I certainly understand the temptation of supporting Ron Paul. That pure, small government, libertarian world view is wonderful — and it is what drew so many Reaganites to politics in the 1970s and 80s, when big government ideology was entirely dominant. It continues to be attractive, even for those, like me, who think we need to finish the job in Iraq, no matter what. The real problem with Paul, as a political actor, is not that he isn’t doing well in this race. It is that he has maintained such ideological purity in his years in office that he has been consistently ineffective. For better or worse, horse-trading is at least as important as consistent principled voting — and maybe more so, in passing legislation. “Dr. No” is so principled that he has largely taken himself out of the fray, where real changes are made.
Still, it is good to have his voice in the debates, reminding the GOP what the real standards are, or should be, (most certainly on domestic matters) at a time when so many of our political leaders believe in the chimera of a large conservative government. If only he had more support out there, he could parlay that into a cabinet position, which he might actually proceed to abolish under a Republican president. That would be an unprecedented accomplishment — though we have dreamed of it for almost 30 years now.