The president of the United States of America should be beholden to no man, woman or entity. Do you believe that a presidential nominee who can raise $1 billion, with a "B," is beholden to nobody? Neither do I.
President Obama came into power promising sweeping changes to how America does business. America was going to re-emerge as a bastion for fair and transparent government. President Obama was going to clean up the messes and debacles created by the George W. Bush administration. The new, young, educated, intellectual leader of the free world was going to mend fences with our partners in the Middle East and the Muslim world, while becoming a friend to emerging superpowers like Turkey and China. He was going to open doors of dialogue with our vocal adversaries in North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, and support the rise of democracy in the oppressed areas of the world thirsting for their own democratic revolutions.
He was going to create a more equal tax structure, bring much-needed regulation and scrutiny to the financial markets, close Guantanamo Bay, start a troop withdrawal in Iraq and finally bring an end to the war in Afghanistan.
Three years after his election, we have less transparency in our financial markets, continuation of an unfair tax structure, depleting relations with many of our Middle East and Muslim allies, a blind eye to the atrocious actions of our oppressive allied governments of the Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt, a massive cloud of secrecy in Guantanamo Bay, an increase of troop levels in Afghanistan, an escalation of rhetoric with Iran and Iraqis having to beg the U.S. to end its occupation. Does this sound like the administration of a liberal, espousing "Change we can believe in"?
Obama apologists will bring up the president's successes, such as the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the passing of the Affordable Health Care Act and the end to the Iraq war. But those same liberals, either publicly or privately, believe the president didn't go far enough in pushing a public option in healthcare, didn't push for a complete withdraw of American forces from Iraq, and are embarrassed by the fact that Mr. Obama's views on equality for same-sex couples are still "evolving." This same president additionally extended the Bush tax cuts as a compromise to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell'" that clearly favored the GOP. Is that who devout liberals voted for? Change when it's negotiable or popular?
President Obama has been a failure to many Democrats, especially the liberal wing of the party, and all they can say to one another is, "At least he's not the GOP candidate." But what if the GOP candidate was Ron Paul? Ron Paul, the Texas congressman who has served over 30 years in the House of Representatives.
Yes, you read that correctly, a Republican from Texas. Congressman Paul is one of the most ideological members in the history of Congress. His vote is nearly never based on monetary donation or party affiliation. Like him or not, the man is a true individual. In fact many of Mr. Paul's ideas would be considered too liberal by most mainstream Democrat standards.
Though Mr. Paul is an old name in Beltway politics, he brings something completely new and refreshing to presidential politics: His unabridged and steadfast honesty. Ron Paul has not wavered in his voting or policy ideals, regardless of how unpopular his opinions can be. Congressman Paul wants to get rid of many federal agencies, including the Department of Education and the EPA, and would like to audit and perhaps abolish the Federal Reserve Bank. In that same breath, Mr. Paul advocated an end to the death penalty, the legalization of all drugs, the removal of American troops from across the globe and voted against the Patriot Act. Not exactly your father's brand of Republican.
Congressman Paul's positions are not "evolving" like President Obama. Mr. Paul's opinions are simply that: his own. Congressman Paul's beliefs have made him a "fringe" candidate by most media standards, even though he's polling in the top three among all GOP candidates in most states. His no-nonsense attitude and approach along with his unwavering and steadfast principles have helped him as much as they have hurt him as a GOP candidate. But imagine a world where Ron Paul was president; a promise to remove American troops from most of the world, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, the legalization of drugs, an audit of the Federal Reserve and the end of the death penalty. Now I know all these views may be a bit extreme, and I haven't even mentioned his strong conservative beliefs such as his strong anti-immigration approach, unequivocal disdain for abortion rights, pledge to never raise taxes and his criticism of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The most practical reason for liberals to vote for Ron Paul is that it would move the goal posts of discussions to a more liberal platform. Without a Democratic primary, Mr. Obama has had no reason to reach out to liberal supporters he has taken for granted. But with the "Occupy" movement focusing on campaign fundraising events for Republicans and Democrats alike, President Obama's become susceptible to the same attacks as his GOP contemporaries, except for Mr. Paul. Unlike all of the cookie cutter candidates in both parties, Mr. Paul strays from party lines on many critical issues, including issues that deep pocket contributor's support. On Dec. 15, at a GOP debate in Iowa where Mr. Paul is surging, he doubled down on his position against military action in Iran, and has been the only candidate to question our unquestioned support of Israel under any circumstance. Even with a surging campaign in Iowa, Mr. Paul refused to pander to the status quo GOP position against Iran and Israel -- a stand many believe could derail his chances of winning Iowa, but he did it anyways and with sincerity.
If Mr. Paul was a legitimate candidate in a general election, we could finally have an honest debate about campaign finance reform, military spending, torture of enemy combatants, immigration, the Federal Reserve, free trade agreements, gay marriage and prison sentences for drug use. These issues are just the tip of the iceberg of themes that are glazed over with gimmick answers and worthless slogans in normal presidential debates. With a candidate willing to stick to his convictions regardless of popularity, we can finally have an honest discussion, one that would finally make President Obama show his true colors, as either a leader with conviction, or as one that plays to the masses.
Now let me be clear, I don't expect the average liberal to support most of Congressman Paul's positions, particularly his stance on abortion, the closing of multiple government departments and agencies, and his stance on taxes. However, this is a matter of trust. I ask you, do you trust Ron Paul's positions to be his own and to be unwavering, even in the face of massive campaign contributions and polling that suggests lack of support? This country needs a leader that is beholden to nobody and who isn't afraid to lose the presidency because of his principles. I know that Mr. Paul falls into that category. Now it's time to see if President Obama is capable of the same.