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On his website, tricky Dick Morris, former adviser to Bill Clinton, claims comically to be fighting for the soul of the Grand Old Party. Morris has dubbed a potential contest between Republican presidential contender Ron Paul and President Barack Obama as “the biggest [Republican] wipeout in American history.”

Less dramatically, the Des Moines Register conceded, in the aftermath of the “the first contest of the 2012 election season,” that, while “many Iowa caucus-goers connected with Paul’s belief in less government spending and regulation, in free trade and private property rights and in opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan” – they nevertheless “worried about Paul’s prospects in the general election.”

With 21.4 percent of a volatile vote, Rep. Ron Paul came in a strong third in Tuesday’s Iowa Republican caucuses. Assuming second place, and trailing Mitt Romney by eight statistically insignificant votes, was former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, the dark horse in this race.

Still, what separates Dr. Paul from his Republican rivals is this: Whereas their national appeal is likely to plateau – coffined by militarism and social conservatism – Paul’s appeal, by contrast, has the potential to transcend the confines of the Republican Party.

For one, Ron Paul can woo Obama’s sizeable anti-war base, which is sick and tired of the killer drone. (One definition of a drone is “an idle person who lives off others; a loafer, a drudge,” a Barack Obama. Another definition of a drone is “a pilotless aircraft operated by remote control,” frequently utilized by the aforementioned “idle person who lives off others” to kill others.)

For example, Ron Paul is far more likely to work with a hero of this anti-war faction, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. Kucinich’s opposition to counter-productive, unconstitutional, unjust forays abroad goes back to the Balkan war (in the course of which he stuck up for the much-maligned Serbian population of Kosovo, and forewarned about empowering the Jihadist Kosovo Liberation Army).

Although a national Rasmussen Poll, conducted in December (27-28), placed Romney ahead of Obama by 45 to 39 percentage points, at 43 to 35, Obama bests Ron Paul by only 8 percentage points.

Another December poll (16-18), taken by CNN/ORC, revealed that Paul was already outperforming Obama among independents (48 to 47 percent), rural folks (52 to 45 percent), white voters (51-46 percent), as well as among consistently reliable voters older than 65 (47-46 percent). As against Obama, Paul was making strides among moderates (42 to 56 percent) too, and was inching up with the youth cohort (47 to 53 percent). (PDF)

Like it or not, this election is about the economy, subsumed within which is the issue of mass immigration.

“More than eight in ten likely Republican caucus-goers – 81 percent – think it is not acceptable to allow illegal immigrants to obtain in-state tuition.” This according to a December 2011 NBC News/Marist Poll. (PDF)

As the Center for Immigration Studies has consistently demonstrated, “enforcement approaches with no increase in legal immigration” were the most popular policy options among a majority of all voters. “Seventy percent of voters said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who wanted to double legal immigration.”

Since he rightly celebrates the free, unfettered movement of goods across borders – trade – Paul’s protectionist detractors might have “deduced” that he must also rejoice in the free flow of people across our borders. As a man of the classical liberal, unquestionably American, Old Right, Rep. Paul would be wise to vigorously defend the idea of a sovereign America bounded by well-defended borders.

Not only is a highly selective immigration policy an effective, non-aggressive tactic against terrorism – it is also the perfect complement to a peaceful foreign policy, predicated on the negative, leave-me-alone rights of the individual, and not on the positive, manufactured right of humanity to venture wherever, whenever.

However, positions that appeal to most ordinary Americans appall a noisy left-libertarian minority that has taken up residence in the country’s most influential newsrooms and television studios.

These libertarians argue against the prevention of trespass on the grounds that restricting immigration amounts to the use of aggression against non-aggressors.

This is the case only if one rejects any form of ordered liberty; only if one believes that telling someone, “No, you can’t go there” is tantamount to violence. And only if one trivializes violence.

A well-policed barrier on the Southern border is the definitive, non-aggressive method of defense. You don’t attack, arrest or otherwise molest undesirables, who cost more than they contribute; you keep them at bay, away.

Just the other day, “in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash,” Ron Paul slammed Santorum as “very liberal.” Before the surging Santorum picks up the scent of an incipient left-liberal immigration policy, and gives chase, Ron Paul ought to cement a strong stand on an issue that unites America.

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