Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why Not Paul?

Why Not Paul

With a 2nd place win in Nevada, Ron Paul is again taking center stage after seemingly being consigned to an obscure corner by the rest of the candidates. Paul's small (butexcedingly vocal) circle of ardant supporters have started
to get the message out, and people are responding positively. While 17% may not be a landslide, it's a far cry from the 2 or 3% he was hovering at.

Touting his platform of strict constitutionalism, smaller government, and unwavering pro-life principles, Paul indeed seems the dream candidate of the Republican right.
The cry of the Paulista seems to be "Why not Paul?" And the voters are beginning to respond to Ron Paul as they had to Huckabee, Guilliani and Romney...and now are to
John McCain. On Intellectual Conservative, Joseph BH McMillian advanced this with "Ron Paul can still win if..." So with the sudden surge of Ron Paul popularity,
perhaps we need to take another look at him and readdress the question "Why not Paul?"

The Loonies Swarm

The original reason Ron Paul was originally written off was that he was universally associated with lunatics. Paulista fanatics chased Sean Hannity down after Fox
News excluded Ron Paul from their debates. They swarm his online polls like bees, trying to overinflate the support he had by making the public think that he was much more popular than he actually was. Racists and tin foil hat wearers came out of the woodwork to announce their support for him. When this support was used to discredit
Paul, his disciples called "foul", and demanded we can't write him off simply because weirdos like him. If it was just simple lip service, that would be true. But there's more to it than that.

The links between Ron Paul and neo-Nazi groups like Stormfront.org have been pretty extensively published. Mona Charen touched off on it, (1) following Michael
Medved's lead. (2) And pictures are circling the internet of Ron buddying up with the founder of Stormfront. (3) We know that people are linking off these websites to donate to Paul in droves, and may also be spamming all the online polls. (4) And Don Black has personally donated 500 dollars to Paul's campaign that he has not returned, despite calls from national talk show hosts to do so. (5)

Paul has also been hit hard on his association with Truthers. Malkin links him to the group "Student Scholors for 9/11 Truth", where he appears on film to compare
9/11 to the JFK assassination. While the Truthers may have him wrong, this is the impression he gave them:

In regards to Rep. Ron Paul, he states twice in the Student Scholars video that he believes that the first 9/11 investigation was one in which there many “cover-ups.” Paul also claimed he 'never automatically believes anything the government does when they do an investigation.' Additionally, he has been on the Alex Jones show several times. Ron Paul knows very well that something is very wrong with the official explanation of 9/1l. However, like Dennis Kucinich he
cannot look right into our cameras and proclaim “9/11 WAS A SELF INFLICTED WOUND!” Through acknowledging the legitimacy of the 9/11 Truth Movement’s concerns, these candidates are expressing their support for our cause. (6)

Being compared with Dennis Kucinich is never a positive thing. But given Paul's rhetoric in blaming America for 9/11, (7) the situation in Iran, (8) and even Bhutto's death, "We're not responsible, but..." (9) this seems to fit in. If Paul is being misunderstood, it is not without good cause. And why does he not distance himself from these claims? Tell the Truthers that they have him all wrong?

Many have suggested that Paul cannot be held liable for the views of his followers, which, under normal circumstances, would be true. What makes Ron Paul different is that the loonies are his life blood. He shows up at their conventions, appears in their movies (such as EndGame), poses for photo ops with the leaders of the movements, and lends his name to their various causes. And in return for playing along with the various racists, conspiracy theorists, supremecists, and isolationists, they line his pocket. Without their support it is likely he would not exist on the federal stage.

This means one of two things. Paul is a kook so far gone from reality as not to see what a bad thing this is, and these conspiracy theories that both he and his followers push seem normal. Or, he is a shameless politician who will say what these radicals want to hear to become a real player. And that he will pander to a level that even makes the likes of Hillary and Obama and Huckabee cringe. Neither option is acceptable for a man who wishes to be our leader.

