by: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Libertarian-leaning physician Ron Paul, longtime Republican lawmaker from Texas, has struggled mightily for attention and respect over the course of his many years in Congress and his three presidential bids. He's been regular fodder for the self-anointed spinmeisters and talking heads inside the Beltway throughout, none of whom have ever taken him seriously.
When the votes were tallied, just 152 separated the top two candidates; Bachmann received 4,823 votes, and Paul received 4,671, a margin some would consider a statistical dead heat. Yet the major news broadcasts ignored Paul's accomplishment, in essence dismissing the will of thousands of his supporters.
Even Fox News, the so-called iconic news agency of the right, blew off Paul's near-victory. In his "Fox News Sunday" broadcast, host Chris Wallace snubbed him altogether, saying of the results, "There's a top tier now of Bachmann and Perry and Romney, and we haven't mentioned, and we should, Rick Santorum who really did surprisingly well for the amount of money and resources he had." For the record, Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, received 1,657 votes, putting him in fourth place behind former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's 2,293 votes. Pawlenty, by the way, considered his finish to be so poor as to drive him out of the race altogether.
Even comedian Jon Stewart, host of The Comedy Network's "The Daily Show," has noticed the mainstream media's lack of coverage. "How did libertarian Ron Paul become the 13th floor in a hotel?" he asked rhetorically on his program following Paul's strong showing in Iowa.
Worse than receiving no attention is the fact that some of the other candidates – all of whom performed worse than Paul – continue to be considered "top tier." That list would include former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and even businessman Herman Cain. Really? What gives?
Things may be about to change for Paul, however, in the "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" department. It's possible that 2012 will be the year he finally command the respect he so richly deserves. Because when the vaunted Associated Press starts talking about your viability, you've definitely "arrived" on the political scene.
What's the problem with Paul? He's been a Republican congressman, from Texas no less, for more than a quarter century, and yet he can't even get any love from his own party. Why?
For one thing, Paul's got a real libertarian, small-government, high-on-individual-freedom, anti-expeditionary war streak, and truth be told, his party really doesn't like those values much, despite what they try to sell to supporters.
"I believe in a very limited role for government. But the prime reason that government exists in a free society is to protect liberty, but also to protect life," Paul told an increasingly boisterous crowd in Iowa Saturday.
"The country's bankrupt, and nobody wanted to admit it. And when you're bankrupt, you can't keep spending," he said Thursday, during a televised debate hosted by Fox News.
He wants to abolish the Federal Reserve, not because he's an extremist but because he says it's an unaccountable organization that is secretive with U.S. economic policy and operates without any legitimate oversight from the federal government.
Paul, a former Air Force and Air National Guard flight surgeon, is not against protecting and defending legitimate national security interests but he is against spending limited national blood and treasure fighting endless brushfire wars in faraway lands to no effect and to no end.
As more Americans' pocketbooks are squeezed, Paul is a true advocate for getting government out of the business of solving economic and employment problems by hampering business with too much oversight and red tape.
And that's his downfall. He's too much of a true believer for either major political party.
Take the recent debate over the debt ceiling. As far as the GOP leadership was concerned, it all centered on cutting spending – or so they said. But when the final deal was done – a deal Republican leaders signed off on – real government spending wasn't reduced at all. And the size of government wasn't cut a bit.
Paul knows that and warned against it. But as usual, he was shunned and ignored.
Well, it's getting harder to ignore him now. He's doing well in national polls. He's close to winning straw polls in early caucus states. And now, finally, he's beginning to get the attention and respect his long-held positions on the issues commands.
The establishment wants Ron Paul to sit down and be quiet because neither major party wants him or his positions to be heard. Yet results speak for themselves and the American people won't be denied.
Paul is for real. Paul has always been for real. He doesn't know how to be anything else.