Dave Weigel on what to expect if Paul actually threatens to upset the status quo in DC:
Paul is in a curious place—a three-time presidential candidate who has barely been vetted by the media. He’s been the GOP’s proudest anti-war, anti-torture voice for four years. That position has earned him soft interviews with Jay Leno, and countless segments on The Daily Show.
If Paul wins Iowa, that stops. The conservative press, which has been bored but hostile to Paul all year (just see the National Review’s cover story), will remind its readers that Paul wants to legalize prostitution and narcotics, end aid to Israel (as part of a general no-aid-for-anyone policy), and end unconstitutional programs like Medicare and social security. The liberal press will discover that he’s a John Birch Society supporter who for years published lucrative newsletters studded with racist gunk. In 2008, when the media didn’t take him seriously, Paul was able to get past the newsletter story with a soft-gummed Wolf Blitzer interview. (“Certainly didn’t sound like the Ron Paul that I’ve come to know and our viewers have come to know all this time,” said Blitzer.) This was when Paul was on track to lose every primary. It’ll be different if the man wins Iowa.
I think the odds of his ending Medicare and Social Security are considerably outweighed by the odds of Obama or whoever the GOP burps up for us to rubber-stamp doing still more massive mischief such as new wars, more abortion and crushing of conscience, or even more draconian usurpation of basic human rights. So, on the grounds of proportionate good cited by Cdl. Ratzinger, Paul still seems to be the best bet.