Day by Day



19 February 2008

The rise and fall of Ron Paul....



Many years ago I was a libertarian. I registered and was a member of the party. This was in the heady GOP years of Reagan Bush and the advent of the Clinton era. I was introduced to libertarianism by my very smart brother. He’s a likable fellow. Although he is an attorney by training; he’s really an outgoing lover of the outdoors. He would be right at home in any of the independent western states or Texas.

I liked the libertarian view of government non-involvement and free market support. What I failed to realize in my early romance with the party, was that libertarians are about as close to anarchists as one can get. They do not support foreign policy as a tool of national interest, the space program or any safety net for the populace. It was the failure to support a national space program which turned me off from libertarians.

Ron Paul was once the libertarian nominee for president. He switched parties and now stands as a republican candidate for president from Texas’ 14th congressional district. He appealed to that gulf coast constituency through his voting record against taxes and adhering to a zealot’s interpretation of the constitution. In fact his record was so negative, he became known as Dr. No among the other members of the House of Representatives. Like many in congress, Paul could have quietly lived out his terms in perpetuity with little or no attention from anyone. Only the extremely outspoken, like Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney, have made national news as a member of congress. And she had to strike a police officer to do it.

Paul caught the attention of a number of disaffected Americans with his simplistic economic proposals, listed here at his official site. He would eliminate the income tax, shrink federal government and end ALL our involvement with foreign aid. The problem is that Ron’s facts are in disarray.

Commonly cited by Paul supporters is the site Fact Check. They claim that since this site has not targeted Paul, then his views are accurate. A recent piece by Fact Check touched on only three basic assertions of Paul’s campaign. All proved to be so wildly inaccurate as to raise the question whether he is even qualified to hold his congressional seat. Which is being challenged, by the way, by a member of his own party – a CPA named Chris Peden. An NPR analysis of the article brought on waves of Paulites who spent time criticizing and attacking NPR, the author of the piece and parsing the statements which can be easily found with a Google search and attributable to Paul. Even Glenn Reynolds, the normally free market oriented webmaster of Instapundit, has steered clear of the Paul campaign.

Perhaps most disturbing is the range of adherents to his campaign. At a site called Militias for Paul, the individual(s) proffer their opinions on global conspiracy, Zionist empires and seem to advocate the overthrow of the government. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but one shall be known by the company they keep.

Ron Paul, or as he is referred to by the faithful, Dr. Paul, recently appointed a new economic adviser. Little attention was paid to the pedigree of this individual, that his father is serving time for federal tax fraud or that he espouses the “illegitimacy” of the federal tax system. Paul has been dissected time and time again and come up wanting. If one looks for some insight into Paul's philosophy, one can see it relies upon fear and conspiracy. The initial appeal of independence and self reliance quickly withers when one considers the strange political views expressed in his newsletters. His own involvement and authorship of these documents having never been fully explained.

Like an old time preacher, he offers a fiery oratory full of rhetoric, appealing to the disenchanted. He has spawned a number of support sites, Daily Paul, invigorated many young people and raised a LOT of money. But he has failed to break out of the margin of error in any polls. With his ten term congressional seat in serious danger, this may be the final act for Paul.
Like a persistent chicken little, he now appears to be poised to exit stage right.
Way right.

19 comments:

sonicfrog said...

Despite his nuttiness, or maybe because of it, I still would like to vote for him. But I can't. Here's why.

PS. No, I didn't die or anything. I have been very busy with the student teaching thing, I can hardly keep my life straight. Now I'm behind on my business taxes and the State Board of Equalization called (sounds sinister, doesn't it) and wants my paperwork turned in by Monday. I am quite confident it wont be done.

captjackharkness said...

Pish, Posh, it is only paperwork. I don't even know HOW to file taxes here. And Her Majesties Inspectors may close my school tomorrow.....you think YOU are busy.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled on this site and what's this Citizen soldier nonsense!? You are in the navy, that makes you a Citizen squid. You are a small step above the coast guard.

