Understanding the Ron Paul Phenomenon

Against possibly my better judgement here, I’m going to post my thoughts about Ron Paul. Recently, two of my favorite bloggers, Glenn Greenwald and Dave Neiwert, butted heats over what’s happening with Paul, who he really is, and what his surprisingly successful candidacy means in this election cycle. The fact that neither one of them was being dishonest about Paul, but both found that the other person’s perspective was odd – almost offensive – really demonstrates the minefield that Paul’s candidacy has become.

From Neiwert’s perspective as an expert on white supremacist groups and related far-right extremism, he’s seen Paul as a fellow traveller with these groups for years. His post here details some of the history of those connections. Where I find some agreement with Greenwald is that Neiwert seems to be attributing the popularity of Paul’s far-right libertarian message with an ascendance of far-right racism. There’s obviously an element of that in his support, but the reason that Paul is becoming so popular today has very little to do with racism. When you think of left vs. right as being a struggle between more government and less government, Paul is certainly the most far-right candidate in the Republican field. But in that context, far-right is far from being analogous to racist. And when Paul says, “Well, they’ll be disappointed if that’s why they’re supporting me,” I tend to agree with him in some respects. But his history of ties to the groups that Neiwert has been following also amounts to a legitimate reason to doubt him, especially when he starts sounding like Lou Dobbs on immigration.

In recent decades, “states’ rights” has often been synonymous with the movement to keep the federal government from eliminating policies of segregation that existed in the American south. Many people today believe that ending these policies was a valid and proper use of the federal government, but Congressman Paul has doctrinaire views of the Constitution and what limits it places on the federal government. There’s no reason to conclude that he arrived at these views out of racism, but adopting that ideology certainly aligned him with those whose animosity toward federal power is rooted in the belief that the federal government is foisting “multi-culturalism” on the individual states. And as a Congressman from Texas, it’s very likely that this was some element of his voter base. Whether he needs to disavow this support now in order to appeal to more voters is really the big question, although so far, his candidacy doesn’t seem to be slowed by it at all. And this has nothing to do with racism.

The Bush Administration has made it abundantly clear that the idea that Republicans are more federalist, or support the typical conservative notions of small government, has long been an illusion. Both Democratic and Republican administrations have supported the strong use of federal power whenever it suits their needs. And while most Americans (myself certainly included) don’t have a well-developed legal understanding of the ins and outs of federal power vs. state power, we all recognize circumstances where the federal government oversteps its bounds and needs to be restrained.

Following drug policy and related topics for years, two circumstances quickly come to mind, and help shed some light on why the idea of “states’ rights” means something very different to someone who’s not old enough to remember the civil rights era (the same people who are also driving Paul’s amazing fundraising success online). The first is the federal drinking age. Under pressure from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 forced states to stop selling alcohol to those under 21. Before this, some states had already moved their drinking age to 21, while others had not. Ideally, this could have set up a situation where the states could compare experiences and determine whether raising the age to 21 was a good idea. Instead, you now have to rely on anyone who’s gone to college in the past 20 years to tell you how much of a disaster this policy is.

As any sane person would expect, raising the drinking age did nothing to stop underage people from drinking. All it did was force the drinking underground, hidden from authorities and other potential supervision, where the likelihood for people to be irresponsible or end up in dangerous situations went up substantially. Why was all of this was done? Because both the Reagan Administration and activist groups like MADD elevated the philosophy (launched by Nixon) that drug use and related moral failings were a federal concern, one for which states needed to have their own judgements overruled if they weren’t sufficiently in line with the moral majority in Washington DC.

The second circumstance involves what’s been happening over the past decade with various state medical marijuana laws. Despite the fact that some states decided to legalize the use of medical marijuana, the federal government just ignored these actions and kept enforcing the antiquated federal law that treats marijuana as a dangerous drug with no medical value. A cancer patient from California eventually took her case against the federal government to the Supreme Court, and the Court’s liberal majority ruled that the federal government had the right to take medicine away from cancer patients because they believed that the federal government has the right to regulate interstate commerce. And still today, the DEA and the Justice Department still very actively try to prosecute people involved in providing medical marijuana to patients who need it, and Congress continues to give them the A-OK.

