I can't think of anything more annoying than the gravitas of the Ron Paul supporters (heirs to the Swiftboating shills of the 2004 election). These folks Google Ron Paul's name three times a day (this will help them find this piece: 'Ron Paul, Ron Paul, Ron Paul') and they'll comment on every web site that mentions him. If what is said is critical (they see it as derogatory) they will instantly become venomous and launch ad hominem attacks on the writer: kind of like what neo-cons did not that far back to 'libs' and John Kerry supporters. They go to every Internet presidential poll and vote for him repeatedly and then insist that America is madly in love with the man, because he won a poll they rigged by mobbing it.
Paul is a congressman from Texas who calls himself a Republican but is more of a neo-libertarian. Libertarianism, in a nutshell, is basically an extreme form of right wing old-style, Herbert Hoover Republicanism. It is kind of an untenable anachroniusm given the complexities of today's society and it almost borders on anarchism. It is similar to pre-1960's isolationist, laissez-faire Republicanism a-la-'John Birch' in equating being 'constitutionalist' with being as reactionary as possible in a strict homegrown sense, without the frills of foreign interventionism or domestic government intervention in establishing a social safety net for levelling inequalities sufferred by the average worker, the poor, the vulnerable and the elderly. Libertarianism is insists on loosening of Federal Government regulation and placing most government in the hands of localities and states. However, this minimalist view of the Federal Government ignrores important historical lessons learned over the last 200 years in which LACK of Federal Government oversight led to all kinds of national crises and abuses by the rich and the powerful. Libertarians don't think through the consequences of their position. They just shrug their shoulders, and say in a knee-jerk fashion that all power should be returned to localities and that the country would basically have to trust everyone in society to behave on their scouts honor to do the right thing and make things work out.
Paul constantly refers to the Constitution and acts as if his interpretation were the only true interpretation. He has a rabid, growing following of mainly displaced right-wingers and a growing number of previously 'non-involveds' who have had a sudden conversion to politics, and these Paulies all call themselves "independents" but in reality, if they've thought about anything at all, they still subscribe to most of the credos of the archaic, pre-neocon right wing: slogans like government paying as it goes and not running up any debt (in spite of the fact that since the inception of our Republic the government has had to use debt as a tool to get important things done). Like the right wingers of Reagan and pre-Reagan vintage, Paulites are pretty fervent still about 'cutting off welfare bums, shrinking the size of government' (codeword for shrinking government assistance to the the poor but no restrictions on government giveaways to the rich) and in they (Paul supporters) mostly are anti-abortion, near secessionists who love to ape Paul's calls to "restore the Constitution" without even knowing what the Constitution exactly is or what in it they want to restore.
But let's look at Ron Paul on the issues. Let's start with national security:
Paul says "Both Jefferson and Washington warned us about entangling ourselves in the affairs of other nations. Today, we have troops in 130 countries. We are spread so thin that we have too few troops defending America. And now, there are new calls for a draft of our young men and women...We can continue to fund and fight no-win police actions around the globe, or we can refocus on securing America and bring the troops home. No war should ever be fought without a declaration of war voted upon by the Congress, as required by the Constitution (OK, so far, so good. I can agree with just about all of that). The last sentence, however, puzzles me because Congress DID vote to authorize the War in Iraq. The real issue was the lying President who sold Congress on a phony idea (WMD's in the hands of Saddam).
Congress went along because it was largely Republican and the Democrats that were in it were-and still are-- asleep at the wheel mentally)....so the real problem was a lying President who sold a gullible country a bill of goods, not the President unilaterally declaring war without congressional approval.
And the point about the draft is a little strange because the only one to ever call for or talk about a draft, besides Ron Paul, is Charles Rangel; and Rangel did it purely for political reasons to prove his point that the War in Iraq is a war largely fought on the backs of the poor, and that the rich and middle class don't share proportionately the sacrifice.
So, for the record, Congress did vote on the War and rubber stamped it. And I believe Paul was serving at the time.
Note also every one of Paul's answers has the word "Constitution" in it.
