"What a lot of the media doesn't seem to understand about Ron Paul, is that he doesn't only attract people that agree with his views, he is also able to educate people so they change their views to match his." (AP)
This is true. You see, those who want "another Reagan" have one staring them in the face, they are just too ideologically blinded to see it. Reagan's great strength was that he was able to reach across the aisle and pull into the Republican Party huge numbers of ex democrats, or traditionally voting dem independents. He helped them see "your party no longer represents you, and we are the group more closely aligned to your interests." He also brought in huge numbers of young voters.
How did he do this? By enumerating a huge lot of libertarian principles (which he then failed to follow...., but hey, he at least got them out there on the table). THIS is why Ron Paul supported him (one of only three Congressmen who did so, defying the Republican leadership) back in 1976.
The ideas of traditional liberalism (what we call "libertarianism" because the Marxists have co-opted the word "liberal") are strong, and powerfully appealing. More than that, the arguments are intellectually cogent and EXTREMELY powerful in their moral suasion abilities. This is why Ron Paul has almost a cult like following among many. His "rock star" appearances befuddle the nay sayers because he has NOTHING "rock star" about him. His manner is weak, his voice squeaky, his suits don't fit, and he is contemptible compared to a Perry, or a Romney. However, in his speeches (which have NO pizzazz) an undercurrent of truth, honesty and common sense just boils out. He talks about freedom, the need to take back government, the immorality and ridiculousness of our constant wars, the intrusion of the state into our lives, and the corruption of our money/banking system through the federal reserve.... all those things ring true because they ARE true. It is like there is a burst of reason and common sense in a sea of lies and manipulation.
In the midst of this, you do see the people who resist this, and resist bitterly. They are mostly, although not uniformly the constipated metamucil crowd, as Ron gains 50% of the youth vote. He is most vociferously resisted by the greyhairs. Many Evangelicals also reject him, though mostly over a view of "Israel" which is related to a rather bizarre end times theology.
Why is this? Partly that kids are idealistic, but it is also something else. As a rule, no one in America has been educated in HOW to think, but rather WHAT to think is all they know. Zerohedge had a great article which I linked to here http://snarktown.blogspot.com/2012/01/lack-of-critical-thinking-is-key-to.html -- The biggest mental effort people put forth does not include actually evaluating arguments, but choosing their sources of information. Critical thinking skills are very rare in our culture today. Instead we simply mirror what the "experts" tell us in the media, and think freedom of thought means choosing our "experts," whether they be Limbaugh, Stewart, Alex Jones, Thomas Friedman or Ron Paul. MSNBC or Fox is their great excercise of freedom. That is why some of the stuff, like the current idiotic thread which asserts that Ron Paul is anti gun freedom, (this post originally was written in a local gun forum) is so abysmally stupid that one could walk through the deepest elements of the article and not get your ankles wet, and yet it is put forth as a serious critique. Further, contemptuous dismissal is met with moral indignation and a chorus of "you think you are so smart" or something like. The ability to distinguish between STATIST approaches to "gun freedom" and liberty based arguments are simply beyond the ken of the person who makes such arguments. I started to post in the thread but thought, "man! if that crap is thought a serious rebuttal, there is no point." The same kind of foolishness came from a recent "anybody but Ron Paul" by the pro life group "Americans for Life" who maintain the phenomenally mindless position that anyone who is for rolling back abortion by any means other than a constitutional amendment is "not pro life." This is nothing more than an inability (and often and unwillingness)_ to actually EVALUATE and think critically. Choose your expert and strap in. The idea that HOW we come to the results wished is actually more important than the temporary goal is just not within the processing capabilities of many oldsters, it seems. It is a learned habit. Hand me the remote, will ya?
There is another reason why the man is popular. Men were created for truth. We WANT to believe truth and we want to believe men are telling it. This is why we fall, over and over and over, for scam artists, hucksters, thieves and shysters. This belief that "he is genuine" is a chord that resonates deeply in the heart of men. Again, we WANT to believe that someone is honest and has integrity. Of course, there are many who think themselves "wise" because they has seen the truth that men are, in fact, liars and untrustworthy. There is a vocal element of that stripe here. Because of this, they think that bitter cynicism is the lodestone and they are above the rubes getting sucked in. These are the people who will tell you that Tim Tebow is a hypocritical money grubber, or bawl out continuous warnings about the messiah complex of Paulites. They have not a first scintilla of evidence, but they have a false view of man (virtue is not possible and redemption is a myth) and more importantly, they WANT to believe this because it make them wise and brighter than the naive simpletons who believe...... .ANYTHING. It often justifies in their own mind their own bitter hostility toward all things good/God. Good simply does not exist, outside kissing puppies and other personal acts of piety, be they secular or religious. They are largely bitter and angry people, and often self congratulatory that they are not "taken in" with the rest of the gullible. These are the folks who have no retort except to repeat over and over that "you have a mancrush on Ron Paul" or "you think he is a Messiah" or some other such. They think themselves wise and untouched by such hero worship. I like the phrase "above it all" to describe them.
This is why some Paulite diatribes (including mine) are so laced with scorn and contempt. Not because the people making the accusations are contemptible, but because the arguments are so obviously pandering lies, and obviously "rip and paste" hit pieces.
This is not to say that everyone not on the Ron Paul bandwagon is some dyspeptic sour old coot, a cranially vacant nimrod, or some other defective person. There are good and serious reasons to question his positions. Foreign policy issues do bear scrutiny, and the issue of Israel and the US is a touchy issue. You may wind up evaluating him on the basis of this and saying "no thanks" and that is certainly legitimate. I may think you are wrong and we can respectfully disagree.
My own first thought about the military stuff was "this is crazy and will never work"........., and then I began thinking about what was said. I started looking at some of the people he was quoting (none of these ideas are his, by the way. He is standing in a stream of political thought, the source of which goes back thru Hayek and Mises and Bastiat and Jefferson and Locke and Aquinas and Calvin and Augustine). I began weighing the different arguments I wrote to a friend of mine and asked him to pray for me, joking that I might wind up on the staff of the John Birch Society (I did not know who Alex Jones was at the time or I would have used him). I had discussions with a scholar friend of mine who teaches political science at Liberty University (that conversation was dismaying). I flew out to San Antonio to talk to a friend of mine who is a colonel (now retired) in Special Forces who was in Iraq. He is one of my closest friends, and I was really torn over my developing views on our foreign policy and my loyalty to men like him. He came home between deployments and I flew out to his home to have some long talks about where I was going (I know his wife just LOVED that! lol Had not seen the man for 11 months or so and someone shows up on his one week with her to talk politics!). I wound up where I am. I maintain close friendships with these guys whom I respect, but disagree with. I can respectfully disagree with you if you show any semblance of integrity on this stuff.
If you post stuff that consists of foolish tripe that has every appearance of completely unthinking pabulum shoved out by people with all the intellectual honesty of Chris Matthews or Rachel Maddow, or all you have is "I don't like foreign policy" and then line up a bunch of sneers based on "electability" though, don't whine about being mocked. You deserve it.