Is Ron Paul the Next U.S. President?

I’m a conservative. There, I said it. I could spend a great amount of time discussing how I’m not “this type” of conservative or “that”, but let’s not fool around. If I didn’t brand myself, you’d brand me. And if I try to explain away any of your preconceived notion of me, it will just make me look weak. So, picture me however you picture a conservative and let’s move on to the topic at hand.

In the conservative movement, as in all movements, there are shades and flavors of the ideal - to which no one person can subscribe. Everyone has their preferences. Some might be a little more socially conservative, some fiscally conservative, some fanatical, some rather quiet, and so forth.

The Republican Party, by its own definition, is supposed to be conservative. Naturally, we all know that isn’t always the case. Some conservatives make frequent use of the word “Republicrats” when referring to certain party members who tend to drift into liberalism on some of their beliefs. I’m sure the Democrats have similar terms for their more conservative party members, but I wouldn’t know what those terms are.

Ron Paul is an icon among conservatives. For many years, he has stood his ground in Congress when other conservative leaders have buckled. In the conservative world, he’s a good guy.

Every four years, conservatives rally around their favorite candidates and engage other conservatives in lengthy and sometimes vitriolic debate over whether a particular golden boy could get nominated as the Republican candidate. Think Barry Goldwater. Think Pat Buchanan. And now, think Ron Paul.

Here’s the problem I have with the whole matter.

First, the race for president should be the least important issue on the mind of any pure conservative. My overall concern for whomever is President is well below my concern for what local conservatives are doing to better their country. Voting for President is one thing - a duty, no doubt. Spending enormous amounts of time debating about it is frivilous. Our time could be much better spent doing some good locally. As long as we continue to waste hundreds of man-hours of our lives every four years “chasing the rainbow”, we’ll continue to have sub-par candidates at all levels of government, because only those men and women who actually do stuff will be in the running. The rest are just talkers.

The hyper-extreme of this is the “politico gadfly”, a character we’ve all run into at times, who can prattle on forever about the excesses of government, quote Supreme Court decisions going back to the 1800’s, name every Presidential Executive Order they didn’t like (usually all of them), go over the abuse of the United Nations of our sovereign status (and possibly include NATO, NAFTA, and other “alliances”), and we’ve only scratched the surface of this type of person’s knowledge, of which they acquired by spending vast amounts of time reading used paperbacks, attending John Birch Society meetings, and watching secret VHS films they had to get from a mail-order house in Nebraska.

These types can be fun to talk to occasionally, and you can learn some interesting stuff. But they accomplish nothing. They never pass a bill. They never vote to override a budget at City Hall. Heck, even most “normal” voters can’t follow their conspiracies and rants because they have no focus. They can’t even work for groups that try to educate voters on singular topics because behind every group are… well, people, not all of whom might be there with the same keen insight and constitutional knowledge as our little friend.

But those are the extremists.

After eight years of Clinton, I kind of realized that the effect of whomever the President was, as much as I’d like to see a conservative in the oval office, pretty much out of my hands. All I can do is vote. One vote. That’s all I get. I can’t change the world with one vote out of 300 million Americans. I’m not trying to sound like an anti-voter here, just trying to talk about the reality of what I have the skills and abilities to do versus what I don’t. My one vote holds no more power by spending 100 hours of chit-chat debating with friends (or enemies). So, I choose not to anymore. Quite likely, I’ll make my final decision within a few weeks of the actual election. I could instead spend the same 100 hours working for a local city councilperson running for office and easily get 100’s of people to vote for that person. Maybe a lot more. People tend to be a bit less stubborn when it comes to evaluating their local options. Ever tried changing someone’s mind about who they are going to vote for president? You might as well chase the wind.

That tends to grate some of my friends. In particular Ron Paul supporters.

Second, the race is over a year away. If conservatives have this much passion for an election over a year away, to even care what their fellow conservatives are going to do (or not do) in regards to only one candidate, they ought to consider spending their energy and time working on local campaigns or even running for local office themselves.  Not just conservatives, Americans. Even liberals. We all grimace about the lack of good options we have at voting time. And whose fault is that? Every one of ours for sitting around with an “us” vs. “them” mentality. We are them. They are us. You either get involved or you don’t.

When you are 18, just learning about the options and the issues may seem like a full-time job. But when you grow up a little, doing candidate research and debating with your friends isn’t enough. That’s being a passive observer.

Are you going to spend the next year talking to people and trying to convince them to vote for Hillary? Or Rudy? Or Ron? You’ll never reap any rewards for that. You won’t be going to the Whitehouse. Your candidate isn’t going to call you up and ask your advice. It will also be a matter of time before your candidate, once elected, will do something or say something that makes you a little shy about voicing your prior support for them. Assuming they even get elected which, odds are, they won’t.

