What Do You Have to Say About Ron Paul?

I am probably like the other 98% of Americans who know almost nothing about the libertarian Texas congressman Ron Paul, perhaps besides the fact that he’s running for President and that he seems to have a growing fringe following. So this e-mail, from a reader named Casey Hopkins, caught my eye:

Why don’t you guys write about Ron Paul?

1. Number one blogged-about subject (not candidate) on the internet (technorati.com)
2. Highest website traffic of all the candidates (Alexa.com)
3. His odds of winning have quadrupled on gambling sites (gambling911.com)
4. Is shunned by the mainstream media
5. Only Republican who wants to leave Iraq
6. Only Republican who is a real fiscal conservative (see Barry Goldwater)
7. He knows his economics arguably better than anyone in Congress. Watch some of his YouTube speeches.

The primary is still 8 months away, so it will be very interesting to see what happens. Read about his principles and internet popularity on wikipedia.

Thanks, Casey, for doing the blogging for us. At your prompting, I took a quick look at a couple of Ron Paul’s media appearances and I have this to say:

I can see why he is so appealing to people tired of mainstream candidates. And I think he might be highly electable … in a country other than the U.S. Estonia, maybe. (As for his odds of winning quadrupling: indeed they have, as evidenced on InTrade also — from 0.2% to 0.8%; I mean this in the nicest possible way, Casey, but this is the kind of statistical argument that is best kept confined to mutual-fund prospectuses.)

I realize that my contribution here is worthless, and I would rather hear what you all have to say about Ron Paul. So please talk, as Linda Richman used to say, amongst yourselves.


egretman

And I think he might be highly electable …

Oh man, if you people will just elect this fellow from Texas, you would make me so happy for four years. It would be a gift from the gods. Another Texas idiot. Two certifiably crazy dudes from Texas running the guvment, back to back.

I pray to all your gods. Let it be so.

Snarfangel

You have to admit, by firmly putting himself in opposition to the other candidates with regards to the war, he gains attention he wouldn't get otherwise. To look at it from an economic standpoint, there are nine other candidates supplying pro-war rhetoric, while Congressman Paul has a monopoly for anti-war views on the the Republican side. For a second-tier candidate, that's not too bad a place, and he has a chance to attract voters in open primaries that would normally never vote Republican.

My head tells me he won't win, but the race will be a lot more fun with him in it.

Cutkomp

My best piece of advice would be to take it upon yourself to learn more about Ron Paul directly from his mouth. Friday night, for example, he'll be on Maher with Affleck and Rourke. The CNN debates are just around the corner. There are also a plethora of Dr. Paul's writings and videos available online so that you can see what you think about the guy without getting the info through biased and filtered sources.

Thanks for the post about Ron Paul. Have a great day.

frankenduf

unfortunately a libertarian president is an oxymoron

joshuabrucel

Dr Paul is the reason I will vote republican for the first time in my life. Hillary or Obama do not have the strength to end the madness. Even though i am a liberal and he is the most conservative congressman, I know he is a man of peace, or the initiator of a new consciousness devoid of partisanship. Maybe the cyclical American revolutionary figure we desperately need to heal the republic.
The environment is one of several issues dear to liberals that he will have to articulate if he wants their vote. He is a constitutionalist so he would probably be against any international treaties for global warming. I do believe he is a pragmatist who will listen to those who elect him. I am waiting to see what he says. Also of concern are womens choice, affirmative action, and other popular issues. his conviction to vote against a national archives for slavery is the same conviction that makes him vote against the war on drugs. he is will curb the police and prison system andstop the war on drugs. These are issues that affect minorities way more than some racist comments. Hillary or Obama might seem nice but they will continue murder of civilians overseas, continuing Americas descent into a police state. A police state victimizes minorities.

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egretman

Frankenduf...do you mean libertarian small "l", big "L", or Anarcho-captitalist libertarian from the Austrian school?

And when you use the word "moron", I assume you mean it would be moronic NOT to vote for Ron Paul for President. Just wanted to clarify your endorsement of him.

And Snarfangel, when you say Paul is a second-tier candidate, I assume you mean one tier higher than all those 1rst tier candidates.

Go PAUL!!

pparkman

Ron Paul isn't a libertarian's libertarian because he is conservative on social issues. Real libertarians think that the government should get out of all aspects of our lives, but Ron Paul seems to be proud of his "family values" stance.
While Mr Paul's voting record of opposing everything is admirable for its consistency; if a significant percentage of Congress voted as he does, nothing would ever get done.

novemberfive

I'm glad Paul's in the debates because, as Julian Sanchez puts it, his “critique of the war in Iraq, from essentially a conservative perspective, is one that a lot of voters aren't otherwise going to have a chance to hear.”

Also, I think Stop Dreaming is the best introduction to Paul's ideas. His candidacy means these ideas are getting a much broader hearing than they otherwise would, and I couldn't be happier about this.

711buddha

I love the idea that his faithful are technically capable enough to distort on line polls and ratings, therefore he should be taken seriously as a candidate.

(It's inventive at least...)

Seriously, I can apprciate the desire of Paul supporters, but I think that if it was 20 years ago they'd all be talking up Lyndon LaRouche. Ultimately, they'll wind up being just about as important.

SuperRob

It really doesn't matter how many of the people like Ron Paul. If the Republican's won't nominate him (and they won't, because he's distanced himself from them in nearly every way), he can't get elected. He could run as a Libertarian, but the Electoral College would pull rank in such a case.

egretman

If libertarian Ron Paul is elected President.

