A Reluctant Vote For Ron Paulby Doug Mataconis
Mark at Publius Endures voted in the New Jersey Primary today and cast a reluctant vote for Ron Paul:
It’s sad, really, how reluctant my vote had become. Just a few months ago, Paul was one of the only politicians I had ever been excited about. Even after the Thanksgiving Eve Alex Jones interview, despite what my head was saying, my heart was still clearly with Paul. But the newsletter story, and especially the response to it from both the Paul campaign and the Rockwell crowd, killed whatever irrational passion I had remaining for Paul. In the end, my voyage to the polls this morning was utterly joyless, and I felt that my vote had become close to meaningless. Were Fred Thompson still in the race, I think I would have voted for him over Paul.
And it didn’t need to be this way. Even after the newsletter story broke, Paul could have won my heart back or at least made my vote pro-Paul rather than just anti-Bush, Romney, and McCain. All that Paul needed to do was to come clean about the newsletters or put out one honest press release. He could have even done this without throwing his friends under the bus (even though those friends clearly had no problem throwing Paul under the bus).
Mark’s experience mirrors mine to some extent. Though I have been harshly critical of the campaign, and most especially it’s grassroots elements, both here and at The Liberty Papers, I still wanted to see Ron Paul do well and I still intended to cast a vote for him in the Virginia primary on February 12th. I had even drafted a post I intended to publish here before the primary season started endorsing the Congressman formally. But then the nagging doubts started. The links with 9/11 truthers, the Stormfront donation, the nonsense about the North American Union and then, most finally, the newsletters story. And, quite honestly, I’d had enough.
I used to think that this campaign would lead to something positive in the Republican Party, but the movement, such as it is, is such a polyglot collection of quasi-libertarians, conspiracy theorists, and people who talk about how Ron Paul might “punish” the mainstream media once he’s elected President, that I’m not even sure I want them to have an impact on the party.
So what will I do on February 12th ? Well, like Mark, I have the option of voting Ron Paul as a protest vote against the rest of the field. If Fred Thompson’s name hasn’t been removed from the ballot, I might just vote for the one guy who, had he actually run a competent campaign, might have been able to stop John McCain. And then there’s a part of me toying with the idea of crossing the aisle and voting for Barack Obama just to do my own little part to stop the coronation of Madame Hillary.
I haven’t decided yet, so I’m open to suggestions.