A Democrat’s Take On Republican Presidential Candidates: Ron Paul, Not-So-Secret Libertarian
Unlike some of his opponents, Ron Paul doesn’t look mean (Newt Gingrich) or creepy (Rick Santorum). He actually looks kind of benign and well, almost impish. Pixie-like. He looks like a character actor who would play the crazy old coot who secretly turned out to be the main character’s guardian angel in a 1940s movie, or something. When I see Michelle Bachmann on the television screen, I flinch. When I see Ron Paul, I kind of want to chuck him under the chin and coo to him: “Who’s a tiny wee little libertarian?” Then I want to stick him in my pocket and carry him around for the rest of the day like a good luck charm. (As an aside: this is obviously based on the apparently false impression that Ron Paul is short. I am not the only one under this impression, according to the Internet, but reports indicate that he is almost 6′ tall. I think he’s got a slight build but it’s still hard to believe he’s that tall. Maybe he gets photographed with giants a lot; I don’t know.)
Regular readers will perhaps be aware that I prepare for these very important pieces of journalism by Googling “candidate’s name crazy” to see what I find. This can be pretty effective in some cases (Cain, Perry, Bachmann) and less so in others (Gingrich and Romney are not very crazy at all, at least relatively speaking). The interesting thing about Googling “Ron Paul crazy” is that you get hits from both the left and the right.
On the left, his critics paint Paul as an Ayn Rand-loving libertarian fanatic who is so devoid of compassion that he’d let an uninsured young person die rather than give him medical attention at the taxpayer’s expense. Actually, it was the Tea Party Republican audience at a September Republican candidate debate in Tampa who enthusiastically cheered the notion of offing the (literally) poor hypothetical young man; Paul’s response to moderator Wolf Blitzer’s question was more measured. Still, Paul offers plenty to make a liberal Democrat cringe. He has expressed the belief that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are unconstitutional, he is pro-monopoly and opposed to most or all environmental protection statutes. Basically, he’s very much for civil liberties, if it involves a person’s liberty to make money. Other liberties, he’s iffier on.
On the right, Paul’s opposition to the war in Iraq and statements about cutting aid to Israel are anathema. Everyone knows that the U.S. never turns down a war. Yay, blowing things up! The only exception to this pugnacity is when a Democratic president proposes a military intervention. Especially for humanitarian reasons, and especially if the United Nations is somehow involved. Then the enthusiasm for war wanes. So Paul’s hardline anti-interventionist take on foreign conflict (you think he’d be for the massive profits of war profiteers like Haliburton – free market yadda yadda) is not music to conservative ears. Further, Paul’s commitment to free enterprise is such that he believes in the legalization of prostitution and of all drugs. These things do not endear him to the moral conservatives of the party.
Paul’s views on gay marriage probably make him persona non grata with both sides of that debate. He frames it as an issue to be left up to the states, along with, apparently, abortion and, for all I know, slavery and women’s sufferage. He did once state in an interview that he supported gay marriage with the proviso that gay couples do not “impose” their marriage upon anyone else, which I guess means…what? No Crate and Barrel registries? No cars with “Just Married” written on the back window in shaving cream? I’m not sure how two people “impose” their marriage on a third party, but I’m guessing it’s something only gay people are guilty of doing.
Anyway, I saw some link on the Internet today indicating that Paul could somehow steal the nomination. I’m not sure how, but I guess with the…unprepossessing field available, any old crazy thing is possible. I’d actually be interested to see Paul debate President Obama, which is more than I can say for some of these fools.
Next up: Rick Perry. Once Rick Perry seemed like a delicious feast – where to start? It’s all so beautiful! But recently he’s begun to seem like a feast that is almost *too* rich. Seriously, where to start? How can I possibly eat all this? I guess we’ll see how it goes!
About the Author:
Jennie has contributed to Imperfect Women since its inception in 2009. She writes about politics, celebrity news, and anything else that catches her interest. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.