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Why Do Some Progressives Support Ron Paul, Even Though He Is Anti-Woman, Anti-Civil Rights, and Anti-Equality?

AlterNet readers had a lot to say about Adele Stan's recent article explaining why progressives should think twice about supporting Ron Paul.

Attracted by Ron Paul's opposition to foreign intervention and the war on drugs, some progressives find the libertarian candidate for president appealing, especially since his grandpa-like demeanor gives him an air of sweetness. But as Adele Stan noted in her AlterNet piece " 5 Reasons Progressives Should Treat Ron Paul with Extreme Caution -- 'Cuddly' Libertarian Has Some Very Dark Politics," Paul and his politics are not so sweet. Sure, his opposition to war is a positive, but it must be considered in the context of his other positions, which are not, by any means, progressive. As Stan explained, 

"There are few things as maddening in a maddening political season as the warm and fuzzy feelings some progressives evince for Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, the Republican presidential candidate. 'The anti-war Republican,' people say, as if that's good enough.

But Ron Paul is much, much more than that. He's the anti-Civil-Rights-Act Republican. He's an anti-reproductive-rights Republican. He's a gay-demonizing Republican. He's an anti-public education Republican and an anti-Social Security Republican. He's the John Birch Society's favorite congressman. And he's a booster of the Constitution Party, which has a Christian Reconstructionist platform. So, if you're a member of the anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-senior citizen, anti-equality, anti-education, pro-communist-witch-hunt wing of the progressive movement, I can see how he'd be your guy."

Stan's article generated a lot of debate among commenters, with posts ranging from virulent defense of Ron Paul to meticulous debunking of his ideas. There was no shortage of emotion, nor lack of ideological assertions. 

The piece generated an astounding 1,723 comments, and they just keep on coming. Clearly, Ron Paul and libertarian politics are a hot topic for debate. Here is an overview of what commenters had to say.

Many suggested that Ron Paul's positions on abortion, gay rights and the Civil Rights Act simply do not matter. Because Paul is a champion of "freedom," they assert that their heroic leader would never enforce his opinions on others, but leave these decisions up to the states. 

okallright said:

These are all such funny arguments to me. Yes Ron Paul has voiced his personal skepticism on evolution but he hasn't ever said he's a creationist. The important thing though is that is his personal belief. I don't agree with him, but IT DOESN'T MATTER. That is the great thing about Ron Paul, he keeps his personal beliefs out of his politics. When he asked about these topics he says the same thing, that it's a stupid question and bears no importance to him becoming president. It's like asking him what his favorite color is. 

Jay Kras was typical of Paul supporters who saw no importance in Paul's personal beliefs:

Ron Paul is PERSONALLY against abortion but thinks it should be left up to the states to decide. He wants to repeal Roe v. Wade so that it can be left up to the states. I'm personally against abortion but I don't think I have that right to inflict my views on your choices in life. If you want to get an abortion, go for it. This is pretty much Ron's argument as well. How is that not enough for you? 

The response from progressives was clear: Leaving abortion rights up to the states does not protect women's rights to their own reproductive health. In fact, current legislation proves that it allows states to chip away at abortion access.  

Dan Hickey said:

It shouldn't be up to the states either. Repealing Roe v. Wade gives government at the state level the power to make that decision for women... and simply put, it's none of the states' damned business. "Let the states decide" is an excuse to cloak government interference with the false premise of states' rights. It's not about the rights of the states, it's about the rights of us as individuals.