Of course, these instances are only part of why Ron Paul’s campaign is resonating so powerfully, especially among younger voters. Many people see him more generally as the candidate who believes most fervently in the power of free markets, which has a big appeal to young voters (especially techies) and isn’t necessarily seen as an extension of the “states’ rights” philosophy. But his opposition to federal power is the message that has carried his success, thanks primarily to a Bush Administration that’s given us a disastrous foreign military occupation, warrantless wiretapping, the Military Commissions Act, the Patriot Act, massive increases in federal spending, and federal agencies whose corruption and politicization are only outdone by their incompetence. And it certainly helps that many of the leading Democrats have, at best, been wishy-washy in their oppostion to these things. Ron Paul is not. He speaks with the kind of certainly that appeals to voters who see the political situation in Washington, DC as the perfect storm of special-interest pandering, a thoroughly inept media, and poll-driven fecklessness leading to perpetual incumbency.

While his message is resonating, and I find myself truly admiring the run he’s having, I definitely have my doubts about both him and his overarching philosophies. For one, his very firm constitutional basis for determining “states’ rights” isn’t so cut and dry in my mind. While I can easily run through a number of instances where the federal government needs to back off and let states deal with their own affairs, I don’t think that the federal actions that went into ending segregation in the 1960s, or the decision to legalize abortion, were a mistake. I tend to draw the line over whether the the federal government is protecting individuals from a particular state law or protecting the state from its own decision-making. This is its own separate post, and one for which constitutional scholars would probably have a field day (especially if I related it to my support for Roe v. Wade). Either way, I find myself somewhat stuck between Paul’s more extreme view of a very limited role for the federal government and the Democrats’ slow evolution away from their own more extreme beliefs in federal power (every Democratic candidate now wants to reverse the Bush Administration’s policy towards medical marijuana patients in states where it’s legal). As a pragmatist, I admire the intellectual foundation of the Constitution and the results its achieved but I also wonder whether the realities of our 21st century existence means that we can’t always apply 18th century thinking to 21st century problems.

At certain times, I’ve tried to play devil’s advocate with those who try to claim that Paul is a racist. I like to point out that Paul’s desire to end the federal drug war would likely do more to help minority communities than anything any of leading Democratic candidates have stated they’ll do. In the past, I’ve tended to think of this when I think of Paul’s claims that his racist supporters would be disappointed with him as President. The drug war is the single most damaging force in America’s black communities today. Our drug laws, combined with our enormous prison system, has been the driving force behind the devastation of many of our inner cities. It fuels the gang culture, drives the market for illegal guns, and still manages to put millions of non-violent people in prison, many of whom would be good husbands and fathers if it were not for laws that serve no other function than to put more of them in jail. Listen to the loud ovation Paul received at a recent Republican debate in front of a largely black audience when addressing these issues. It’s impossible to watch that clip and then make the argument that Ron Paul is the candidate who speaks for white supremacists.

But where I have major doubts about Paul center around his views on immigration. Earlier, I referenced this article he wrote in 2006, and I have trouble squaring that with some of his other views. As much as he talks about and gets support from people who champion free markets and the free flow of goods and labor, his views on immigration sound like he’s been hanging out with Lou Dobbs. Even worse, in order to make his argument, he touches upon an argument that has often been used as justification for maintaining the federal drug war:

We must reject amnesty for illegal immigrants in any form. We cannot continue to reward lawbreakers and expect things to get better. If we reward millions who came here illegally, surely millions more will follow suit. Ten years from now we will be in the same position, with a whole new generation of lawbreakers seeking amnesty.

This kind of bad logic has often been applied to the drug war in order to justify the federal prohibitions. Repealing the drug war is basically “rewarding lawbreakers”. And by Paul’s logic here, the fact that these lawbreakers would be rewarded will serve as an enticement for millions more to break the law. All of this relies upon the false belief that our laws have any effect at all in these circumstances. They never have and they never will. As we learned during alcohol prohibition, and we’re re-learning now with other substances, prohibitions don’t work when you’re dealing with basic human desires. And the immigration issue deals with primary human desires for survival. What’s most disappointing about Paul’s stance on immigration is that he fails to even mention the affect that drug prohibition has been having in Mexico and fueling the current migrations north. It indicates to me that while his overarching philosophies have often pointed Paul in the right direction on these issues, he still sounds like he’s sometimes flying blind and not getting the big picture for issues that should be clearer to him.

