What is the one thing the President of the United States can actually do in office? For all the policy questions candidates have to answer in debates and forums, very few of those policies can actually be put into practice directly through the Executive branch of government. The vast majority of these policies are enacted through laws made in Congress.
But there is one thing which fundamentally depends on the President, especially at this point in our history: the military. After all, he is, you know, Commander in Chief of the armed forces. If a U.S. President decided that the best thing after all would be to pull back from Iraq and Afghanistan, that would actually make a guaranteed difference--unless, of course, Congress actually declared war, which it hasn't done in...65 years?
And that's exactly what Ron Paul would do first as President:
In other words, Ron Paul is probably the only candidate who would be able to change anything substantial about what government currently does, because he is the only candidate who has staunch beliefs against our current foreign policy.
Bringing our troops home would, by the way, save us on the order of $500 billion per year.
Ron Paul is often cast as a fringe candidate with views too far outside the mainstream for the average voter. But let's face it: if Ron Paul were President, most of these views wouldn't matter, because he wouldn't be the one making laws. The way I see it, then, we ought to elect him in 2012 because on the one issue that he could influence most, he is in favor of much needed change.
In other words, the most fundamental characteristic of Ron Paul as a presidential candidate is that he is anti-war. I happen to agree with many other things he believes in, but even if you don't agree with him on anything else, peace might just be a principle worth supporting.
Now you see why the Republican party establishment hates him so much. This ain't no George W. Bush.
By the way, beside Rick Perry, Ron Paul is the only veteran in the presidential race; he was a flight surgeon during Vietnam.