Ron Paul's rEVOLution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired

Ron Paul's rEVOLution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired

by Brian Doherty
     
 

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Presidential candidate and longtime representative Ron Paul of Texas is a true enigma in American politics: at once a libertarian who believes in outlawing abortion and halting illegal immigration, and a traditional conservative who fervently opposes the drug war, the PATRIOT Act, and America’s interventions in the Middle East. In Ron Paul’s

Overview

Presidential candidate and longtime representative Ron Paul of Texas is a true enigma in American politics: at once a libertarian who believes in outlawing abortion and halting illegal immigration, and a traditional conservative who fervently opposes the drug war, the PATRIOT Act, and America’s interventions in the Middle East. In Ron Paul’s rEVOLution, Brian Doherty, a senior editor at Reason magazine and Reason.com, documents the meteoric rise of Paul from relative obscurity to national prominence, and examines the fanatically devoted political movement that has arisen around him. Based on original reporting, Ron Paul’s rEVOLution is a remarkable portrait of an extraordinary man who has become a hero to a rising generation of cross-partisan young activists.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In disorganized fashion, journalist Doherty (Radicals for Capitalism) tries to explain how Paul and his supporters—“homeschooling Christians and couch-surfing punk rockers, college professors and famous actors”—are “changing the shape of American politics.” Doherty attempts to frame Paul in a historical context by tracing the argument for a “separation of government from banking” as far back as the Van Buren administration, while also comparing Paul to William Jennings Bryan, suggesting that “the two politicians’ character, style, populist appeal, and most specifically their anti-imperialism mark them as kin.” Though Paul’s recollections about marrying his high school sweetheart, getting drafted in 1962, and, as a doctor, seeing “an infant was put in the trash and left to die” provide the book’s most compelling passages, a full picture never emerges. Instead, Doherty rehashes existing accounts of Paul’s first House election in 1976, hastily mentions Paul’s 1988 presidential campaign on the Libertarian ticket, and rushes through the next 20 years to his 2008 Republican presidential campaign. The chapters mostly proceed chronologically, but without any coherent, compelling structure or narrative. In a too transparent effort to link the book with Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign, Doherty briefly summarizes the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries and concludes, “Paulites will represent future,” though how or why Doherty makes this claim remains unclear. Agent: William Clark, William Clark Associates. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
A breezy and generally admiring though not hagiographic look at the quixotic fixture at the far-right extreme of the last couple of presidential elections. Reason editor Doherty (Gun Control on Trial: Inside the Supreme Court Battle Over the Second Amendment, 2009, etc.) would seem to share Ron Paul's libertarian leanings, though he professes some amusement and bewilderment at Paul's tactics, if not his message. Paul, for instance, has often spoken of terrorist activities as the blowback attendant in our messing around in other countries' business, to which Doherty responds, presumably channeling Joe Six-Pack, "Whoa--a history lesson, recognizing consequences to our actions, an empathetic approach to what the rest of the world would think?" The rhetorical trick gets a little old, but it's clear that Doherty cares greatly about capturing what Paul's supporters think about him and his ideas and, moreover, that he cares about representing them fairly. Much of the narrative is thus given over to fan notes, as against the words of the supposedly elite media. Not that the fan base is huge to begin with: "Paul's rigorous hewing to a vision of government that almost every part of America's learned political, academic, and media elites considers silly was only the start of his problems with the American electorate." Doherty offers considerable insight into some aspects of Paul's ongoing presidential campaigns. The chances of his ever being elected, after all, are vanishingly small, but one desired effect might be the opportunity to influence the choice of vice president, as he might have in 2008. Yet Paul, a maverick if nothing else, keeps his own counsel, insisting, for instance, on giving lessons in Austrian economic theory and demanding the abolition of the Federal Reserve rather than sharpening crowd-pleasing attacks on America's foreign wars and the ill-advised war on drugs at home. Illuminating, if sometimes a chore to read, and a welcome aid to understanding the evolution of Paul's offbeat ideas.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062114792
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/15/2012
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.06(h) x 1.06(d)

Meet the Author

BRIAN DOHERTY is a senior editor at Reason magazine and Reason.com. He is the author of three previous books, including Radicals for Capitalism: A History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement and Gun Control on Trial. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and National Review, among other publications. He has been a commentator on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including The O’Reilly Factor and Glenn Beck. He lives in Los Angeles.

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