I tend towards apathy and cynicism when it comes to national politics. Part of the reason is that I’ve gotten too tired to care. “Habeas corpus went the way of the Dodo? Torture is ok? And people aren’t rioting in the streets? I give up!” Over the past twelve years, I’ve gotten increasingly frustrated with the direction of government. Sure, I blame Bush for a big part of this, but Clinton also wanted to increase presidential power. And, until recently, I didn’t have any hope that the next president would even talk about rolling back the power that executive branch has gathered for itself. Back before we were in Iraq or Afghanistan, I remember thinking I was alone in a sea of patriotic nut jobs. Everyone seemed ready to attack anyone who could conceivibly be connected with the terrorist attack. I thought about Bush’s promises to avoid Clinton’s “Nation Building” and noticed how few people really cared about that. Then I started hearing a little about this Ron Paul guy. A candidate that really wants to restrict the federal government and not just grow it in a different way? Un-Possible! But still, he was a third-tier candidate. In other words, he had no chance in Hell of winning the presidency, let alone the Republican nomination. So when his supporters managed to put together a fund-raiser that raked in four million dollars in a single day, I thought, “Hey, maybe a kook can make it after all!” And his supporters have continued to put their money where their mouth is. So far, his fourth-quarter contributions have beaten the other Republican candidates third-quarter takes. And we still have a month to go. If he continued raising money like this, he could hit $15 million for the quarter. Still, I’m realistic about the chances of Ron Paul actually implmenting much of his platform. For example, he talks about taking our troops out of South Korea, but the last president to do that (Carter) was finally thwarted on that very issue. North Korea is a lot less of a threat to the South now, so I mention that only in passing: idealists like Ron Paul and Carter make big promises, but have lots of trouble following through because of the amount of inertia they’re fighting.