Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What about Ron Paul?

I received some comments about not including Ron Paul in my presidential candidate mojo rankings. Fair point; let's take a closer look at U.S. Congressman Paul. Here's a self-description from his website:

Congressman Ron Paul of Texas enjoys a national reputation as the premier advocate for liberty in politics today. Dr. Paul is the leading spokesman in Washington for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. He is known among both his colleagues in Congress and his constituents for his consistent voting record in the House of Representatives: Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution. In the words of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Dr. Paul is the "one exception to the Gang of 535" on Capitol Hill.

He served in congress in the 70s and 80s, went back to his doctor's practice a while and returned to congress in 1997 representing the Galveston, Texas area. Dr. Paul represents the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, although he is firmly pro-life (Its worth noting that Libertarian Party members are conflicted on the issue of abortion). Dr. Paul voted against the Patriot Act - both times, and is firmly against the war in Iraq.

A review of recent speech in New Hampshire had this:

[Dr. Paul] noted that some people had accused him of not being a “strong leader,” but he rebutted that accusation: “Sometimes being a strong leader means resisting the temptation to use power.” During his time spent in Congress, Paul has consistently resisted the temptation to use power.

That certainly is in keeping with libertarian principles. Now for my mea culpa as to why I didn't include Paul in my presidential candidate mojo rankings list - I thought Paul was running as a Libertarian. I now realize that Paul is running as a (small-l) libertarian Republican. There's really a world of difference between being the libertarian candidate and a republican candidate - even a minor republican candidate.

Paul occupies an interesting space - one shared with, I believe Chuck Hagel (oh great, I also forgot to include Hagel on the mojo list). Many conservatives are fed up with the anti-libertarian elements of the Republican Party, including those who would curtail individual freedoms through the Patriot Act and foreign entanglements like the Iraq War.

Hagel is seemingly despised by many party faithful. However, there seems to be more enthusiasm for the Paul candidacy than for Hagel. Maybe its because Hagel is regularly on Meet the Press and Paul isn't. Maybe its because there are other issues which Paul is perceived to be strong on, and Hagel isn't.

Recent polls have Paul either off the charts or down at the bottom. A recent CNN poll of republican voters gave Paul 2%. Hagel polled the same level.

Its early, but Paul is at least positioned apart from the rest of the republicans, and could gain traction if more Patriot Act abuses are uncovered, Iraq continues to festers, and republican voters decide they want more dramatic change at the top.

Mojor Rankings:

Paul 1.0
Hagel 0.7

Much credit for this article goes to the Big Soccer Politics and Current Events forum, and more specifically the thread on Ron Paul. See here.

No comments: