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Ron Paul Is No Friend to Progressives

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Progressives who are considering a move from the Democratic Party in order to support Ron Paul are out of their blessed gourds. Ron Paul is not your friend, progressives, no matter how non-interventionist, plaintive and wide-eyed he appears to be.

For the next several months, Ron Paul will continue to be a spoiler in the Republican primary campaign, lobbing crazy bombs from the fringes of the far right wing of the party without any chance whatsoever of actually winning the nomination, and even less of a shot at winning the White House in November.

But it doesn't matter because winning isn't his goal, regardless of the idealistic daydreaming of his most vocal supporters. He has no intention of becoming president, and he never has. His mission, beyond political masturbation, is to continue his sermon about the viability of a completely non-functioning ideology, libertarianism, while paying homage to the L. Ron Hubbard of politics, Ayn Rand.

Along the way, progressives have taken notice of Ron Paul's positions on civil liberties and foreign policy. He's a non-interventionist, he's opposed to indefinite detention, he's opposed to the use of predator drones, he voted against the PATRIOT Act, he's against the war in Afghanistan, he's opposed to wiretaps without warrants, and so forth. All are positions that progressives rightfully hold dear, including me. Therefore, Paul appears to be "to the left" of President Obama in these specific areas, and so, consequently, progressives have been abandoning support for the president (many of them were never supporters in the first place, going back to the chaotic 2008 primaries) and shifting their support to Ron Paul.

Unfortunately, Paul's progressive supporters might not grasp that Paul's libertarianism, while informing some of his seemingly progressive views on foreign policy and the like, carries with it a significant load of horrendous and unacceptable baggage. Before I proceed further, let me be clear: I'm not pushing for some kind of ideological purity test, but Paul's views on a spectrum of other issues are so completely off the rails, especially relative to progressivism, that any progressive who's supporting Paul is basically forsaking his or her values in lieu of a sliver of overlap on a liberal/libertarian Venn diagram. Paul is a physician, so I'll employ a medical metaphor to explain. Imagine a surgeon attacking a cancerous tumor by firing a bazooka point-blank at the tumor. The surgeon might nail the tumor, but he's going to blast away everything around it, killing the patient.

Not to be overly hyperbolic, but, if implemented at the presidential level, Ron Paul's agenda on everything else besides the war and matters surrounding the treatment of accused terrorists are utterly destructive to progressive values, not to mention the well-being of the nation.

Based on statistics culled from the American Journal of Political Science and Common Space Score calculations from 1937 to 2002, Ron Paul has the most conservative record out of the entire roster of more than 3,000 Congress members from both chambers during that considerably long span of time. Put another way, Ron Paul is the most conservative member of Congress in modern history. Think of the most right-wing legislator you can come up with. Ron Paul is to that person's right. Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Rick Santorum, Louie Gohmert -- Ron Paul has them beat by miles. And it's really no wonder. So, on that note, what about all of that aforementioned "horrendous libertarian baggage?"

Paul's libertarianism is manifested in his desire to essentially subvert the functionality of the federal government. He wants to eliminate many cabinet level departments including the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Internal Revenue Service.

This alone should be a deal breaker for progressives. But there are many, many more.

Paul is opposed to tax increases and government spending. In fact, he wants to roll back federal spending levels to 2000 levels. This would practically destroy the slow economic recovery and slide us into another depression.

Paul, in lockstep with other Republican presidential candidates, "supports new tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, supports new tax cuts for corporations, supports ending Medicare as we know it, supports cuts to Social Security, supports the repeal of Dodd-Frank, opposes the Buffett rule, opposes ending tax breaks for Big Oil, and opposes ending tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas," according to ThinkProgress.

Regarding his posture on foreign policy, while he appears to be sincere in his non-interventionism, it's important to mention that Paul voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) just after September 11. This is the law that was often referenced by the Bush administration in defense of their most egregious trespasses. While not explicitly authorizing indefinite detention and eavesdropping without a warrant, the AUMF is cited by name in the controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as the basis for codifying indefinite detention and so forth. Ron Paul voted for this Pandora's Box.

He also introduced a bill, HR 3076, which would have allowed President Bush to issue letters of marque and reprisal -- to hire private bounty hunters tasked with apprehending members of al Qaeda "alive or dead." We can only presume this would have included American-born al Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki.

The President of the United States is authorized to place a money bounty, drawn in his discretion from the $40,000,000,000 appropriated on September 14, 2001, in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Recovery from and Response to Terrorists Attacks on the United States or from private sources, for the capture, alive or dead, of Osama bin Laden or any other al Qaeda conspirator responsible for the act of air piracy upon the United States on September 11, 2001, under the authority of any letter of marque or reprisal issued under this Act.

