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The resilience of Ron Paul and (unrelated) the birthers

If the media is ever going to give Ron Paul the serious coverage he deserves, now is the time. Last week he received a long endorsement from prominent blogger, Andrew Sullivan. Then in the Fox News Iowa debate, he distinguished himself (yet again) from almost all other Republican politicians, especially with regard to foreign policy.But the real news is the latest poll from PPP (a highly accurate agency for the past several elections), which shows Ron Paul as the frontrunner in the Iowa caucuses. This is newsworthy. It is very late in the campaign season for Iowa. Despite being treated by almost everyone in broadcast media as a sideshow or a pariah -- the best interview of Paul on TV was definitely the open-ended and open-minded style that Jay Leno used -- his campaign has struck the right notes with a lot of the electorate. It's Monday morning, and Ron Paul's resilience is the U.S. political news of the week.However, buried in that same poll is another resilient factor in this presidential election. When asked if President Obama was born in the United States, 52% of Republican caucus-goers answered "no" (31%) or "not sure" (21%). This is also newsworthy -- and frightening. The misinformation of a large part of the electorate is, at least in this instance, not primarily the fault of the broadcast media. Bill O'Reilly, for example, famously debunked birther conspiracy theories when they first arose (I know, not so for all the colleagues at his network). It wasn't difficult for him to do. So I don't know who is at fault with this one, or whether poll respondents simply think it's fun and outlandish to say such things. But if they believe what they are saying, the resilience of this lie is scary for a democratic society.

About the Author

Michael Peppard is associate professor of theology at Fordham University, author of The World's Oldest Church and The Son of God in the Roman World, and on Twitter @MichaelPeppard.



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Ron Paul is the only GOP candidate whose possible victory does not inspire me to want to make a noose and put my head in it.

@Jean Raber (12/19, 11:25 am) Sorry to put a damper on your day, but this new article by James Kirchick in the Weekly Standard may change your mind:

Quite a day when the Weekly Standards sounds the alarm about Paul's over-the-top ideas.On the other hand, a little frisson of anticipation runs through my brain when I see that there are some nutty ideas the RNC won't endorse, and that the leading Republican candidate in Iowa is upsetting their nut cart.

Mr. Romney is getting a run for his money, but I think he's going to win in Iowa and all other primary states. My hunch is that the those on the way-out right wing love Paul's libertarian ideas, at least some of them, and love to listen to Newt throw verbal bombs, but in the end they will go with Romney because they want a chance of winning the white house. He doesn't make their hearts go pitter-patter, but unless scores of these right-wingers are completely nuts (and I am not discounting this possibility), they will go with Romney.

Huntsman may become the dark horse after the rest of the inmates thoroughly disgust even the most undisgustable of the "Repblican base" - whomever they actually are.

What Ron Paul says about the U. S. making war at the drop of a hat makes a great deal of sense. But --He has been quoted as saying that he would repeal laws not only against pot, but cocaine and heroin as well. And this man is a doctor? He would also legalize prostitution. I wonder if Iowa knows this.

Oops -- I see I didn't give a reference about Paul's views on cocaine, heroin, and prostitution. Here ya are: dear man is starting to look positively crazy. Now that he is coming up in the polls, shouldn't the media be reminding the public of Paul's position on all this? If a Democrat had said this, Fox News would have been repeating it on the hour.(Mark -- And you thought liberals were wild!!)

Sorry to pile on, but here are a couple more (liberal) takes on the significance of Rep. Paul's newsletters:

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