If you voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and you’re supporting Ron Paul in 2012, one of three things must be true:
– You jumped on the Obama bandwagon in 2008 without knowing much about the candidate you supported.
– You jumped on the Ron Paul 2012 bandwagon without knowing much about the candidate you’re supporting.
Or, the most likely answer…
– You jumped on the Obama bandwagon in 2008 and you’re jumping on the Paul bandwagon in 2012 and you don’t know a goddamn thing about the political system or either candidate you’re supporting.
I don’t intend to champion Obama nor to bash Ron Paul’s supporters here. I only intend to point out how utterly fucking absurd it is to be a supporter of both of them. The only way for this to happen while maintaining any degree of intellectual consistency is to have completely changed your basic core beliefs in a matter of a few short years…and that’s, well, fucking absurd.
You can’t go from voting for a center-left, pro-choice, black guy to an extreme-right libertarian (except of course when it comes to women’s reproductive rights or the expression of one’s sexual orientation) who is a 9/11 truther, conspiracy theorist, religious zealot, and racial bigot. That does not make any sense whatsoever.
I’ve said many times, here and in other places, that I appreciate Ron Paul’s integrity and look at him as one of the most honest men I’ve seen run a political campaign. He doesn’t pander and he has no qualms with bucking his own party. Those are great things.
The rest of it though? Not so much.
Most of his policies, if you can call them that, fall somewhere in the range of impractical to impossible to enact. You can’t go from supporting Obama to supporting a guy who thinks it’s possible to disband the Fed and return to the gold standard, no matter how nice he makes it sound. You can’t go from supporting Obama to supporting a guy who thinks disbanding FEMA is a good idea and that people without health insurance should be left to die. You can’t go from supporting Obama to supporting a guy who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and criminalize abortion.
These aren’t rationally coherent positions to take.
Which brings me back to the original point…you either didn’t know anything about Obama, don’t know anything about Paul, or don’t know anything about either or how anything works. Most people will fall into the third category, and it’s the most logical and obvious reason why someone would support both candidates for president, since you can’t really support both of them if you’re truly knowledgeable about both of them.
While Obama and Paul couldn’t be further apart on almost every actual policy issue they do have some similarities in what we could call the “ethic” of their campaigns.
Both have a strong appeal to young voters and both have a strong social media presence. Both embody “hope”, just in different ways. Obama actually preaches hope of rising to a better sort of politics – post-racial, post-partisan,etc… Paul embodies the hope of the individual to dictate their own course in life and the idea that many young people have that if they do their best, things will work out. They’re both able to make very powerful connections to young voters because of this.
This is where it becomes important to note that both of these appeals are generally mindless. While it’s certainly nice and admirable to support and follow both of these ethics, it shouldn’t be enough to be choosing the leader of the free world on either.
While I fully support Obama’s reelection, I don’t support people who voted for him based on their feelings that he just agreed with everything they believed, apart from any knowledge about his positions. If you voted for Obama thinking that he was going to immediately withdraw from Afghanistan when he campaigned on a military surge there, or because you thought he was going to legalize marijuana, or any number of other policy positions that people pinned to him without knowing what he was actually campaigning on, you are your own biggest problem. (You’re also your own biggest problem if you think marijuana legalization is a critical political issue. Not that I don’t support it, I do.)
And if you’re voting for Ron Paul because he’s the rage-against-the-machine, tear down the establishment, reform Washington guy you think he is without realizing who he actually is, without knowing what stuff he plans to do, and without recognizing what things he plans to do that he simply cannot do, you’re going to be your own biggest problem again.
If you voted for Obama in 2008 and you’re tearing him down right now to build up the candidacy of someone you don’t know anything about, congratulations, because you’re fucking yourself twice.
You just helped elect Mitt Romney.