Worst of all, you will have spent countless hours bickering with friends and family over this person, whom you have likely never met and never will. Most importantly, their impact on your daily life, if elected, will be far less than the impact of your local city and county public office holders. Your local congressman, too, holds more sway on you and your children’s futures, than even ten presidents.

Why waste your time with all that? Work on a campaign that matters.

I can’t describe how many local campaigns get hijacked by larger campaigns. When I helped run campaigns, we constantly lost people (who had previously committed time) because they got kidnapped by the presidential race. People would tell me “I’ll try to put up signs for city council person so-and-so while I’m putting up signs for Bush”. The next week? 1,000 Bush signs scattered all over and about 10 city council signs, the other 190 returned to us with a sheepish “Sorry”. It’s a waste of time. Three months from a presidential election, no one is going to be driving down the street and see a Bush sign and go “a-ha! Now, there’s a guy I’d like to support”. But, they might see some local signs and get curious enough to bother to check out the candidates website and learn more about him. But the fanaticism that drives some people to support a presidential candidate at all costs, above other races and above relationships with friends and family, is not only destructive to more important things in life, it holds little results.

And that brings me to Ron Paul.

There are numerous people in my life who think it my solemn duty to swear allegiance to Ron Paul. This has been going on since he announced his candidacy about six months ago. I sent out an email to some of those people in May after Ron Paul stabbed himself in the eye on his first presidential debate. It was beyond a flub. It was beyond a misstep. I wrote that I couldn’t see how I could consider Paul as a viable option, regardless of his low standings in the polls, based on what I saw. If you missed it, put a towel between your teeth and watch it here. I’m no huge Rudy fan, but I sure appreciated his comeback.

I was hardly alone in this thinking. The next day, Rush Limbaugh said Ron didn’t have a “snowball’s chance”, a quote that made its way around rather quickly, and one that, apparently, had scores of Ron Paul supporters ready to hoist Rush into the abyss. Popular conservative blogger Michelle Malkin has been consistent in her concern over Ron Paul’s ties to conspiracy buffs.

In my email, I pointed out how that, beyond the idiocy of Ron’s idea that we invited the attacks of September 11 (a particularly offensive idea and one usually purported by liberals, not supposed conservatives), that he clearly would not be a good president. A president is all about having the ability to communicate ideas, to speak the common tongue of the people, and to be careful about what they are saying and how it might be perceived. I made mention that Ron Paul is probably a wonderful congressman and we need knowledgeable, conservative people to be in that capacity. But I didn’t think I’d be considering him.

To give you an idea of the fanaticism that goes on in the conservative movement, this is an excerpt of a response I received from one fellow:

I have read and followed closely Ron Paul’s positions for the last 12yrs. He is world’s different than any other in DC. You can keep listening to Rush, Hannity, CNN, Fox or any proponents of the myth that Republican Socialists are any different than Democrat Socialists all you want. When asked to name just one gov’t agency or program that they would cut, all the seven other  “Conservative Republican” candidates couldn’t name one. Ron Paul didn’t have enough time to even get in half of his list.

