Ron Paul, the man, may be a wonderful small town doctor and an able representative of his mostly small-town bible-belt constituency. But since he has portrayed himself as a man of ideas and is willing to take center stage to declare his candidacy for the 2012 GOP Presidential, let us take a moment to look at Ron Paul the candidate.
To be fair, I have asked a Facebook friend, to comment on Ron Paul. Over the past year, Clint has mounted a vigorous defense of his chosen candidate and is well-qualified to put forth an opinion I respect. I am writing my part of this post without having seen what Clint has said and he knows nothing of what I am writing.
Here is what Clint had to say …
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
In this Republican Primary season, we must decide which one of our candidates will be faithful to that oath. It is true that almost any of the candidates can win a general election against Obama. He’s been a total failure, and he has a list of lies and broken promises a mile long. So often in the news and in political commentary we hear the phrase, “Who has the best chance of beating Obama next November?” We can put up a liberal Republican against Obama and win the election, but where will it get us? We will still be dealing with an administration that doesn’t uphold the Constitution.
The question we need to ask is, “Who will actually uphold the Constitution?” The answer to that question, even for those who hate him, is Ron Paul. No one has so strictly followed the Constitution in their legislative career than he has. But why is that the fundamental question we need to ask? Because the Constitution is there to prevent our federal government from growing out of control. When you get down to it though, you have to have men and women of honor and integrity in office that will strictly abide by the Constitution in their public life, or else you get what we do indeed have today: out of control government.
Some critics of Ron Paul say he has no leadership skills. They say this because he hasn’t gotten the rest of Congress to jump on board with his agenda. This is a rather silly way to measure leadership, however. If you’re serving in Congress with a bunch of people who neither know what the Constitution says nor give a crap about abiding by it, how is that a strike against YOUR leadership skills? I know of many congressmen who get bills passed by getting votes from both sides of the aisle, but what good is that if the bills they pass are unconstitutional and/or grow the size of government? Is that leadership, or is that the blind leading the blind? Ron Paul has stood alone many times as the sole “No” vote. That doesn’t make him ineffective; that makes him a man of principle.
So why should you vote for Ron Paul? For any conservative out there, the simple fact that he will veto any piece of legislation that is unconstitutional should be enough reason for you. And boy, is that a lot of vetoes. Another thing that should make conservatives wet their pants is that the threat of the veto pen will force the Republican Congress to be even more conservative than the Tea Party has been forcing them to be for the past few years. Then there’s the budget plan he rolled out recently. He cuts $1 trillion in the first year, and balances the budget in the third year (all dependent upon Congress, of course). Five departments are eliminated, the federal workforce is trimmed by 10%, and congressional pay as well as his own paycheck will see huge cuts.
Ron Paul has been warning about the national debt for many years. A man of principle speaks out on an issue when it presents itself. A man whose doctrine changes with the wind joins in when it is either too late or almost too late. There are many latecomers on the issues of the national debt, the Federal Reserve, and foreign policy. There’s only one candidate who has been right for decades, and that man is Ron Paul.
Typically on financial issues you hardly find a conservative who disagrees with Ron Paul, or they at least mostly agree. The most disagreement you see is on foreign policy. This is usually because they simply don’t understand foreign policy enough to make a sound judgment, and instead defer to talking points or the party line. When I first looked into Ron Paul back in 2008, I was wary of him on foreign policy. I’d grown up listening to Rush Limbaugh, watching Fox News, etc. and just couldn’t bring myself to accept his views on that. Then I read Ron Paul’s book called “A Foreign Policy of Freedom” and my concerns were gone. The book is basically a collection of Ron Paul’s speeches on foreign policy from 1976 to 2007. I can’t tell you how many times my jaw hit the floor while reading this book. So much of the time, he’d give a speech and say, “We need to stop doing this or we’ll suffer some dire consequences”. A little while passes and something bad does happen because of that particular policy, and he gives another speech saying, “See, I told you so! Can we stop this now?”
Ron Paul has been especially perceptive on Mideast policy. Consider his words in 1983 concerning Israel and Lebanon:
“Israel has not and will not benefit from our persistent involvement in the Mideast. Since our dollars flow to both Arabs and Israelis, we will not be inclined to allow either side to decide for itself what is in its own best interest. Israel, under today’s circumstances, cannot retain its sovereignty, for we will always feel compelled to criticize their actions if, in our opinion, these actions destabilize the area.”
