Values Voters and Ron Paul

By:  Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.
10/13/2011
       
Values Voters and Ron Paul

Ron Paul just scored another victory in his campaign for the presidency. Just last year, the Texas congressman barely even registered in the Values Voters Summit straw poll. This year, however, with 37 percent of the vote, he didn’t just walk away with it; he left second place contestant Herman Cain in the dust. With 23 percent of voters backing the latter, Paul beat Cain by a full 14 percentage points

Long time self-avowed “social conservative” Senator Rick Santorum came in at third place with 16 percent.

This is as ironic a twist of events as it must be exasperating for Santorum: It is Santorum, most definitely not Paul, who is supposed to be “the values voters’” candidate. In fact, to hear the former Pennsylvania Senator tell it — and he spares no occasion to tell it — “values voters” are his main body of support. If the media was as interested in marginalizing Santorum as they are in doing the same to Paul, “values voters” would be known simply as “Santorum people.” Yet Paul defeated Santorum not only among the latter’s “people”; he defeated him by a vast margin.

Even as I write this, already the masters of GOP spin are laboring inexhaustibly to reduce the significance of Paul’s achievement. It isn’t, though, that they are diligently in search of ever more ingenious ways by which they can explain away Paul’s viability. There are no ingenuous explanations in the coming to this effect. Moreover, there aren’t even many disingenuous explanations. Rather, there are essentially two strategies of which Paul’s detractors continually avail themselves to dismiss him:

Ron Paul just scored another victory in his campaign for the presidency. Just last year, the Texas congressman barely even registered in the Values Voters Summit straw poll. This year, however, with 37 percent of the vote, he didn’t just walk away with it; he left second place contestant Herman Cain in the dust. With 23 percent of voters backing the latter, Paul beat Cain by a full 14 percentage points

Long time self-avowed “social conservative” Senator Rick Santorum came in at third place with 16 percent.

This is as ironic a twist of events as it must be exasperating for Santorum: It is Santorum, most definitely not Paul, who is supposed to be “the values voters’” candidate. In fact, to hear the former Pennsylvania Senator tell it — and he spares no occasion to tell it — “values voters” are his main body of support. If the media was as interested in marginalizing Santorum as they are in doing the same to Paul, “values voters” would be known simply as “Santorum people.” Yet Paul defeated Santorum not only among the latter’s “people”; he defeated him by a vast margin.

Even as I write this, already the masters of GOP spin are laboring inexhaustibly to reduce the significance of Paul’s achievement. It isn’t, though, that they are diligently in search of ever more ingenious ways by which they can explain away Paul’s viability. There are no ingenuous explanations in the coming to this effect. Moreover, there aren’t even many disingenuous explanations. Rather, there are essentially two strategies of which Paul’s detractors continually avail themselves to dismiss him:

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Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. (photo)

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