Paul’s candidacy and the rabidness of his supporters is having an interesting effect on this election season. He’s clearly the best candidate on the Republican side, but whether or not he appeals to Democrats probably depends on whether people think his refreshing certainty on views that strike the anti-Bush anti-war chord (ending the Iraq War, repealing the Patriot Act, etc) outweigh his anti-progressive views on whether the federal government should be counted on for addressing some of the major problems we face (global warming, health care, etc). It’s easy to mock him for believing that the free market will protect endangered species, but is that really any more ridiculous than believing that we can defeat drug traffickers in Mexico? As a nation, we’ve drifted towards a point where certain absurdities have been mainstreamed, while others are marginalized. In times of great fear and insecurity, we tend to find comfort in believing that government can accomplish things it can’t. And when those fears and insecurities manifest itself in mythmaking about the power of government, someone like Ron Paul needs to come along to right the ship.

Comments

  1. 2

    correctnot right spews:

    Ron Paul = total loony

    According to Paul the free market will fix:

    the energy policy of the US (let prices go up until we have a crisis and then the free market might take over – but don’t plan for the future (oops, that is the curent policy too)).
    endangered species
    US defense (we don’t need no defense)
    the banking crisis (let the banks dupe anyone they want to)
    the consolidation of media
    the consolidation of corporations (robber barons – so what)
    monopolies (let coporations do what they want)
    poisonous toys from china (no need for consumer protection)
    bad drugs (no need for an FSA)

    and none of these is in the purview of the federal gov’ment because he didn’t read it in the constitution.

    Does he ever explain how we can live in our current industrialized high-tech world and solve all these problems with a strict interpretation of a document form the 1700’s? NO!

    He has absolutely no solutions – just an antiquated theory of government with no real world applications.

    If you want anarchy, no taxes and a government from the 1700’s that does less than nothing while the world rots around us – than vote for Paul. The only issue he makes any sense with is the war because that is clearly something government should not have done.

    It does say a lot that he is the only republican candidate against the war – but it just shows how poor and pathetic (lockstep with bush) the rest of the republican field is.

  2. 3

    Braodway Joe spews:

    But Paul won’t go away quietly. With the money he’s raised and volunteers he’s gathered, he’ll be a thorn in everyone’s side for the remainder of the cycle. It’s doubtful that he’ll win more than a few votes for the nomination, and the GOP will probably turn their noses up at him at the convention. But with that money, and that army of volunteers, who wants to bet that no matter what happens in the primary season, he’ll evenutally bolt and stage a third-party candidacy? Here in Nevada, they’re spending heavily, and the kooks are coming out of the woodwork to defend him from anyone and everyone. And I mean kooks. Pretty fucking nuts might be better in some cases. Check out the threads on Paul over my favorite local blog, http://www.renodiscontent.com to see what I mean.

  3. 4

    SF_guy(RET) spews:

    Fox would not hire you. That being said you have stated the answer to your own issue, Immigration/”War on Drugs” similarity.
    When Ron Paul says he does not want to reward illegal immigrants he (IMO) refers to welfare subsidies (education, medical care-on this I have first hand knowledge of Border Guards being forced to “protect, house, and care for” drug addicts, seriously ill {90 days+} ILLEGAL persons that have gained access to this country); that is different than persecuting RECOGNIZED, CONTRIBUTING citizens for their personal choices (be they NO reading, excess fried food, tobacco usage, or even the “hard stuff”).
    An individual that has been born on this soil should never be attacked in any form for ANY non violent personal choice; a person that enters this country legally with the intention of building a home/life here deserves the same respect; expatriated persons (mercenary citizenship, if you will) is another matter. Our present political climate demands equality for these people based on humanism (which I am glad to recognize); governmental (i.e. financial) acknowledgment should not be condoned.
    The businesses that encouragement illegal immigration (in part because of the other issues DC thrusts upon them) are as much responsible (if not the the primary cause) as Washington.
    In short, if I want to have a job, own a home, spend money into my town, and smoke weed- that is my concern.
    If Washington wants to grant blanket citizenship to anyone that can get “over the wire” (while they would throw ME in jail) there is a the PROBLEM.
    CITIZENS are the committed members that MAKE a society, not those that are rewarded by its creation.

  4. 5

    spews:

    Hey not correct;

    You are a double looney.

    If you don’t like the U.S. Constitution, you can lobby 38 states to have it ammended legally, rather than just have your crazy ideas rammed down our throats.

