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.