The always-thoughtful Jen Clark poses a troubling question: should she change her registration to Republican and vote for Ron Paul in the California primary?
The question is troubling because my own thoughts have been paralleling hers. They go like this:
The three Democratic frontrunners all have not-too-dissimilar policy positions. It won't make a whole lot of difference which one wins the nomination, so choosing one over the others in the Democratic primary is not an urgent priority.
On the other hand, the Republicans have quite dissimilar policy positions. In particular, Ron Paul, crazy as he is, is the only major candidate in either party with a sane foreign policy. As one character put it in Joseph Heller's Catch-22, "That crazy bastard may be the only sane one left."
Yeah, Ron Paul is nuts. He basically wants to abolish huge chunks of the federal government, eliminate all federal regulations, gut the 14th Amendment, amend the Constitution to criminalize flag-burning, withdraw from the United Nations, and return the country to the Gold Standard. But he also wants to eliminate the vast global military establishment that the United States has established since the start of the Cold War, starting with the occupation of Iraq. If he became the Republican nominee, we would be treated to the unusual spectacle of a Republican running to the left of the Democrats on foreign policy and military policy. More generally, having Paul running for president as the Republican nominee would move the Overton Window on foreign policy in the direction of less militarism and fearmongering.
So I understand where Jen is coming from. We need a debate on America's global military hegemony, and we won't get one until a major party candidate start talking about it. And right now, the only person in a position to do that is Ron Paul. Is the need for that debate great enough to justify switching parties and voting for crazy Ron Paul in the Republican primary?
I've been giving that question a lot of thought.
UPDATE: In her comment, Jen raises another salient point: given the GOP's recent spate of electoral fraud, being a registered Republican is probably the best way to avoid having one's vote stolen. I don't have to worry about that at the present time, since Rhode Island's Secretary of State is a Democrat, but it's something to keep in mind for the future.