I've never been a big Obama supporter; I preferred Hilary Clinton in 2008. However, after George W. Bush, and considering the uselessness of the McCain/Palin ticket, I was more than happy to see him elected. A breath of fresh air, I thought. But how disappointing he has been.
I think the Liberal Democrats in Coalition in this country have managed to do more useful things in the last year than the Obama administration has managed since he was elected. Health care reform was a useless fudge, he has failed to close Guantanamo Bay or begin to roll back the worst excesses of the terror laws introduced by Dubya Bush, his attitude to LGBT rights leaves a great deal to be desired (he is against marriage equality for example even though he used to be in favour!) and he has appeared ineffective throughout his Presidency (except when it comes to breaching other country's sovereignty to murder criminal suspects). This is just a continuation of the Bush years under new management. I have no particular urge to see his administration rewarded with a second term and as he is the really the only possible candidate for the Democrats, my hopes for a "liberal" replacement must lie elsewhere.
The Republicans have come a long way since the days of Lincoln and even Eisenhower. A long way, in the wrong direction... many of it's elected representatives lack the intellect or independence to make any headway in improving the United States and seem too busy with their own pet projects; i.e. dodgy dealings with corporations (a lot like the Democrats). It's a tough job seeing any goodness in the current field of Presidential hopefuls (though it is early on). However Ron Paul, who is becoming a perennial Presidential candidate, is a REAL breath of fresh air.
In 2008, I will admit, I was quite taken with the Reloveution and kept an eye on the attempts by Ron Paul fans to publicise his campaign throughout social media (especially on Digg). But I hadn't really realised just how staid the two party system of the United States had become and instead placed my hope in the Democrats in offering a new start. Now, as the 2012 Presidential race starts to rev up, I am cynical enough to see that nothing is ever really going to change unless something radical happens. And Ron Paul is nothing if not radical.
Why should classical liberals support Ron Paul for President of the United States?
1) He's non-interventionist. Intervention in other country's affairs is all very well when you have a Rwanda or a Holocaust on hand. But banning trade with Cuba, repeatedly entering Pakistan's territory and killing people there, financing Israel's ongoing battles and almost every other intervention by the United States in the last few decades has been completely without legal, and almost without any moral, justification. Ron Paul supports cutting back on the USA's vast overseas involvement.
2) He's against the terror laws that have been piling up since 2001. He opposes over-the-top airport security, the Patriot act, ID cards, and other civil liberty issues such as eminent domain, conscription and domestic surveillance.
3) His stance on LGBT rights is... difficult for a liberal to digest but you need to see he comes at it from a different angle. He does arrive, almost, at the same point as us though. His views are based around "states' rights" whilst liberals are more about "individual rights". For me his views shown here differ only slightly from my own views on marriage equality shown here.
4) He supports liberalising laws on gambling, prostitution and drugs.
5) He has some unique views on environmentalism. Whilst I don't think it's quite the way to go, his ideas on tort law being used to stop companies and industries polluting local environments are interesting.
Sure this is not a man who is perfect. His views on a great many issues are off the wall and very conservative. But most are consistent with his libertarian beliefs and whilst they might be hard to stomach at least make sense intellectually. His stance on liberty is difficult to argue against, something few other Republicans can say.
The United States needs a shake up. This once great country appears to be stumbling under the weight of it's responsibilities and becoming ever more bitterly divided by the "culture wars". The elected representatives of it's people are beholden to vested interests and corporate donors. Something has got to give. I believe Ron Paul, for all his faults, is the man who can do that and fix the problems that have plagued America during it's "Imperial century". I truly hope that Americans will seize this chance for real change...
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist