As a politician, Texas Congressman Ron Paul is really one-of-a-kind. He possesses many qualities almost unrecognizable amongst his fellow politicians. For one thing, he is consistent (a positive phenomenon amongst the political class). He was saying the exact same things about the Constitution, the Federal Reserve, states’ rights and foreign policy thirty years ago that he is saying now. After all of that time he is the only politician who, I would say, truly and sincerely believes the things he talks about and the principles he advocates. Ron Paul is also the only one who has been telling the truth about the Federal Reserve system, he saw the current crisis coming a very long time ago and he is the one politician who I would put my money on being sincerely devoted to the Constitution above all else. Part of the reason his sincerity can be believed is that he has held to his principles and said things that are, frankly, politically suicidal and widely unpopular. This includes his statement that federal integration laws were unconstitutional all the way to his assertion that there should be no federal laws against drug use. He is one-of-a-kind.
Naturally, a politician is still a politician and because Ron Paul is such a rarity many people tend to forget this. Most of those who like Ron Paul positively worship him and react with extreme emotion to any criticism or even any insufficiently effusive praise of the man. However, I will risk that to point out what those of us in Texas have long known. He is not perfect. I know it will not matter to his worshippers but I will say nonetheless that he is probably as close as any politician I have ever seen to being perfectly sincere and honest but, I am sorry, he is not totally pristine. For example, Ron Paul proudly says that he has never voted for any “pork barrel” projects or earmarks or that sort of stuff. As far as I know, he is being honest in saying that. Technically. However, he is being a bit disingenuous as he has inserted pork barrel projects into bills, knowing they would pass in any event and then vote against them so that his district will get their share of government goodies, thanks to him, while “technically” his hands remain clean since he voted against it. He is by no means the only politician to pull this trick but when he is otherwise so honest and consistent it stands out with him all the more.
The problem, though, is that as much as I like most of what Ron Paul says and as far and above the rest of the denizens of Congress I think he is, the fact is that he could never be elected President of the United States nor could he ever win a Republican Party primary. There are a number of reasons for this, and I am not saying it is right or fair or anything like that, I am simply pointing out the facts of the matter. There are simply too many voting blocks that would never vote for him. There is a reason why most politicians are not like Ron Paul, they have learned that you have to be a little dishonest and inconsistent to get ahead. You have to say things you don’t believe or change what you “believe” in order to appeal to different groups. That is why they win and Ron Paul does not. This is unfortunate because in some cases (but not all) it is the very things I like best about Ron Paul that would prevent him from ever winning national office or even the chance of running for that office. Let us take a look at a few examples of this.
African-Americans will never vote for Ron Paul. That should be no great surprise. For decades almost the entire African-American population has voted overwhelming for the Democrat Party and will not consider ever voting for anyone else. In the last few decades African-American loyalty to the Democrat Party has been a consistent 80-90%. There are also more African-Americans on some form of government assistance than any other group and Ron Paul wants to get rid of all such programs. So, African-Americans will *never* vote for Ron Paul. Similarly, Hispanics have been pretty loyal Democrat voters, not to the extent of some others, but they would never cross the aisle to vote for Ron Paul either. Ron Paul wants to pull American troops out of their bases around the world and deploy them to the U.S.-Mexican border, he wants to cut off all aid and assistance going to illegal aliens (predominately from Mexico) and end other programs that would ensure Hispanics would never vote for Ron Paul. He has also said secession is something that should not be taboo and that really upsets Hispanics these days, especially when it concerns Texas.
Moving on, Jewish-Americans would never support Ron Paul. This is not often talked about but it is the State of Israel that receives more foreign aid from the United States than any other foreign power and Ron Paul wants to cut off all foreign aid. The Jewish-American population is not going to like that idea nor would they ever vote for someone who thinks it is okay for Iran to have nuclear weapons and is opposed to the United States intervening militarily in the Middle East (or any other part of the world). Jews would never vote for Ron Paul. Also on the religious front, conservative Christians would never vote for Ron Paul. Although he shares many of their values, he does not believe the government has any place in regulating morality. Ron Paul has said, because of his strict interpretation of the Constitution and states’ rights, if the states want to legalize drugs, prostitution or gay marriage he would do nothing to oppose them. He has stated on many occasions that the government should not be about enforcing any sort of public morality and conservative Christians would never vote for someone who is okay with narcotics and prostitution being legal, no matter what the reason is. Those are mostly Protestants but likewise the Catholic Bishops would never support a candidate who wanted to put troops on the border and end social welfare programs as well as opposing the regulating of values issue. Christian conservatives would never vote for Ron Paul.
