This is quite a long blog because it’s one I take very seriously. I’ve bolded each issue though, in the case you don’t want to read every word (most of you, i’m sure!)
I’ve been avoiding writing this, hoping Ron Paul and his followers would see the writing on the wall at some point and exit stage left. But noooooo, they’re on some strange campaignphetamine and have forsaken all hold on reality in hopes their insanity will somehow be affirmed by a miraculous success that “the media can’t ignore!”
The followers want the Republican nomination to remain unsettled until the convention have launched a movement calling on all followers to try and become delegates at the National Convention. I won’t go so far as to say they want to steal the nomination, but they are trying to round up enough delegates who will vote Ron Paul either after their first choices have dropped out or even abdicate the position of the voters in their state or district, which they represent. You can read the views of these “enthusiasts” on the “Become a Delegate or Ron Paul will NOT be President” site and this Ron Paul Forum entry from Feb. 5 which the author titles “Things going according to plan. Don’t lose hope.” The rules for Republican delegate obligations are varied and described a bit on The Republican Source.
In light of the intent by Ron Paul supporters’ to attempt (no matter how serious) to hijack the Republican Convention, it’s time for me to pitch in chronicle my assessment of this cracker jack.
The Bush Effect
In the early stages of the campaign, I knew Ron Paul didn’t have a chance in hell of garnering the Repub nomination. Paul’s following is a result of what I call “The Bush Effect.” If it were not for the turmoil perpetrated by Bush and Cheney over the last seven years, much of what we’re seeing on the political landscape today wouldn’t have been possible. I never would have considered Hillary for president, a fairly green senator from Illinois would have to put in a few more years on the national level before being taken seriously, and the immense increase of democrat voter turnout over Republican voter turnout would have been a dream.
Ron Paul’s candidacy falls into this category. Never would such a rabid following of enthusiasts who have very little understanding of the development of civilization, the dynamics of a successful government and electoral science have been able to coalesce around a fringe, Libertarian candidate so well that he garners more votes than Mayor 9/11 himself, Giuliani, and participates in all meaningful Republican debates.
The unendingly wretched decisions of Goober Bush and Diablo Cheney have made the impossible possible.
Initial Interest and Approval
Ron Paul at a glance seems like a great candidate for change. He labels himself a Libertarian and a smaller, limited governmental beast always seems a good idea. He thinks we never should have gone to Iraq and should get out immediately. I agree the U.S. cannot act as the world’s police (a line Bush used in running for the 2000 nomination). While not for legalized abortion and gay marriage, he believes these decisions should be left to the states – a much better stance than the typical conservative Republican. He signed the American Freedom Agenda Pledge, which I wholeheartedly support and he’s against eminent domain. If nothing else, I appreciated the conversation Ron Paul brought to the Republican Party. From the outset of the campaign, I intended on voting Democrat in order to balance the Supreme Court, but I try to give every candidate across all party lines their due consideration. Ron Paul wudn’t bad, as we say in Texas. The “wudn’t” part, that is.
In the efforts of full disclosure, my boyfriend and partner, Brendan is from Lake Jackson. Ron Paul was the obstetrician who delivered some his friends. So, we heard about him early on and, I must confess, I believe his geographical origins are the main reason for his support among some people we know. You always want to root for the home team. But not mindlessly, as I see many doing today.
Investigation, Research and Disappointment
As I took the mandatory squiz into Ron Paul’s stance on the issues, voting record, and basic history, it became clear this was a candidate I could never support.
Immediately, the support home schooling garners on his site struck me as a red flag. I’m not a huge proponent of home schooling, not necessarily in principle, but because the majority of home schooling is a result of parents who are closemindedly christian and do not want their children exposed to certain tenants in public education – evolution, abstinence, STDs, much of the literature. I’ve belonged to a number of churches in my past in which a number of the congregates home schooled and saw first hand how unexposed and brainwashed their children were. Brendan and I have experienced working and interacting with adults who were home schooled as children and to say they were socially inept is an understatement. We witnessed their failure to effectively interact with coworkers and socially and the subsequent shunning they experienced. While there are certain circumstances under which I would support home schooling – sometimes it’s a requirement for education because of geographical factors – but the widespread encouragement of home schooling (as you sometimes see here in Texas) is never a movement I could endorse because of the negative effects it has on the children.
