Another offering in my occasional series on 2008 presidential candidates.
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is an interesting guy. In his 72 years, he's served in the Air Force, he's been a physician (an OB/GYN), and he's served in Congress three different times. The latest, taking office in 1997 as a member of the House from Texas, has given him an opportunity to generate more of a national presence . And this isn't Paul's first bid for the presidency; he ran as the Libertarian candidate for the White House in 1988.
Paul has received a lot of attention lately, mostly because of the web-based excitement he has generated. Though he's a third-tier Republican presidential candidate, his web-based fund-raising has been impressive, raising 2.4 million in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2007. That's real money.
Added to his fund-raising prowess, Paul's Libertarian history that has gotten folks talking about him. In an era when the voting public is so clearly divided and independent voters may be calling the shots, a candidate like Paul, because of his 3rd party background, is seen as possibly appealing to independent voters.
My response? Whatever.
Paul is a fascinating guy but his political views are unusual, some might say a tad nutty. For example, though he voted against the war in Iraq and against the American Patriot Act (two positions that found him at odds with his current political party), he's also opposed to ANY American involvement overseas. A Paul Administration would get us out of the war in Iraq and, at the same time, we'd drop out of the WTO, NATO and the UN, and curtail all American involvement overseas. That's called isolationism and it was a dismal failure the last time we tried it, right before Hitler brought the world his brand of leadership. It was alliances that brought down Hitler (and communism). It is the lack of alliances that is costing us in Iraq today. I just don't see isolation as the answer.
On immigration, Paul proposes that we totally secure our borders, kick out all illegals, end new immigration, put a stop to talk of amnesty for current illegals living in the U.S. and (this is my personal favorite) bringing an end to birthright citizenship. That ought to show the world that we are the land of hope and opportunity.
Paul doesn't want the government involved in issues of personal liberty, opposing the movement for a national identity card and taking a stand against government interference with individual's financial and medical records. This might make him appealing to young voters who favor such positions. But Paul is also opposed to the right of a woman to obtain an abortion, arguing that isn't an individual right (placing him at odds with both Libertarians and most Independent voters).
In sum, Paul is wacky. And when he's not wacky, he's downright scary. And that's why the 2008 presidential cycle will find him sans the Republican nomination, a victim of his own lunacy.