economic issues and public services are absolutely integral to progressivism. You *can* be left-wing on these issues and still be hard-right overall - there are examples from the distorted communism of the likes of Stalin, to some racist but populist groups. But you cannot be hard-right on these issues and be a progressive on most of the others.
In particular, if you oppose a social safety net, then you are fundamentally only in favour of civil liberties for those who can afford them. Living in fear of speaking your mind or acting contrary to custom because the boss may fire you without your having any recourse, and then you will end up starving and freezing in the streets, is no better than, or fundamentally different from, living in fear of speaking your mind or acting contrary to custom because the police might take you to prison.
The point is also that Ron Paul opposes some of the things mentioned for anything but progressive reasons. He doesn't oppose Wall Street bailouts because he thinks that government should be spending money on public services and not on the already-rich bankers; he opposes ANY sort of government bailout of ANYTHING. He would allow the rich to rob the poor even more than they do now; the fact that he would also allow them to rob each other more freely than they do now, and allow those who fail to go to the wall, does not mean that he wants the government to concentrate on helping ordinary citizens. He doesn't want the government to help anyone!
Also, his foreign policy is not more *progressive* than that of other politicians. It is more *isolationist*. This indeed means opposition to the recent wars, and a good thing too! But he also would reject any foreign aid to poor countries - resulting in even more people dying as a result of poverty than do now. He would have been prepared to have allowed the Nazis to take over Europe in WW2, rather than engage in an alliance with the Soviet Union (this is clear from things he's said in a speech available on his own website).
None of this is about partisanship in my case. I'm British. It's not up to me whether anyone does or doesn't vote for President Obama; though obviously I hope he gets re-elected. Nor am I in principle against *ever* voting for third or smaller parties - I've done it several times myself in my country. But the point is that anyone who is fundamentally opposed to social safety nets and public services is by definition a MONSTER OF PURE EVIL, and that even considering such a person as a valid option, or as even comparable to President Obama, is contributing to an attitude that is a real danger to the world. Of course people have the right to vote for whoever they want; but you do NOT have the right to be considered as progressive if you are prepared to let poor and sick people die in the name of the holy free market. Yes, that SHOULD be a progressive litmus test!