My first real exposure to Ron Paul was similar to how a lot of people encounter Paul, through one of his, um, ardent followers. In my case it was a guy in Northern Michigan and this guy was the epitome of the stereotypical Ron Paul supporter, a somewhat crazed acolyte who accosted people in the bank I was managing to drill them about the Constitution. This guy was a perfect example of the contention I have long held that Ron Paul's greatest strength is his rabid following and it is also his greatest weakness. He confirmed for me that Paul was not someone I was interested in supporting because only someone crazy would attract such crazy followers! I sort of compare some Paul supporters to some Calvinists, zealous in the extreme and angrily attacking anyone who disagrees. I even blogged a brief post about him in 2008 that was not terribly complementary: Why Not Ron Paul? (I initially supported Huckabee in 2008 until he dropped out). So what changed.
Ron Paul certainly didn't. Unlike a lot of the other candidates and politicians in general he has been very consistent over the years. I always liked most of Paul's fiscal positions but his foreign policy scared me. As someone infected with the notion of "American exceptionalism", a notion that is deeply intertwined with our notion of America as a uniquely "Christian nation", I assumed that our cause was always right and we had both a right and an obligation to make the rest of the world conform to us. If we had to break a few eggs to make that omelet, in the form of dead civilians in foreign lands and dead and maimed American soldiers, that was a price we were willing to pay to spread our understanding of freedom and liberty. Over the past few years my conviction regarding U.S. military interventionism has changed coinciding with my evolving position on the sword as a Christian. As I study and examine history, especially regarding the two world wars and the Western interference in the Middle East, I am convinced that our foreign policy over the last hundred years is largely counter-productive and likewise outside of the Constitutional boundaries. How many Americans died in Korea and Vietnam without so much as a formal declaration of war?
It is without question that Ron Paul is the most consistent and most vocal advocate of a drastically smaller Federal government. I think his foreign policy is likewise the most consistent with the Constitution and with my convictions as a follower of Jesus Christ. Other candidates are professed Christians although at least one of them is pretty suspect in that regard and two of them are members of a cult. All of the candidates to some extent are advocating smaller government. But of all of this crop of Republican candidates, only one is consistent in his fiscal conservatism and consistent and faithful to the limited scope of the Federal government in matter foreign and domestic. That man is Ron Paul and while no one is perfect, he is in my opinion the best man for the job of undoing the last four years of Obamanation and the last century of exploding Federal spending on all manner of Constitutionally dubious programs, including an enormous standing army stationed in permanent bases around the world. America cannot keep spending, taxing and regulating the way we have been. Our inverted demographics make that impossible and common sense makes it untenable. We cannot afford to be the world's policeman (or enforcer or bully depending on your perspective) and we have no moral or Constitutional authority to do so in the first place. For the sake of the Constitutional integrity and the fiscal security of the United States, I am supporting Ron Paul for the office of President of the United States.
There is a lot of misinformation about Ron Paul, much of it unfortunately being spread by other alleged conservatives. I would encourage you to read where Ron Paul stands on the issues from his official webpage and decide for yourself rather than just taking the slanderous comments of others at face value.
A quick word about the rest of the GOP field and the upcoming general election.
If you have read anything on this blog or know me in person, you know that I think that President Obama is a horrible President and in real contention to replace Jimmy Carter as the worst President in my lifetime. I will therefore support, fervently, any of the announced Republican candidates for President who wins the nomination even if it is not Paul and even if it is Newt Gingrich. I am not in favor of Ron Paul running as a third-party candidate and don't think he has any intention to. That rumor seems more of a slander spread by media types who don't like him than any real concern. If Ron Paul is the candidate, I hope all conservatives rally behind him. If he is not, I strongly encourage those who supported him to support the GOP nominee. There is a fine line in a two party system between ideology and pragmatism and we cannot afford four more years of Barack Obama.
RON PAUL 2012!