My disdain for Barrack Obama as our President is not something I've hidden from you readers. If it's not already obvious posts such as this or this, then you know now. He seems to be a genuinely good guy based on his personal demeanor and hobbies, but unfit to become the president of a nation. For one, he is spineless when it comes to matters of his own party -- and it often appears he does not have a clue of how to run a country. Obama's 2008 campaign moniker of "Change" has not been realized at all. Instead, we have gone backwards as the country has fallen deeper in debt and unemployment levels at decades-high. Enough of Obama. Time for a breathe of fresh air.
Into this backdrop comes, in my humble opinion, the worthiest candidate thus far declaring his intention to run for the presidency. His name is Ron Paul, a Republican state representative from Texas, who has served many terms in Congress and is well known for his libertarian beliefs. I actually supported him in 2008 -- until his defeat to John McCain in the Republican primaries. but whereas in 2008 I could only provide moral support, this time around, I intend to support him with my vote and (possibly) with campaign contribution.
So why do I like Ron Paul? There are a number of reasons:
- Consistency. In an era where politicians flip flop on issues faster than the time it took me to type this sentence, Ron Paul is a breath of fresh air. He is part of a minority in Congress who stays true to his platform and vote accordingly. The Ron Paul you see today isn't much different from the one that first appeared 20 years ago.
- Experience. With age comes experience, something very important in the political arena. If you are naive (e.g. Obama), then others will manipulate you or it will be difficult to build consensus. Ron Paul is old. His age may be a bit worrying, but Ronald Reagan was older when he was first elected.
- Honesty and frankness. This one may be the biggest reason I like Ron Paul. He is a straight shooter who is not afraid to tell the truth. His frankness may not always be well taken (e.g. when he suggested that September 11 is a result of American imperialism), but we must learn to live in reality. I would like to see a president who can be honest with the country about its issues, and work to resolve them.
- Platform/Economics. Ron Paul has demonstrated a very high level of economics understanding, particularly in the neo-classical tradition (Austrian school is neo-classical). As an economist myself, I can identify with this. More importantly, his goal would be to implement the ideals of libertarianism such as small government and privitalization. However, I think a lot of people inflate the amount of economics Ron Paul really understands -- he is a doctor too, after all. His statements about the gold standard are not 100% correct from a economic perspective. But he also has a great deal of common sense, which is definitely a good thing for running a country.
Based on what I have read in the news article comments and blogs, a lot of people share my hope for Ron Paul's election. But the snag in the path is winning the Republican primary in order to become anointed as the GOP's challenger to Obama. And herein lies the snag: in a national election between Obama against Ron Paul, the latter would win in a landslide. Yet the political structure is not designed this way -- each GOP candidate must first fight off other candidates in local elections for registered Republicans. These elections are "local" because they take place in only specific states. To make matters worse, those inclined to vote for Ron Paul are likely not registered Republicans (e.g. moderates). This means Ron Paul's chances are entirely to how his message and platform targets a niche segment of the voting population.
I am hopeful that Ron Paul can win the Republican primary. In 2008, he lost due to a lack of name recognition and ostracization by the mainstream media. The latter looks to remain --which is perplexing, as Ron Paul is for deregulation-- but more people know his name know. More importantly, there is tremendous frustration with the direction the country is headed. Obama shouldn't shoulder all the blame for this country's woes on debt and unemployment, but shoulder a considerable portion of it. Looking back at Obama's track record, I am very disappointed.