How does the Ron Paul candidacy threaten the journalists, think tankers, and academics who live and work along the Orange Line in Washington, D.C.? The answer is straightforward analysis of economic incentives, with some common cultural patterns thrown in.
Familiarize yourself with the main economic plank of Paul’s platform: eliminating the income tax with no replacement. If it succeeded, most of the friends, fellow partiers, sources, and sex partners of the Orange Line journalists and think tankers would be out of work. Even partial success (for example influencing other candidates into advocating deeper tax cuts to win Paul supporters, or motivating more Congressional candidates to run on an anti-tax and anti-war platform and thus creating a libertarian base in Congress) would harm economic interests in their social circles. Furthermore, there would be far fewer spoils for the lobbyists to lobby over, and fewer important articles for the journalists to write about D.C. politics, so they’d suffer personally as well as socially.
There are also “economic preferences” in politics not reflected in money — desires for power, desires to “change the world”, etc. (These two motivations are easily interchangeable near the Orange Line). D.C. attracts people from all over the country with strong preferences along these lines. These, too, would be hurt by a growing success of anti-tax libertarianism. To the extent Ron Paul succeeded, they would be less able to shut down the madrassas and save Muslim women from the dastardly Muslim male. They’d have less control over oil. They couldn’t provide all Americans with health insurance. And (keeping in mind this is only one of many motivations) they couldn’t provide as much protection for Israel. Generally speaking, practically everybody who came D.C. did so to get the federal government to solve various problems they are passionate about. They feel very strongly about these: much more strongly on average than people who do not live near the Orange Line. Success by Ron Paul or his acolytes would start stripping away from them the power they believe they need to solve these problems.
Remember, Paul ranks right up there with McCain, Huckabee and Romney for the 18-29 year old vote. Paul has come very close to winning a plurality of that vote in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan, ranking far ahead of Thompson and Giuliani for the young vote in all three. Paul ranks ahead of _all_ the other Republican candidates in Internet searches and search results. Contrary to myth this represents not “spam” but just the high concentration of Paul supporters on the Internet, comparable to the high concentration of Democrats in the mainstream media (MSM). Both the Internet and MSM are unrepresentative slices of American political opinion.
But the Internet is growing at the expense of the MSM and Paul represents a large chunk of the future of Republican politics. The MSM, including its political bureaus along the Orange Line, finds the Internet threatening. Orange Line bureaucrats think of “radical” libertarians (i.e. those who would eliminate the income tax with no replacement) as maniacs out to destroy their jobs. Ron Paul brings these two fears together.
Moving beyond economic incentives and to human cultural patterns, the Orange Line crowd are a tribe, a monoculture defending itself from an alien tribe that is hostile to them, namely libertarians who don’t like how the federal tribe makes it’s living (via skimming off their paychecks). It’s tribal warfare.
All in all, it would be extremely surprising if the Orange Line did _not_ try to attack Paul. The only surprising thing for me has been to observe how much Orange Line “libertarians” are culturally aligned with the Orange Line rather than with anti-government libertarians.
This analysis has been a straightforward matter of economic incentives with some common human cultural patterns thrown into the mix. This economic analysis gets obscured because, on the one hand, those not privy to the workings of D.C. can only describe it metaphorically in terms of conspiracy theories. The Orange Liners laugh them off the stage. But the economic analyses in their rough form sound a bit like the conspiracy theories, so they too are shouted down by the bullhorns of the Oranger Liners and those who parrot their authoritative opinions. They are laughed off as “conspiracy theory” before the analysis can even start to begin. Most of the MSM when it comes to political issues, and even much of the “alternative media” like Reason Magazine and the Orange Line bloggers, are part of the Orange Line culture. Using these Orange Line bullhorns to make fun of or smear independent thought and independent sources of political power is one of the main levers of federal power.