A good summation of the U.S. political climate in the Fall of 2011: Everyone is pissed off. You'll have to forgive my plain language there, but it's the most accurate way to describe how everyone is feeling, from the grungiest, hairiest Occupy The Everything hippie to the most hardcore gun-totin', values-votin' Hank Williams, Jr. fan. A big chunk of Dems have been unhappy with President Obama's performance, and a big chunk of Republicans facepalm through every clownish, brainpower-lacking GOP presidential debate. Those who wish to cast a vote for an Independent candidate know that there's no chance in hell it will pay off, and moderates who would like to see compromise and teamwork in government are completely ignored by the polarized pols the people elected to serve. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the Libertarian says, "Get Off My Lawn, all of you!"

Something I have noted with some surprise is another chunk of voters -- generally young, voting in their first or second presidential election, traditional left-leaners -- who are so jaded and disappointed already that they are seeking a candidate saying something different. They are picking up on the (GOP-relative) sanity and consistency of strict-Constitutionalist Republican Ron Paul. Paul is running on a platform of "limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency." With everyone disgusted by the inefficiency of Congress in getting the un- or under-employed back to work, Paul, the most Conservative of Conservatives, might be able to grab enough voters ready to wash D.C. clean. Paul also identifies himself as the "premier advocate for liberty," but his idea of liberty maybe very well be at the expense of yours. I'll go ahead and grab his platform statements from his campaign site, and take them on.

1. "A Pro-Life Champion." Well. How about that? Interesting how a "limited government" should include repealing Roe v. Wade, denying more than half of all Americans the right and ability to choose what happens to their lives and bodies, and working to de-fund all family planning clinics, even if those clinics do not even offer abortion services. Paul, an OB/GYN, is welcome to his personal opinions on the subject, but seeking to legislate his feelings into millions' sexual health decisions is hypocrisy at its height. 

2. "A Pro-America Foreign Policy." What that is for Ron Paul, also seems a bit muddy. He voted for U.S. use of military action to kill the very nasty Osama bin Laden, but doesn't want America to be "the world's policeman." I guess situational police work is OK with him, but I wonder how and where he draws the line.

3. "Secure Our Borders." OHHHHH. There's the line! It's in the sand, right over by Mexico! Apparently, the illegal immigrant is worthy of being shot at by our military while being denied any civil rights, or any education or health care for that matter. So, if you are here illegally working over at Mitt's house and a brick falls on your head, you should just crawl off and die, because Ron Paul says your humanity isn't something we should care about since you don't have a green card. Cracking down like Big Bad Daddy Uncle Sam on the immigrants that are used for their cheap labor here by individuals and businesses by the multi-thousands if not millions doesn't at all address the understanding of the shared economics of the world, why some people will continue to come here even at risk of death, and how a "pro-life" stance coming from a medical doctor looks even weaker when faced with the reality of denying needed care to any other (actually born) human being.

4. "Health Care - Freedom Not Force." Oh, brother. This is, again, unexpected a bit from a doctor. Paul wants to repeal Obamacare, putting Americans again at the mercy of Big Biz, i.e., private insurers. Has anyone, anyone at all, not had a serious run-in with health insurance, or know someone who has, like the popular "if you get sick we'll just drop you" option? Paul offers a laughable, completely unworkable patchwork mess of tax breaks and itemized deductions to supposedly offset the tens of thousands of dollars easily racked up by a simple illness, much less a major one. I know that if I had a terrible illness or was caring for someone else in that state, I'd sure be wanting to spend my spare time going through my receipts and filling out "limited government" tax forms! And trying to curtail malpractice litigation costs by having individuals buy "negative outcomes" insurance?? Can you imagine?

5. "Restore America's Prosperity." I thought doctors were supposed to be People of Science and Reason, yet Ron Paul vows to never, ever vote to have the debt ceiling raised, although every single credible economist and statistician has explained ad infinitum why such action has been necessary. Yes, almost all of us can agree that we need to "end the corporate stranglehold on the White House," yet Paul in his very next set of sentences describes how he would stimulate the economy by "...driving down gas prices by allowing offshore drilling, abolishing highway motor fuel taxes, increasing the mileage reimbursement rates..." Ohhhhh. Gee, that seems to be a Bush-Era Corporate Big Oil Agenda to me. Encouraging the further use of wasteful and dangerous fossil fuels goes hand-in-hand with the agenda of worst of the corporate criminals; there's no getting around that, sir.