The people who pride themselves on being the knowledgeable ones concerning the economy and foreign policy would, likewise, never vote for Ron Paul. On the economic front, there are many people on Wall Street, the economic think tanks and the like, who would never vote for someone who wants to tie the economy to the gold standard. No matter how much sense it might make, they would never agree to limiting the growth of the U.S. economy to the amount of gold the country could acquire. They would probably also wet their pants over the abolition of the Federal Reserve and most federal economic regulations. Then there is the issue of foreign policy wherein Paul breaks ranks with most of his fellow GOP members. Their disagreement usually stems from their contradictory point of view. They think it would be injurious to American security and American interests for the U.S. to pull out from her many bases around the world and effectively adopt an isolationist foreign policy. Ron Paul believes that this would ultimately make the United States safer, that Islamic terrorists would not attack the U.S. if we did not maintain bases in their countries and ally with foreign leaders they oppose. Switzerland is often held up as an example; they engage in no foreign alliances and no one bothers them.
One may agree or disagree with Ron Paul on that point (the majority would disagree as the U.S. has never really been isolationist) but the actual practicality of it is never discussed. To some extent, I agree with Ron Paul on this issue, but only to an extent. However, I have never heard him address it beyond the talking points of the “military-industrial complex”, “bring our troops home” and ending the “American empire”. Agree or disagree, the fact is that the U.S. has signed many treaties and alliances with foreign powers and those are not things America could easily walk away from. My problem when it comes to blaming American intervention for anything in general is that one never knows where to neatly begin or they never address the myriad different possible scenarios in which things could have gone worse rather than better without American involvement. But not of that matters now. Right now the U.S. has obligations to numerous countries around the world and if America were to withdraw support from so many different countries, whether it was Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia or any other there would be dramatic and immediate consequences.
The United States is now a nation of minorities, more multicultural than at any other time in her history, and for every nation that would be affected by American isolationism there would be at least one ethnic group that would not be voting for Ron Paul. In the past such might not have been the case, but it is now. Personally, I would have no qualms about telling Europe to start footing the bill for their own security or to tell any nation that opposes American interests they can no longer count on American foreign aid or American forces to save their hides when they get in trouble. I would feel bad about leaving Japan in the lurch since the U.S. is the one that nuked the fighting spirit out of the Japanese almost completely but, even then, many already see the wind shifting and are speaking out in favor of being the ally of Red China rather than the unreliable Americans. That points to the problem of who would fill the vacuum left by an American withdrawal around the world. It would certainly not be the old colonial powers of Great Britain or France but would be Red China and perhaps some coalition of Muslim theocracies led by Iran on one side and a new “Islamic Republic of Arabia” on the other.
Good or bad, right or wrong, all of these are reasons why Ron Paul has never been elected to national office and will never be elected to national office. He simply doesn’t fit the current political system. At times he is also too honest such as when he said it was wrong for the U.S. to have killed Osama bin Laden. He made a very high-sounding argument to back that up, but when I heard it my eyes rolled in my head and I said, ‘there goes his chance of ever getting elected’. Even if another politician felt that way (and many Democrats do) they would certainly never say so publicly, especially so close to the ten year anniversary of 9-11. So, Ron Paul is a rare bird indeed, one of the most admirable politicians in the American government today and one of the painfully few who is consistent, principled and sincere. I have often stated that I would like to see him be President of the Republic of Texas but he has about as much chance of achieving that as he does of becoming President of the United States.
Q.E.D. It is a pity though, for if the best of what our consitutional system had to offer was in power, we would finally see the areas in our form of government most in need of improvement.ReplyDelete
Into what bill did Congressman Paul insert pork-barrel spending? I ask this knowing that you are probably the only person who will provide rational criticism of the Congressman, given the acknowledged tendency of his supporters to consider him the second Incarnation and the tendency of his opponents to label him a lunatic and mock his most sensible positions.
Additionally, you may want to clarify your statement that Dr. Paul "has never been elected to national office." I assume that by "national office" you mean "an office that is elected by the whole nation," but it is liable to confuse some, as he has been elected, quite a few times, to the national Congress. Feel free, by the way, to delete this second paragraph when you publish my comment; it's primarily meant for you.
