Chance Favors the Prepared Mind
I would genuinely love someone out there to explain to me the appeal of Ron Paul. I truly mean it.I personally fail to see what so many others are seeing. In particular, I'm curious as to why so many liberals are backing this man. In a year where Democrats actually have a shot at the presidency, when there are multiple solid and electable candidates, why are some people jumping ship?Not to mention, considering the man has zero chance in securing the Republican nomination, why are so many people throwing their money away on him? And why is he not running as a Libertarian? His policies don't seem to coincide with those of the Republican party whatsoever (apart from his Pro-Life stance - an issue liberals are also curiously turning a blind eye to).In all seriousness, I would love someone out there to explain to me why this man matters. Is he really any different than Harry Browne or Michael Badnarik?-kurt
I'm equally confused about the appeal of Ron Paul to liberals. Outside of his anti-Iraq War stance, and anti-Death Penalty stance, he's at LEAST as conservative (and in many cases MORE...) as the the major Republican candidates on: taxes, education, guns, health care, social security reform, immigration, welfare etc.I can't tell you why he matters because I just don't know enough about him, but I think his "government stay out of our lives" approach appeals to a lot of people (myself included). Thing is, once you peel back the onion, a lot of his more extreme ideas - abolish the IRS & CIA - surface, and, to me, they just aren't realistic.I wouldn't vote for him for a variety of reasons (most glaringly his isolationist foreign policy tendencies) but I must admit that some of his stances (most glaringly his militant free market tendencies) perk up my ears.
And one last thing about the "not a chance at the nomination" that Kurt brings up, and that I agree with...I used to think that the rabid Paul fans were just myopic and a little nutty (which some of them are...), but the more I've listened to some of the people that are supporting him I've noticed that the strategy they are taking is to take a stand in 2008 for "real, traditional conservatism", a la when Goldwater "took one for the team" back in 1964.
Mark, your last point about "real, traditional conservatism" echoes what my dad's cousin said a few months ago when he proudly pointed out the Ron Paul sign he has planted in his yard. I believe he said something about Paul being "a real Republican." And mind you, this guy always struck me as being pretty liberal, so I'm not sure if he is one of those liberals smitten with Ron Paul for whatever reason, or if it's the anti-war stance that won him over. I just don't know.Anyway, while I wouldn't vote for him, I find Ron Paul very appealing. And Kurt's comment about his policies not "seem[ing] to coincide with those of the Republican party whatsoever" - I think that's great! Blind loyalty to political parties doesn't seem to be getting anything done, and I suspect Paul's supporters - no matter what political affiliation they might have - realize this.Is it silly or naive to say that Ron Paul seems to have better people skills than all of the other candidates? I mean, maybe he just has a knack for making resonant statements, but I don't think that's it. I think he comes across as a genuine public servant, rather than a slave to his party, and I'm just disappointed that there isn't a Democrat with the same approach.I'm glad Ron Paul is in this race.
I think it's good that Paul is in the race too. Like you said, he's one of the first fringe candidates to really have an impact in quite some time. (The Tacredos, Kucinichs, Gravels, and Tommy Thompsons never made any in roads after their initial announcements). And who knows yet if this is a good thing or not, but Paul's popularity seems to have lit a fire under the YouTube/MySpace generation. Maybe it's no different than the Rock The Vote/Clinton MTV generation, but at least youngsters are showing an interest in politics when there are so many other distractions to be found.Because of Paul's long shot-status I think it's afforded him the room to speak more freely and aggressively. Perhaps I'm wrong and he would be presenting himself the same way if he had Romney polling numbers, I don't know...But I do think he's been able avoid too much scrutiny. Meaning, b/c he's fringe, his record, his past etc. haven't been significantly combed over. We saw what happened to Huckabee once he became a major player. His AIDS comments from the early 90's are particularly disturbing, to me.Which leads me to this: http://www.bsalert.com/news/2160/His_Early_Writings_Is_Ron_Paul_A_Racist_Wingnut.htmlA good friend of mine tuned me into the above article. It's a letter that appeared in a Paul news letter after the LA Riots. (apparently he didn't write it, it was just in his newsletter). It's long, and I haven't read it all, but there are questionable statements in it that some have charged as racist. I'm careful to ever use that charge against someone, and I'm not doing it now, but it's just an example of the type of heat Paul would probably generate were he in the top tier.
I don't really understand the appeal, either, as a politician. I think a lot of it is just reactive (all the little liberal kids of St. Ed's love the guy; stickers and t-shirts everywhere) against Bush. He's such the other extreme that I think it's just refreshing to people. And like Mark said, since he's so fringe, he has the freedom to speak really candidly.I think he's a good guy to have around to keep people on their toes and to have a small role in politics (and I do appreciate that he's upset this whole race so much), but definitely not as president. He's questionable about some things, definitely, that, as you said Kurt, liberals turn a blind eye to (abortion, he's squeamish about the gay), but he also wants to abolish marriage completely as a governmental institution, which I'm all for, so hey, he can be as squeamish as he wants as long as he still knows my rights.Mostly I just think he's sort of amusing.
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