Since I've done most of the others... oh, hell, that came out wrong, didn't it?
But anyway, enough about me. Let's talk about Ron Paul.
Ron Paul is a libertarian. That means, apparently that he believes in "liberty" above all else. Or something. At least in theory. In practice, Ron Paul says a lot of kooky things that everyone thinks are fascinating because he seriously seems to believe that one cannot possibly deviate from one's overarching theoretical principle. even if the "logical conclusion" makes no sense.
Representative Paul - he's been in Congress for quite a while - also has the real politician's gift for making otherwise outlandish statements seem perfectly reasonable. He presents well. He has that "am I the only one who sees this?" quality that suggests that he does, indeed, see something more clearly than the rest of us. Of course... this is not actually a good test.
There's this long debate about just how much libertarians and conservatives actually have in common. For one thing, Ron Paul is no fan of defense spending or an expansive foreign policy, mostly because he's generally no fan of government of any sort. Or not much sort. Or something. It's a very long debate and people on either side of it can argue about really esoteric details for a really long time. If we're lucky, we can use this to distract them... and run away.
Libertarians are the ones who think that society is best when the individual is pretty much allowed to run free, free of rules and pesky regulations and the ever present hand of Big Brother. Conservatives don't like Social Security because it's socialism. Ron Paul doesn't like Social Security because it's the govertnment. See the important distinction?
So the thing is, there are a lot of people who fancy themselves "libertarians," and most of them really like Ron Paul. A lot. And because the Republicans can't seem to exclude any wild idea from their side's discourse, Ron Paul has built himself a pleasant libertarian fiefdom within the GOP. Republicans don't really want a lot of Ron Paul... but if Ron Paul stays calm, most of those "libertarians" will reliably vote Republican. You know... for the people who want the government to regulate people's marriages and sex lives. Because that's totally, like, liberty.
Ron Paul, by the way, doesn't have a problem with gay marriage. He has a problem with (wait for it...) marriage licenses.
Look, I try to take Ron Paul seriously - and believe me, if we'd taken Ron Paul a little more seriously, perhaps we'd have better avoided the train wreck of Senator Rand Paul, his son, every bit as out there, but not as bright - and then I go and listen to Ron Paul... and I can't do it. I just can't do it.
So... did you hear the one about Ron Paul actually winning Iowa?
I'm sure it's just, you know, a joke.
And win or lose, you've got to admit, it would be pretty funny. It's almost as if he could be President. Or something.