There I said it. For years, I’ve been wondering what it was that was ‘off’ about Ron Paul.It got crystallized in tonight’s debate in South Carolina. Oddly, though, despite Ron Paul basically fibbing and blundering through several answers, his online minions have him ‘winning’ tonight’s debate, a debate where Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum especially articulated multiple excellent conservative points moreso than Ron Paul.
Tonight’s debate, a new revelation of Ron Paul’s obscurantism and self-contradiction came into play with his non-answer to the question of whether he would order the hit on Osama Bin Laden. Amazingly, Ron Paul placed himself to the left of President Obama, wondering aloud about how we would feel if a Chinese dissident was offed on our soil. Until Newt schooled him on a few facts. Such as: OBL ain’t no dissident. OBL was living right in a military town, under the nose of Pakistani military. The ISI was rife with double-dealers and we could not trust the Pakistani govt to keep any operational secret. So asking permission from them would have been tantamount to letting OBL go.But worse, the debate revealed Ron Paul as a bloviated gas-baggy flip-flopper, unable to clearly admit that his policies would have resulted in OBL still be at large.
Ron Paul supporters claim that Ron Paul is more in keeping with our founding father’s view of things. Really. Jefferson sent the Marines to Tripoli and Washington, well, he kicked butt when the Whiskey Rebellion came up. That generation and the Andrew Jackson generation that followed had their way, and it certainly wasn’t the way of preaching ‘golden rule’ to enemies. The Golden Rule makes sense for civil society, but when you are in a state of war with cruel enemies, it’s wiser to follow this Rabbinical saying: To be merciful to the cruel is to be cruel to the innocent. We know that appeasement to aggressive enemies can lead to war. Being soft on terrorism leads to more terrorism. Ron Paul’s approach to terrorism is a maddening Carteresque blunder-mashup of ‘bug out everywhere’ and ‘do nothing’.
Ron Paul is not a ‘purist’: That myth should have been clear once his defense of earmarks – no better than the worst RINO pork-barreller – “well, you have to get the money for your district”. He was against it before he was for it.
Ron Paul is not an expert on the Constituion: Tonight we saw him get corrected by Santorum over why a ‘state’s rights’ approach to gun lawsuits makes not a lick of sense. See, Ron Paul made it sound like the Federal govt couldn’t or shouldn’t get into the business of tort laws for gun owners. What he failed to acknowledge is that these are matters of interstate commerce, and that as commerce, lawyers can ‘forum shop’ their claims around to the most desirable lawsuit-happy state. One bad state and its rulings can bankrupt companies and thereby destroy the commerce – and the exercise of our second amendment right – to citizens in other states. This is not the only time Ron Paul has incorrectly wrapped himself in an interpretation of the constitution that doesn’t make sense or at minimum is not the only way to think about things. He uses it as a crutch many times.
Ron Paul has done nothing: In his years in Congress, Ron Paul has not ONCE gotten any hearings, any serious consideration or any bill filed or voted on to get even close to a 0% tax rate. Not even close. It’s simply a ‘nice wish’ but he has not been a leader – or even a co-sponsor or follower – of real and serious budget cutting efforts. Did he write his own budget? No. Has he worked with JSC group? No. He’s the ultimate loner. Which, in an institution that requires a majority to get your way, is another way to do nothing. But it’s worse than nothing, because while Ron Paul has been in Congress and getting paid by taxpayers for over a dozen years, the Federal Government spent $29 trillion. What has Ron Paul done to stop it? Precious little it seems.
His followers, many of whom are friends I admire, either have a mistaken view that he IS a leader or don’t care. They are voting his principles – liberty, etc. So Ron Paul gives speeches about liberty, while taking the earmarks that go to his district, and he rides the popularity of his following and milks it like he did his Gold Bug investment newsletters of earlier years. Ron Paul’s role to get out there and say provocative things and take strong ‘principled’ positions, where he makes no effort to actually put into effect. As such, he is the ultimate protest vote. No Ron Paul voter ever has to take responsibility for the fact that we are going to hell in a hand basket.
There’s another less charitable way to look at this ‘principled prophet’: He is nothing more than a gasbag who says a lot but does nothing.
I am not interested in being merely right, I am interested in fixing what is wrong and making things better. I don’t WANT the world to go to seed, and for us to lose our freedom, our decency and our prosperity. We want, in our conservative movement, people who can work together to make that happen. Ron Paul has been a pied piper leading many freedom-lovers to follow his brand and his gig. But that path has led us to act in ways that harm our self-interest:
1. We put the talkers ahead of the doers: Trump, Cain, Ron Paul, what do they have in common? Great talkers with no political accomplishments. Newt and Santorum’s recent gigs? FoxNews contributors. Governors – Perry and Huntsman – barely got attention. Talkers have crowded out doers (Newt is at least a proven doer via his Speakership experience).
2. We are divided and follow personalities and not ideas as the main core. Ironic for a campaign focussed on ‘liberty’, but you can see it in the fact that his fanatic followers falsely claim ‘only Ron Paul is acceptable’, attacking other candidates as insufficent to a degree no other campaign’s supporters engage in. No real and effective politician would meet the purity test, so you have a catch-22. They can only follow someone who has no chance of actually getting a 51% consensus.
The conservative movement will be much healthier when the ‘liberty lovers’ move beyond Ron Paul and find a more balanced, effective and true advocate for freedom. That’s what bother me about Ron Paul – he may be holding us back.