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Maiello: Gatsby Doesn't Grate
Ron Paul's crazy (and racist! and paranoid! and misogynist!) 80s and 90s newsletter has drawn a lot of attention here on the left, and for good reason. Ron Paul holds a certain attraction for some of us, as he's the kind of guy who, given the power, woul reliably keep the U.S. out of foreign wars and who would dismantle America's surveillance state while also bringing an end to the ridiculous drug war.
Under Ron Paul's leadership, the police, the military and the intelligence communities would all lose a lot of power and since some of us think that's necessary, it makes Paul an attractive figure. He also has a bit of a winning personality. He was even gracious about being punked by Sascha Baron Cohen in the movie Bruno.
Of course, he would probably leave the issue of same sex marriage to the states, thus depriving some 10% of the population of their federal right to equal protection. We would audit the Fed (yay!) but also render it useless by putting the U.S. back on the gold standard, effectively straight jacketing U.S. monetary policy, insuring that the next recession would be depression. He would, of course, dismantle all manner of federal civil rights legislation not because he's racist, but because he'll defend the right of anyone else to be racist.
A Ron Paul presidency, which will never happen anyway, would be a disaster. The good parts like no wars and legally obtainable recreational drugs would be quickly overwhelmed by all the crazy blather about NAFTA highways.
I've also noticed some consternation on the part of feminists and other lefties who are big into civil rights wondering why some of the people who are supposed to be on their side seem willing to abandon them for Ron Paul. As if there's part of our loosely formed affiliation that would, say, sell out women just to smoke a legal joint. And, yes, voting for Paul would be selling out women. You think he cares about glass ceilings and wage equality? He doesn't!
But the real problem here isn't Ron Paul and his old man nuttiness. It's that there's not a candidate on the left who does care about civil rights and also wants to keep us out of wars, dismantle the surveillance state and legalize victimless crimes while also pursuing broader social justice initiatives (oh, and who won't plunge us into a Depression of our own making because, guess what, there isn't enough gold in the world to support the US economy!)
While I understand that it's frustrating for some lefties to watch the more socially libertine among us flirt with libertarian politicians, the answer is probably to bring more social liberalism into the mainstream.