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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Memo to Ron Paul Supporters: IT'S OVER!

A number of my libertarian friends are hell-bent on supporting Ron Paul to the end. It's an obsession with them; much like the last Al-Queda member hunkering down in a cave, ready to fire the last shot of his rifle to defeat Democracy.

I can understand this act of political defiance. I can understand their anger with a weak Republican field, and their feeling of being disenfranchized; although I find their claims of a media blackout to be ludicrious considering the amount to attention and airtime that I've personally seen given to Dr. Paul. (in fact, every candidate's supporter say the same thing - particularly when they are losing. It's a way of giving your candidate a bye on his or her own accountability).

Back in the early 90s, I was far more activist than I am now. I was a proud supporter of Patrick J. Buchanan. I thought Pat was right for his time, and looking back, many of his predictions are coming true - certainly with regard to the deterioration of moral and cultural values, and the negative impacts of uncontrolled borders. And even his points on Free Trade seems to be shaping up to be correct. Since that time, we've faced a brutal attack by Arab Nations, hell-bent on our destruction. Pat didn't want an entanglement, but in the age of nuclear weapons and the fact that the people building them are a fanatical bunch, I've become far more "hawkish" on these points, and would rather take the war to them before its too late. Today, Pat and I probably part ways on a number of points including this one.

The reason I'm bringing Patrick Buchanan into this essay is to let the Ron Paul supporters understand that while some of Mr. Paul's postions have merit, its the total package including points on National Security that in of biggest concern. Isolationist positions in this day and age are impractical considering the ramifications of retreat, or worse - turning a blind eye. And I have to admit, the primary battle did help weaken George H. W. Bush, although most of the damage he did was self-inflicted - he raised taxes and was a terrible candidate, unable to connect with the average voter, or articulate simple, clear cut policy positions that made sense.

Ron Paul could be 80% of everything we ever wanted in a President, policy-wise. But he was doomed from the start by taking isolationist, impractical postions, and wanting to withdraw from Iraq and Afganistan, and anywhere else terrorist pose a threat. Even Democrats recognize that our long term strategy includes remaining knee deep in the Middle East. It's the duty of "our time" not self-imposed, but necessary given the level of threat. And quoting costs of our military operations (as Paul often does) doesn't matter a hill of beans, when the price to be paid for doing little or nothing is so costly. Do we care how much it cost to keep ourselves and our families safe? Hello?

It's hard to pick on Ron Paul for being old when John McCain is pretty darn old. Personally, I'm disappointed that the GOP cannot come up with a younger set of candidates to run for office who fall in line with conservative principles. (I also think this fascination with Obama is a lot about youth). But Ron Paul doesn't come across as electable - he is seen as frail and aged. He also comes across disorientated and confused. His appearance during the Fox debate was very unfortunate. At times, he didn't seem to really answer the questions and went off on a tangent.

The fact is, the way the primary system is devised, it takes months of preparation, and the buy-in of key contributers, coordinators, and endorsements, long before you run. People like Hillary Clinton and John McCain have been planning (if not scheming for years and years). Moreover, when you are an upstart candidate, hell-bent on upseting the apple cart of establishment candidates, you need to strike early. Ron Paul never made the case that he was a contender against the main stream.

Ron Paul supporters unfortunately can't seem to handle this fact. And that's really sad, if not immature. Instead they band together and express displeasure with the media, and anyone else they can find to blame. They claim media blackouts, voter fraud, bad weather, and anything they can think of. Well, the fact is that there has been plenty of Ron Paul, particularly in states that have already had primaries. At some point, you have to be realistic and recognize that for whatever reason, your candidate and your candidates message isn't resonating.

Ron Paul has long reached this point. He's done. His single digit results show that he's no longer a serious contender.

So now what? Instead of bowing out gracefully he's going to spend the rest of the primary period, siphoning off votes from double digit contenders to prove what? That he's "got a message for Washington?" If he wants to save his reputation and maintain any sense of self-respect, he aught to step down. The continuation of his campaign is in bad taste. And his campaign benefits moderate Republicans like John McCain.

Before South Carolina's primary, I told Ron Paul supporters that their votes for Ron Paul were indeed a vote for Ron Paul. With Super Tuesday only hours away, its fair to tell Ron Paul supporters that their votes on Tuesday are no longer votes for a feasible, or electable candidate. On Super Tuesday, any vote for Ron Paul is a vote for John McCain.

So go ahead, Ron Paul supporters. Get yourselves in a frenzy. Go ahead, and THINK you are making a difference, or sending a protest vote, or REALLY edging Ron Paul ahead to victory.

Then remember, John McCain thanks you for your vote.

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