A few months back, I said that Ron Paul was the first Republican candidate I could imagine voting for. He's still in the race, but stalled at about 5% support, which is actually a lot better than I thought he'd do. And, there's a vague chance I might actually get to vote for him. If Romney doesn't drop out of the race, then the Republican nomination might actually roll on to the convention, meaning NC would actually have a voice in the primary process for the first time since I've been a resident of the state. Still, that would mean I'd have to register as a Republican, and I just can't see myself swallowing that kool-aid. And, while Ron Paul is very closely aligned with many of my political views, the has two big strikes against him:
1. There are charges, based on things that were written in a weekly newsletter that he used to publish, that he's a racist. The charge of racism gets flung around a lot in politics. Bill and Hillary are getting slapped the label, which shows how trivial the word has become. Still, I have read some of the quotes, and they are bothersome. Paul's defense is that he doesn't remember writing them, that he thinks they were the words of some staffer writing as him. I'll buy this... most politicians write very few of their own words. Still, that just puts Paul back into the "just another politician" camp and removes some of the edge from his talk about personal responsibility.
2. The whole gold standard thing. Paul is an advocate of returning to the gold standard. He feels that the value of money is completely arbitrary as long as its valued against other currencies instead of an actual, physical commodity. Which is true--except that it's arbitrary when valued against the actual, physicial commodities as well. Gold has no inherent god-given value that magically allows it to determine the true worth of a dollar. The value of gold floats on the arbitrary whims of humanity as much as the value of currencies float. So, I'm afraid I lump gold standard advocates in the same box in my head that holds flat-earthers and creationists.
One thing I will say in Paul's defense: He's anti-abortion, but at least he has the philisophical integrity to then also be anti-death penalty. "Pro-life" politicians who would fry half our prison population and who passionately advocate war drive me crazy.
However, all this talk about Paul is pointless in a way, because he's definitely not going to be a candidate for either party. If he runs as a libertarian, he'll pull down the cool 1% they normally get. Maybe his higher visibility might boost the take to 2% or, dare I dream it? 3%!
The all or nothing nature of the american political system galls me. I've lived 43 years and never once had a politician representing me, and doubt I will in the next 43 years either. The only thing that I can draw a little joy in is that a lot of the Republican chattering class is about to find themselves in the same boat. The most vocal elements of the Republican noise machine--the unholy trinity of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity, loathe John McCain. Coulter said this week she'd vote for Hillary before she'd vote for McCain. Assuming that they are too be believed (a dubious assumption, I know), then a McCain victory would be fun just to either see the mental contortions these vapid talkers go through to convince thier listeners that there were pro-McCain all along, or else see if they remain firmly anti-McCain and wind up blamed for a Republican defeat in the fall.
Finally, in a wierd instance of media bias this morning, I noticed two headlines stating that Clinton and Obama were now tied going into Tuesday's primary. But, when I looked at the actual articles, Clinton had a 4 point lead on Obama, 47-43. Now, sure, that's within the margin of error. But, it's not a tie. The headlines would be less biased in saying that Clinton has a slight lead.