I'm disappointed to hear that Texas Congressman Ron Paul will be retiring from the House. Paul announced on Tuesday that his run for President next year will be his final go-round in politics. Since the late 1970's, Paul was the lone voice in the wilderness warning about deficit spending and overextended social programs. If anyone should be doing the "superior dance" and yelling "I told you so!!" as Washington and nearly all 50 states grapple with out-of-control spending it should be Ron Paul.
I wish that I had stocked up on the "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Ron Paul" bumper stickers back in 2009. Remember that 2008 Presidential campaign--as every candidate in the race talked about how much more money they wanted to spend on everything under the sun--especially on health care coverage for everyone in the country legally or illegally? Ron Paul sat there with a look of disbelief on his face, pointing to the then-$9-Trillion dollar deficit (remember those "good old days" of such a small deficit?) and said "We cannot afford more government spending"--but nobody wanted to hear that at the time.
Now, everyone is talking about how we "must" reduce government spending. Even the guy who added another $5-Trillion to the deficit in just three years. It's hard not to wonder what would have happened if the underdog Paul had caught fire in the early primaries and somehow rode that momentum into the White House like the Anti-Ron Paul did in 2008.
I'm sure Ron's "out there" beliefs on some issues turned off a lot of voters over the years. Doing away with the Federal Reserve and returning the dollar to the Gold Standard are a bit too extreme. Reducing the US Military to a "homeland defense" force is implausible. And Paul's Libertarian stances on many social issues--like legalizing drugs so they can be regulated and taxed and his "who cares" attitude toward gay marriage--alienates too many hardcore Republicans to gain real traction in the GOP.
Ron has no chance to win the White House next year. As I said, more marketable candidates have raced past him--stealing his message of "fiscal responsibility" (and outside of former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty--they don't exactly have a track record of living up to that demand). So Congressman Paul's voice of fiscal sanity will be lost after January of 2013. Will someone else pick up the flag and continue the charge? Paul Ryan is trying--but it is obviously a very difficult row to hoe. Telling people Santa Claus isn't coming down the chimney anymore isn't a very popular stance to take--no matter how realistic it is. So thanks for the effort, Ron Paul. We're going to miss you.