    Here is how you ammend the Constitution:

    Article V

    “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/con.....iclev.html

    Now lets go through your “ideas”:

    the energy policy of the US (let prices go up until we have a crisis and then the free market might take over – but don’t plan for the future (oops, that is the curent policy too)).

    [The US Military uses 10% of our nations oil, driving up the cost because of higher demand.]

    endangered species

    [This is caused by population growth. There are 300 million people in the USA, compared to only a few million 200 years ago.

    US defense (we don’t need no defense)

    [Ron Paul supports national defense, not national offense. He will bring our troops home. We have the 2nd ammendment, so we cannot be invaded. That’s how we won the War of 1812 with no standing army against the world’s greatest empire.]

    the banking crisis (let the banks dupe anyone they want to)

    [Fiat currency caused the banking crisis. Paul supports hard money.]

    the consolidation of media

    [The media is already consolidated because special interest laws have warped our legislative process. Five corporations control 90% of the media market. These five corporations all oppose Ron Paul.]

    the consolidation of corporations (robber barons – so what)

    [If people want to buy and sell corporations, so what. If Ron Paul is so pro-corporation, why do all the giant corporations support Hillary, Obama, and Ghouliani?]

    monopolies (let coporations do what they want)

    [Show me a monopoloy that does not have government protection.]

    poisonous toys from china (no need for consumer protection)

    [poisonous toys are already illegal, and you con rectify damages in the criminal or civil courts.]

    bad drugs (no need for an FSA)

    [no need for the war on drugs either]

  5. 6

    eltone spews:

    Ron Paul is like a breath of fresh air to his supporters and a crazy man to his opponents. But he gets my vote. if for nothing else than to end this really crazy so called war on drugs. What a corrupted prejudice nazi like approach to a problem.

  6. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In any debate about federalism and/or states’ rights, a distinction must be made between what the federal government CAN do (i.e., the reach of its powers) and what it SHOULD do.

    Courts should not be in the business of making public policy. Their role is to define the boundary between federal and state power. If marijuana should be legalized for medical use, that is more of a question for Congress than the Supreme Court, to decide. The only question for the Court is whether the power to regulate drugs is reserved to the states, and to the extent marijuana crosses international or state boundaries to reach the consumer, the answer clearly is no.

  7. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Ron Paul is not qualified to be president because he is an idealogue. That job requires principled pragmatism, which is not by a long shot the same thing. Bush is a good example of how badly things get fucked up when dogmatism trumps practical problem solving in the highest seat of government.

  8. 9

    spews:

    you’ve gone down the rabbit hole, Roger.

    Ron Paul campaigns like a Jeffersonian idealogue.

    But once in the White House, he will govern like a principled pragmatic Madisonian.

  9. 10

    busdrivermike spews:

    I will take him over Hillary, and I bet a bunch of left leaning voters will too. THAT is why the “so called liberal left” is so worried about Ron Paul….he is a Republican who can win the presidency.

  10. 11

    eugene spews:

    Discussing the Ron Paul campaign is fairly simple to me. Do we believe that because Republicans and Bush have misused government, that the government tools they misused should be abolished? If you say yes, you’re going to look upon Paul favorably.

    If you say no – that the problem was the abuse, not that government had certain powers, and that the solution here is more openness, more respect for the Constitution, but also more democracy, more public involvement with their government – then you’re going to look upon Paul unfavorably.

    Most people do not really understand Ron Paul. He wants to take America back to the 1830s, to a time when government never did anything to try and help anyone or promote any economic activity. He wants to roll back not just the New Deal, not just the Progressive Era, but even the Whigs’ American System of the 1840s. To Ron Paul, your fate in life will be determined by your wealth. If you have it, you’re set. If you don’t, well, sucks to be you.

    Government’s role in providing for opportunity is what created the 20th century middle class. If you disliked that, then by all means, support Ron Paul. But if you believe that government can be used for good purposes, when it is run openly and democratically, run as far away from Ron Paul as possible.

    He’s really just a garden variety libertarian, with all the sense of white privilege that entails.

  11. 12

    correctnot right spews:

    Madison:
    sorry – you make no sense at all. Just because you are a Ron Paul fan you still need a cogent argument – not just off-the cuff misinterpretations.

    Facts are:

    while population growth is a problem for endangered species Ron Paul is not going to cut our population back to 200 million and clear cutting and environmental destruction are limited best by federal government intervention. Under Ron Paul we would have no intervention and would lose many more species including salmon.

