October, 15th 2007

OK, the Paul supporters have got my attention, at least for the moment

– Liz Mair

I was away over the weekend, attending (and speaking at) CLC 2007 in Reno, so I haven't been online too much in the past few days. But, sifting through my email, I saw a link that had been sent to me to this YouTube clip relating to Ron Paul's candidacy-- together with a mention that Jon Stewart and Bill Maher both back Paul.

So, I checked it out (note to readers: put "Jon Stewart" anywhere in an email, where gmail will pick it up without me opening the message, and I'll probably read it). And despite its length (8 minutes or so), I think it's worth readers checking out as well, simply because it provides a good roundup of coverage of Paul and his campaign in one tidy piece.

I am not supporting Ron Paul for president (let me make that clear before I get thousands of emails from Paul supporters on the subject). I don't quite share his position on items like immigration, free trade agreements, abortion, or indeed the war (I'm one of the more war-skeptical righty bloggers I know, and I think I can safely say that I definitely do want troops out by 2013-- possibly putting me in a more anti-war camp than the three leading Democrats-- but I'm also not someone who's on board with immediate, full withdrawal of troops, and I did support the initial action against Iraq, though not quite for the reasons espoused by the administration).

But there are many things I like about Paul, too-- his position on taxes, his interest in dramatically cutting the size of government, not just tinkering at the edges, his position on the PATRIOT Act (I think the way we've worked it now is likely livable, but I was skeptical of the original legislation passed). And, unlike most center-right/Republican/conservative folks, I would like to see Paul stay in the debates for a long while, simply because he may eventually force the other candidates to actually state their plans for reducing the size of government (a piddly program here or there, deeper cuts to departments, or full-on elimination of government departments).

I'm also struggling to see how Paul doesn't stick around and make his voice heard, in GOP debates or otherwise. Sure, he isn't polling especially well, but he has raised a lot of money, making the possibility of him running as a third party candidate viable. And he is getting more and more media attention-- witness his appearance last week on Tucker.

Which draws me to another point about Paul. Much as I may agree with him on certain big issues of the day, as Tucker rightly pointed out, if Paul ever made it to the presidency and delivered on his agenda, there would be a popular revolt in this country. Yes, people like me (and Tucker also, to be fair) would probably be quite happy with some major slashing of the Department of Education, but I would hazard a guess that 90% of the US population, at the bare minimum, would never support that and would go mental if anyone tried it. Which, I suppose, along with my disagreements with Paul about free trade agreements, immigration, abortion and the war should explain to anyone who has been wondering why I'm not on board with the Paul candidacy-- though, as I say, the man does raise some very valid points in my view about our government and what changes need to be made.


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