Monday, January 23, 2012

Why I would not vote for Ron Paul for President

Ron Paul is one the four most prominent candidates in the race to be nominated as the Republican Party's presidential candidate, to run against Democrats' Barack Obama in 2012. Newspapers and social media websites are full of quotes from GOP debates - making it pretty obvious to me that most of the well-known Republican candidates are idiots.

I am (kind of) sorry for that expression, but I cannot avoid the impression I have got from the remarks they have made. Bachmann, Perry and Santorum are just way out of line and Cain did not seem to be smart enough to understand what's wrong with his message. Newt Ginrich is somehow just a boring, repulsive professional politican (with lots of experience) and Mitt Romney a less repulsive but just as boring politician. If I have counted correctly, that leaves out Ron Paul. Because I know many smart people who share (some part of) libertarian ideals, I thought I should write this blog post to explain why I (even though I am smart!) would not vote for him.

Many of the Republican stereotypes do not apply to Ron Paul; he does not seem to want to have a system that pushes his personal (religious or political) beliefs down everyone's throat. He is undeniably bold and intelligent and is not afraid of being at odds with even fellow Republicans. But of course, he is not a Republican at heart, he is libertarian and happens to be playing with Republicans out of necessity, as in United States you must be with the Democrats or Republicans in order to achieve any political offices.

I sincerely hope that Ron Paul wins the Republican nomination, for many reasons. It would be a shock to Republicans and may force them to rethink many policies, interventionist doctrines and so on. It would also make the future debates with Barack Obama much more interesting. He is very much "electable" but not probable to win. Against Obama, I think Paul would be the wrong choice (but I think Paul will try to get nominated every four years as long as he is alive). I am happy not to be writing about this as a U.S. citizen, so I do not have to make a choice and vote, because I do not like the U.S. political system in general.

The Ron Paul Newsletters - or different publications that were published under Ron Paul's name but him apparently not being aware what was being published - are a difficult matter. I know that Paul has said it was stupid not to have any knowledge of the stuff that the publications contained. They had a lot of text that would be considered racist, bigotry, conspiracy theories and so on. I find it very difficult to understand how a prominent businessman and politician could be so ignorant of what is published under his name, how can he screw up so badly?

As a politician, Ron Paul does not really have a track record of cooperation and going by the general opinion of his partymates or the government's. As a president, who leads the whole country, that is a major problem. Obama is criticized as being "too negotiating" and not taking enough stance on matters,  but I fear that Paul would be far too independent and constantly at odds with Congress and Senate. As a result, it would be difficult for him to push through any new policies, and as everybody knows, he has plenty of them. I am not convinced of his ability in making compromises in matters that he has declared as critically important.

I think many of the libertarian ideals that Paul upholds make a lot of sense. However, I do not think it is the best way to advance them to have a libertarian president who must fight the Senate and the Congress who very much disagree with those ideals. I know that libertarians believe that having no (or very little) taxes, no mandatory or state-provided health insurance etc. would contribute to a better world, more liberty, more jobs and less poverty. I do not believe that. Like communism, libertarianism would not work. Instead, both of them are useful and many of their ideals can be used in real world.

I am also worried about Paul's stance towards abortion. He regards an embryo a "person". This would mean that abortion is for some purposes, among other things, a murder. I dislike the American polarized discourse about abortion, but I do not think that abortion should be classified as murder (intentional killing of a person).

Even though I generally support Paul's ideals about not interfering other countries' matter so much, not waging war and not spending so many trillions of dollars into military (especially with budget deficit), I think his proposals are a too unrealistic again. The operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have left United States with obligations that it cannot just abandon like that.

I also don't like Paul getting money from a Ku Klux Klan leader and being satisfied with the donations. However, this might not be as big an issue as it has been advertised to be.

So, is Ron Paul, or would he be, a good leader? Caring yet strong, understanding of issues both domestic and foreign? Does he have friends, does he make friends? Is his view of the world correct? I think not.


  1. Wouldn't you acknowledge, though, that Paul is not very likely to be elected, but instead more likely to remain the pitbull gnawing at the better known candidates' hems? If so, it still makes sense to vote for him, *especially* because he's not going to pass, even if elected candidate.

    As for all of the rest of the stuff, I'm a libertarian atheist, and a newer day hippie, a BDSM, perv fiend, and whathaveyou. I don't exactly consider Ron Paul to be someone who'd represent my values -- but then, libertarianism isn't about representing personal values, but about the proper division of power and a theory of law/violence. There, much of even the stuff Ron Paul has been accused of saying is thoroughly irrelevant as far as the presidential office and his proven convictions mesh. Quite regardless of whether it's true or not.

    The *one* thing I'm worried about most wrt Paul Sr., though, is his brand of federalism. While it stops the federation from seizing all sorts of nasty powers, it seems to leave pretty much everything up for grabs where it comes to the separate states.

    From the classical liberal viewpoint, that's just wrong, and opens doors to all kinds of nasty behavior. From that viewpoint, a human rights violation is a human rights violation quite apart from whodunnit. That is then where Paul's personal aspirations might play out most badly, with his voting history suddenly not guaranteeing almost anything.

  2. I am talking about presidential elections, not about choosing the Republican candidate. I leave that vote for Republican voters.