Understanding the Ron Paul phenomenon

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Ron Paul is a phenomenon many establishment politicians cannot understand. But as a leading Libertarian-conservative media personality, as well as the 2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee, I completely understand this phenomenon, and I hope to solve the mystery here today at FoxNews.com.

Mitt Romney won Florida by a landslide (as I publicly predicted). On Saturday Romney will also win my home state of Nevada by a landslide. But as usual, Ron Paul will have the most enthusiastic, passionate and energetic supporters in Nevada – as he does in every state.

After years of being the lone Libertarian voice in Congress, and often being the lone vote on issues, Congressman Paul is today a folk hero. After 25 long years of fighting for Libertarian and fiscally conservative values, this little old Texas baby doctor has become an “overnight success.”

The Ron Paul phenomenon is perhaps the most interesting story to come out of the 2012 election to date, simply because he breaks all the stereotypes of a successful candidate or movement. Ron Paul is not handsome (like Mitt Romney). He’s not exciting (like Sarah Palin). He’s not charismatic (like a Reagan or JFK). He’s not super articulate (like Obama). And he’s sure not young. If I were to run for President in 2030, I would still be younger than Ron Paul is today.

So what’s the attraction? Why are so many Americans passionate fans of Ron Paul? And why in particular do so many young people who tune out of politics, tune in for Ron Paul?

Let me start with his #1 attribute. Ron Paul is RELENTLESS. He just never gives up. It has been said that if you keep your suits long enough, they’ll eventually come back in style. Ron Paul’s brand of Libertarianism and freedom is back in style – because of his dedication, persistence and tenacity.

The foundation of relentlessness is unshakable faith. Tim Tebow’s NFL season full of miracles proves the value of intense faith. Well, Ron Paul has that kind of intense faith in the old fashioned values of God, country, freedom, personal responsibility, and capitalism. And Paul’s enthusiasm and faith is genuine, not fake or manufactured. Voters can see that and they like it.

Secondly, while Ron Paul is not your traditional politician, and is painted by the media as extreme, the voters are starting to realize that it is the traditional status quo politicians that led us right into this economic Armageddon. Those “traditional” views about everything – debt, taxes, spending, entitlements, Social Security, bailouts for billionaire bankers, the Fed, wars – led to the insolvency and bankruptcy of this great country. Perhaps it’s time to think "out of the box."

Even more damning, these same traditional beliefs have led to an unprecedented economic disaster facing Europe at this moment. Europe’s survival is in doubt because of too many government employees, big pensions, too much debt, spending, entitlements, taxes, free healthcare, powerful unions, and the “green energy” fraud. America has followed this same tragic path under both Republican and Democrat Presidents. Ron Paul has been warning us for many years.

Ron Paul predicted the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae, and Freddy Mac would destroy the housing market. He predicted reckless government spending would lead to an unemployment crisis. He predicted the high cost of college, driven by student loans, would enslave college graduates. He railed about “crony capitalism.” He voted against the unconstitutional bailouts to banks and Wall Street. He predicted the Fed's irresponsible printing of fake dollars would burden our children with trillions in debt. He was right. Americans are starting to notice.

Lastly, we come to the true energy of the Ron Paul Revolution – the youth vote. Polls show young people are fiscally conservative, yet socially tolerant.

Ron Paul’s brand of Libertarianism appeals to them. Like Ron Paul, young people want government out of their bedroom and wallet. They crave economic and personal freedom. They want spending on wars ratcheted down. They no longer want to pay for the defense of rich nations like Germany, Japan and South Korea with money we can't afford.

And they want to see the drug war ratcheted down too. They want drugs treated like a medical problem, not a violent crime. Most importantly, they understand the $15 trillion national debt will be dumped on them like a crushing credit card bill. Ron Paul is the only one who has been warning young people about these issues for decades. They trust the grandfatherly baby doctor.

Voters don't have to agree with Dr. Paul on everything to appreciate his wisdom.

I'm an unabashed supporter of Israel.

My views on foreign affairs, the war on terror, and military spending may be more moderate than Dr. Paul’s. But one does not have to agree with him on every position to appreciate how much he pushed us in the right direction.

Our nation is bankrupt and we must change the old way of doing things, or run off the cliff. How far we go, how much we cut, is up for debate. But we need his voice of reason – he is right on so many issues today.

Now let me give the almost-certain GOP nominee Mitt Romney some unsolicited advice. The GOP needs Ron Paul. You need his Libertarian supporters. You desperately need a shot in the arm – the energy, passion and excitement that Paul's youth vote brings to your campaign. Disregard them at your own peril.

If I was Mitt Romney  I’d be looking at harnessing all that excitement and passion by offering Ron Paul either Treasury Secretary or Federal Reserve Chairman – and announcing it to the world. Embrace Ron Paul, bring him and his son Senator Rand Paul into your inner circle, and give them an important role at the GOP Convention. Sure, just being the anti-Obama could win the election, but having the enthusiasm and passion of Paul's supporters will ice the victory. Embracing the Ron Paul phenomenon is the key to beating Obama in November.

Wayne Allyn Root is a former Libertarian vice presidential nominee and the author of “The Conscience of a Libertarian.” He now serves as Chairman of the Libertarian National Campaign Committee. He is a regular guest on Fox News and hundreds of radio shows across America. He is also a serial entrepreneur and capitalist evangelist. His web site: www.ROOTforAmerica.com