Gov’t has grown and grown and grown ever since the “first Republican” from Illinois carefully observed the Constitution in 1860 leading to 500,000 deaths. And since then we have had the exponential expansion of unchecked federal power run amok with notable epochs like the favor granting, graft ridden Reconstruction era, Woodrow Wilson giving us the IRS, Federal Reserve Bank (before which there was no inflation — look it up), and…………….. drum roll please……… the War to end all wars. Yup, none other than the “War to make the world safe for democracy”, WWI. Then we had FDR and his “mild expansion of gov’t”, the messianic “New Deal” and WWII. After that we had the statist’s and globalist’s wet dream, the UN foisted upon us through the instrumentality of Alger Hiss the communist spy, Armand Hammer (through intermediaries) and other centralizers and latter day mercantilists. With the first non-declared war, ooops, I mean “conflict” over in Korea from which we have never withdrawn, the US has embarked on a intoxicated course towards empire. Then we had LBJ, and another great expansion of statist salvation. His full blown statist utopia, the “Great Society” has never been repudiated, only tweaked and modified to benefit those currently in vogue, whether they be mad greenies, po’ blacks, redmen (injuns), pinkos or white collar businessmen. It a rainbow coalition! The changes and introductions of gov’t expansion came more rapidly after that. We had Nixon’s neo-prohibitionistic “war on drugs” that has shred the Constitution giving us “no knock searches”, “asset forfeiture” and army-like SWAT  teams that now have armored vehicles and cannons. Then came the joys of 20% interest and the Carter years wherein the Federal gov’t ventured into education, and we all know what a resounding success that has been! I think we need more troops, ooops, I mean, more funding for education! Breaking his promise to terminate the Dept. of Education, Reagan, the patron saint of “conservatism”, further expanded gov’t, blew out the deficit and helped the scripters perfect their greatest lie, namely that there was a polar difference between Republicans and Democrats. They really don’t care which side you are on, just so long as you subscribe to the MYTH. And just who are “they”? “They” are the statists, the messianic deluders to whom every problem has a gov’t solution. Them we had our first direct foray towards Middle East hegemony under W’s daddy. Previously we had done it surreptitiously through the CIA propping up regimes like the Shah, Saddam (our pal), the Saudi royals and let’s not forget our favorite, the Jew. So Bush Sr. got to flex our muscles and use all the toys that we had left over after the cold war which they had been itching to use ever since Viet Nam gave us a black eye. Bush Sr. was also the “education president”, let’s not forget that too with “Goals 2000″, yup a real “small gov’t type” that Republican was. All this makes the sophomoric indulgences in the perks of power, the unsophisticated influence peddling and BJ’s of the Clinton years seem rather mild. And Bubba, through no talent of his own, did shrink the deficit because those “other” socialists, the Republicans, couldn’t agree on how to gather and distribute the Federal plunder. Viva la gridlock! And then came the “Compassionate Conservative”. What have we gotten from the man? We now have the Dept. of homeland Security. Didn’t we have a Dept. of Defense? What are they to defend? Foreign bases? We have gotten the “Patriot Act” which is truly Orwellian. Openly countenanced torture, secret renditions, no rights for those classified as “enemy combatants”. But, hey, we can classify some as fetuses and deny them the right to life, so this is a small step really. We have a “woa on terra” that will make the “war on poverty” and the “war on drugs” look like resounding successes. And the budget? This is the genius of it all…. we can simply plunder future generations in advance through the deficit. “W” is thus the consummate Republican… a “War President” like Lincoln, Wilson and FDR, a big gov’t New Deal, Great Society (”free” prescription medicine anyone?) type like FDR and LBJ, a globalist like Wilson, a corporate mercantilist crony like Lincoln, a deficit expander like Reagan, an “educaterer” like his daddy and Carter, and a consummate idiot all rolled up in one. Wow! What more can we ask for!

Apparently, the above “history lesson” is why we need to vote for Ron Paul. As little influence as Ron Paul has outside Texas, you’d hope his biggest supporters aren’t embarrassing him like this all over the country. It’s hysterical to read stuff like this, but demoralizing when you realize that this person actually takes it very seriously. I almost thought the world was coming to an end while I read it. But this, in many ways, indicates the sad state of affairs in the conservative movement.

We’ve lost the ability to relate to people as people. This is what it always comes down to with these types: “Either you totally support us, throw us a bone, or prepare to be assaulted on every front”. The person above has no love for anyone “conservative”. Sean Hannity is an enemy now. Ronald Reagan is somehow to blame. This person even hates Abraham Lincoln. Who hates Abe these days? Weird! And of course, like any hyper-conservative, the most recent target of their scorn has to be George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. Of course, I’d much rather spend an evening chatting with Sean Hannity, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, FDR, or Abraham Lincoln far more than Ron Paul supporters.

In the past, if I mentioned I was pro-life without apology, that used to be bad enough in and of itself. People could get pretty wild in their responses to that. However, thanks to “conservatives” like the one above, it’s just a harbinger of things to come in people’s minds. They assume I’m one step away from indoctrinating the entire country into a religious nation that will not allow women to vote, make blacks go back to the fields, and ship the Jews out of south Florida. Uh, no. I’m just pro-life and think babies deserve the same rights as the rest of us. But, no thanks to “conservatives” like this, I’m unable to even hold a normal conversation.

I don’t associate people like the above with Ron Paul. I’m sure Ron Paul would tell this person to take a flying leap. However, when I combine Paul’s own misstatements, his complete lack of support (see the great new website Political Base), and the type of people that come out of the woodwork to support him, it’s enough to make me run back to Gerald Ford.

So, without worrying about Ron Paul, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, or Mitt Romney, I’d rather focus on the local race and let the flies buzz about as they will. Those interested in positive, community growth are welcome to join with me in healthy debate over local concerns. All the “Mr. Furious“-types screaming about the presidential race can take a flying leap.

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it seems the fanaticism is on the anti-Paul side after looking at your “blog”. IMNSHO, Paul’s debate with Guliani brought out the idiocy of the mayour and brilliance of Paul. Go ahead and live in mediocre fanaticism of your own if you so choose…

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