I can sort of understand the Ron Paul phenomenon. I too think the government has grown out of control big, that the Federal Reserve is a mistake, that the Welfare State is bad–both for being expensive and for encouraging idleness–and that our military is spread too thin and our foreign policy commitments are too great. But why am I so viscerally opposed to him? Why do I dislike him so much?
Well, a lot of reasons. For starters, he is not of presidential timber. He has no real record of leadership, rhetorical or otherwise. He has all the ideological purity of a crackpot, along with all of the related ineffectiveness. Consider how much more effective the numbers-based Paul Ryan has been in showing that our country is about to head over a cliff.
He also consistently shows bad judgment. His politics overlap with my own at times. But you don’t see me writing about Race Wars or talking about the virtues of the Articles of Confederation much over here. Why? Because I live in the real world, I realize that politics is about assembling coalitions, and I know that tone matters. We need to be sober, prudent, and intelligent, particularly in public life. We need not alienate whole classes of people for no good reason. We need not allow our concern for truth and candor to come at the expense of fellow feeling for our countrymen and the less fortunate. Ron Paul has none of these qualities.
Finally, he is all too comfortable with monstrous whack jobs such as 9/11 Truthers. He shows a skepticism of the government that lends itself to idiotic pacifism and the embrace of our foreign enemies. Part of leadership is telling the real whackos to bugger off. Paul has shown no courage to do this, because, truthfully speaking, he mostly agrees with them.
So, while I like a few things he believes in, and I don’t think you need to embrace Bush’s invade-the-world-for-world-peace interventionism that is so fashionable as of late, I still think Paul is a huge idiot and I’m surprised he’s rising to the heights he has so far in the GOP primary.
Clearly much of this has to do with fears that Romney is hopelessly unreliable and wishy washy. Perhaps. Romney’s not me, and I know that. But he’s also not crazy, disorganized and immature, and not being crazy, disorganized, and immature are the first requirements of being president.