It’s as if a whole lot of people have caught a virus that I have escaped. People that I thought had correctly rejected the current corrupt two-party controlled political system have flocked to Paul. So I went back and re-read most of his published columns and examined in detail his voting record. I can understand why such a maverick politician is so attractive to people fed up with the current system. But I consistently have seen so many problems with Paul that I cannot support his candidacy and I still maintain that he never stood a chance of getting the Republican nomination.
First, Paul’s minimalist view of what the federal government should do would wreck the country. Sure, I understand why so many people love his proposal to eliminate the federal income tax. And his response to what would follow such a loss of huge revenues is to cut spending. That means cutting a vast array of programs that the vast majority of Americans like and want, and that the states could not afford to take over without increasing their taxes. And if anything characterizes Paul it is his glibness. What would happen to the millions of Americans who would lose their jobs from the IRS, military and many other cuts, and the inevitable cascading economic impacts on the nation? Paul has never been big on details; he has spent his whole glib career spouting the same few principles. Paul has no depth. He had never run any program or had any executive experience.
Even worse is that his entire congressional career has been marked by a complete absence of any actual successful lawmaking or oversight. Though he has been a loyal Republican when votes were important (and often did not vote on bills that his party wanted passed but that he did not support) he has accomplished nothing in Congress. Talk about experience and a track record. All Paul has had is rhetoric, but no legislative accomplishments either when Democrats or Republicans controlled Congress. It boggles my mind how so many politically engaged people could possibly support a man with so little proven capabilities. Do most of his supporters really understand all the things that Paul has been for or against? I think not. How many of his supporters shared his opposition to increasing the minimum wage?
Paul’s clear anti-Iraq war position is admirable, but if he has so much independence and integrity, then why has he not explicitly spoken out against his rivals for the Republican nomination? Why has he not said very publicly that if the Republican Party does not give him the nomination, then he wants all of his supporters to NOT vote for anyone else who gets the nomination simply because they have supported the war?
And all I hear from his supporters is the usual garbage justification for all the earmark, pork spending that Paul consistently gets for his district, as if pork spending is anything other than the currency of corruption in Congress. He probably has diverted several billion dollars of federal spending to his district so he could keep getting elected. And what crap it is for him to justify it by saying he votes against the spending bills that contain his earmarks. And why is it so hard for his supporters to understand that the way things work in Congress, Paul has had to trade his votes to get those earmarks placed in spending bills? Pork spending does increase federal spending, contrary to what Paul says. Finally, the great irony is that most of his pork dollars would be cut if he actually ever had the power to shrink the federal government. But he rationalizes why he should get his fair share of awful, unjustified federal spending for his district. I don’t see this as integrity. I respect the very few members of Congress who refuse to play politics as usual and get earmarks for their district.
And last but not least, this self-professed champion of the Constitution, who supposedly believes in trusting the actual language in it, has behaved like every other member of Congress. He has refused to honor the provision in Article V for a convention to propose constitutional amendments. This makes no sense for Paul for several reasons. An Article V convention was created by the Founders exactly because they anticipated the day when the public would rightfully lose trust in the federal government. Is there any more obvious aspect to Paul’s entire political mindset other than the failure of the federal government? Also, Paul believes in the constitutional rights that states have. Yet the whole basis of the Article V convention option is to place power back in the hands of the states by creating an alternative to Congress holding all the power for federal lawmaking and proposing constitutional amendments. So, on the basis of fixing what is wrong with the federal government and on restoring the balance with the states, Paul should have been fighting for many years to get the nation’s first Article V convention. But he has not. That behavior is totally and shockingly inconsistent with his entire political belief system.
So now, when this is published, the army of Kool-Aid drinking Paul supporters will have yet another opportunity to flood any site that publishes this with their usual passionate screams justifying their cult-like adoration for Paul. This is what I most look forward to in coming weeks and months: Enough sanity among Americans so that Paul does not win any caucus or primary and never gets close to winning the Republican nomination. And what then? Exactly, what then? What will Paul do and say? How will he channel all the righteous political unhappiness and anger among his supporters so that something positive is actually accomplished?