6. "End the Fed." Not sure what I think about that, but I'm in agreement with Paul that the Federal Reserve needs to operate openly. But I doubt getting rid of the Fed altogether is realistic.

7. "Lower Taxes - Keep More Of Your Money." This is the easiest thing in the world for politicians to sell to people -- who doesn't want to pay less in taxes to a giant, faceless government, other than Warren Buffet? You work hard, or hard-ish, and you know that more money = more options, right? But, as usual, Americans want their services from the government but don't want to pay for them.OK, so you want to abolish the IRS, eh? Well, then you can forego having a regulatory branch that keeps the food you eat safe, and the air and water you need to survive relatively clean. Your roads, bridges, government buildings, parks, National Monuments, public hospitals, first responder services, etc. etc. etc. would be eliminated or severely compromised, placed in the hands of profiteers. Paul's statement of "The power to tax is the power to destroy, which is why Ron Paul will never support higher taxes" is something to be viewed with deep suspicion. What if this individual doesn't wish to have any money of mine going towards a military-enforced border patrol, Mr. Paul? Can I keep that money for myself? I bet not.

8. "Protect Gun Rights." The statistics on what American guns really end up doing have been available for ages. If you own a gun, it is far more likely to end up injuring a member of your own family than any random intruder, and over 50% of all gun deaths are suicides, yet the misiformation that we all should be armed to prevent violence persists. Perhaps Dr. Paul might feel slightly different if he had spent his time in practice in a modern-day urban emergency room instead. And check this out: "Congressman Paul believes it has never been more important that our President be 100% committed to defending our God-given right to keep and bear arms." Well, how about that -- I had no idea that God showed up right here in our United States and had a press conference or something! Totally missed that. Again, legislating personal feelings and religious beliefs has NOTHING to do with "limited government" or "liberty."

9. "Right To Work." Oh, I am getting so tired at this point. Sigh. Paul is staunchly anti-union. He states, "Freedom of association is one of the foundations of a free society.  The Founders clearly understood this, which is why they sought to protect this God-given right in the First Amendment." Again, God shows up at the First Amendment, and there's no paintings of the guy or something? I tell ya. Anyway, Paul doesn't like "forced" union dues, that "bankroll the campaigns of tax-and-spend, big government politicians all across the country like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama!" Oh, so if you don't like what others do with their money, you should legislate them out? Oh. "Limited government," riiiiight.

10. "Standing Up For Homeschooling." Yes, homeschooling is sure an option in these days when two incomes are needed to support the majority of families. Unless you think that women are best put to use staying home, having lots of children, and then teaching them that women should just stay home and have lots of children. Fundamentalist agenda stench detected.

11."Energy Independence." Related to #5 in that Paul's plan really just means "Big Oil Free To Operate With No Taxes Or Environmental Controls Whatsoever." The most spectacular statement here? " Eliminate the ineffective EPA. Polluters should answer directly to property owners in court for the damages they create – not to Washington." Oh, sure. I know I feel rock-solid sure that I could go up in court as an individual against a huge corporate polluter who has millions of dollars to spend on legal fees. Sure. That's how it works. Get real, Dr. Paul. The free market, when left completely uncontrolled, will  see the powerful and corrupt maximize their profits by using their money to buy the legal system meant for all of us. The essential Libertarian fail is in this: that people when left to total freedom will be motivated to do the right things, and if they fail in that, they will be held accountable, suffer and change for the better. The world doesn't reliably work like that, and never has. Solving the energy crisis has nothing to do with removing the gas tax, drilling protected areas for oil, using more coal and nuclear power -- that's nothing but a very filthy, used band-aid on a massive problem which will not go away until we invest in clean energy sources.

So, in the end, Ron Paul offers up a very singular and consistent vision of what America should be, using a very personal, very biased definition of freedom. He's all for liberty...unless you are a pregnant woman, an atheist or non-Fundamentalist, a liberal, an illegal immigrant, union member, poor or sick, which when I last checked would make up many many many millions of American citizens. Hmm. And he's all for limited government...as long as you take on the burden of new, complicated tax codes and expect nothing from the federal government other than our military taking out Pedro if he sets a toe into Arizona. Hmm.

When this country is in such need of competent leadership and strength, it pains me that anyone would even consider backing someone like Dr. Paul, whose extreme ideas have zero chance of success. The America he so wishes for is the country of the fearful, the judgmental, the racist, the sexist, the paranoid, the religious zealot, the unchecked profiteer, and the bully. 

Freedom, when offered to only to a select segment of the population, isn't freedom at all.