I get the appeal of Ron Paul. It seems to transcend party lines....hell, in my liberal bastion of New York, it seems you can't spit for hitting a Ron Paul sign.
I admit, I am intrigued with some of his positions: For example, he's long been an advocate of repealing the income tax since, in his opinion, it's illegal (the 16th Amendment did not bestow upon Congress any new taxing abilities, according the the US Supreme Court, and the Constitution specifically forbids the direct taxation...you know what? It's Sunday. You don't need a policy wonk. If you want, read it here), and he favors the abolition of the Federal Reserve with a return to the gold standard, arguing that only the government should have the power to issue currency.
The Federal Reserve, true, is a quasi-private corporation.
He did vote against the invasion of Iraq, too.
The libertarian in me likes much of what he talks about. The liberal in me thinks the guy is a straw away from a broken camel. He's anti-choice, anti-UN, anti-NATO, anti-immigration, anti-gun control.
In other words, a libertarian of the Ayn Rand school, which makes him basically a nutcase.
I mean, the guy's chief of staff in Congress for a while, Lew Rockwell, argued AGAINST US participation in World War II...sixty years after the war ended!
What also makes me very leery of Paul's honesty is that, in his 1996 campaign for Congress, he raised the third highest amount of funds, behind Newt Gingrich and Bob Dornan, neither of whom had second thoughts about the ethics of selling themselves out for public office.
And it's pretty clear from some of the comments in his past newsletters that Ron Paul endorses racism. Given American's attention span, I'd be willing to bet that an awful lot of people who are fervently, full-throated Paul supporters might not remember these issues.
But here's the telling point:
How much the Paul campaign had snowballed on the Internet became evident last week when supporters independent of the campaign raised $4 million online and an additional $200,000 over the phone in a single day, a record among this year’s Republican candidates. There is even talk that Mr. Paul could influence the primary in New Hampshire, where he could draw votes from Senator John McCain of Arizona, who is trying to revive the independent persona that helped him win the state’s primary in 2000.
In an interview on Friday, Mr. Paul, 72, a retired physician and a grandfather, acknowledged that the influence of the Internet had surprised even him.
“We always knew it was supposed to be important,” he said of the Internet. “My idea was you had to have someone who was a super expert, who knew how to find people. But they found us.”
As for the record one-day fund-raising, he said, “I had nothing to do with it,” adding that he had so far neglected to thank the people responsible. (James Sugra, 28, of Huntington Beach, Calif., acting on his own, posted an online video proposing one big day of fund-raising; Trevor Lyman, 37, of Miami Beach, then independently created a site, www.thisnovember5th.com, that featured the video.)
Mr. Paul estimated that the one-day haul had brought “$10 million worth of free publicity.”
Ron Paul is about Ron Paul. He won't be Republican party candidate. While he could be a Libertarian candidate, and has not ruled out an independent run, this all appears to be an ego-grab. Granted, in the course of that ego-boost, he's promoting a dialogue this country needs to have, one about our Constitution and our power structure.
But make no mistake about it: Ron Paul is not the answer to those problems.