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Ron Paul: Not a Good Choice

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Ron Paul is grabbing a lot of attention in this campaign season, from his vocal opposition to the Iraq war to his $6 million one day fund raising blitz. In fact, there is a lot to admire about Ron Paul. He sticks to his principles, he appears honest, and he is impassioned. Those qualities draw the disillusioned among both Democrats and Republicans, and Independents looking for a candidate. However, while his strong speech regarding Iraq is attractive, it is his principles that need examination. On Ron Paul's Congressional Website, he lists some of his stances and a handful of organizational affiliations:
He was an unwavering advocate of pro-life and pro-family values. Dr. Paul consistently voted to lower or abolish federal taxes, spending, and regulation, and used his House seat to actively promote the return of government to its proper constitutional levels. ... He continues to advocate a dramatic reduction in the size of the federal government and a return to constitutional principles. ... He has been a distinguished counselor to the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and is widely quoted by scholars and writers in the fields of monetary policy, banking, and political economy. He has received many awards and honors during his career in Congress, from organizations such as the National Taxpayers Union, Citizens Against Government Waste, the Council for a Competitive Economy, Young Americans for Freedom, and countless others.
While Paul is a Republican, he is on the far libertarian end of that party. His stances on isolationism, small government and "pro-life," make him very attractive to the activist Christian Right (see also Christians for Ron Paul). Advocates for Self Government lists him as a Libertarian. Let's take a brief look at the organizations which Paul honors with inclusion in his biographical sketch. Ludwig von Mises Institute The Institute's mission is to promote "libertarian political theory," and:
defends the market economy, private property, sound money, and peaceful international relations, while opposing government intervention as economically and socially destructive.
In short, the economic policy supported by Paul is an unfettered capitalism. Hence, his tantalizing stance of withdrawing the United States from NAFTA and the World Trade Organization (WTO). This is attractive to many across the political spectrum. However, Paul is not calling for "Fair Trade," but for the removal of all controls and oversights on international trade. National Taxpayers Union (NTU) The National Taxpayers Union is a co-organization with the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) sharing facilities, staff, and board (Wikipedia. The People for the American Way lists NTU under its Right Wing Organizations. Grover Norquist was an early (1981-83) Executive Director of NTU. Robert Dreyfus labeled Norquist as Field Marshall of the "Bush Plan," and he is the source of the infamous quote of wanting to shrink government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW and closely affiliates with Council for Citizens Against Government Waste) While interestingly featuring "citizens" in its title, the funding for the organization largely comes from major corporations (Merrill Lynch, Exxon, Phillip Morris, RJ Reynolds/Altria, etc). In other words, CAGW is yet another corporate interest masquerading as a "citizen's" organization. (Michael Smith wrote a nice expose about them.) Council for a Competitive Economy (CCE) now the Competitive Enterprise Institute A search shows it highly linked to the Libertarian party, and to the right wing think tanks CATO Institute and the Reason Foundation. The CEI promotes itself as an independent think tank specializing in free enterprise, regulatory issues, and "ecology." CEI came under fire for misusing a climate scientist's work in an attempt to discredit global warming. Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) YAF is a "conservative" youth organization, which is now primarily a conservative Libertarian organization. Here is a brief summation of the current organization from Wikipedia:
On college campuses, the independent YAF chapters have been involved in activities including rallies supporting the armed forces, advocacy for strict control of illegal immigration, demonstrations against affirmative action and protesting liberal campus speakers. YAF has also organized protests against legislation enacting anti-discrimination protection for transsexuals.
YAF's "Sharon Statement (from being adopted at Sharon. Connecticut) clearly embraces a small and limited government, a "free" market and deregulation. According to a supporting article by Laurence Vance at the libertarian Lew Rockwell site " Will Ron Paul Be the Candidate of the Christian Right?," "By the Christian Right's own criteria, their candidate ought to be Ron Paul." Largely because he is: -a man of faith -pro-life -a believer in family values -opposed to same-sex marriage -a patriot -opposed to unrestricted immigration -opposed to gun control -a strict constitutionalist -opposed to the United Nations -the premier advocate for liberty in politics today Ron Paul is not who many think he is. On the surface, he is an attractive candidate because of his vocal and impassioned stand against the Iraq war. However, Paul is a conservative libertarian to the core. I suspect that he will be winnowed out of the Republican field of Presidential candidates. However, I would not be surprised if he hangs in there as long as possible, and then launches himself as an independent candidate. Given the types of support he is drawing from conservative, progressive, and independent quarters, he could be a viable "independent." However, for progressives and many independents, Paul would be a one issue candidate. Given the breadth of global messes at this point, voting for a candidate on "one issue" just is not adequate. In His Own Words Check these out and judge for yourself Dr. Ron Paul Website A Foreign Policy of Freedom book by Ron Paul Index of Paul's columns, and speeches
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Rowan Wolf is an activist and sociologist living in Oregon. She is the founder and principle author of Uncommon Thought Journal, and Editor in Chief of Cyrano's Journal Today.

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