The language is pretty clear. But feel free to take him at his word that he's against this sort of thing -- unaccountable private assassinations -- even though he introduced legislation that would have done exactly that. Also notice how Paul used the very specific "act of war" language in the bill, putting him clearly on the record acknowledging the war on terrorism as a legitimate war.

In the domestic arena, all of his talk about personal liberty comes to an abrupt halt on the issue of abortion. Paul is staunchly pro-life and supports the criminalization of abortion -- calling for the arrest of abortion doctors, presumably for murder.

Paul is quoted on his website: "There has to be a criminal penalty for the person that's committing that crime. And I think that is the abortionist."

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Are 2 things our slave owning 3rd President feared... by Michael Dewey on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 3:39:19 AM
And I do not plan to vote for Ron Paul, but this a... by David Hastings on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 6:33:57 AM
for your Eisenhower quotations. I sent both of the... by Michael Shaw on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 7:44:41 PM
What I hear of Ike, would be his kind of conservat... by Michael Dewey on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 9:02:22 PM
This is likely the most reprehensibly lunatic rant... by Dar Gary on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 5:55:34 AM
Phil Donahue of Ron Paul's Foreign Policy.  G... by Michael Dewey on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 6:31:15 AM
should have a way to vote negatively on an article... by Lester Shepherd on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 6:41:58 AM
Do you gullible and mindless people know who Ayn R... by Lester Shepherd on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 7:36:32 AM
I enjoyed my work in the IBEW as a JW Wirenut back... by Michael Dewey on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 8:11:04 AM
Not sure what you're dissing.  Ron Paul or th... by Maxwell on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 9:12:39 AM
The Bible and Atlas Shrugged are two books that I ... by madranger on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 11:46:32 AM
for demonstrating the necessary level of ignorance... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 8:36:06 AM
This comment explains very well why it is dissing ... by Maxwell on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 9:16:28 AM
A good start for rational discussion. Or: "vile ve... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 2:41:58 AM
What is this incessant use of the boogey-man of Ay... by Dar Gary on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 3:37:50 AM
What are your "higher truths or morals"? What are... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 4:46:21 AM
Though we can't be sure, those of us whop have rea... by Michael Dewey on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 8:32:51 AM
If it were true it would be much easier to see mor... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 8:06:27 PM
" John Perkins ... by Dar Gary on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 8:52:17 PM
Ah, so you do support attacking another country th... by Dar Gary on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 7:48:49 PM
We did not attack Libya, the regime was already at... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 9:29:05 PM
Either you are confused as to what I write (might ... by Dar Gary on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 11:56:41 PM
What I was saying is that Ron Paul is against publ... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jan 8, 2012 at 12:38:33 AM
Yes, I did clarify myself quite well, I think.It i... by Dar Gary on Sunday, Jan 8, 2012 at 1:58:02 AM
And wrong. Some time ago, those who are called th... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jan 8, 2012 at 2:46:40 AM
If I was alive back then and thought the same way,... by Dar Gary on Monday, Jan 9, 2012 at 2:24:53 AM
And you would be wrong. Whatever their reason was,... by BFalcon on Monday, Jan 9, 2012 at 6:21:49 AM
Like it or not, economic 'right' Libertarianism in... by Adnihilo Left Libertarian on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 9:36:57 AM
I've not denied the influence, rather stated that ... by Dar Gary on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 8:02:44 PM
1st paragraph should read:"I have not denied the i... by Dar Gary on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 8:26:58 PM
"I know of of libertarian who would approve of Ran... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 9:06:49 PM
I've no problem with what you wrote.My problem is ... by Dar Gary on Sunday, Jan 8, 2012 at 12:01:39 AM
Because it looks to me like you are ripping Ron Pa... by David Hastings on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 6:40:48 AM
corporate overseers. Hearing him being called a pr... by Michael Shaw on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 7:56:01 PM
Ron Paul is an ideological libertarian. I agree wi... by Bill Samuel on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 8:02:56 AM
is a contradiction in terms. That is, of course, u... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 8:45:49 AM
You really don't understand what "progressive" mea... by Dar Gary on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 12:17:47 AM
from all of history since governments were institu... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 7:44:32 AM
A pure libertarian society has never existed there... by June Genis on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 6:34:02 PM
" Name one single instance...from all of history s... by Dar Gary on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 8:22:13 PM
to see that single instance of libertarian governm... by John Sanchez Jr. on Sunday, Jan 8, 2012 at 9:15:56 AM
Darm I am pretty sure that Worker Cooperatives can... by Michael Dewey on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 8:51:01 AM
