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Opinion

Ron Paul looks like the best candidate so far

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December 6, 2007

As Joe Eggers declared in last week’s issue of the Voice, I have also been disappointed with the Democratic Congress since they took control last year. I don’t feel like a whole lot is getting done, and so I’ve been looking to the 2008 Presidential Election as a chance to change things for real. I’ve been a supporter of Barack Obama; I think he’s an intelligent, capable man that talks straight (for a politician, anyway) and promises change. But recently, I was introduced to Ron Paul, a Republican Congressman from Texas who’s been wiping the floor with Romney and Co. at the recent GOP debates. Now, I’ve had just about enough of Texas Republicans, but just wait—this guy’s different. In 1988, Paul ran for president as a Libertarian. He maintains those strong Libertarian values today and is pretty much the only Republican candidate actually running on a conservative platform of fiscal responsibility and small government.

Some of his ideas sound radical compared to the play-it-safe politics of most other candidates. Paul wants to immediately withdraw all American troops from Iraq, end the failed $500 billion War on Drugs and cut spending for most government agencies. Paul also focuses his message on preserving the civil liberties that make America free: “The purpose of government is to protect the secrecy and the privacy of all individuals, not the secrecy of government.”

The Republican Party, of course, hates this man. Most of his ideas, though consistent with the traditions of conservative politics, fly in the face of the big-government, pro-war agenda of the current GOP. This is one reason I admire Ron Paul. He speaks candidly, regardless of the stance of his party. Paul proves that it’s not unpatriotic to disapprove of war: “I have never met anyone who did not support our troops. Sometimes, however, we hear accusations that someone or some group does not support the men and women serving in our Armed Forces. But this is pure demagoguery, and it is intellectually dishonest.”

Other candidates, both Republican and Democrat, can’t seem to understand that they represent the American people. The way government is supposed to work is that we elect representatives to fight in Washington on our behalf—the citizens’ behalf. Over 70 percent of Americans now disapprove of the War in Iraq. This statistic is stunning; the government is spending our tax money by the billions on an unpopular war that has proven to be an epic failure. Not only should we be morally outraged, we should be angry at the government for misusing our money and not representing our beliefs. What I see in Ron Paul is perhaps someone who can end the war the only way it can be ended: by getting up and leaving.

I do have a few misgivings about Paul: he is pro-life with no exception, his fiscal policies may be too extreme, and he supports withdrawal from the UN and NATO. But his ideas of economic conservatism, social liberalism and foreign nonintervention make him an admirable candidate. Apparently, the American people agree because, though not considered a frontrunner by the media, Paul has set an all-time record for the highest one-day fundraising haul: a whopping $4.2 million in a single 24-hour period! In addition to this, user polls indicate that he’s won six of the seven GOP debates, surpassed both Romney and Guiliani in recent fundraising hauls, and is overwhelmingly the most popular candidate from either party on the Internet. Though cranky blowhards like Sean Hannity are actively marginalizing Ron Paul’s success, hopefully his popularity can help him nab the nomination (though this is unlikely, given the GOP’s attitude).

For anyone disappointed in a Democratic Congress that has proven unable or unwilling to preserve our civil liberties, take a look at Ron Paul. He explains his ideas better than anyone else could: “I am just absolutely convinced that the best formula for giving us peace and preserving the American way of life is freedom, limited government and minding our own business overseas.”

Amen to that.

Joe Hager is a student at UW-River Falls.