Politics & Media
Dec 20, 2011, 05:32AM

Ron Paul, 2012

Why the good doctor is hard for a liberal to resist.

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A few weeks back, I wrote an essay about how I might well vote for Mitt Romney in the Republican primary. My reasoning went basically like this: (a) Mitt is vaguely sane; (b) no other Republican with a  chance at the nomination is vaguely sane; (c) since the economy sucks, a Republican might win the general; (d) I would like the President to be sane; and finally, (e) therefore if I must have a Republican candidate, I prefer Mitt Romney.

That logic still holds good, with one caveat. Suddenly, and to my surprise, it looks like Ron Paul could win this thing. And I prefer Paul to Romney. Not only that, in certain dark moments, I prefer him to Obama.

Paul's downsides are clear enough. He's certainly a model of balance and stability compared to the blustering inflatable ego that is Newt, or the walking lobotomy that is Rick Perry, or the frothy lube of hate that is Santorum. But if you're not grading on a curve, Paul is a little loopy. He didn't quite say that government should let the uninsured die in the streets , but he was far more torn on the issue than you would like a physician to be. His vow to cut 1 trillion in federal spending in his first year in office in the middle of a withering recession sounds like a libertarian suicide pact. Moreover, it's a libertarian suicide pact that would affect my life directly. My wife works at an agency that provides services to local governments; a 1 trillion cut would devastate already reeling municipal finances, and would quite possibly put her out of a job. Which would end our health insurance. Giving us and our child the chance to (Dr. Paul willing) die in the streets if we happen to get a bacterial infection.

So, given that there is a non-negligible chance under a Paul administration of a Great Depression that will make the last few years look like a Gilded Age , what could make me vote for him? What seductive, siren brawk issues from that thin, sinewy, chicken-like frame?

Well, there's no real mystery. Paul is perhaps the only serious candidate in my lifetime who thinks that dropping bombs on people is bad policy. On top of that, he's also the only serious candidate in my lifetime who thinks that imprisoning people for smoking pot is idiotic. 

Four years ago, I voted for Obama on basically those grounds. He came into office declaring that he thought that endless war in Iraq was a bad idea. He said he would take civil liberties seriously. He even intimated that he would be less idiotic about our endless drug war. And what do we get instead? A war in Libya, Afghanistan ramped up, a pledge to assassinate American citizens if the executive feels like it, and the usual drug war crap.

I'm not completely disappointed with Obama's presidency. We didn't invade Iran, which pleased me; he's winding up the war in Iraq; he pushed through a health care bill which, while not perfect, was a major positive step.  

But it's clear now that Obama is not the man to challenge the consensus of oppression, either at home or abroad. Even with an economy in crisis, he would rather prosecute multiple wars abroad and throw harmless people in prison at home than patch the gaping holes in our woeful social safety net. Whatever his personal opinions (if he has any), the political calculus is the political calculus. He knows that the left has nowhere else to go. He can be very belligerent indeed and be less belligerent than the idiots in the other party who want to nuke Iran yesterday. The best political position for Obama, then, is to be just one iota less of a thug than the Republicans.  As long as he does that, who will challenge him?

Nobody…except Ron Paul. If Paul wins the nomination, we would actually have a presidential election in which the majority of people in the country who would like to stop randomly invading sovereign nations would have a voice. We'd have a presidential election in which we could actually debate our insane drug laws. I have to admit, I have trouble imagining what such an election would look like, but I would very much like to find out.

I'm not saying I'd necessarily vote for Ron Paul against Obama.  It would really depend on the campaign.  If, for example, the 76-year-old Paul picked Sarah Palin as his running mate — or even Newt Gingrich — that would make a big difference.  If Paul stumbles into racism, as he seems to have in the past, that would matter too. But if, on the other hand, Obama tried to run to Paul's right on a platform full of demagogic, fear-the-Iranians nationalism — well. Paul doesn't exactly have my vote for the general now. But he could win it.  

  • I'm utterly confused, how did Ron Paul become the best thing the GOP has. Did Paul get better or did the party get worse?