He's against the Patriot Act, but doesn't mention that the Patriot Act actually has been used successfully in some cases to track down and find potential terrorist activity, and so far, it has proved to be less intrusive than Paul and many liberals have said it is.
I do agree with Paul on several issues -- immigration reform, banking reform and getting out of Iraq and tax relief, provided that the tax relief is fair and not just an abandonment of government tax regulations so that the poor are even moreso than now at the tender mercies of the richest segments of society which have benefited most from the Bush's phony 'tax relief' (tax cuts for the rich). In other words, being a libertarian, Paul is for just eliminating the current tax system but I don't know how he proposes to make up for the government's need for revenue to do its business. I guess his answer is eliminate most or all government programs and let there be a return to the 1890's when needs simply were not met and the government essentially didn't exist except as an enforcer for wealthy businessmen. His stand on eliminating Federal 'involvement' in many programs like Social Security and the Department of Education and his stance against Federal provision of disaster relief are ones, for example, that I'll never get past. But anyway, in the current state of affairs, I think our current oligarchs have had enough loosening of government regulation and more than enough 'tax relief'. It is the rest of us who need some of it now.
Now, all this said, I will have to say that I saw Dr. Paul on NBC's Meet the Press, and I was favorably impressed by his quick intelligence, basic honesty and correctness in about half of what he said; above all, about the abuses of our current corporate oligarchy and ruling politicos, and about the need for major reforms. That much I laud him on and agree with him heartily about that part of what he said. However, I found his answers about addressing the shortfalls that mass elimination of government programs would cause to be lacking in substance and viability. He really didn't have any good ideas about how to pick up the pieces if such major downsizing of Federal programs were attempted. He was, however, correct about the money that would be saved by bringing our troops home from overseas and dismantiling out worldwide empire overseas. But that wasn't enough to explain away the inadequacy of his positions on the need for Federal regulation to protect public safety and not kick people out in the street. He was right also in how he said if we don't do something about our current economic mess, we'll all be out in the street.
So, in my view, Dr. Paul is a mixed bag and no matter how much his noisy internet following grows and collects money, he will probably, in any case. not be allowed by the Establishment elite to get the Republican nomination. His anti-globalist stance will probably trigger an all out Establishment attack on him similar to the one suffered by Ross Perot back in the 1990's when he tried to upset their globalist apple cart. Ron Paul is a sign of the times: people are SICK of being oppressed by heavy handed, unresponsive and corrupt government. Ron Paul is still a relatively small-time candidate who will maybe get as many votes as Ross Perot, at the outside, or possibly about like Ralph Nader in a good year. He has a bit of an Internet recognition thing going but ask 100 or so average Americans on the street what they think of Ron Paul and you'll get 98 blank stares and the positions of all the candidates, Paul or anyone else, will be an occasion for head scratching. Some might have common ground with some of his positions (or his ghost-writing staffers) that the War is to be curtailed, the borders be to be secured, the government to be 'restored' to local control (whatever that means) and possibly, at the outside, even, among some anti-semite fringers, a froth-mouthed insistence that the Israel lobby's wings be clipped and 'Israel not be allowed (supposedly) to run the U.S.'.
But Ron Paulers will say, all of them, "but he's won every major poll after the debates on MSNBC, CNN, blah, blah, blah.."
My reply is: "Yeah, so what? These polls mean nothing. Does anyone think that other candidates have an e-mail list which they send out to their supporters with information on these votes, urging their supporters to vote? Of course not, because it means nothing. Look at any of the polls: At present, Ron Paul is carrying less than 10 percent of the electorate, and he might grow to 15 % and is not even a key force in the Republican primaries. In other words, his campaign is generating huge amounts of noise on the internet due to his shills, but he is not going to get far enough to become the Republican candidate. The Establishment elite will see to that.
It's nice that he has automaton supporters who bristle at every cross word said about their hero (believe me, I'm glad they're occupying themselves on the net), but what they will likely do is split the conservative side of the "independent" vote so that the net effect will be to do for the Republicans what 'Ralph Nader' did in 2000 for the Democrats: put the opposite party candidate over the top and into office.
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