Libertarian??!! Space Policy?! NPR Analysis (like they aren't biased!) Lived in Baltimore? In Maryland, that cesspool of liberal thinking!

The F-22 is a waste of money. What will it shoot down? The people with whom we are at war have NO aircraft!

I think you should add that the USMC should declare the Mayor of Toledo a terrorist and declare war on the entire city!!!! Those ^%$#$ don't deserve to live!

What the heck is wrong with you JP?

captjackharkness said...

Wow. Such...vitriol. I do hope that anonymous's post was satire. Because, well, Citizen Deux soldier just writes some much better than than the stumble upon above, who obviously wandered in here from somewhere right of Free Republic. Unless, of course, the post was satire....which I doubt.

captjackharkness said...

On second thought, re: annonymous.
FREEPER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!

sonicfrog said...

WOW! Your first troll. How AWESOME!!!

Citizen Deux said...

Hardly a troll. Simply one of my mil buddies.

PS - Anonymous, drop me an e-mail, I will be in DC in April - perhaps.

Anonymous said...

I shudder to think what "mil buddies" means in the navy...

LOTR, Asimov, Highlander.... I'll bet you played a lot of D&D when you were younger! And perhaps we haven't stopped?! But you are, alas, on to me. I did not stumble onto (into?) this corner of cyberspace accidentally, but here is a hint, we used to work together (and there was no soap on a rope).

Willy P

captjackharkness said...

Okay. Now I think I am truly scared....and oddly curious. Not only your first troll, but your first stalker!

Citizen Deux said...

The Naval Ocean Systems Center is a good place to start. But I confess, the time and place of our camaraderie eludes me...

captjackharkness said...

Shudder. But hey, it is Bombay Saphire, Double Episode of Torchwood, and doing my tax planner for the US night here in the UK. Is my first class plane ticket home for Christmas deductible? Enquiring minds want to know!

Anonymous said...

Depends, do you own property in the AO you visited???

Citizen Deux said...

My sweet time in Manama was punctuated by delightful all-girl Filipino singing groups...

sonicfrog said...

Hey, why aren't Filipino all-girl singing groups from the Filipeans? Just currious.

captjackharkness said...

No property at home anymore, and I don't own any all-girl Filipino singing groups, so,.......anyway, off to Leisure World to see a Pink Floyd cover band....

Citizen Deux said...

They aren't in the Phillipines because they get better pay in mideastern nations - there is some likely "conscripted" labor in these groups.

captjackharkness said...

Um. Filipino Girl Bands is NOT an answer to "can I deduct my plane ticket home from Christmas from England as it could possible be construed as work related" question.

Jay said...

The success of private space exploration has been a libertarian venture. Check out the picture at Space Ship One Pictures where pilot Mike Melvill is holding up a sign - Space Ship One - Government Zero.
Libertarians don't oppose space travel. They oppose forcibly taking citizens money to pay for space travel. Most government space programs are extremely wasteful. Money is distributed based on congressional favors, not technological progress.

Libertarians are NOT anachists. Government has a legitimate role in protecting your rights against infringement by others (including other countries!). Government does not have a right to violate other's rights to support foreign dictatorships, redistribute wealth, or to take my money to support your favorite space projects.
Have you personally (and voluntarily) donated any money to space exploration? If not then you are the one who doesn't support space exploration.

Citizen Deux said...

Jay, I do contribute to the L5 society and as a stockholder in tech firms- support provate development of space. There are some things that government MUST do to facilitate trade and development. Unless there is a basic infrasturcture, there is too much capital risk for private enterprise to develop new areas. This has been true for telecommunications, aviation, merchant shipping and almost every major industrial activity.

Facilitation by governments (including investment) is required. The libertarian view is too narrow, their idea of the markets sorting themselves out would lead to an oligarchic environment of chaos, not unlike Russia now.

Despite the bravado of space ship one, the aviation industry was essentially subsidized by governments across the globe. Noe of their accomplishments would have been possible without government investment.