A Mixed Bag on Abortion

To hear Ron Paul tell it, he is the real deal on pro-life:

Many talk about being pro-life. I have taken direct action to restore protection for the unborn. As an OB/GYN doctor, I’ve delivered over 4,000 babies. That experience has made me an unshakable foe of abortion. Many of you may have read my book, Challenge To Liberty, which champions the idea that there cannot be liberty in a society unless the rights of all innocents are protected.(10)

On September 17th, he had no problem saying the unborn were people with undeniable rights:

As an O.B. doctor of thirty years, and having delivered 4,000 babies, I can assure you life begins at conception. I am legally responsible for the unborn, no matter what I do, so there's a legal life there. The unborn has inheritance rights, and if there's an injury or a killing, there is a legal entity. There is no doubt about it. (11)

Ron Paul seems a spectacular candidate on the surface. He says all the right things to make us pro-lifers all weak in the knees...FINALLY, our hero. And he does have an impressive string of Nos (restricting funding on chemical abortions, military abortions, family planning, and population control). But it seems less based on a pro-life platform, than a "no to government" platform.

He has repeatedly voted against laws that would punish those who take minors across state lines to obtain abortions and circumvent state laws: the Child Custody Protection Act in both 1998 and 1999, and the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act in 2005. (Odd that a staunch Federalist would vote against this.) He has also voted 4 times against various federal incarnations of Lacey's Law, making it illegal to harm a pregnant woman in the commission of a federal crime: 3 attempts in 1999 to pass it (Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the Substitute Amendment to Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and the Motherhood Protection Act) and also against the Unborn Victims of Violence act of 2001. (12)

Paul's words don't neccessarily shed any light on the discrepancy either. While he has said above that the unborn should have rights, and we cannot have liberty while we violate the rights of the unborn, he also believes the federal government should have no part in it, "The first thing we have to do is get the federal government out of it. We don't need a federal abortion police. That's the last thing that we need." (13) "I do not believe this should be a federal matter. All issues of life and violence and crime and murder are dealt with at the local level." (14) A ringing pro-life view this is not.

Many of his defenders will try to defend this by pointing to the strong federalistic principles he is espousing. But just looking at his votes against the Child Custody Protection Acts, he is voting against punishing those who actively seek to violate state sovereignty.

Also confusing is his simultaneous condemnation of Congress seeking to outlaw the practice of Partial Birth Abortion, and voting for the ban he was speaking out against. What are we to make of that? That's far from keeping the federal government out of the issue. And his three attempts to pass the Sanctity of Life Act undermine his strict federalistic beliefs as well. Both of these issues must raise an eyebrow. By his own admission, the federal government shouldn't be involved...so what is he thinking on these two issues?

Paul's record on abortion issues is confusing. His pro-life stance is nowhere near as strong as some people make it out to be. Most of his history of pro-life stances can be chalked up to his habit of nay-saying that has earned him the phrase Dr. No. None of his rhetoric squares here. No matter what stance of his you take as gospel on this: "life is sacred, we need to protect it", "no federal involvement", or even "the states should each decide for themselves and their citizens", he has compromised it. His entire record is shaky here, and the best way to describe it is simply as a mixed bag.

The Constitutional Kid

As Ron Paul constantly tells us, and his minions never let us forget, he is the only strict Constitutionalist in the race. Looking at his record throws doubt onto that claim, however:

As shown above, Paul lacks consistancy on the abortion issue, making it hard to tell where actually stands on the issue, as to whether it should be left to the states or whether he should vote the pro-life position in the House. He has articulated both positions and faithfully upheld neither. In some cases, such as his repeated votes against the Child Custody Protection Act, his votes at least raise an eyebrow as to the Federalism of his vote. But abortion is hardly the only area where his rhetoric against others and his constitutional zeal don't hold water.

As Mona Charen pointed out back on November 16th:

Though he calls himself a man of principle and is apparently admired as such by his ardent fans, his principles seem somewhat elastic. He rails against the Bush administration for its supposed assault on civil liberties, yet when he was asked at one of the debates whether Scooter Libby deserved a pardon, he said no. "He doesn't deserve one because he was instrumental in leading the Congress and the people to support a war that we didn't need to be in." Notice that he didn't say it was because Libby was guilty of committing a crime. No, because Libby argued for a policy with which Paul disagreed, he deserved to serve time in prison. Ron Paul, the libertarian, who presumably values liberty above all, is willing to deprive someone else of his because of a policy disagreement? (15)

It's seemingly irrelevant that he wasn't being tried for war issues, but on perjury in a CIA leak case, where it was known before the case started that he wasn't the leak. Paul's attitude seems to be that whatever we can get him on, that works for him. Parking ticket, speeding violation, building code, trumped up perjury charges, whatever finally sticks...it was coming because we didn't need to be in Iraq. If simple disagreement or bad judgement is enough to land us in jail, Ron Paul is more of a fascist than any of the other candidates he so rails against. (16)