Shock of all shocks, Ron Paul still feels the same way today. He still calls for our government to stay out of Israel’s business and let them decide what’s best for them. He still calls for an end to all foreign aid because it arms Israel’s enemies and guarantees Israel remains a welfare state, not to mention that foreign aid is unconstitutional and we’re broke. When Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981, he was one of very few who supported Israel while the Reagan administration and the UN condemned them for it.
But what about terrorism? Ron Paul was the only one of our elected officials to warn America that Islamic terrorism would be coming to our shores if our foreign policy wasn’t significantly changed. He warned us in three separate speeches: One in 1998, one in February of 2001, and again in July 2001. Some people like to say he blames America for 9/11. Ron Paul has never blamed America for 9/11. He has consistently blamed government policy. To say he blames America for 9/11 would be like saying the Tea Party blames America for the national debt. Sounds stupid when you say it out loud, doesn’t it?
Americans typically understand that the government is to blame for our problems in domestic policy, yet those same people seem to think that SAME government is a great decision maker when it comes to foreign policy. That may have more to do with nationalism than anything else. As George Orwell noted, “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” I believe that pretty well sums up how most Americans view 9/11 and foreign policy when taken together. For many Americans, history began on 9/11 and the attacks came out of nowhere. Heck, I used to be one of those people until I studied history, and the history reveals that our government has pulled off some seriously sorry crap in the Middle East over the years, and those policies continue to this day.
Others believe 9/11 and terrorism in general are part of muslim conquest. If this were true, it would be the first time in history muslims sought empire by not conquering nearby lands, but rather by trying to conquer a land thousands of miles away, and by only using a ragtag band of terrorists and no army. That’s another one of those things that sounds stupid when you say it out loud. The fact of the matter is that revenge is engineered into Islam. If you know this to be a fact, why would you do anything to bring wrath upon your own country? Ron Paul knows these things, and this is why he was able to foresee that Islamic terrorism would come to our own shores if we didn’t make some serious changes in foreign policy.
Is Ron Paul alone in this view of terrorism? In 2004, Donald Rumsfeld directed the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board Task Force to review the impact the Bush administration’s policies — specifically the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — were having on terrorism and Islamic radicalism. They issued a report in September, 2004 and it condemned the Bush/Cheney approach as entirely counterproductive, and that it was worsening the terrorist threat those policies purportedly sought to reduce. It also revealed that the terrorists don’t care about our freedom, they hate our policies. They see our one sided support of Israel against Palestine, our support of tyrannies in various muslim countries, and the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan as an affront to muslim self determination. The 9/11 Commission Report and the CIA also reached about the same conclusion. Remember KSM, the mastermind behind 9/11? He’s the one we waterboarded multiple times and supposedly got some great information out of him. He said the reason he planned the attacks was because of US policy. Now, at this point some folks will say muslims can lie to advance their faith. Yes, and so can Christians. Remember Rahab? However, it’s a little quirky to say the guy who was waterboarded for information lied about this one thing, and that one thing just happened to be the reasoning behind his involvement in the plot. These folks who throw out the taqiyya card seem to think that these terrorist muslims who are supposedly trying to conquer America are all together on this huge lie about WHY they’re doing it. It’s a first in muslim history, but this is what they want us to believe. Yeah, that’s another one of those things that sounds stupid when you say it out loud. Furthermore, they fail to realize that taqiyya refers not to lying in general but to concealing your faith from an oppressor in order to protect your life and/or property from damage.
So why, in a write up about Ron Paul, would I include such a huge section on foreign policy and Islam? Because in my experience, it is those two subjects which keep people from voting for Ron Paul, and instead leads them to call him a nutter or a dangerous man. In reality, when you fully utilize what’s in your brain housing unit you will see he’s the only choice for president. So now for the summation:
1. Ron Paul will veto A LOT of bills passed by Congress, since most of them are unconstitutional
2. The veto threat will force the Republicans to be even more conservative
3. He’s the only candidate who has proposed serious cuts that address our debt/budget problems and will pull us back from the brink.
4. He’s led by example by strictly upholding the Constitution, even when it was unpopular.
5. He’s the only elected leader in the US who warned Islamic terror was going to come to our shores if our foreign policy didn’t significantly change.
6. He’s the only candidate who understands that the status quo foreign policy is not only counterproductive in fighting terror, but we simply can’t afford it anymore.
7. In a presidential debate with Obama, he can paint the president as a hypocrite on just about every foreign policy issue, and he can dominate him in any discussion of the economy.
8. There’s no other candidate with Ron Paul’s knowledge of the Constitution, foreign policy, and economic and monetary policy.