1 Iraq war. What war?
2. Women's rights. Won't be a problem when we return to the 1950's
3. Gay rights. See #2 above
4. Monetary policy. Find 1 oz of gold and the mint can print another $600. Think of the money that can be saved by not printing all those dollars.
5. Trade policy. What trade?
6. Affirmative action. You will be free to affirm your actions or not.
7. War on drugs. Whooooohooooo!
8. Right to die. Yep. Please do.
9. Police state. What police?
10. Taxes. Completely voluntary.
11. Sex offenders. Yes.
12. Global Warming. See # 2. Wasn't a problem in the 1950's so won't be a problem now.
13. Prayer in public Schools. What public schools?
14. White House interns. Safe.

Vote Ron Paul!!

Snarfangel

Actually, egretman, while a Libertarian President would certainly whip out his veto pen, the majority of your list would be impossible under Article 1, sections 7 and 8 of the U.S. Constitution, and his powers would be pretty much limited to Article 2, section 2.

elebrio

I will NOT be voting for Ron Paul and I was really hopeful you would address some of Paul's economic ideas such as:

1. A reversion to the gold standard.
2. Abolition of the fed.
3. The idea that there is no such thing as a market failure.
4. Inflation is a tax on the poor.

More can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Ron_Paul#Economy

Pretty please with sugar on top?

chappy8

to #13, I see your points on 1-3, but I've got to agree with Paul on point 4. While inflation isn't a tax in the truest sense, I've got to believe the high inflation leads to unemployment which often affects low-income employment first.

I think a bigger inconsistency is that he is anti-illegal immigration, but I think he eschews his libertarian heritage for his Texas, border proximity here.

Bruce Hayden

elebrio

To start with, Wikipedia is far from authoritative when it comes to politics. Rather, it tends to be fairly political itself.

That said, a couple of comments.

First, while I agree that there may be market failures, I would also assert that in most cases that such is asserted, it is rather and excuse for government intervention, and in the longer run, the market would have done just fine without the intervention.

Secondly, my take on the idea that inflation is a tax on the poor as an observation that they are hit the hardest. This makes sense from several directions. First, those on fixed incomes often seem to have such lag. More imporantly though, the real winners with inflation are typically the debt holders. Thus, you buy a house for $100k with a $90k mortgage. The house is now worth $200k, and the debt paide down to $80k in cheaper dollars. You have made $100k or so on the inflation. And the poor are the least likely to be able to participate in this, as many of them don't own their own homes, and even if they do, they are likely to be less expensive, resulting in far less appreciation.

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egretman

Ok Snarfangel, I'm putting you down as a vote FOR Paul. And elebrio, I think we can all see that your post was sarcasm so you go into the FOR column also.

So far I get 12 commenters FOR, including myself and Dubner, and none against Ron Paul for President.

What are the odds that a blog as condescending and bright as this one would have the first 12 followers all for the same candidate and that candidate would be Ron Paul? Astronomical, unless he just happens to be the right candidate.

I believe the latter. Go Paul!!!!

elebrio

@chappy

While I won't be voting for him, I agree with Ron Paul on a few issues so I was trying to be fair.

@Bruce

I merely referenced wikipedia for it's convenience not it's accuracy. I agree with you that in most cases the benefits of government intervention are illusory. I am a top contributor at digg.com and I was hoping for a post that might possibly point out weaknesses in Paul's "Gold Standard" arguments that we are getting deluged with from the friendly folks at lewrockwell.com and mises.org. Then again I could be mistaken in my assumption.

champthom

3. Gay rights. See #2 above

According to this site, Ron Paul has voted against banning same sex marriages.

5. Trade policy. What trade?

I don't think Ron Paul is so much anti-trade as he is against unconstitutional means of regulating said trade (or at least unconstitutional in his interpretation). The same site I mentioned before says CATO rates him extremely well for free trade. Ron Paul would rather have Congress regulate trade, as opposed to some other organization, in a strict constitutional sense.

Don't get me wrong, I like Ron Paul. I swore I'd never vote Republican but I'd make an exception for him (even though I disagree with his stance on abortion). But unfortunately, he has some ideas that are a bit "out there." He's essentially a modern day Barry Goldwater. He has an extremely strict interpretation of the Constitution which a lot of people might not realize when he votes down things like funding for Katrina victims or that sort of thing. But at the same time, he is the only Congressman who has declined to be part of the federal pension program due to the lack of constitutionality.

I'd love to see him elected. But sadly, I have my doubts that he will.

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egretman

No,no,no, Chapthom. Ron Paul does not have to vote for banning gay marriage. When he is elected President, and he will...trust me..., we will return to the happier times of the 1950's.

There were no gays in the 1950's. Oh sure, there were those guys at muscle beach in Ventura county, California. But who cared?

Remember Reagan's "Morning in America" slogan? Well, Ron Paul's will be "1950's in America". A vote to return to a time before taxes, crime, gays, gold standard, sex, drugs, and rock and/or roll. The good times. The 1950s.

Vote Ron Paul!!

bbeam

comment 16 - egretman

The odds are 100%. (I'm reminded of Dick Feynman's anecdote about license plates. Here's a link to it .... It's just the first one I found for this story, not a site I'm recommending in general: http://www.cynicalnation.com/2005/11/feynman_on_id.html
)