Ron Paul is a fascinating figure in American politics.
At 76 years old, the (supposedly) Republican congressman and Presidential candidate has amassed a large base of support on college campuses across the country and has an intensely loyal group of followers who knock on doors for him, come out en masse for his rallies, write his name in chalk on random sidewalks everywhere, and given the chance, would enthusiastically offer him one of their kidneys.
While I can appreciate the way that Ron Paul offers an alternative to the politics-as-usual style of many politicians and have chuckled at a few of his quips during the course of the 478,623 Republican debates this year, a closer look the congressman’s positions and statements over the years reveal a candidate who is out of step with the worldview of most Americans and who, ultimately, would be unelectable in a general election against President Obama.
In his 12 terms in Congress, Paul’s proposed legislation has had a success rate of about .2%.
This year Paul has sponsored 47 bills including legislation that would allow private groups to coin their own money and a bill to repeal the federal law banning guns in school zones.
Interestingly, Paul has been a vocal supporter of term limits as well—apparently just not for himself.
Paul has also espoused disturbing positions on the events of September 11, 2001. In a 2007 radio interview, Paul called the government’s investigation into 9-11 a “cover-up” and in December of last year, the conservative blog Redstate.com posted raw video of Paul stating that he did not trust the government’s account of 9-11, or the Kennedy assassination for that matter.
In this same video, Paul went on to call for an investigation into 9-11 lead by Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic congressman from Ohio who is perhaps best known for stating during a televised debate that he once saw a UFO.
What is even more disconcerting is Ron Paul’s record on the issue of civil rights. Paul has gone on the record more than once to say that he would not have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and in 2004 when congress voted on a resolution honoring the 40th anniversary of this historic legislation, Paul cast the only “no” vote in all of congress.
In a recent appearance on CNN, Paul said that this legislation, which repealed the Jim Crowe laws and banned discrimination in places of public accommodation “undermine[d] the concept of liberty.”
As someone who proudly claims to be the one true constitutionalist running for President, one would think that Paul would support legislation that finally extended the provisions of the equal protections clause of the 14th amendment to African-Americans, women, and other minorities who previously had not been given those same rights under the law.
As bitter a fight as this primary season has been, the general election promises to be that much worse, and there is nothing President Obama’s reelection campaign would love more than a Ron Paul nomination or third party candidacy. Let’s not give them that satisfaction.