As the Obama administration perpetuates the decades-long federal policies of a monetary system based on fiat central banking, new conflicts added to the already unpopular wars, and the addition of layers of bureaucracy on an already stagnant market, Congressman Ron Paul's (R-Texas) third presidential run is a breath of fresh air.
For over 30 years in Congress, Paul has opposed nearly every government expenditure that is not authorized in the U.S. Constitution; precisely what any good Congressman should do. He has stood firmly against large government programs and wealth transfers that have especially irked the American public and drained the Treasury: the bank bailouts, Obamacare, entitlement programs, the war in Iraq, and the idea that the U.S. should maintain a global empire.
But is the soft-spoken 75-year old electable?
Fellow PolicyMic writer Jason Orr doesn't think so. Orr makes the case that although he supports a lot of Paul's positions, the fact that Paul is supposedly prone to conspiracy theories, his flip-flopping on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and libertarian stance on social issues give Paul virtually no shot in the GOP primaries, let alone the presidency.
By being a defender of free markets, civil liberties, a sound currency, and a non-interventionist foreign policy, things can at times be very lonely and frustrating. I share some of Orr's pessimism. However, I completely disagree with Orr's recommendation that Paul should stop wasting his time.
Paul may have significant disagreement with social conservatives and the role of government in enforcing morality, but as the economy continues to struggle and inflation continues to drive up the price of goods, job creation and economic productivity become more important to voters. And who is more appealing to fiscal conservatives than someone who wants to cut taxes and spending drastically, free up the economy, and eliminate many government-enforced barriers to employment? Besides, disagreements on social issues tend to matter very little to those who can't find a job or who are working an extra one to get by.
When it comes to the decade-long war in Afghanistan and the new intervention in Libya, conservatives are growing more and more frustrated with these unnecessary and costly government programs. Paul, of course, opposes both.
Add these factors to the level of GOP competition that Paul faces — a group of repetitive sounding slogans in suits — and the odds against Paul winning the nomination become slimmer by the day.
There is also a second way that Paul will "win," and this one is a guarantee. Even if Paul does not win the Republican nomination, his candidacy will be a nationally televised speaking tour on behalf of individual liberty, peace, and the Constitution.
In 2008, Paul came nowhere near to winning the nomination; yet his persistence and principles exposed millions of people to libertarian ideas, shifting the national debate. It is in this manner — exposing more and more Americans to the ideas of a free society — that Ron Paul truly can win. As Paul himself, quoting Victor Hugo, likes to say, "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come."
Has his time come? As more and more Americans grow tired of the artificial Left-Right divide and of a government that is nearly completely unaccountable, perhaps the third time really is the charm.
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