Now that we're past Christmas and on to 2008, I think it's time to really start thinking about who should be elected as our next chief executive. I usually don't put much into it. After all, the office of President has become grossly over-emphasized for decades. We both expect the President to do the job of Congress and take the blame for their ineptitude, a position I doubt many would ever want.
The most frustrating part of selecting a candidate is that they all seem to be saying the same thing. There's almost no substantive difference of opinion in every single one of the Democratic contenders and most of the Republicans seem to be suffering from groupthink as well. It seems that we're essentially left with a choice between a proponent of massively expanded federal government or someone who isn't sure if he's running for president or pastor.
I used to be a fan of Mitt Romney. He seemed to have the chops to get things in financial order and go about it quickly. Time has revealed, however, that he's willing to say whatever it takes to earn a vote. The endless pandering to a vocal yet insignificant wing of the Republican Party has revealed a flawed character that renders him unfit for consideration for the nation's highest office. I don't doubt that he would still improve the federal government's fiscal picture; I'm worried what else he would attempt to get done in the meantime.
After looking at each candidate, I can only conclude that one man is fit to be President: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. He's the only man with a clear understanding of the appropriate role of the federal government. Not only does he entirely oppose any continued foreign military action without a Constitutionally-required Declaration of War, he also supports ending the vast majority of federal programs and agencies and giving that power back to the states where it belongs. Given the positions of all other candidates, I'm left with the conclusion that he's the only one with even a basic understanding of how federalism was designed to work. More important is that he has integrity, something a lot of others (I'm looking at you, Clinton and Giuliani) seem to lack. His personal life is in order, his public positions match his public and private actions, and he even manages to use less than the allocated budget for his Congressional office.
Sadly, Utah's closed Republican primaries means I won't be able to help send Paul to the general election. Even if he did carry enough delegates, he ruffles enough feathers in his own party to guarantee that they wouldn't let him get out of the convention at all costs. With the large war chest that he's built (he's already broken the records for most money raised in a day and raised online in a day), I'm hopeful that he'll consider a third-party or independent run. America needs men like Ron Paul.