9. Lastly, the guy who predicted the economic crisis is the guy we need to get us out of it. That’s Ron Paul.
My viewpoint …
Ron Paul’s lack of legislative achievements during his long political career …
Ron Paul has served as a member of the House of Representatives from Texas multiple times (1976-1977, 1979-1985, and 1996 – present). At 76, he has announced that he will not seek another term as a Representative.
Ron Paul is a self-described libertarian running for office as a Republican. If one could sum up Paul’s position, it would be as a Constitutionalist concentrating on adhering to the Constitution as written. His positions/policies include non-interventionism in foreign affairs, terminating federal agencies not authorized in the Constitution, massive tax reductions, eliminating participation in organizations such as the United Nations and World Trade Organization; and returning much of the power held at the federal level to the states and local communities via deregulation.
Many of his ideas cannot be implemented without damage to the country and its allies.
While Ron Paul has co-sponsored the legislation of others, he does not appear to have any significant signature legislative initiatives that were passed over his long career as a Representative. He is known by some of his colleagues as Dr. No for his opposition to much of what the House proposes, discusses and passed.
Ron Paul’s alleged bigotry …
Paul’s past includes a newsletter publishing venture which featured the work of anonymous contributors but presented in the first person under Paul’s name and ostensibly with Paul’s knowledge and permission.
These newsletters often took a racist and bigoted viewpoint. While Ron Paul denies writing those particular entries, he is damned if he did and damned if he didn’t – as they were published under his name.
“Take, for instance, a special issue of the Ron Paul Political Report, published in June 1992, dedicated to explaining the Los Angeles riots of that year. ‘Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began,’ read one typical passage. According to the newsletter, the looting was a natural byproduct of government indulging the black community with ‘civil rights,' quotas, mandated hiring preferences, set-asides for government contracts, gerrymandered voting districts, black bureaucracies, black mayors, black curricula in schools, black tv shows, black tv anchors, hate crime laws, and public humiliation for anyone who dares question the black agenda.’ It also denounced ‘the media’ for believing that ‘America's number one need is an unlimited white checking account for underclass blacks.’"
“As early as December 1989, a section of Paul's Investment Letter, titled ‘What To Expect for the 1990s,’ predicted that ‘Racial Violence Will Fill Our Cities’ because ‘mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white 'haves.’"
“In the early 1990s, a newsletter attacked the ‘X-Rated Martin Luther King’ as a ‘world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours,’ ‘seduced underage girls and boys,’ and ‘made a pass at’ fellow civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy....”
“A 1987 issue of Paul's Investment Letter called Israel ‘an aggressive, national socialist state,’ and a 1990 newsletter discussed the ‘tens of thousands of well-placed friends of Israel in all countries who are willing to wok [sic] for the Mossad in their area of expertise.’ Of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a newsletter said, ‘Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.’" <Source>
If any of this is true, Ron Paul is no more fit to be the President of the United States than Barack Obama.
It also appears that Ron Paul will take money from white supremacist groups while at the same time proclaiming that those are not his views. Why he doesn’t return the money may be more indicative of a case of watching the action, not the rhetoric.
“Jesse Benton, communications director for Ron Paul for President 2008, said he was unaware of the existence of Stormfront until just a few days ago, though Stormfront radio endorsed Paul in mid-October.”
“As for what the campaign will do with the supremacist donations, Benton said white supremacists are wasting their money on Paul, a physician and long-time congressman from Texas. ‘We are not in the business of trying to track who is giving us money,’ Benton said. ‘If they want to waste their money on us we will take it and use it to promote freedom and individual rights, not their agenda.’”
“There is no indication that Paul has courted right-wing support. But a wide array of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups have backed him nonetheless, and there have been rumors about right-wing support in the blogosphere for months.” <Source>
Ron Paul’s skewed version of foreign affairs …
2007 – “Presidential candidate Ron Paul says the U.S. is in ‘great danger’ of a staged Gulf of Tonkin style provocation while also warning that a major collapse of the American economy is on the horizon and could be precipitated by the bombing of Iran and the closure of the Persian Gulf.”
"’I think we're in great danger of it,’ responded the Congressman, ‘We're in danger in many ways, the attack on our civil liberties here at home, the foreign policy that's in shambles and our obligations overseas and commitment which endangers our troops and our national defense.’"
"’Every day we're in worse shape and right now there's an orchestrated effort to blame the Iranians for everything that's gone wrong in Iraq and we're quite concerned that the attack will be on Iran and that will jeopardize so many more of our troops, so I would say that we're in much greater danger than we even were four or five years ago,’ asserted Paul.” <Source>
Here is the Presidential candidate who believes that Iran has a right to nuclear weapons for self-defense and other reasons and that we should terminate all foreign aid in the region. Let Israel stand alone among her enemies.