The Rambling Royalist
I think my referring to him as "Congressman" Ron Paul *should* let people know I am aware of what office he holds, if not, I really have no desire to re-do anything just for the sake of the purposely ignorant.ReplyDelete
As for which bill he inserted spending projects into, that would be a little difficult -and time consuming- as it is not one bill. One of the most famous was his 2007 earmark for $2.3 million for the local shrimping industry and it that year alone that was one of about 65 earmarks totalling some $400,000,000.00 which, again, is nothing out of the ordinary for a Congressman, I think he has scaled it back a little since being called out for hypocrisy but, as I said, the fact that he's usually not that type makes it stand out all the more.
I should also point out that these direct where money already set aside should go so Paul can justly say that he is against over-spending but wants his constituents to get their share of the loot that has already been spent. But, it just doesn't look good for him and it would certainly be used against him in a big way if he ever actually became a nominee for President.
I work for a nonprofit organization. We get people who make credit card contributions in the mail. At one time, there was a field on the response device marked "Name on Card." We had one contributor who wrote "Visa" in that field. Our response devices have changed several times in an attempt to make them foolproof. So far, none have worked. So please forgive me if I'm somewhat overcautious about popular ignorance.
As for the pork spending, thanks. I don't expect an exhaustive list, but I appreciate the lead. Without that, I really wouldn't have much to go on for my own investigations.
Samuel C. Starrett
The Rambling Royalist
If you want to take the time there should be no problem in finding the voting record and appropriations bills. This is all a metter of record and even Ron Paul's biggest fans cannot deny it -they just see nothing wrong with it for the reasons already mentioned. I know about it because I live here, not everyone else does, but it's no big, buried secret or anything.ReplyDelete
There's always a dark spot in the histories of heroes. Everyone's heroes, from Ron Paul to mine, Napoleon, with the Duke of Enghien affair, or even my favorite philosopher, Joseph de Maistre (ultra-reactionary, you amy like him, Mad Monarchist), and his tenuous involvement with Freemasonry. Ron Paul has his faults like anyone else.ReplyDelete
Since I'm not American I don't presume to tell Americans who is the better candidate in their election, but seeing as both mainstream parties are so... eh, the Libertarians ARE a bit crazy, I don't feel I could tell you who to vote for if I wanted to!
True. I say the same about politicians that I say about political ideologies -none of them are perfect. And I do like De Maistre (very much, did a profile on him some time ago) but no one is ever perfect this side of the Kingdom of Heaven. I would be willing to risk the stuff I disagree with Ron Paul on just for the sake of the things I think he has right. The only problem is he could never get Congress to go along with his ideas and, for reasons stated above, he could never get elected. Even Ron Paul realized running with the Libertarian Party was a futile gesture which is why he runs as a GOP member -but everyone knows he's really a Libertarian.ReplyDelete
African-American loyalty to the Democratic Party is a bit of an overstatement in my opinion. But not entirely far fetched. It is most likely have to do with us traditionally voting for the party who would help African-American communities the best. If Ron Paul was running for president in 1872 as a republican, he would have had the African-American vote almost unanimously.
I view it as a bad move in the long run as it blinds us from alternatives that are more viable and potentially more better for us. Like with government assistance, you wouldn't find this African-American accepting it even if I was homeless and on the street. I'm of the Booker T. Washington school of thought by the way.
Overall in my opinion, Ron Paul would be the best thing for the African-American community in a long time, possibly ever. Notwithstanding his opinions on the 1964 Civil Rights Act and government assistance which in my opinion would benefit African-Americans greatly. But his proposal to legalize drugs and end the war on drugs can eventually put the criminals out and relive many African-American communities' major source of crime.
That, and suggestion of my taking, would really give hold to a productive alternative for progression in the African-American community.
African-American and long time reader of your blog.
80-90% support is not an overstatement -those are the statistics. I would agree if it was 1872 but it is not. I'm sure many an early Black campaigner for freedom would be shocked to know that the first Black president belongs to the same political party as Jefferson Davis but that is the way the cookie has crumbled.ReplyDelete
I completely agree that Ron Paul would be good for the Black community in the long run in that his policies would force everyone of every background to improve their own lot in life. The problem is that first step. Things he has said about secession, states' rights, civil rights, welfare programs and so on can too easily be taken out of context by the defenders of the status quo (Sharpton, Jackson & pals) and scare African Americans away from even giving him an honest hearing.
It's not right, it's not fair, but I guarantee you that is what would happen. They would do the same thing with the "religious-right" -select a few quotes about making heroine legal and prostitution legal or the government "staying out of marriage" and that is all they would need to hear to run the other way. It's just the way the system works. Ron Paul doesn't play the game -which makes him better than most but also makes it all but impossible to ever be President.
Thanks for reading. -MM