Most of my libertarian friends seem to love Ron Paul. Their descriptions of his presidential campaign have a wistful "If only . . . " quality to them that I haven't seen in a political discussion since the write-in campaign by the girl's field-hockey team to elect Christian Slater president of the student council.

After my much-regretted decision to vote for George W. Bush in 2004, I've kind of been sitting on the political sidelines. I'm pretty sure I'll hate whoever gets elected. Rudy might be funny just to see the ACLU get all misty and nostalgic about the current administration, but that probably won't make up for having to wear uniforms and go to bed at 10 o'clock every night. John McCain lost me at the execrable McCain-Feingold finance reform, and has not exactly covered himself in glory since. I'm not even sure what one calls his peculiar politics: popuwafflism? Mitt Romney's specialty seems to be a blandness so total that I have difficulty recalling what he looks like, broken by inexplicably revealing stories about, for example, his penchant for strapping dogs to the roofs of cars.

Vote Democrat, you say, then. John Edwards teeth sure are pretty, but his economic polices sure aren't. Hilary Clinton . . . even if I were disposed to vote for her vintage 1967 earnest technocratic policies, I'd be more than a mite uncomfortable with a political lineup that went Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton. Which means I'm probably going to end up voting for Obama just because I like his senior economic advisor, Austan Goolsbee . . . and then regretting it as soon as he actually starts doing things.

But I digress. The point being that, having pretty much opted out of paying attention to politics, I've just kind of assumed that I would like Ron Paul to be president, if only the thing weren't totally impossible.

But then every time I hear about his actual policies, I'm pretty thoroughly appalled. He voted against CAFTA and wants us to withdraw from the WTO. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he's also hardline on immigration. He favors the stupid Cuba travel ban even though the Communist Menace evaporated almost two decades ago. And last week, sitting with one of his supporters at a wedding, I found out that he wants to move America back onto the gold standard. I cannot, in good conscience, even entertain the hope of electing a man who wants to outsource our monetary policy to Anglo-American.

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