re. If Ron Paul and Ralph Nader (or some other pr... by Adnihilo Left Libertarian on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 9:58:58 AM
Getting Paul elected is a pipe dream.  Obama ... by David McCorquodale on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 8:51:22 AM
with corporate shills and dis-empowered by the rig... by Michael Shaw on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 7:34:58 PM
the Ron Paul apologists come crawling out of the w... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 9:00:19 AM
Thank you!... by Lester Shepherd on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 1:47:49 PM
Ron Paul, and Libertarianism in general, illustrat... by Maxwell on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 9:07:51 AM
re. Ron Paul, and Libertarianism in general, illu... by Adnihilo Left Libertarian on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 10:09:04 AM
I agree that politics is two dimensional but I wou... by June Genis on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 6:47:04 PM
This is one of those funny, 'shoot-em-up' articles... by Ned Lud on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 9:42:31 AM
As a woman of Jewish descent I take Ron Paul's thr... by Jeanine Molloff on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 10:05:12 AM
woman of Jewish decent I know you are dead wrong o... by June Genis on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 12:21:30 PM
Shouldn't the counties regulate abortion (or commu... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jan 8, 2012 at 3:14:56 AM
That's only liberal thinking, not progressive.One ... by Dar Gary on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 12:33:10 AM
that Ron Paul libertarians want to shrink governme... by John Sanchez Jr. on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 7:54:45 AM
I suggest you look the word 'liberal' up in the di... by Adnihilo Left Libertarian on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 10:13:39 AM
" You don't know the meaning of liberal ... by Dar Gary on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 8:45:14 PM
You are the one shooting a hole in your own life-s... by Delrick Albion on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 10:56:57 AM
and the Justice Party want to get the egregious mo... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 11:40:36 AM
Yes, John, Gary Johnson is a better candidate to u... by June Genis on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 12:33:22 PM
that I, myself, would support Gary Johnson. I am a... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 3:28:06 PM
The Progressive Agenda, to see that government is ... by Robert Tracey on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 12:51:17 PM
when progressives and liberals, who are generally ... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 3:44:14 PM
I mean this when I say it; people as diverse in th... by Robert Tracey on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 5:33:30 PM
'"What progressive would not?" This single stateme... by June Genis on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 7:15:40 PM
for confirming my point.... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 10:25:14 PM
For President!... by Michael Shaw on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 8:06:02 PM
I would be remiss in failing to point out that suc... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 10:29:14 PM
But you have good understanding, sound principles ... by BFalcon on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 2:12:53 AM
well John, to coin an old phrase, I think you mis... by Michael Shaw on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 10:46:39 AM
January 6, 2012 Mysterious Murder Of Top Gun Pilo... by Luis Magno on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 4:57:49 PM
http://educate-yourself.org/cn/sorchafaaldisinfo15... by sherry clark on Sunday, Jan 8, 2012 at 3:42:32 PM
by Stephen Lendman Click here... by Luis Magno on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 5:26:13 PM
He nailed Ron Paul, lock stock and barrel!... by Michael Shaw on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 7:23:30 PM
He wants to stop these wars that are keeping us sa... by Truth Will Prevail on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 7:55:05 PM
he takes the Constitution literally and not as the... by Michael Shaw on Friday, Jan 6, 2012 at 8:11:14 PM
was intended to live by being amended following du... by June Genis on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 6:56:04 PM
Constitution left open "the other rights" to be re... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jan 8, 2012 at 3:25:52 AM
re. He wants to adhere to the Constitution and pre... by Adnihilo Left Libertarian on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 10:26:07 AM
Greetings,Those who attempt to label others based ... by Kellis R. Solomon on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 2:36:34 AM
He was asked if women SEEKING an abortion should b... by lila york on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 3:43:09 AM
While we are bombing Democracy (?) all over the wo... by Michael Dewey on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 12:41:13 PM
Buddy Roehmer, the Republican candidate who cannot... by lila york on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 4:11:15 AM
Most of this entire thread shows that even the fre... by David McCorquodale on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 9:22:59 AM
That is the kind of society you would get if the L... by 911TRUTH on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 12:59:52 PM
Anyone who supports a fascist militarist and Zioni... by Ty on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 5:10:06 PM
Dear Bob Cesca and other posters:    ... by Jim Miller on Saturday, Jan 7, 2012 at 10:23:39 PM
Ron Paul, Neoconazis and all ideologues are wro... by Thomas Brown on Sunday, Jan 8, 2012 at 12:49:46 AM
No matter who wins in 2012, by the end of 2013, th... by Michael Dewey on Sunday, Jan 8, 2012 at 9:52:03 AM
"A host of positive psychological changes inevitab... by Michael Dewey on Monday, Jan 9, 2012 at 4:09:04 AM