Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Vote for Ron?

In theory I have the right to vote in the forthcoming US presidential primaries, although it remains to be seen whether I'll actually be able to exercise that right, because on previous occasions my requests for a ballot paper have only met with a 70-75% success rate. However, assuming I do get the opportunity, I'll be in the novel position of deciding who to vote for in the Republican primary - there's absolutely no point in participating in the Democratic ballot, because for better or worse it's a foregone conclusion that Barack Obama will be the candidate. So here's the dilemma : how do I go about deciding who is the least worst of all the extreme right-wing candidates vying for the presumptuous post of Global Emperor? Or should I even be trying to decide that? Should I instead vote for the most extreme candidate of the lot, to maximise Obama's chances of being re-elected?

Before my New Year's Resolution to stop posting at PB, I explained my dilemma over there. The poster Edmund of Tokyo had some very solid practical advice - I should plump for Rick Perry, because he has the dual attributes of being fundamentally unelectable, but also not the sort of chap who would blow up the world in the unlikely event that he is elected. This is a persuasive argument, but I'm actually coming round to the peculiar idea that I might vote for Ron Paul instead. I say 'peculiar' because in many ways he stands for all the things I most detest - abolition of what little there is of a welfare state in the US, completely unfettered gun ownership rights, etc, etc. But the beauty of a Paul candidacy would be the long-overdue airing of certain issues that will otherwise remain buried, ie. does the US have any right to maintain a global empire in the 21st Century? Is it really OK for it to carry out extra-judicial killings on other countries' sovereign territory? Should it stop and question its uncritical support for Israel once in a while?

And if the calamity happened and Paul actually was elected President, one point of reassurance is that he would have a relatively free hand to pursue his constructive agenda in the foreign policy sphere, but to some extent might be hampered by Congress in his attempts to leave the poor to starve.

All of this may be totally academic, of course, because if Mitt Romney wins the Iowa Caucuses today (Tuesday), the momentum behind him would probably be unstoppable, and the contest would be over before it really started.

NOTE : 'Vote for Ron' is slang for voting for no-one, or for 'none of the above' (RON stands for 're-open nominations').


  1. I've been following this on alternet.org and politicususa.com

    Ron Paul sounds quite the fellow. The uninsured should die, he has an Iowa director who is rabidly anti-gay

    He is often portrayed as a nut, I think I see why

  2. Well, yes, it would be a deeply uncomfortable choice, but where is the Republican candidate who isn't a nut in one way or another? Romney is the supposed 'moderate' of the field, but that's a relative term, and by voting for him I'd be assisting the person most likely to beat Obama.

  3. It looks like it will be a straight choice between Romney, the man who has at least three opinions on everything and flip flops between them, and Rick Santorum, who is pro intervention abroad, but wants welfare privatised, gay rights abandoned, and intelligent design taught exclusively in school.

    At least it was yesterday, but whilst Romney has stayed consistent, the "anyone but Romney" candidate has often had the misfortune to have a "brain freeze" or a "mouth misfunction".

    As my American friend, Danny, says, the GOP elections used to be dull and boring, and the Democrats used to have some fire, now it's the other way round.

    As sure as eggs is eggs Obama, for all his faults, will be the candidate, but there have been ups and downs for the range of right wingers, many of whom might well suit the GOP constituency, but would have a far harder job of actually getting elected as president.

    There's Michelle "Margaret Thatcher" Bachmann, Rick "I don't want gays dying for me" Perry, Newt "I did the serial adultery thing for America" Gingridge, and Herman "which Libya are we talking about" Cain.

    And I can remember when briefly Pawlenty, Huntsman and even undeclared Chris Christie from New Jersey, and Sarah Palin from Alaska have been the great hope for the Republicans.

    What a choice.

    I'm glad I don't have to make it.

  4. Having looked at the candidates, I hope they pick someone like Santorium who I think need to be in a Sanatorium. I still remember his wailing kids when he lost his Senate seat.

  5. Well, Ron Paul believes in state rights, so there no reason why an individual state couldn't implement a welfare state on its own without the federal government. If he did cut federal taxes, then a well-meaning state could make up the shortfall.

    Either way, I would still vote Obama given the choice...

  6. 6.45 and still nobody knows whether Romney or Santorum has won. One thing I like about these type of elections is that they make a fool of people who try to 'call' the result prematurely, sometimes based on something as meaningless as what odds London bookies are offering. I saw someone say "it's over, Romney has won" about an hour and a half ago, when Santorum was actually in the lead!

  7. Good thing you’ve sworn off PB James or you'd have bet your life savings on Newt Gingrich due to the wonderful advice of a certain Mr Smithson...