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It is disheartening to see people who claim to be liberal or progressive so adamantly behind the candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul for the GOP presidential nomination. It is even worse to hear them say Paul is the best hope for restoring our Constitution to its proper place in the republic.

Paul is no savior and Paul is no constitutionalist. (I can say that after years of studying the Constitution in graduate school of one of America's elite universities under some of the finest constitutional minds in academia to become as knowledgeable about the Constitution as anyone, better than most, including Paul, who never studied constitutional law.)

Paul doesn't want to restore the Constitution as he and his "liberal" supporters claim. He wants to restore or honor only those portions of the Constitution that justify his extreme right-wing libertarian positions. He would ignore or remove those portions that enabled liberals and progressives to make this nation a better place for all, especially the lower classes. His voting record shows that.

Paul has made it abundantly clear that he opposes all forms of federal social programs and commercial regulation.

While Paul may not be able to eliminate Social
Security, Medicare and Medicaid, unemployment insurance, workers' comp, workplace safety, antipollution laws, environmental protection, minimum wages, or other social programs that enrich the nation, he most certainly would do nothing to defend them or to enhance their productivity. And he would do nothing to enforce laws for those programs because he believes the federal government shouldn't be active in those areas, regardless of what powers the Constitution gives government to be active.

We have heard the Paul mantra many times before. If government would just go away, get off our backs, tax us almost nothing and leave us alone in freedom, we could all live a blissful life in a new Eden. That is crap.

We heard Cal Coolidge claim that tax cuts would create a roaring good time for all, but when the bill came due in 1929 there was no more roar. We heard Herbert Hoover claim that if government just went away and did nothing, the invisible hand of a free market would miraculously end an economic downturn that was destroying lives and businesses nationwide. Didn't happen.

We heard Ronald Reagan proclaim that if those pesky bank regulators would just leave honest banking executives alone, they would have us all living in mini-mansions alongside pristine golf courses in no time. Instead the savings-and-loan honchos looted their institutions leaving us with a $500-billion debt to pay off. And we ~ not the bankers ~ are paying that as demonstrated by the interest rate of one-tenth of one percent savers get on the money they have stashed in a bank account; assuming they have any cash to stash.

And we have heard Alan Greenspan claim that if bankers were left to their own devices they would never engage in activities that would bring shame to their profession. They were left alone by Greenspan and others in this administration and the result is the subprime mortgage lending schemes that have severely damaged the real-estate market and which Princeton economics professor Paul Krugman calls the "greatest financial disasters since the Great Depression."

We heard politicians like Tom DeLay claim that deregulating the utility industry would have electricity flowing into each home for a fraction of the cost because "competition" in the market place would save billions of dollars annually for Americans. Instead we got the failure and crimes of Enron, California's electrical crisis and its accompanying blackouts during the hottest days of the year. And we got gouging of utilities in other states that had to pay Enron's extortion rates because of its near monopoly status in many areas. Those overcharges still weren't enough to save the company from its own criminal excesses enabled by deregulation.

(Brief aside: As a holder of electric-company stock in Nevada, which had to sell its generating plants as part of doing business in a small part of deregulated California, I have paid mightily for that fiasco brought on by GOP Gov. Pete Wilson and utility executives. Those who caused the situation have paid little, if any. Only after several years of not paying a dividend is the company reinstituting a pittance amount. Also got burned as a stockholder in an Oregon company that was gobbled up by Enron, which paid with phony paper, and will never again pay a dividend. Thank you, deregulators)

Deregulation has brought us major malfeasance in numerous American corporations and Paul, as a foe of business regulation, would do nothing to address this problem that affected such firms as Worldcom, Tyco, Adelphia and many others. In graduate school, I was taught that every regulation exists to address an evil present in the system and when a regulation is removed the evil returns. Evils have returned in droves in areas right-wing "libertarians" deregulated. And regulations protect honest businesses from the dishonest or criminal.

Paul has publicly stated that he wants the federal government to be shrunk mightily and wouldn't mind if it disappeared altogether. He says the only function it should have, if it didn't disappear, would be defense and maintaining a stable currency. Those are the conditions that existed under the Articles of Confederation (1781-1789) and they were a monumental failure, leading our Founding Fathers to write the Constitution that created a strong central government capable of addressing national problems as they arose.

Now Paul supporters will say that Paul has never uttered the specific words "Articles of Confederation" so that is not his intent; but George Bush never said he wanted an unnecessary war and its accompanying war crimes, or wanted to trash the Constitution, deny legal representation to people called "enemy combatants" or myriad other sins he has committed. It doesn't matter what words are used or not used; what matters is a political record and Paul's record shows a disdain for active government that actually benefits its citizens, especially those having the least influence.

Paul wants to eliminate the income tax (a noble thought if he had something reasonable to take its place) and the Internal Revenue Service. He is curiously silent on how he would collect the taxes needed to pay for that national defense if the IRS were eliminated.

Paul's supporters claim he is against the federal government involving itself in the matter of abortion, that belongs to the states. Nonsense. The Constitution, with its "privilages and immunities" clause indicates that reproduction or abortion belongs to no government, they are strictly a personal matters.

How Paul would address a national debt now approaching $10 trillion and threatening the nation's economy is a mystery. We can be assured that he would not use taxes on the rich as a method since he is opposed to taxation. We have heard for three decades now that the tax cuts for the very wealthy would grow the economy so much that growth alone would solve the problem That hasn't happened and never will. The tax cuts and failed growth projections have come from Ronald Reagan and two George Bushes, who come closer to Paul's political philosophy than any other candidate now running ~ except for GOPers Mike Huckabee and the reformulated and revised version 2.1 Mitt Romney.

Paul's adamant opposition to the worst war-crimes escapade in American history, constant feeding the military-industrial-complex monster, US empire building or his wanting to end US meddling in other nations' affairs doesn't qualify him to lead this nation. Millions of Americans are against the Iraqi misadventure, and were before it began, just as we have always been opposed to a bigger military-industrial cabal, and empire building by meddling in other nations' business.

I don't recall Paul coming out to oppose George Bush's ascendancy to the presidency over the rightful winner in 2000 nor do I remember him siding with John Kerry in the 2004 election when this nation had its best chance of ridding itself of the George W. Bush cancer.

Paul may be the best the GOP has to offer now, but being the best of the worst doesn't even rate him equal to someone who may be the worst of the best.

Ron Paul isn't the answer. America can, and must, do better.



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***************************************************** Thomas Bonsell is a former newspaper editor (in Oregon, New York and Colorado) United States Air Force cryptanalyst and National Security Agency intelligence agent. He became one of (more...)
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