At the Ritchie Coliseum yesterday, hundreds were turned away after the 1,780 seat venue was filled to capacity with University of Maryland students — we’re talking about kids, here — waiting to cheer on a 76-year-old Republican. Ron Paul’s speech focusing on noninterventionism, ending the draft system, ending the war on drugs — and according to The Sun, legalizing raw milk — was enthusiastically received by UM students. Probably the only way he could have drawn more cheers was with free hookahs and a promise to lower the drinking age to 18.
I kid — Paul has to be by far the least pandering of the Republican hopefuls (yeah right, more like one hopeful and three despairfuls — zing!). And that’s one of the things that’s hurt him in the race; he’s used a libertarian college student stump speech no matter whom he’s addressing. It’s those very same stances on foreign policy, military spending, and civil liberties conservative pundits are always calling “off the rails” that the conservative-leaning college set is likely to deem “pretty sick.”
After the event, Paul weighed in on the Trayvon Martin case to Politico‘s Zack Abramson — insofar as he refrained from weighing in — saying, “[D]ay to day the facts are changing, so for me to speculate on exactly what’s going on there… I think it deserves attention, I have questions in my mind, but I haven’t heard all the answers that are probably there.” A reserved, even ambiguous, statement — and perhaps for some frustratingly so — but one typical of the candidate who when given the opportunity to get righteous about the controversial Terry Schiavo case in a Florida debate, instead just encouraged anyone listening to get a living will.
(By the way, when I searched for an image of Paul on Google, the top suggested search string was “ron paul shirtless.” Am I missing something?)