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  • "... given that there is a non-negligible chance under a Paul administration of a Great Depression ..." That's a pretty big catch there. I'll keep the fellow who killed OBL, thank you. Paul's newsletters are also pretty hard to overlook. Ta Nehesi Coates has a post on Paul's first response to news of their contents, which was to defend the various racist statements rather than disavow responsibility for writing them. (Note: The "racist" link at the end of your piece didn't work when I tried it.)

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  • I'm stumped. I wouldn't even know where to began to respond to this piece of crap.Let me just say that the free ride is over.The people pay for Government not the Government.You can't take from Peter to give to Paul.Take responsibility for yourself and quit expecting a hand out..

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  • Ron Paul has always been the best candidate. Bar none. The "party" on both sides has been mediocre at best. Now we have someone who has been consistent for 30 years, doesn't agree with war and for the clowns that hang on to the newsletter.... 30 years of representing unfair treatment of minorities by distinguishing race. Don't let the media spin your mind, if you want open minded discussion, come talk to me. If at the end of the conversation, you still want to vote Obama... Or whoever you so choose, I will respect you none the less. But if you haven't read the Constitution ans Bill of Rights, you should start there... Much love, peace and respect! Ron Paul 2012

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  • Also, to the writer... Self-preservation is a human instinct that should be balanced with rational thought. While it's great to think worst case scenario, there is no such thing as the so called Libertarian suicide. Dr. Paul wont get in and pull the rug out from under everyone. He has a sound plan and if you haven't read up on Austrian economics, please do... And if we all let a little humanity into our lives, played a bigger role in our community and were more responsible for our own actions, the prosperity of our country would return.

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  • REALLY? SERIOUSLY? I have no idea who you are but thats of no relevance whatsoever, because you're about to get schooled just like all these other ignorant fools that have diarreah of the mouth saying the most uncultivated garbage that only unsophistcated Americans would believe. First off, he has always been the best thing the GOP has because he is injecting real issues and real ideas into the debate. There is clearly no chance of a Great Depression under Paul because of his brilliant ideas of cutting spending. Why is it necessary to spend $300 Million PER DAY in Iraq, not to mention the money spent in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Libya. Plus the fact that we have 900 bases in over 130 countries around the World. Simple solution, we stop policing the World and acting like a pompus empire and save a nice chunk of change right there. Second, sorry to hear about your wife but lets think for a minute, should the government be responsible for spending money on these sectors if we can't sustain it within our budget? NO! The jobs themselves should generate the money to sustain themselves and if they can't, well sorry for you, NO HAND-OUTS FOR ANYONE! Third, just because you are insecure about yourself, no need to judge a book by its cover. Who cares what he looks like, he has 170 IQ you cretin! You obviously have NO IDEA what is really going on in this World. So hint of advice, do some research and if you need direction check out INFOWARS.com Fourth, How about you go live in Libya and see if you enjoy bombs being dropped on you and other innocent civilians! Not a moral thing for anyone to do. Furthermore, the fact that marijuana is illegal is a complete fraud and front for the War on Drugs. Its ridiculous that Alcohol is the cause of many more deaths a year than marijuana. Study what really happened during the prohibition era. It will make sense to you once you uncover the truth. Fifth, Only an imbecile would choose Palin as their running mate, please don't insult Ron like that. I know you are completely bewildered by the main streams point of views, since they are controlled by the establishment, but try to wake up and be worth something to this country and the rest of the American people. If you have children, you will not want them to be born into slavery and be in debt for their entire lives, or do you? RON PAUL 2012

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  • You had me at "frothy lube of hate". Nicely done.

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  • I find myself more persuaded by the Paulites who are commenting here. They sound perfectly Sane AND lucid because their Minds are Unclouded by the nasty clowns who they RESPECT.

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  • Yeah...I have to say, the Paulites here are not helping their man's case. But despite them, I'd still be interested to see what Paul said in a general campaign. He could convince me. He could lose me. But I would love a general election in which the drug war and the empire were actual issues of contention.

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