Ron Paul is a medical doctor turned Representative from Texas; he is a bit of a dark horse candidate in the Republican party right now. He has tremendous support on the Internet, especially on social sites like Digg.com and Del.icio.us. He used to be largely ignored by the media but is receiving more coverage now. What is it about Ron Paul that makes people like him as a candidate. A qualitative review of comments on Digg reveals that many people support him because he is opposed to the Iraq War. His opposition stems mainly from the point that the U.S. shouldn’t have become involved as they did in Iraq; he is also opposed to how much money is being spent to fight the war. Ron Paul is libertarian, he is a classic Republican who supports small government and small budgets. He votes for almost anything that would shrink the size of the federal government, not to weaken but to limit its scope to something closer to what the Founding Fathers established.
Ron Paul is also a social conservative: he is anti-abortion based on personal values and political beliefs (i.e., not having the federal government tell the states what to do); he favors personal property rights; he supports gun rights; he is opposed to socialized (and managed) health care; he is opposed to a minimum wage; he is opposed to affirmative action; and he is also opposed to the IRS, stating that we need a major tax system overhaul. If you look at his overall voting record he is fairly moderate but with a moderate social and strong fiscal conservatism foundation.
Could he win the election, assuming he was nominated? I think it is likely. There’s not a lot of dirt on him, he has a consistent voting record and hasn’t suffered any major scandals. However, one problem for him as President would be to try and get his policies passed through the Legislative branch. It is easy to talk about reducing the size of the government but actually doing it is difficult. No one wants their pork chopped from the budget. Welfare recipients would be upset when their checks are reduced or canceled, IRS employees would be up in arms when their jobs are threatened by tax reform, et cetera. Whether or not Ron Paul could accomplish all of his reform goals, he could certainly accomplish some of his goals.
Note: This post does not constitute an endorsement of Ron Paul.