Ron Paul’s Influence Still on the Rise

The LA Times has noticed — if a bit grudgingly — what YAL has been rejoicing over for months now:  More people are paying attention to Ron Paul than ever.  Many of his ideas, previously dimissed as too extreme to merit mainstream attention, have now been co-opted by the conservative establishment as fiscal conservatism once again becomes trendy on the right.

The Times‘ report is a highly qualified one, careful to note that even Cato thinks Dr. Paul is too much in favor of the free market (gasp!) — and that more mainstream economists agree.  Nonetheless, the article notes:

For three decades, Texas congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul’s extreme brand of libertarian economics consigned him to the far fringes even among conservatives. Not a few times, his views put him on the losing end of 434-1 votes on Capitol Hill.

No longer. With the economy still struggling and political divisions deepening, Paul’s ideas not only are gaining a wider audience but also are helping to shape a potentially historic battle over economic policy — a struggle that will affect everything including jobs, growth and the nation’s place in the global economy.

Much of this new appeal is here attributed to the failing economy.  If that analysis is correct, then it seems likely that we can expect Ron Paul’s influence to continue to grow at this impressive rate in 2010 and the years to come. 

“Ron Paul’s ideas no longer fringe,” the LA Times piece’s title declares.  I think at this point it’s safe to say that’s understatement typified.  Now if they’ll just start listening on foreign policy too…

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