The Dallas Morning News' Rod Dreher makes some important points today about Ron Paul's impact:
I didn't vote for Ron Paul in the Republican primary (I was a Mike Huckabee man), nor did I write him in on Election Day (I penciled in farmer-poet Wendell Berry). But no Texan this year did more good for conservatism and his country than the congressman from the coast.
Lord knows there was no Republican in the 2008 campaign who talked straighter....
....But the truth is, if U.S. economic policy looked a lot more like Ron Paul's ideal than what we've had these past decades, the nation wouldn't be tottering on the financial abyss. Dr. Paul has long argued that an economy built on easy credit, insatiable consumption and deficit spending is a time bomb. He backs a national economic model based on savings, investment and production.
An economy that depends so heavily on government intervention to keep it afloat is one that creates of necessity an ever more powerful state. The nationalization of the banking sector only increases the power of the central government and decreases liberty. Dr. Paul warned for years against what we're seeing happen today. But nobody – including me – listened to the old crank.
How much better off would America be today if we had? We'll never know. Poor us.
It's not true, really, that nobody listened. Dr. Paul had a relatively small but intensely devoted following and raised astonishing amounts of campaign cash for his outsider presidential bid. Unfortunately, that enthusiasm didn't amount to much of anything in the primaries. So much for the Ron Paul Revolution, right?
Maybe not. The same GOP establishment that mocked and reviled Dr. Paul now lies shattered. Who believes in this Republican Party anymore? The party destroyed itself with its own unprincipled recklessness, both in foreign and fiscal policy. And it has ruined its reputation among the young – the most ardent of Dr. Paul's supporters, incidentally – who are far more likely to identify with the Democrats.
Out of this destruction, some creative young conservatives may rise up and decide to take back the Republican Party. Perhaps they'll run against the overweening power of the federal government and in favor of decentralizing power (but unlike today's Republicans, they'll actually mean it). Maybe they'll fight for an America that lives responsibly, within its natural limits both overseas and at home. And maybe, just maybe, they might make the Republican Party worth following again.
If that day comes, it will be thanks to the lifelong labors of Ron Paul and his 2008 campaign based on ideas. If those ideas germinate into genuine reform and restoration of sanity in our government, America will look back on Dr. Paul as a gift from Texas and a worthy nominee as Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year.
Be sure to read the rest.