Secondly, Ron Paul’s letter to gun owners on his website was a huge obstacle for me as a voter. Yes, here in Texas the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is significant. Ron Paul says the “high-and-mighty politicians” want to “Force law-abiding American citizens who want to protect themselves through more bureaucratic rigmarole and throw up more ‘gun free zone’ signs.” Well, the language of the letter is incendiary (who says high-and-mighty anymore?). I don’t believe there’s a gun owner around every corner threatening me and I certainly do not support ever law-abiding citizen’s right to own an uzi and any semi-automatic weapon. The tremendous amount of gun crimes is due largely to the availability of firearms which is due largely to the objection to gun control. (what i find really ironic is that most right to bear arms proponents are christian. so you ask them, what about the bible and an eye for an eye or women submitting completely to their husbands and sitting on their own side in church, shushed into silence. i always here, well that’s a reference to the situation of the times and doesn’t apply today) Bearing arms was a necessity when the Constitution was written. I’m not sure we should suspend the Right to Bear Arms, but let’s have a bit more historical context in our need to protect ourselves against a tyrannical government.
Then we have Ron Paul’s very unlibertarian stance on illegal immigration. I do not believe illegal immigration is a huge threat to the United States. Ron Paul’s very political existence, in his words, is to protect the foundations of this country – meaning the Constitution. Yet illegal immigration is a foundation of this country as well. The U.S. has experienced wave after wave of various illegal immigration groups and responded in fear and intolerance. Yet, each time, the economy and culture absorbed these immigrants well until the fear had passed and the group was accepted. What our economy cannot tolerate is the deportation of over 12 million workers who are here illegally. Farmers, restaurateurs, construction and other industries would be threatened at every level. It is fear-mongering that has the country lashing out at undocumented workers needlessly. Ron Paul contributes to perpetration of such lies – while his supporters accuse everyone else of lying about him.
Having studied intently on the subject of economics, Ron Paul’s approach is strictly in support of free-market Capitalism, as well as the elimination of the Federal Reserve, income tax, the IRS and many departments of the U.S. government. I do not support any pure economic theory, whether its Capitalism or Communism, as it fails to truly interpret and react to the human pysche. These theories assume far too much about human behavior to be effectively applied without hindrance. Economic activity must be a balance of many elements, including capitalism and socialism, to truly benefit the society to which they are applied.
Ron Paul has claimed repeatedly to believe that abortion is a legal question best left to the states. Yet, he is the sponsor of unsuccessful The Sanctity of Life Act which would define life at conception and protects life from conception to birth. A federal law defining life at conception would basically handicap any state law legalizing abortion because it would amount to murder. Paul’s repeated statements that he believes abortion should be a states’ right is a lie – evidenced by his intent to change federal law to prevent the surgical act and private right. Also, Ron Paul asserts a “partial birth abortion is never a necessary procedure.” He goes on to say, “The lack of respect for life that permits abortion significantly contributes to our violent culture…” If anyone of you has read Freakonomics, you would know that abortion actually contributes to a decrease in violent crime. Just FYI. He is even a member of the Association of American Physicians – a right-wing group of doctors that are opposed to abortion and believe in the free market so they may choose whatever price they want to provide medical services.
Now I will address the controversial newsletters published between 1988 and 1996 under Ron Paul’s name that have questionable messages and innuendos. The newsletters were at various times survivalist or pro-militia, anti-semitic, racist, homophobic, conspiracy theorist and isolationist. Ron Paul says he didn’t write the newsletters and doesn’t know who did (which I believe to be a patent lie) and believes that should be the end of the story. “A Libertarian can’t be racist.” And his supporters think so too. That the American voter should not be concerned with the fact that such ugly, hateful, putrid language was published under a presidential candidate’s name is sheer ridiculousness. Paul has also said he would make all the newsletters available and has not made one effort towards fulfilling his word – leaving it up to The New Republic to dig them up. First of all, his explanation is NOT enough. Second of all, the fact that he’s still a minor player in the race without much attention from the other candidates and media shows how little he is being taken seriously in this race. If he were a real factor, everyone would be going to town on this guy’s past and he would have been forced out long ago. The newsletters are so offensive, I am amazed people would sully their name by endorsing this fellow!
