I said at the time that Ron Paul’s vote on repealing DADT is going to hurt him if he decided to run for President again. It has already started.
The problem with his vote to repeal DADT is that it contributes to two impression that Ron Paul is going to have to overcome to do well in Republican primaries and caucuses - that he endorses moral relativism (as libertarians, rightly or wrongly, are perceived by many to do) and that he is weak on the military.
First of all, an authentic conservative should be “weak” on the military because the military needs to be radically downsized to a size appropriate to defend the country instead of run an empire, but voters in Republican primaries aren’t there yet. Also, there is a difference between making a principled case for downsizing the military and forcing on them a PC policy they didn’t want. This gives military hawks who don’t like Paul’s non-interventionism a weapon to attack him. This is clearly what uber-hawk Donnelly is doing in the linked article.
Second, Paul’s libertarianism and strict constitutionalism sometimes runs him afoul of some “values voters” who want the federal government to “do something” about this or that moral issue, but Paul has always been good about finessing those issues on principle without coming off like a libertarian moral relativist.
But, IMO, the DADT issue can’t be finessed in such a way. The military is a decidedly unlibertarian institution by its very nature. It prohibits and requires all sorts of things. There is no reason it can’t prohibit homosexual behavior in its ranks if it believes such to be contrary to good order and discipline. You can’t impose libertarianism on the military. If so, why not repeal all the regulations regarding hair length or uniform wear?
Don’t get me wrong, I still support Ron Paul for President. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but while I can argue against federal drug laws or a federal definition of marriage on principled constitutionalist grounds, I can’t defend his vote on DADT.