I'm going to catch some heat for this by some, but that's too bad. I look at the direction of the party today under Bush compared to the philosophy of 1994. I am a 1994 Republican, otherwise known as a less government conservative. I do not support the mass increases in government spending, governmental regulations, and decrease in our freedoms. That is why I am going to vote for Ron Paul in the 2008 primary. This may surprise some, but really shouldn't. Those that really know my politics well know that I have a strong libertarian streak.
First of all, I am not a "9/11 truther". I am not a stormfronter nutjob. I am not supporting surrender. I am not a democrat causing mischief. Those are the labels that opposition on both the right and the left used to paint Ron Paul supporters. I am simply a 1994 style less government conservative. Reduced spending. Reduced regulation. No Patriot Act style regulations, whether it be in the name of the "War on drugs" or "war on terror" or under presidents named Bush or Clinton.
I look at the issues that matter most to me.
1. Freedoms. Few are consistent. Ron Paul is. When Bill Clinton pushed for his intrusive "anti-terror" acts, gun grabs, and sneak and peak measures, Ron Paul stood up and said it was wrong. When Bush pushed for the Patriot Act with many of Clinton's provisions, Ron Paul stood up and said it was wrong. Ron Paul has a consistent 18 year voting record and leadership record of standing up for freedoms, no matter who is president. From free speech, to the right to keep and bear arms, to the 4th amendment on search and seizure.
2. Spending. Ron Paul stayed consistent here and voted against bad spending bills. This is one of the things that is killing our party. We suck less than the democrats here, but suck less still sucks.
3. NAFTA and GATT. Can I say that I told you so one this one. GATT was the worst of the bunch when unelected bureaucrats at the WTO have veto power over our trade. That's unacceptable. I'm not opposed to free trade, but I am opposed to managed trade designed as free trade that hurts our manufacturing and blue collar base.
4. Judges. I'm not worried about Ron Paul here.
5. Consistency. I do not have to worry about Ron Paul putting his finger in the wind and changing his stance for the media or the political winds.
6. Life issues. Ron Paul is pro-life.
7. Character. Something lacking in many politicians today.
For 12 months, my ideological and my pragmatic sides have battled over who I am going to support. More often than not recently, my pragmatic side has won. Not this time. In the end, I thought this to myself - How often does a pro-freedom candidate gain this much traction with fundraising? I have never seen it.
I'm not going to attack other candidates here. With SCOTUS as my number one issue, I will vote for any republican over any democrat running in the general election unless there is another retirement and Bush gets a solid conservative through the democrat senate and the firewall of extremist Chuck Schumer. We are IMO one, maybe two judge away from stopping the neo-lochnerization of the courts. We may or may not get that from the republicans, but the last MODERATE judge (let alone conservative) given to us by the democrats was Byron White from JFK.
However, this is the primary, and no candidate so far as won my vote based on perceived "electableness." My definition of electable is different than the pundits and media which anointed Bob Dole and John Kerry as electable when neither were. Unless it is clear as day to my gut on electablity, I'm going ideological over pragmatism.
This is my Barry Goldwater 1964 moment. "Extremism is defense of liberty is no vice" I am voting for Ron Paul for President on January 15.