Paul's muddled charges against Libby only become more confusing when trying to make sense of his support for the Afghanistan war, but against the Iraq one. Paul's most consistant criticism of the Iraq war is that it is an illegal war, since Congress did not formally declare war, but instead drafted an Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF). His claim is that Congress handed over power to Bush to declare war on his terms with the AUMF regarding Iraq. This seems odd on it's own (The President is required by the Constitution to get approval from congress for military ventures, and, despite the different name, that's exactly what he did.), but even more curious when we acknowledge that Paul voted for the AUMF against Terrorists. Unlike Iraq, where the target was named and reasons for war given, the original AUMF was an ACTUAL abrogation of power from Congress to the President. Under the Authorization to Use Military Force against Terrorists, President Bush was allowed to "use all necessary and appropriate force against those whom he determined planned, authorized, committed or aided the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups." (17) No specific names, no specific targets. Just "whoever the President determines" had a hand in it. (Ron Paul praying for the wisdom of the President aside, (18) his justification belies his vote.) Given the blatant unconstitutionality of the original AUMF, in ACTUALLY giving the President the power to attack whomever he chose, Paul's railing against the Iraq version is nothing more than political grandstanding.

It hurts Paul even more in that he was calling the Iraq war Unconsitutional before it even began. On March 4, 2002, he released a statement, saying:

Yet I remain convinced we should be very cautious before we send troops and bombs into Iraq. It's simple to point out that Saddam Hussein is a ruthless dictator, but it's not so easy to demonstrate that he poses a threat to us. We should also remember that the congressional resolution passed immediately after September 11th, which I supported, authorized military force only against those directly responsible for the attacks- and there is no evidence whatsoever that Iraq played a role in those attacks. This leaves me with two serious concerns: first, the near-certainty that this coming war will be undeclared, and hence unconstitutional; and second, that such a war does not serve our best interests. (19)

This was insanity. Bush was before Congress and the UN pleading his case. It was clear that he had no intent to use the original AUMF against terrorists as his justification even this early. Instead of directly linking Saddam to 9/11 and going in without time for Congressional review, Bush pled his case to Congress for a different AUMF. (And indeed, the original AUMF would allow Bush to invade Iran, Pakistan, and a variety of other countries, which he has not done.) Ignoring the reality of the situation, Paul made up a scenerio, in which Bush was violating the Constitution by talking about invading Iraq (a scenerio he clings to til this day.) It really seems that Paul made up his mind that the Iraq war was illegal from day one, and then justified it later.

In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Ron Paul mused, when asked about judicial review:

I would like them to review, uh, uh maybe, on the issue of, if you were a strict constitutionalist, which most conservatives are, I would like them to review Article 1, section 8, dealing with the declaration of war. That would be an interesting thing to deal with. (20)

Well, that's a reasonable attitude. Let's give the courts, which are constantly overstepping their bounds as it is, power to oversee war policy. Most strict constitutionalists see runaway courts as one of the biggest problems facing us today. But Ron Paul, because he doesn't like the current policy and has little power to change it, wishes to use the courts to impose his personal preferences.

For Paul, the only factor in determining Constitutionality and legality of an issue is how he votes on it. Not that this is anything new for a politician. Politicians who believe that they can do no wrong are the standard, not the exception, but Paul is unique in that people are willing to suspend their disbelief and buy into his "Strict Constitutionalist" fabrications.

The Disconnect with Reality

Debating the Partial Birth abortion bill on June 4, 2007, Ron Paul addressed Congress with:

"For example, 14G in the “Findings” section of this bill states,'...such a prohibition [upon the partial-birth abortion procedure] will draw a bright line that clearly distinguishes abortion and infanticide...' The question I pose in response is this: Is not the fact that life begins at conception the main tenet advanced by the pro-life community? By stating that we draw a 'bright line' between abortion and infanticide, I fear that we simply reinforce the dangerous idea underlying Roe v. Wade, which is the belief that we as human beings can determine which members of the human family are “expendable,” and which are not." (21)

While Paul makes a good point, he fails to understand the critical point the Republican Congress was trying to make. Namely, abortion is legal, and that to make Partial Birth Abortion illegal, Congress had to set it apart from normal legal abortion. No one was trying to justify the decision to keep abortion legal, but were trying to find grounds to get rid of this dispicable practice. Paul was simply unable to deal with the simple reality that abortion is legal, and to make new laws to turn back the tide, we must confront this reality. Such failures to deal with reality plague Ron Paul. Iraq in particular reduces him to babbling, "We destroyed a regime hated by our direct enemies, the jihadists, and created thousands of new recruits for them." (22) We know for a fact that Saddam was paying suicide bombers (see: jihadists...for normal folks). Thus at the very least SOME jihadists liked Saddam. Also hurting this claim was that one of the original World Trade Center al Quida attackers, Abdul Rahman Yasin, was a guest in Iraq for many many years. (23) Saddam was far from the enemy of radical jihad that Paul imagines.

