After a war this badly managed, why is there not a single serious anti-war candidate in the GOP? ~Andrew Sullivan
Maybe because there is the constant insistence on the part of the great and the good (and even the relatively mediocre) that the one antiwar candidate in the Republican race is not a “serious” candidate? It becomes a self-fulfilling complaint once you have decided that antiwar candidates are ipso facto unserious because you already know that antiwar candidates cannot be “serious” contenders for the nomination. No one could be better-suited as an ideal candidate for Sullivan’s rhetorical pose as the Last of the Goldwaterites than Ron Paul, who is as genuinely libertarian and constitutionalist in reality as Sullivan pretends to be during one of his “fundamentalist”-induced panic attacks, yet you will not see someone like Sullivan (or anyone else in a similarly prominent position) lift a finger to advocate for Dr. Paul’s candidacy. Why? Because he is “not serious.” Of course, candidates can never be really “serious” until large numbers of people support them, so instead of complaining about Ron Paul’s candidacy antiwar, realist, small-government and constitutionalist conservatives might actually stop whining about how the movement and candidates have failed them and back the one person who has had the integrity and willingness to defend these positions when most of them were hiding or on the other side.
Sullivan is right that Barnes’ picture of GOP diversity is quite exaggerated. Note that the only diversity Barnes discusses in his article is diversity over abortion views, and it is on these issues that Barnes and the Standard are happy to entertain a wide variety of views. Obviously, on foreign policy dissent is not only not welcome, it is very simply hated.
Among the candidates, on the main issue that will probably end up destroying the modern Republican Party, the war in Iraq, only Ron Paul has been right from the beginning. It is for that reason, if for no other, that all of the people in the movement and party who have been or continue to be wrong about Iraq refuse to grant that he is a worthy candidate. He stands as a living rebuke to all those who have sold out or compromised their principles or embraced the opposite of what conservatives used to believe about foreign policy, and so all those who have lost their way will insist on not taking him seriously, because to take him seriously is to admit that they have been terribly wrong in one way or another.