“I’m not an isolationist, I’m a free-trader. The isolationist are the ones who won’t even trade with Cuba, and they’re the ones who want to put on sanctions, they want to isolate these countries and they always use sanctions. So I think that’s wrong, our founders advised us that we trade with people and be friends with as many as are willing to accept our friendship. And we’re doing the opposite, we get involved in these entangling alliances, we go to war under NATO and the United Nations. And, like I said, there are nuclear weapons all over place over there. If you’re an Iranian, I’m sure you would say, ‘Oh, it’s in our best interest, we ought to gain some respect because if we have a weapon, maybe they might not attack us.’ But they’re surrounded by nuclear weapons; Israel, India, Pakistan, China, United States, Russia; they all have these nuclear weapons and they barely think about it. When they try to enrich for peaceful purposes, they get condemned for it. So yes, there’s a lot of bad people over there, there’s a lot of violent people around the world, but believe me, the Iranians don’t have a tradition of sending troops and invading countries 6000 miles from their shores and occupying another country. Matter of fact, they’re pretty respectful of their borders and the wars they got into in the 1980s was because we instigated the Iraqis to go in to Iran. So I would say a good assessment of that would give you a better appreciation of their position.’” <Source>
Ron Paul’s view of history …
“However, Congressman Paul uttered some shocking, if not downright bizarre, comments yesterday during his interview. He claimed that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had everything to do with government taking over property rights and nothing to do with race relations. He claimed that Ronald Reagan was a ‘failure’ because he didn't bring down the federal government to ‘constitutional levels,’ whatever that means.”
“Even more surprising and dismaying to me is Congressman Paul's complete lack of understanding about Abraham Lincoln and the reasons for the Civil War. Paul stated in the interview ‘Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war…. [President Abraham Lincoln] did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic,’ Paul said. ‘Every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn't sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach.’" <Source>
Paul has a strange idea that he can reverse most governmental actions by “executive orders.” In fact, in some conversations, he put forth the notion that Lincoln could have used federal money to simply purchase all of the slaves and set them free. A rather naive or nut-ball idea.
Conspiracy theories …
“The CFR is one of the most feared and vilified groups in the world among the sort of conspiracy theorist wackos whose support Congressman Paul has been shamelessly soliciting for the past year. The CFR, along with the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, and those owl-worshipping heretics at Bohemian Grove, is one of the main organizations comprising the Illuminati, the New World Order, the Republican National Committee - whatever you want to call it, the cabal of shadowy aristocrats who control all the banks and are plotting to enslave us all beneath the yoke of a world government.” <Source>
Where I do agree …
Not everything that Paul says can be dismissed out-of-hand. I do believe that the Federal Reserve is a proximate cause of the type of asset bubbles that lead to over-corrections and result in recessions and depressions.
I do believe that the federal government has usurped power from the states with its extra-constitutional interpretations and that a number of federal agencies should be eliminated.
I do believe that the federal government should remove some of our foreign-based troops and defend our own borders.
I do believe that much of our foreign aid and/or participation in global institutions is unjustified and, in many cases, downright stupid.
But because I agree – and because some of the other 2012 presidential candidates do not speak of these issues – does not mean I think Ron Paul has the ability, support or character to fundamentally reform America. An incremental process rather than a radical one. In fact, as I have stated before, Paul could cause great damage to our country and our allies should he implement some of his ideas.
Bottom line …
Ron Paul may have some traction with his supporters and a small segment of the public who believes that some of his ideas are sound. Even given that some of his ideas on cutting government spending and eliminating a number of agencies are attractive, I suggest that Paul is not the man to lead the charge nor the man with the actual power to get it accomplished. In many ways, he blew his opportunity to exert real leadership in the House – but he appears to have been virtually ignored by his colleagues as a back-bencher.
Paul even had trouble securing a much broader base of support when he ran for the Senate in 1984, a prophetic year which saw Phil Graham disembowel much of the legislation which would be the precursor to today’s financial crisis.
It appears that Paul is a modern-day Lyndon LaRouche, complete with a cult following and some strange ideas of how the world is supposed to work.
While I may disagree with many and have my own share of detractors, I suggest that you consider this blog post when you think about Ron Paul and his presidential aspiration.
Personally, I think he is a small time grifter and a nutter who has managed to make a career out of speaking “conservative.” Clint disagrees and makes his points. Between us, your should have something to think about as 2012 approaches. But the one thing that both of us agree on is …