Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ron Paul On The Brain

Try as I might, I just can't seem to whip up enough enthusiasm to call myself a "Ron Paul supporter." Supporter just seems so .... I don't know, so establishment. And yes, Ron Paul is the anti-establishment candidate, but actually campaigning with all those stickers and buttons and whirly-ma-jigs seems so untoward - but, you know, untoward in the establishment sort of way.

Maybe it's the fact that I've never supported a candidiate for office before and have my heart set on losing my campaign virginity by opposing the evil Richard Blumenthal's run for governer of Connecticut in 2010. Or maybe it's Ron Paul's insistince on pushing the gold standard and his support from 9-11 truthers. Who the hell knows. The point is, I'm conflicted. At this point, I'm not posed with the question of whether or not I'd vote for him in a two or three way race, so let's just keep the discussion focussed on the primary. (And, accordingly, avoid the question of whether or not I'd just him to be in charge of American foreign policy.) My biggest problem is that I'm just not sure I like him as the voice of libertarianism. As I've written before, I think Paul can come off as nativist and reactionary.

The interesting thing about Paul is that he may be the most meaningful outside the establishment candidate to grace either of the major party primaries in a long while. His position on the war and his stalwart opposition to the Bush style of governance has even endeared Paul to many liberals, who seem to be fighting their own battles on the subject of the libertarian candidate. For example, this back and forth about Paul on the Democratic Underground boards, seems to be common in liberal circles- so much so, that some of the commenters wonder why so much more attention is being paid to Paul than to some of the Democratic candidates.

Meanwhile, over on her Asymetrical Information blog at the Atlantic, libertarian-leaning Megan McArdle is fighting off the hoard of Ron Paul supporters. Her biggest complaints? Paul's obsession with the gold standard, the insanity of some of his ideas, and the fact that Paul stands no chance at winning anything.

I'm sympathetic to Megan McArdle's point of view, although I admit that I know very little about monetary policy and the desirability of the gold standard. I am rotting for Ron Paul to do well and continue to shake things up- shaking up the political establishment is always a good thing. And as McArdle points out, Ron Paul should be the ultimate refutation of the idea that money buys elections. Paul has been the leading GOP fundraiser for months now, yet continues to poll in the single digits. But for now, at least until the primaries come around, the story in lonely libertarian land is still that the Texas Congressman with two first names just can't win my heart.


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