. While all of them – except Ron Paul – have taken on neoconservative advisors to help out with their campaigns, none of them can really be considered die-hard neoconservatives who will push along the neocon’s agenda.
Ron Paul’s ‘every man for himself’ stance will leave many unenthralled but his anti-war rhetoric is finding a lot of appeal among conservatives fed up with ten years of non-stop wars with more in the offing.