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If there were ever an imperfect candidate for public office – it’s Ron Paul.

He’s not made for TV, he doesn’t play well with others and many of his positions fly in the face of views held by vast majorities of Americans (not to mention vast majorities of Republican primary voters). Not only that, there’s his frequently kooky persona – a rambling stream of consciousness that frequently fumbles around (or altogether ignores) some of the most compelling arguments that could be made on his behalf.

Truth be told, during the incessant, indistinguishable stream of recent Republican presidential debates, we often found ourselves cringing at some of Paul’s more off-the-wall comments. Not necessarily because what he said has been wrong, mind you … but because we could feel the air of electability seeping out of his candidacy with each offbeat syllable he uttered.

But that’s sort of the point, isn’t it? Ron Paul has never been about getting elected – he’s been about getting at the damn truth. And at 76 years of age, we can hardly blame the Texas obstetrician for letting it all hang out.

In fact America needs him to let it all hang out.

Actually, we need him and several hundred more like him up in Washington, D.C. … all of them unapologetically letting it all hang out.

For example, were it not for Paul’s relentless push to audit the Federal Reserve, America would have never known about the $16 trillion in emergency loans that our nation’s central bank doled out to financial institutions around the globe during the peak of the economic recession (and the rampant conflicts of interest associated with those loans).

Indeed, within the “Uncle Fluffy” persona that Paul often slips into on the national stage – high-pitched nasal musings that alternative between goofball and curmudgeon – there exists a true “core of conviction,” a genuine desire to reverse America’s downward trajectory as opposed to merely accumulating personal influence or amassing a small fortune selling books.

When it comes to Ron Paul, concepts like constitutionally-limited government, free markets, individual liberty and fiscal restraint aren’t merely spoken at the moment into a waiting bank of cameras – they have been given repeated, courageous expression by more than three decades of lonely, unpopular votes in the U.S. Congress.

The Tea Party movement? It belongs to Ron Paul – whether those who slap that label on themselves or their candidates of choice ever recognize or acknowledge it.

With the rest of the “Republican” field, these core principles are nothing but rhetorical stepping stones – a series of “here today, gone tomorrow” utterances designed to elevate them, but destined to be discarded the moment they achieve the office to which they aspire.

And yet while these nakedly self-serving, talking point-regurgitating, ideological hypocrites have been embraced by the national media (even the “conservative” press) and presented to GOP voters as candidates worthy of consideration, Ron Paul has been forced to build up his base of support the old-fashioned way – by actually proposing specific limited government policy consistent with his long-held beliefs.

We suppose no prophet is ever accepted in his home country …

Two months ago – while the 2012 “Republicans” tinkered with their gimmicky/ inconsequential tax plans (and the so-called “Supercommittee” in Washington, D.C. argued over how to save $1.2 trillion over the course of the next ten years) – Ron Paul proposed $1 trillion in immediate cuts.

Paul’s plan would balance the federal budget by 2015 – which is five years faster than the most ambitious spending reduction plan put forward by fiscal conservatives in the U.S. Congress (and fifteen years faster than the official GOP spending reduction plan put forward by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan).

Paul would immediately end the costly American military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan. He would also immediately reduce the federal workforce by 10 percent and eliminate five cabinet-level departments: Commerce, Education, Energy, HUD, and the Interior (and unlike another Texan in the race, he can remember all five of those agencies). Beyond that, Paul would freeze all entitlement spending, privatize numerous government agencies and make participation in Social Security voluntary.

In other words, not only would Paul provide immediate savings – he would chart an infinitely more responsible course for our nation moving forward by implementing long-term spending and entitlement reforms. Those reforms are just what the doctor ordered for a soaring American deficit and an ailing American economy – and yet sadly none of the “electable” candidate has even come close to offering such a vision.

Of course that begs the question: Can Ron Paul win?

Obviously he was a sideshow in 2008, and he could very well be one again in 2012. Then again he’s currently running neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney for second place in Iowa – trailing Newt Gingrich by twelve points – and he’s currently in third place in New Hampshire. That’s better than anyone expected him to do, but it’s probably still not enough to create that elusive “path to victory” that the pundits like to write about.

And no … those pundits will never afford him the same “surge” treatment they previously bestowed upon Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry or, more recently, Gingrich.

Despite being dissed by the press, Paul polls just as favorably against Obama as the “mainstream” Republican contenders, and polls particularly well among the independent voters who will ultimately determine the outcome of the election.

Given his lack of “electability” within the GOP primary, though, we’ve heard from numerous South Carolina Republican operatives urging us to refrain from endorsing Paul on the grounds that our website might lose some of the credibility it has managed to accumulate.

“You’ll be throwing your endorsement away,” one Palmetto politico told us just this morning.

Maybe so, but we’re nothing if not consistent. And we’d rather continue sleeping soundly at night as opposed to “pulling a Blagojevich.”

Back in February, we offered our initial assessment of the candidates seeking (or mulling a bid for) the GOP nomination. It wasn’t a very uplifting document – except for the section that addressed Paul’s candidacy.

“As far as we can tell, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is the only pure soul contemplating a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012,” we wrote. “His record of defending both our tax dollars and our individual liberties is unimpeachable and unparalleled – and if Republicans would only follow his example America might have a fighting chance to reclaim its lost greatness.”

“Paul is hands-down our first choice for the Republican nomination,” we continued – adding that “if that makes us ‘kooks,’ too, so be it.”

Nothing Ron Paul has said or done in the intervening months has given us any reason to doubt the veracity of what we wrote back then – and nothing any of Paul’s rivals have said or done during that time has given us any reason to hope that they might even approach his level of ideological consistency.

That’s why this website is proud to endorse Ron Paul for president in 2012 – for the simple reason that there is no one else seeking the office who can even be remotely trusted to take the corrective action required if this nation is ever to return to its former greatness.

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