With the 2012 presidential race well under way, it is time to scrutinize the different candidates more closely. Though Mitt Romney stands as the current frontrunner, the other candidates are still in it to win. Dr. Paul, the supposed second-place candidate, has gained much support recently, especially from voters under 30, with his invigorating libertarian philosophy. Despite this boost in support, however, Dr. Paul and his supporters have yet to address several significant issues that seem to have escaped the news media on both sides of the political spectrum.
One such issue is Dr. Paul’s age. If nominated, Paul would be no less than 77 years old. His age is a factor that could be easily used against him if he were to win the nomination as the Republican candidate. Democrats went after John McCain back in the 2008 election for his old age. McCain was 72. Many doubted that he could finish a full presidential term given his age and health conditions.
To illustrate the issue of age better, Ronald Reagan was sixty-nine when he was inaugurated in 1981. To date, he is the oldest person to serve as president. The media also went after him, but to no avail, since he won the elections in 1980 and 1984 because of his strong conservative standing. Though not questioned about it, Dr. Paul deserves some much stricter scrutiny about his age than he has received.
One may also wonder about his potential running mate. Who would run on the Ron Paul ticket? Possibly his own son Rand Paul could run, but that scenario is problematic, because he does not agree with every single policy of his father and has been criticized by members of the Ron Paul camp. The highly incompetent former governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura has come out in full support of Dr. Paul and has expressed his willingness to share the ticket. Two problems immediately arise. First, Governor Ventura would only run as an independent, not a Republican. Second, Governor Ventura also has a long history of supporting conspiracy theories from 9/11 truthers all the way back to the moon landing and JFK. The idea of him as a running mate would frighten voters. No one else, though, has come out and claimed he would like to run with Dr. Paul.
Age and choice of running mate do not seem to matter to young voters, but older voters may see it differently. Many people were turned off by John McCain in 2008 election because of his old age and his running mate, Sarah Palin. Many questioned whether he could make it through four years, dreading the possibility of leaving the country in the hands of Palin. Her presence did harm to his campaign because of her political inexperience. The same could hold true for Dr. Paul.
Dr. Paul also needs to answer for some of his past actions. He still has not answered for the racist newsletters that came out in the 1980s and ‘90s. Columnist and radio host Michael Medved reported that in 1993 Paul personally made one million dollars off of the newsletters. Dr. Paul has failed to explain the origins of the racist language used and why his signature was on them. He also needs to account for his massive amounts of spending on earmarks. He was one of only four members of his party to break the moratorium on earmarks in 2011. Marc Thiessen reports that Dr. Paul requested over 41 earmarks, totaling around $157 million. Every member of Congress creates earmarks, but Dr. Paul’s doing so contradicts his personal philosophy that the federal government has no business in the lives of citizens.
At the end of the day, Americans want a man who can handle the pressures and stress of the presidency and put together a reliable and experienced staff. Americans are also tired of the prophetic message of Dr. Ron Paul, especially when he says one thing but then acts in a different way. And certainly, any voter contemplating a vote for Dr. Paul ought to consider these issues very carefully before casting his ballot.