Andrew Sullivan Endorses Ron Paul and Notes Paul Iowa Victory Would Be Blow to Fox News

The Daily Beast’s Andrew Sullivan has long been a must-read as not just a blogger but in particular for any of his long-form magazine or newspaper pieces. One reason he’s a must read is that he marches to his own independent drummer and doesn’t always follow the journalistic or Republican Party pack. And now he’s doing it again on two fronts.

He has written a post formally endorsing Rep. Ron Paul for the 2012 Republican nomination and President: perhaps becoming the first mainstream opinion writer and media political celebrity to do so. And he has also put a focus on how Fox News has been hammering on a political narrative that will be shattered if Paul wins Iowa. Here’s a small part of his endorsement post (which needs to be read in full):

The constant refrain on Fox News that this man has “zero chance” of being the nominee is a propagandistic lie. Nationally, Paul is third in the polls at 9.7 percent. In Iowa, he may win. In New Hampshire, it is Paul, not Gingrich, who is rising this week as Romney drifts down. He’s at 19 percent, compared with Gingrich’s 24. He is the third option for the GOP. And I believe an Obama-Paul campaign would do us all a service. We would have a principled advocate for a radically reduced role for government, and a principled advocate for a more activist role. If Republicans want a real debate about government and its role, they have no better spokesman. He is the intellectual of the field, not Gingrich.

I am, like many others these days, politically homeless. A moderate, restrained limited government conservatism that seeks to amend, not to revolt, to reform, not to revolutionize, is unavailable. I’m a Tory who has come to see universal healthcare as a moral necessity that requires some minimal government support, who wants government support for a flailing recovery now, but serious austerity once we recover. I favor massive private and public investment in non-carbon energy, because I am a conservative who does not believe our materialism trumps the need for conserving our divine inheritance. I back marriage equality and marijuana legalization as Burkean adjustments to a changing society. I see a role for government where Paul doesn’t.

But Paul’s libertarianism may be the next best thing available in the GOP.

In his last line he has some pointed advice for Fox News chief Roger Aisles. And he has made it clear he is sticking with Paul. He also this has to say about Ron Paul’s electability.

Some thoughts on this:

  • Paul has a lot of flaws as a candidate making it dubious whether he can really get and keep widespread electoral support. But Sullivan is correct that he is refreshing and when people listen to Paul or read his website they are often excited at the some of the key things he advocates and the way he advocates them that they agree with …couched in a way that doesn’t sound like the increasingly tireless and smug political baloney we hear and see all thr time. (I say this watching John Boehner and Eric Cantor on TV in a photo op showing that they are really, genuinely, not joking working on the payroll tax extension issue and it’s all Obama’s faul and that they are really, no kidding folks, not joking at all, sincere and not fooling around, agonizing over the Americans who don’t eat bean soup in the ritzy Congressional dinning room and who don’t have government health care plans since they aren’t members of Congress might have to pay $1000 in 2012 in taxes if this issue is not resolved.). Paul — unlike a lot of the politicians now who either pander or think that demonizing sound bytes will do — seems to have the ability to (slowly) convince.
  • If Paul wins Iowa it will immediately change some of the mainstream media narrative and Fox News will most likely go into a new mode with its commentators and stories coming from a place where they will try to discredit him. It’s interesting now to hear GOPers on cable and radio say that if Paul wins it will destroy the credibility of the Iowa caucuses. So — let me get this straight — an election is only legitimate or a contest fairly decided if a candidate YOU consider serious wins? To be true there are other arguments (about how the caucus system is set up and how it doesn’t reflect regular elections) against this kind of primary. But why didn’t we hear them in years when other candidates won who were more to the Republican establishment’s liking? (Just asking)
  • Any old media and Fox News conventional wisdom about Paul being basically a joke and unable to actually win an election beyond his own district in Texas will be treated like most inoperative conventional wisdom: it’ll be treated as if it never existed an swept under the rug.
  • Sullivan’s endorsement is symptomatic of how many Americans feel our politics is at a crossroads. Many now feel both parties have failed them in terms of speaking honestly to them; how there is a thirst for people of ideas who will focus on issue solving rather than the increasingly tiresome political hackery that pays nets bucks to radio talk show companies and cable networks who help crank out the hackery like 24/7 political professional wrestling; and how Paul could be an option for disgruntled Republicans and maybe even those who seek a high profile third party candidate.
  • I am now reading (despite his truly excessive and total turn off sales hype) Chris Matthews’ excellent Kennedy book on my new Kindle. I noted to friends a few days ago how our politics has changed so much from the days when members of the Greatest Generation dominated our political scene. Like them individually or not, they were adults, tough adults, and they had a strong sense of stewardship when it came to their parties and their country.

    Now it’s like the kids took over the family business.

    And the kids in both parties are failing.

    Speaking of which, THIS JUST IN!

    Here’s a just-released photo of Boehner and Cantor and the other House Republicans at the photo op which they called to declare they are really seriously working hard to get a payroll tax extension out there to middle class Americans at a time when they have nixed all forms of tax increases to millionaires:

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    • dduck

      After reading Sullivan’s piece, I now I remember why I hate labels. First off, the conservative label and its basic principals, what he said to Ailes applies.
      I liked what he said about Huntsman, not so much about Paul.
      Secondly, I think he/we should endorse the candidate of the party we intend to vote for, that we mostly agree with, not the one higher in the poles but lower in our opinion.
      If you endorse someone just because of that, say so, up front.
      I like Huntsman and think Paul is a well intentioned schmuck.
      And I’m endorsing Huntsman. So smoke that Sullivan.

    • Allen

      I hope Paul wins Iowa because Paul is against these wars. This kind of rips the hell out of the Republican Party. Hope it’s a fatal wound.

    • slamfu

      You can’t be too hard on FOX news, they don’t really do actual analysis. They just read the talking points sent to them from the RNC.

    • PJBFan

      I am backing Huntsman, whom I think is right on pretty much every issue. I could support Pat Buchanan, but Ron Paul is too nutty, even for me.