Of course, Paul doesn't seem to understand much about our enemies in general. In Ron Paul's version, the jihadists only hate us "because of our foreign policy". If we pulled boots out of the Middle East, all would be peaceful and calm. Granted, Osama bin Laden has demanded we pull out of Saudi Arabia, but he has also said:

I swear to God that America will not live in peace before peace reigns in Palestine, and before all the army of infidels depart the land of Mohammad...Israeli tanks rampage across Palestine, in Ramallah, Rafah and Beit Jala and many other parts of the land of Islam, and we do not hear anyone raising his voice or reacting.

He also praised the 9/11 hijackers as having "stood in defense of their weak children, their brothers and sisters in Palestine and other Muslim nations." In this, Osama shows that he views America's support of Israel as an affront. (24) And indeed he has blamed America for every affront to the Muslim community in the world. Cheychnea, Kashmir and Lebanon are all cited. To those who claim that there is no religious component to the violence, Bin Laden couldn't disagree more. In his letter to us on why he attacked he said:

(c) Under your supervision, consent and orders, the governments of our countries which act as your agents, attack us on a daily basis;

(i) These governments prevent our people from establishing the Islamic Shariah, using violence and lies to do so.


(v) The removal of these governments is an obligation upon us, and a necessary step to free the Ummah, to make the Shariah the supreme law and to regain Palestine. And our fight against these governments is not separate from out fight against you.


(g) You have supported the Jews in their idea that Jerusalem is their eternal capital, and agreed to move your embassy there. With your help and under your protection, the Israelis are planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque. Under the protection of your weapons, Sharon entered the Al-Aqsa mosque, to pollute it as a preparation to capture and destroy it.

Sharia (the holy law of Islam) is being denied by governments we are friends with or support. And, under our protection, the Jews have sullied a shrine with their very presence. He see these both as religious infractions.

And indeed, further on in his address to us, his first call to us is to accept Islam. His second call was to stop the spread of our immorality and debauchery, more specifically:

We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling's, and trading with interest.

Given this, it is ridiculous when Paul claims that Bin Laden doesn't hate us because of our freedom. That directly contradicts Bin Laden's own words to us!

You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator."

We do not live by the laws of Allah and therefore are evil. The religious component of his hate for us is undeniable.(25)

It is not only our enemies that he is baffled on. He also has problems with his free trade record:

As the Club for Growth Reported:

Unlike protectionists who deny the economic benefits of free-trade policies, Ron Paul embraces the importance of free trade, but lives in a dream world if he thinks free trade will be realized absent agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA. Paul himself argues that "tariffs are simply taxes on consumers," but by opposing these trade agreements, he is actively opposing a decrease in those taxes. While Paul's rhetoric is soundly pro-free trade, his voting record mirrors those of Congress's worst protectionists." (26)

Paul votes against smaller government.

Ron Paul, dispite his massive libertarian pushes has voted against (or is against in principal) some of the biggest reforms of our time (as reported by CNN):

Opposed Bush plan allowing workers to divert some Social Security payroll taxes into private retirement accounts. Opposes government-run private retirement accounts. Proposes cutting payroll taxes and allowing workers to invest the money themselves. Says excessive government spending is the cause of Social Security insolvency problems. Opposes all taxation of Social Security benefits. Supports allowing young workers to opt out of the program entirely. Says the U.S. dollar must be strengthed in order to increase benefits for all workers. (27)

He also voted against a bill to double the minimum at which seniors could be taxed for Social Security benefits (on which they can already be taxed). (28) He also voted against extending the welfare reforms, which have weaned MANY off the dole.

On education, he's likewize terrible. He voted against HR2646, that would help reduce taxes on education accounts. On vouchers he said the following before refusing to vote:

Vouchers are a taxpayer-funded program benefiting a particular group of children selected by politicians and bureaucrats. Therefore, the Federal voucher program supported by many conservatives is little more than another tax-funded welfare program establishing an entitlement to a private school education. Vouchers thus raise the same constitutional and moral questions as other transfer programs.

