I'll admit, on core principle, Ron Paul has a lot of things right. Go back to the gold standard? Definitely. Audit the Fed? Damn right. Limited government and a more Constitutionalist approach? Yes please. I believe these things will set our country back on the right path. It's easy to see why so many people fervently follow him. His ideas resonate heavily with the deep moral and emotional ties people have to this great nation.
However, that's Ron Paul. Not his followers. One thing I've always thought about Ron Paul that I think many of his followers don't seem to get: He never really believed he had a chance at winning the presidency. I could be wrong on this, but here's how I see it. He saw the insurmountable task at turning this country around. He saw how politicians on both sides of the aisle were becoming addicted to government largess. He had to affect a change, but knew he'd start out as just one small voice. He knew the change he was talking about wouldn't come in his generation, but he had to do something. And what was that something? Getting his ideas out. You see, Ron Paul is an idea man. He knew he never really had a shot at winning the presidency. There's no way he could compete against the "mainstream". But, what better place to get your ideas out than in a campaign for the highest office of the land? It's the perfect context for someone wanting to talk about getting our nation back on track. He's been laying the groundwork for future change (probably via his son Rand) in these elections so that his ideas become "mainstream". Sure, if he ever had overwhelming support he'd go for the presidency, but I don't think that ever really was his goal.
This is where Paulites annoy me. Many don't seem to get this. They don't seem to understand that what Ron Paul is building is a path to change further down the road, not immediate and "radical" change. Realistically speaking, the type of constitutionalist change Paul advocates for isn't going to happen over night. It's going to take smaller, incremental victories as a means of "course correction" to get there. By instilling this generation with the ideas, it can flourish further down the road. They need to realize this. And while Mitt Romney may seem like another "progressive" to them, that's who they got to work with. They don't seem to realize that they can cling to their principles while still supporting a man they think is "too progressive". How? Because the alternative is far worse. Remember, smaller, incremental steps. But that can't happen if we can't even get our foot in the door.
Because at the end of the day, the decision boils down to this: Do you want a Democratic liberal president with a clearly radical, socialist agenda or do you want a moderate Republican that believes in American exceptionalism and free enterprise? And no, neither is not a choice. Sure, Paulites could just sit at home, pout and not vote. But what good is that doing? It's essentially taking away votes from Romney. And what happens when votes get taken away from one candidate? That's right, the other candidate (Obama in this case) benefits.
The "all or nothing" approach in this respect does no good and at this point is madness. They need to recognize the legacy Ron Paul is leaving and realize that it's his ideas they'll carry forward for decades to come that will affect the change so desired. But it takes stepping in the right direction for starters. They shouldn't choose not to step because the step wasn't big enough for their liking.