It is often said that Ron Paul has a solid base of supporters, most of whom are libertarian leaning, but in order to win the GOP nomination for president, he would have to expand his appeal beyond his base. For the last several weeks, Dr. Paul and his campaign have been doing just that, reaching out to conservative Christian values voters. His message has not changed one bit, but his recent emphysis on his longstanding positions which are favorable to values voters could have a great impact on the race.
His latest campaign advertisement is set to hit TV and radio in key early states soon. It focuses on his longstanding pro-life belief and record:
As one viewer put it:
“Yes, as Politico’s Alexander Burns points out, Ron Paul needs to persuade Iowa voters that he is ‘more than the audit-the-Fed guy,’ but Paul comes across as so poignantly sincere when he speaks on the subject of life that it’s hard for me to believe this video is just a ploy for votes. Frankly, I wish more campaign ads were like this one — quiet encapsulations of important convictions.”
When asked about the scope of the new ad campaign, Paul’s Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton had this to say: “Our Life ad will air in Iowa on broadcast and cable television with substantial dollars behind it. It will also air on the radio in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.”
Values Voter’s Summit and Straw Poll:
Last week, Ron Paul won the Values Voter Summit straw poll. Many have dismissed the victory and cite the influx of local college students who registered and likely voted for Paul. But receiving nearly as many votes as the second and third place finishers combined requires more than some motivated college students. Presidential historian and author Doug Wead (who is an advisor to the Paul campaign) had this to say about the speech given by Paul: “He offered a scriptural rationale to every position and moved from one passage to the next without hesitation. The man knows the Bible.”
The full transcript of Ron Paul’s speech can be found here. He spoke about Sameul warning Israel against taking a king, and all the warnings are what we now live with under ‘King Washington’. He spoke about honoring our parents and taking responsiblity for their care instead of relying on cradle to grave care from our government. He spoke about Jesus’s command to take care of our families, neighbors and the poor, but never advocating lobbying Rome to take care of our responsibilities. He spoke about life being a prerequisite to liberty saying, “you cannot be a great defender of liberty if you do not defend and understand what life is all about and where it comes from.” He spoke of Isaiah’s dreams of an end to war, with swords being beat into plowshares, and how war impacts and undermines families. He also points to Christ and the early church as his inspiration for his foreign policy, a policy that is often not well understood by the conservative Christian audience.
In the Bible, in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, Christ was recognized to be the prince of peace. He was never to be recognized as the promoter of war. And he even said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be the children of God.” He never said blessed are the war makers. It was the peacemakers that we must honor and protect.
Christ was very, very clear on how we should treat our enemies. And some days I think we quite frequently forget about that. Early in the history of Christianity, they struggled with the issue of war and peace, because Christ taught about peace. Did that mean Christ was advocating pacifism? The early church struggled with this and came to the conclusion, at least in those early years, that Christ was not a pacifist, but he was not a war promoter.
And this is when they came up with the just-war principles, saying, yes, war could be necessary, but only under dire circumstances, and it should be done with great caution. All other efforts should be exhausted before we go to war, and always under the proper authority. And today I think the proper authority is not the U.N. or the NATO forces to take us to war.
Reaching Out to Iowa Pastors:
A recent campaign newsletter highlights the campaigns effort to meet with Iowa pastors, stating:
State Chairman Drew Ivers recently met with thirty Independent Baptist Pastors from all over Iowa. The Pastors gathered to learn about American political and religious heritage. The event, hosted by Pastor Josh Davenport of Victory Baptist Church, featured author and speaker James R. Beller to cover the basics of personal liberty and its evolution in America, pre-1776. Reverend Davenport is also the GOP County Co-Chair in Clay County and publicly endorsed Ron Paul last month in a press release.
Despite the fact that strong statements of faith and pro-life positions could potentially alienate his libertarian leaning base, Ron Paul is not afraid to include them on his campaign website. With the exception of a few statements on Gingrich and Santorum’s campaign sites, Paul is the only candidate bold enough to lay out his position against abortion. And with no exception, Paul is the only candidate whose campaign website includes a statement of faith, which starts off very clear by saying, “I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all I do and in every position I advocate.”
If protection of life and faith are important to any of the other candidates, why is Paul the only one bold enough to go on record and include them on his campaign website, where many people go to look at the positions of each candidate.
Paul is also the only candidate whose campaign website’s issues page includes a position in support of homeschooling freedom, an issue very important to many conservative christian voters.
Will it work?
Dr. Paul’s positions have not changed, but this new emphasis on values important to Christian conservatives may expand his base enough to have an impact here in Iowa, where they make up the base of Republican voters.
When asked for a statement on Paul’s reaching out to Christian conservative voters, Paul’s Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton had this to say:
“Dr. Paul is a Christian and a man of deep faith. He feels strongly that changing policy is not enough. To be able to return to a free society and enjoy its many fruits, we must also change the prevailing moral attitudes of the People. Liberty can not thrive without morality. Speaking out about his Christian faith is essential to winning the battle of ideas and fixing our many problems. Dr. Paul’s standing among Christian conservative voters is growing as people become more familiar with the man as well as the message.”