Nominate Paul, restore diginity in the GOP


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Gay-basher. Adulterer. Flip-flopper. Racist. Warmonger. Molester. Corporate puppet.

If you pick a GOP presidential-caucus candidate from the media's field of "mainstream" candidates, you may have to settle for a candidate that fits in one (or several) of those categories. With their offensive campaign ads plastered on our televisions, assertions that they need to "fix" gays (really), and new scandals at every turn, it is becoming increasingly embarrassing to be associated with the GOP. I even have a disclaimer prepared for whenever I tell someone that I'm going to vote in the Iowa caucuses.

I have to explain, "Yeah, I'm going to vote for a Republican … However, I like gay people, I don't like wars, I'm not racist, and I support Medicare. I find the Patriot Act outrageous, I don't think corporations are people, and I don't watch Fox News. I believe that my religion is my own damn business, waterboarding is torture, and Palestinians are not 'invented.' NASCAR is boring, Rush Limbaugh is a douche bag, and I don't own pleated pants."

Cue their puzzled look and response, "But Al, you don't sound like any of the Republicans I've heard of. How can you justify voting for a candidate if you don't agree with any of them?"

Easy question. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is my guy.

You see, as deceiving as the "R-Texas" following his name may be, he isn't your typical Republican from Texas. He successfully distances himself from mainstream Republicans on several issues. Bailouts? Absolutely not. Troops overseas? Bring 'em home. Gay marriage? Go ahead, boys. Despite being crystal clear and consistent with his platform, Paul is still quite possibly the most misunderstood candidate out there. They say he's too "fringe" for the Republican Party, too "radical" for America. But is he?

Paul believes in libertarian doctrine, and more importantly, the Constitution. It's sad that the Constitutional ideals of federalism, individual rights, and government restraint are considered "radical" these days, but maybe that misconception is a cause of our current economic and political conditions. If you give the good doctor a chance and consider his positions, it's actually refreshingly eye-opening.

While hard-core libertarian dogma calls for some truly off-the-wall policies, Paul keeps his positions realistic and doesn't endorse the extremes. He won't abolish public education, he'll just give power to states and local authorities. He won't dismantle Social Security, but he would allow us to opt out if we want to. Instead of imposing his anti-abortion beliefs on the entire country, he'd prefer that the states make the decision.

Paul understands the relationship between government influence and economic turmoil. He predicted the housing bubble years before it happened, and he's been vocal about the currently developing higher-education bubble caused by our federal student-loan program (my fellow out-of-staters, you feel my pain). He sees the Federal Reserve for what it is: an unaccountable, corrupt, and unconstitutional drain on our economy that intensifies credit bubbles and inflicts taxation via inflation. Basically, when it comes to economic booms and busts, Ron Paul "gets it."

With Paul at the head of the GOP, I feel that maybe, just maybe, the Republican Party can regain a little dignity. As a party, we need to come to terms with "the Republican stereotype" and realize how our nominee will reflect on all of us. We don't need another corporatist crony who lobbied for government handouts. We don't need a racist prick that thinks "Niggerhead Ranch" is an appropriate name for a family getaway. And we certainly don't need another out-of-touch social conservative that thinks we need to "pray the gay away."

What we need is someone who has a realistic plan for our country, respect for our rights, and a record for consistency.

We need someone like Ron Paul.

Alex Rothlisberger is a senior at the University of Iowa. He studies finance and economics.

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