In some ways, it makes perfect sense that Republican activists would be attracted to a candidate like Congressman Ron Paul. After all, Paul wants to get rid of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and eliminate most protections for consumers, the vulnerable and the environment. Ten years ago, those outrageous positions would have horrified Republicans. Amazingly, today they are much closer to mainstream Republicanism.

But other Ron Paul positions simply do not fit the Republican mold. In fact, they’re much too liberal for the Democratic Party. You’d never know it from much of the news media coverage, but Congressman Paul also:

• Opposes most military involvement (including the bin Laden raid);
• Wants to slash military spending;
• Wants to legalize prostitution;
• Opposes federal laws to ban gay marriage and abortion; and
• Wants to legalize marijuana, cocaine, heroin and all other drugs.

THAT is going to be the choice of the hawkish evangelical patriots that are the backbone of the Republican Party? A war hatin’, Pentagon slashin’, prostitution promotin’, gay toleratin’, baby killin’, coddler of drug dealers?

I can’t see it. But if it happens, it will spark the mother of all GOP Party civil wars, pitting the libertarian wing versus the religious right wing, the military industrial complex wing, the flag waving wing and the moderate wing. I don’t like Paul’s odds in that fight.

Ron Paul’s current appeal reminds me of Jesse Ventura’s appeal in 1998. He represents a cathartic middle finger to the establishment. But as many a disgruntled Ventura supporter can tell you, the problem with voting for the middle finger is that you’re buying the whole body, not just that one finger.

– Loveland