"If we simply returned to that year's spending levels ... we would have a balanced budget right now ... . In Washington terms, a simple freeze in spending would be a much bigger 'cut' than any plan being discussed."
Agree with him or not, he is putting his name on the line and offering up practical solutions to our coming financial meltdown. Beyond that, if you do happen to be one of his GOP competitors for the Republican presidential nomination for 2012, it also does not really matter whether you agree with him.
What matters is if you take Ron Paul seriously, understand that his voice is connecting with millions of Americans, and truly believe that he might — regardless of who ultimately pushes his buttons — become so frustrated with the nonaction of both parties as to make an independent run for the White House.
If you are a fellow Republican candidate or one of their supporters and just don't see this as a credible threat, then I would simply suggest you look back at recent history and do some very basic electoral math.
Who would have won the election in 1992 had Ross Perot stayed out of the race? Who would have won the state of Florida in 2000 had Ralph Nader stayed out of the race? How many relatively few votes does it take to move one state's electoral votes from one candidate to another?
In 1992, Perot got almost 19% of the popular vote. In 2000, Nader got about 2.75% of the popular vote. Both, in my opinion, changed the course of history. Should Ron Paul decide to run as a third-party candidate, I have no doubt his vote total would fall between the numbers of Perot and Nader.
Such an effort, however noble, would be disastrous for the republic should it create a path of victory for Obama.
Ron Paul: Treat him with the respect he has earned.
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