Political resume: Ron Paul has a long history of seeking elective office. In 1974, Ron lost his first Congressional bid but won an April, 1976 special election in the same district. He only served a few months before losing the general election later that year. Undaunted, Ron ran again and won in 1978 and served in Congress through the 1984 election when he chose to run for the U.S. Senate, losing in the primary.
Four years later, in 1988, Ron ran for President for the first time on the Libertarian Party ticket and received 1/2 of 1% of the vote, which translated to over 400,000 votes nationally.
In 1996, Paul opted to run again for a Congressional seat, returning to the Republican fold. He won that year and has served there since, although he will abandon the seat for 2012. Finally, Paul made his second presidential bid in 2008, raising millions of dollars but getting only a small percentage of the overall vote. This time around RealClearPolitics.com has consistently shown him polling just under 10% of the vote, placing him a respectable fourth overall and third among announced candidates.
On campaign finance/election reform (three points): Ron has made all the right votes on campaign finance and has maintained his position throughout. Since he’s currently serving in Congress, I’m giving him three points.
On private property rights (five points): Ron is an odd case. His voting record would suggest he supports private property rights, but in looking up Gary Johnson I saw that Paul supported the Kelo decision. I can only give him two points based on voting record.
On the Second Amendment (seven points): I would have expected this from Paul – he votes the right way and gets high GOA marks (an A+) so he’ll get seven points.
On education (eight points): By and large Ron has a view that wishes the federal government out of the educational realm. But he supports tax credits for Christian schooling, and that’s choosing a winner so he gets only six points.
On the Long War/veterans affairs (nine points): This area killed Ron’s chances with me in 2008, so let me say straight out that I don’t agree with Paul’s isolationism. Maybe that stance isn’t so bad, but his defense of Iran getting nukes is just batshit crazy. Yet Ron does have some redeeming qualities that fall under the category of veterans’ affairs, so I’ll be kind to him and dock him six points instead of all nine.
On immigration (eleven points): Paul’s stance on immigration is odd because Numbers USA gives him poor marks yet what he says on his page makes some sense, and it’s borne out by his voting record. So I’ll give him six points.
On energy independence (twelve points): Ron has an energy policy I can agree with aside from one glaring exception. In Paul’s case, it’s those tax credits for purchase and production of alternative energy technologies, which belie the case he states that, “(t)he free market – not government – is the solution to America’s energy needs.” And his voting record is spotty because Ron skipped a lot of key votes. But since the rest of the ideas are sound and he didn’t make a commercial with San Fran Nan like Newt Gingrich did, I’ll give him nine points.
On entitlements (thirteen points): You know, I thought Ron would go farther in health care, But abolishing Social Security – that’s a winner in my book. Let’s hope he hasn’t changed his mind – he gets 12 points.
On trade and job creation (fourteen points): Ron is a free trader, almost to a fault. But in terms of job creation, Ron has the reputation of being anti-regulation, which is a plus. Also, Ron is the lone candidate who takes on the unions and advocates a national right-to-work law. Now that would create jobs in some benighted areas, although it would perhaps erode Tenth Amendment rights. On the whole, despite the fact he doesn’t really have a specific plan, I trust him on this issue and think he deserves thirteen points.
On taxation and the role of government (fifteen points): There is one sentence on Paul’s site which says it all: “Restraining federal spending by enforcing the Constitution’s strict limits on the federal government’s power would help result in a 0% income tax rate for Americans.” Paul is also correct in advocating for a repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment prior to adopting a flat or FairTax. The only quibble I have is that Ron advocates for certain writeoffs and deductions, which make a flat tax more difficult to achieve. He gets 14 of 15 points in this category.
Intangibles (up to three points): It appears to me that Paul is pro-life, which is a plus, and he has it just right on marriage. I also believe he would appoint proper judicially restrained judges moreso than most others. Aside from being naive about Islamofascism, I like Ron’s stance on foreign policy in general, including Israel. But I have to deduct a point based on his age – at 76, I have to believe his health may be a factor. He will net two points.
Total (maximum, 100 points): Shockingly, scoring so well on the final categories placed Ron in the top tier with 68 points – despite his deduction for a naive position on the Long War. The reason he scored better this time around is that that aspect isn’t as important to me.
Still, there is one big strike against a Paul campaign – while he has a rabid following, it makes up perhaps 10 percent of the electorate. Given that factor, the sad reality is that a straight one-on-one campaign against Barack Obama in a nation where over half of Americans don’t pay taxes could well be a bloodbath for our side.
But I like the direction Ron Paul pushes the campaign as he exerts a heavy influence on the TEA Party, which in turn moves the Republican electorate in a pro-liberty direction. It’s rather unfortunate that America wasn’t ready for Ron’s message in 1988 when he could have been a worthy successor to Ronald Reagan had he sought and won the GOP nod. They may not be ready in 2012 either but that’s because the interceding 24 years have seen a steady growth in government – slow during the term of Bush 41, picking up speed with Clinton, advancing with the unfortunate adoption of No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D in the Bush years, and hurtling toward oblivion with Obama.
It’s hard to tell just how far Ron will take his campaign, but hopefully if he doesn’t receive the GOP nod he’ll bow out gracefully and encourage his supporters to at least give the nominee a listen. To defeat Obama, the Republicans need all the votes they can get and a third party misadventure from the Right is exactly what the Democrats want.