posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 01:22 AM
Dr. Paul has an extremely devoted following, but that does not mean that he represents all of their views and ideas.
It is impossible that the majority of people in an entire congressional district agree with the man on everything.
The key to Ron Paul's success is that his philosophy is bigger than his individual stances, and he has built his identity very closely on the issues
that people do agree with him on, thus strongly deemphasizing any disagreement between himself and his constituents, which frees him to vote his
conscience rather than theirs on issues where there is a disagreement.
It's smart, it's successful, and I would not say that it's wrong because perfect agreement is an unrealistic standard and 100% submission to the
voters is not implied by the Republican form of government, even when democratically elected.
But ultimately the primary difference between Ron Paul and others is his ability to build consensus on points of common ground, not an unusual
devotion to the particular opinions of his constituents. He gets them to come to him, he does not go to them.
A man like that has to be very careful to stay on top of the current issues, develop his pitch on those issues, and truly master his own views so that
he can tiptoe on them without ever asking voters to give him too much just because he didn't sufficiently nuance his position. Otherwise a change in
voters priorities would destroy Ron Paul and his populist image.
But again, I take nothing away from the man as far as his political skill goes. I'm just pointing out that it is an exercise in give and take,
despite being almost entirely directed by the office holder, who also owns 100% of the accountability in that relationship, it is an extremely
difficult thing to succeed at, and is not POSSIBLE in all circumstances.
This means that many leaders in many offices do not have the option of even attempting to follow Paul's example and consequently he cannot be held up
as a universal model of how things should be. That model would neither achieve office, maintain office, or yield results in most offices in this
nation, because of differences in voter demographics and local political priorities.
Generally speaking, there will MANY choices to make between the will of the people and the will of the office holder. When these choices become so
numerous and so weighty that the office holder cannot maintain his office without either acquiessing or resorting to deception or other distasteful
tactics, that is the sign of a practical obligation to the people, which also becomes a moral obligation in that the obligation can only be rendered
non-binding by immoral manuevers.
I do not believe that Ron Paul would under any circumstances yield to the majority in contravention of his principles, but this creates a vexing
question of whether he would allow himself to lose office over that, or whether he would resort to some dishonest manuever which contradicts the very
spirit of the principles that led him into said hypothetical problem.
In short, the great gauge of a classical liberal (not to be mistaken with what we now consider liberal) is his ability to love and respect democracy
when it fails.