Which Is Creepier: President Santorum or President Paul? A TNR Survey.
Cameron Abadi: I’d say Ron Paul. If Santorum ended up in the White House, I fear we’d end up with an established church. But I’m pretty sure we’d still have an established currency.
David Bell: Urrgh. What a horrible choice. But in the end, I guess I’d have to give the prize to Ron Paul by a hair, because his temperament is more genuinely fanatical than Santorum’s. And his views on foreign policy and the Federal Reserve suggest a significantly greater inability to perceive reality. But I’d still call both of them true crazies, as opposed to Romney’s “Crazy Come Lately.”
Jonathan Chait: Rick Santorum is a standard-issue right-wing Republican while Ron Paul is a delusional conspiracy theorist. So, Paul.
Gregg Easterbook: President Santorum, an honest man who honestly holds strong views that reflect maybe 5 percent of the American population.
T.A. Frank: Fanatics who do things are scarier than fanatics who don’t. Ron Paul would spend four years saying no to everything, while Rick Santorum would show up in my bedroom to make sure I was suited up for our invasion of Vanuatu.
Lawrence Kaplan: Ron Paul, because he misunderstands—a kind euphemism—two vital and intersecting peoples. Jews and Americans (among other Earthlings) might “creep” President Paul right over the edge.
Michael Kazin: In the creepy sweepstakes, I vote for Rick: Paul would let us all smoke dope, keep our shoes on when we go through airport security, and would not blow up the Mideast by starting a war with Iran. Santorum would outlaw birth control pills, if he could, and basically shares most of Paul’s Ayn Randian views on the economy. Of course, neither has any chance of winning the nomination.
Ed Kilgore: President Ron Paul creeps me out more, because it would indicate he had won the Republican nomination. And that would be a sign the End Times are upon us.
Damon Linker: Authoritarianism or anarchy—what a choice! I choose Ron Paul by a hair, because he’s a conspiracy-monger and lives (intellectually) in a scummy neighborhood.
John McWhorter: Ron Paul. Never mind the Father Coughlinesque positions on the social fabric—the cranky, sociologically tone-deaf independence that exerts a certain fascination on the stump would leave him incapable of statecraft, suasion, charm, or gravitas. We’ve veered alarmingly close enough to that over the past three years.
Tim Noah: President Ron Paul, because he would take advantage of the government’s natural tendency toward inaction to paralyze it entirely. Also, his foreign policy is more dangerous.
Sacha Scoblic: In the battle of the racist versus the homophobe, President Santorum scares me more. It’s like this: If I’m invited to party with Santorum supporters (the Duggars) or Paul supporters (the stoners), I’m so gonna chillax with the Paul peeps, and I don’t even partake.
Alan Wolfe: Santorum. Paul may have an ugly past and reality-blind views, but his very libertarianism would check any powers he might exercise. Electing Santorum would put the presidency in the hands of a man who proudly identifies with a tradition of using state to power to persecute dissenters, of whom, should he ever reach the presidency, there would be many.