On many big government issues he votes against shrinking government. From a libertarian point of view, this is inexcusable. These above programs may not be perfect solutions, but they are ways to reduce the current size of government. It is not enough to refuse to let government get bigger. One must take any opportunity to shrink the size of government as well. Ron Paul has shown he's unwilling to do this. The government did not grow this big overnight, and it will not return to the size we want overnight. It will take dozens, perhaps hundreds of half steps and compromises, to get the size of the federal government on a SINGLE issue back to the size we want. Ron Paul has shown that he will vote against every half step, and impede the journey to a smaller government.


None of this is to say that Paul is all bad. His rhetoric about smaller government and Constitutional government resonates with conservatives, which has surely contributed to his rise in the polls. But when put under scrutiny, the Myth of Savior Ron, as pushed by the Disciples of the Church of Paul, falls apart.

Paul does have his positives. He has been a brake against the continual race to increase government. He voted to end the abomination known as Partial Birth Abortion. His belief that people need to take care of their own day to day business is refreshing. But his positives are far outweighed by his negatives.

We need a candidate who understands the world around him and is able to work within it. The person we choose for the job must be willing to make compromises to shrink government (this is even more important with a Democratic congress), even if that means by half steps. We need someone who acknowledges evil in the world, who will protect us from it, without trying to justify the actions of those who commit evil acts. The next President must be consistant on life, and the need to protect it. And we need someone who is able to spread the Republican message of limited government, who is willing to work within the framework of getting us back to the Constitution, without villanizing everyone with whom he has the smallest disagreement. Most of all...the candidate must sound sane to the average ear.

Ron Paul is not that man.


(1) Mona Charen "Too Close to Kooky". November 17, 2007. Town Hall

(2) Michael Medved. "An Open Letter to Ron Paul". October 27, 2007. Town Hall Online.


(3) Citizens Against Hate Blog. "Ron Paul, Don Black and Stormfront". December 22, 2007.

(4) Big Jolly. "Ron Paul Funded by Supporters Of Racist Websites?" October 23, 2007. Lone Star Times.

(5) LST Staff. "LST: Neo-Nazi leader gives Ron Paul $500". October 25, 2007. Lone Star Times.

(6) Michelle Malkin. "Trutheriness and Ron Paul". May 19, 2007. MichelleMalkin.com

(7) Ron Paul and Rudy Guillani at the Republican Debate. May 15, 2007.

(8) Ron Paul. "Don't Start a War With Iran Now." May 6, 2004. LewRockwell.com

(9) Ron Paul on Tucker Carlson. December 27, 2007. MSNBC.

(10) Ron Paul Message on his Website. 2007. RonPaul2008.com

(11) Collection of Ron Paul Abortion quotes.

(12) Ron Paul's voting record compiled by Vote Smart.


(14) Collection of Ron Paul Abortion quotes.

(15) Mona Charen "Too Close to Kooky". November 17, 2007. Town Hall Online.

(16) Ron Paul on Fox and Friends. December 18, 2007. FOX News.

(17) Authorization to Use Military Force Against Terrorists. Full Text.
Public Law 107-40. 107th CONGRESS. Section 2a.

(18) Ron Paul. "Statement on the Congressional Authorization of the Use of Force". September 17, 2001.

(19) Ron Paul. "Before We Bomb Baghdad.....". March 4, 2002.

(20) Hugh Hewitt interviews Ron Paul. September 2, 2007. Town Hall Online.

(21) Ron Paul. "The Partial Birth Abortion Ban." June 4, 2003. RonPaul.com

(22) Ron Paul. "War and Foreign Policy". RonPaul.com

(23) John Diamond. "U.S.: Iraq sheltered suspect in '93 WTC attack". September 17, 2003. USA Today.

(24) Byron York. "Why Bin Laden Hates". October 8, 2001. National Review Online.

(25) "Full text: bin Laden's 'letter to America'". Sunday November 24, 2002. Guardian Unlimited.

(26) "Ron Paul's Record on Economic Issues". October 29, 2007. Club for Growth.

(27) CNN compares all tha candidates on Social Security.

(28) Social Security Benefits Tax Relief - Substitute Amdt. Bill: HR 4865. As compiled by Vote Smart.

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