Then I decided to visit Club For Growth and view his voting record, where I discovered many votes on which I personally would have differed. Though I did approve of many of his votes, these are the ones that irked me a bit:
- Voted for an amendment to prohibit the use of appropriated funds for the development of national reading and math tests
- Votes against all free trade agreements because he thinks trade is inherently free and we don’t need all these silly stipulation. An isolationist view with clear miscalculating of our increasingly globalized world
- Voted against a minimum wage increase
- Voted against an amendment that imposed costly arsenic standards on small water systems
- Voted against an amendment imposing new mileage standards on automobiles
- Voted against a bill to criminalize so-called price gouging among oil companies
- Voted for a bill to prohibit federal officials from nominating U.S. lands for protection without prior congressional approval
- Paul opposes tort reform
Ron Paul Supporters – Hate Groups
Overwhelmingly, white supremacists, pro-militia groups, conspiracy theorists, 9/11 thruthers, and Neo-Nazis support Ron Paul. I would list all the white supremacist groups who support him here if it wouldn’t make me throw up. Should he have to pay for the sins of his followers? Should he have to return their contributions or publicly denounce them? Denounce them, yes.
It is a real and significant question to ask if a person who garners the favor of hate group after hate group would be the best representative for the people of the U.S. and even the free world. This alone, in my opinion, negates him as a viable candidate for president. He never discusses this branch of his support and this, coupled with his past newsletters, indicates to me he speaks Libertarian like the CATO Institute, yet lives and thinks the Libertarian of the Ted Kaczynski/Timothy McVeigh style. “R”evol“ution”? My ass.
And as we see more credible Libertarians abandon his campaign, it is more easily understood that Paul is not for limited government, but for no government. We all have our compounds and apply our own laws. Does he think the South should have had the right to secede? I question how badly he wants to protect the Constitution and his flavor of Libertarianism in general.
- Ron Paul doesn’t believe in evolution.
- His supporters refer to him as Dr. Paul – not a big deal, but you never hear people calling Bill Frist “Dr. Frist.”
- Read this “handwritten” campaign letter sent out by Ron Paul. It’s good for a laugh.
Stealing the Republican Nomination
Ron Paul has many intriguing positions and declarations that allow me to understand his appeal and his cultish following – especially in today’s corporatocracy. Taking into consideration ALL that I have found – and there is a wealth on his positions because he writes so often (a practice to encourage among politicians – he is not a candidate I could support now or ever. Having seen the results of his campaign, it would seem a point moot at this time.
In what seems good enough fodder for a conspiracy theory, many his followers want to amass enough delegates at the Republican Convention to give him the nomination anyway! Some think he is the only Republican candidate who could beat the Democratic Nominee. Talk about drinking the Kool-Aid.
I realize many Ron Paul supporters are normal, rational people. I don’t know many of them, but I’m sure they exist. It is with the crazies who want to amass delegates at the Convention that I have a quarrel.
In the Republican primaries so far, give or take a few minor errors, I have calculated 618,094 voters have cast their ballot for Ron Paul. 7,434,090 have voted for McCain and 2,874,007 have voted for Huckabee. Ron Paul has earned less than 4.5 percent of the overall nearly-14 million votes in the Republican primary. And yet his followers still want him to be the Republican nominee. As a Government major in college, you can understand how blasphemous I feel such strategy is!
The U.S. is a representative democracy. For the most part, we choose our elections through a majority or plurality votes. For Ron Paul supporters to think it’s right that they get together to usurp the nomination in direct contravention with the overall will of Republican voters, is shameful. Paul says he will remain in the race as long as his supporters want him to and will use his newfound influence and money to affect other political races. Such is his right.
But end this hope for the Republican nomination. It is wrong at its very base regardless of delegate equations. Only if Ron Paul were to gather a majority of the votes, even if he wasn’t allotted a majority of the delegates, would it be understandable to make a grab for the nomination. This cannot and will not happen.
Ron Paul has been good for discussion and a benefit to the process. But that’s it.