Monday, November 19, 2007

The Right Man At The Wrong Time?

Man, I love it when another blogger says exactly what I'm thinking, but expresses it so much better than I can. Monkey Ben at Infinite Monkeys reeled me in by mentioning Ron Paul and Ronnie James Dio in the first sentence:

I'm a Ron Paul fan, in much the same way I'm a Ronnie James Dio fan. I'll buy the t-shirts, sure. I even like the message, more or less. But the idea that either man could actually be elected president of these United States is amusing enough, though not really... er, real.
It has been far too long since we had a President named Ronald, and I am all in favor of electing another one. President Dio (or President Padavona, to use his family name) would be extremely cool, but that's about it. "Governor Jesse Ventura" sounded cool, but after he had a chance to govern for a while, I felt relieved that I was not one of his constituents. Jesse governed as a leftist, and so would Dio.

Ron Paul, on the other hand, is an experienced politician. He ran for President as a Libertarian in 1988 and came in third behind Bush41 and Michael Dukakis. It was my first presidential election and I didn't pay much mind to third party, slim chance, or protest candidates. By the time 1992 rolled around, I was very aware of libertarianism. For a brief time, I subscribed to Liberty magazine. I did not vote for any Libertarian Party candidates, but I was aware that there were alternatives to the big media candidates. Even though he switched back to the Republican Party, Ron Paul held fast to his constitutional libertarian, pro-life stance. Aside from Alan Keyes, there have not been any Republican candidates who impressed me as much. I have essentially waited twenty years to vote for Ron Paul.

Now that he is running again -- FINALLY -- I am starting to have my doubts. Monkey Ben expresses my sentiment perfectly:
I don't think Paul is an anti-Semite, a neo-Nazi, or even an isolationist as such. I do think he's wrong about the war and about Congress's authorization of it. But I think he's pretty much right about spending, about the size and scope of government, and about the Constitution. And unlike certain radio hosts, I think he's essentially right about letters of marque and reprisal.

Does Paul's candidacy appeal to some unsavory citizens? No doubt. But that in itself is no disqualification. Paul's beliefs, however eccentric they may seem to the media, are wholly legitimate. Such beliefs, indeed, deserve a voice in America's government. Just not the executive branch.

What disqualifies Paul from the presidency is his demeanor. He's a whiner. Any man who is going to take a stand for the Constitution needs to be strong. Paul sounds like a 98-pound weakling. He sounds like a trekker. He is a sandwich-board bearing madman, predicting the demise of the Republic.

The other day, I attended a gathering of political animals who tend strongly conservative. There were quite a few Ron Paul buttons in evidence. When someone asked the attendees if we were planning to vote for Ron Paul, most of us answered in the affirmative. I half expected to hear an outpouring of support for Giuliani -- but then I remembered that these were serious conservatives, and thus not likely to be swayed by media impressions of the candidates. Like Monkey Ben said, these people feel that Ron Paul is wrong on the war but right on damn near everything else.

Unlike Monkey Ben, those conservatives feel than Ron Paul has a serious chance of winning, and should be taken seriously. Ben makes a very strong counterpoint in his concluding statement:
It's one thing to be right. It's another thing to govern. And it's another thing to be a statesman. Paul has his place. It's in Congress, not in the White House.
435 Ron Pauls in the House of Representatives would be worth more than 435 times as much as one Ron Paul in the White House. He still gets my vote in 2008, though -- not one single candidate other than Paul strikes me as anything less than a media invention. If we are going to make big changes in this country, we might as well start with the one Ron Paul that we have.

1 comment:

jipzeecab said...

I read yesterday that according to the latest polls the Republican candidates are beginning to take Mike Huckabee seriously and are alluding to him being ethically challenged.
One of the transgressions being discussed makes it look like the Clintons, fellow Arkansaians were operating out of the "Huckabee Playbook" when they left the Whitehouse in 2000.
In 1998 when Huckabee left the Little Rock Governor's Office he and his wife tried take the mansion furniture with them, destroyed the computers in the office and set themselves up with a dept store bridal registry so friends could buy them items for their return to civilian life...all things the Clintons tried to do two years later.