    Banking crisis: Hard money is no answer to bad loans, duplicitous practices and ripping off consumers with usurous rates – ron paul fails here too.

    A monopoly that does not have government protection – read your history of the robber barons – it took government supprression of monopolies to stop them. Ron would take away the tools to stop coporate gouging and unfair practices.

    Poisonous toys: the courts are too late – thats why we have thnigs like the FDA, the FEC and other government agencies. The problem with them is the republican cronyism and disdain for government function.

    Do you want to sue after your kids get poisoned or have the government check the quality of toys, meat, vegetables for us? the Ron Paul solution is plain stupid – wait and sue???Hahahahah

    by bad drugs I am talking about no limits on the drug companies for prescription drugs – see, simplistic answers to the wrong questions don’t work…

  12. 13

    correctnot right spews:

    @11: eugene:
    Excellent summary of Ron Paul. Government – especially the federal government – is something to shoot and kill for libertarians (gee, sounds like Reagan, who created the largest budget deficits in history until GWB).

    Just because the republicans have tried to strangle government with corruption and ineptness isn’t a good reason to take it out back and shoot it. A lot of these “so-called libertarians” start backtracking real fast when you take out a piece of government that they happen to like.

  13. 14

    correctnot right spews:

    @5: Madison
    If you are so concerned about the constitution why haven’t I heard anything from you about:

    Presidential signing statements
    habeus corpus
    illegal searches without probable cause
    torture
    lying by the attorney general

    You should be turning over in your grave.

  14. 15

    SF_guy(RET) spews:

    before this becomes a sounding board for the “paultards” and/or “neocons” could we respect the issue that gave us this board and discuss it?
    as entertainingly american as it is to hurl insults rather than ideas lets play on task
    a person put out an idea/issue that person gave us this blog for our comments can we (as humans) respect that person and keep our ideas to the matter at immigration and the war on drugs
    and if you cant do it for the writer do it for one of the people that inspires that yellow ribbon?

    on second thought, dont. dont have a issue contained argument with both sides presenting ideas. dont discuss our similarities and differences. better yet, dont talk, insult, call names, be children regress to grade school, let yourself get childish (as opposed to childlike-as in curiosity and wonder)
    both sides of “the paul” have at least one thing in common–the playground

  15. 16

    spews:

    Interesting article but I think that people do not have right context to understand what Dr. Paul’s grassroots support is and why people are flocking to his banner. The Ron Paul Revolution may be more accurate that people realize. I would argue that Dr. Paul’s grassroots support may be in fact the first Information Age militia(i.e. using information as weapons). They are using Network Centric Operations principles to organize and fight with (i.e. swarming). Something to think about. Take a look at my blog for a deeper analysis.

  16. 17

    isabelita spews:

    Blah, blah, blah – Ron Paul is a fascist white man. Dennis Kucinich is too, in some lights. Both may as well be Republicans.
    What the fuck is wrong with you apologists? Oh, right. You’re all male.

  17. 19

    michael spews:

    @Lee,

    “Against possibly my better judgement here…”

    Actually, this is one of the better posts on HA in the last couple of months and exactly the sort of thing I look to blogs to provide.

  18. 20

    Bob spews:

    You heard it here first. Paul/Kucinich in 2008.

    If the name of the blog is Horse’s Ass, shouldn’t the comment section be called “Dump your load here”?

  19. 21

    spews:

    Paul is not popular, he has raised some money. The two are quite different. Popularity is measured by opinion polls, not fund raising or internet spam bots. See here Paul is hovering around 5% and has been for a while.

  20. 23

    Braodway Joe spews:

    The closest Ron Paul will get to the White House will if and when they start giving tours again. But his eventual third-party campaign will further divide the right, even more so if the Dobsonites bolt at the nomination of Rudito Mussoweenie (Giuliani) and field their own candidate.

    Decision ’08: The Year They Paint The White House Blue.

  21. 24

    skagit spews:

    Some very interesting analysis but Goldstein’s wrong on two points:

    War on drugs is not synonymous with war on illegals and a policy of prohibition will not necessarily reap the same results. Nothing is ever so simple.

    Most people supporting Paul haven’t a clue about who he really is or what he would do. They like his “refreshing” integrity. He is clear spoken and people are begging for some honesty and simplilcity in government.

    That’s it in a nutshell. Sorry.

    But, you are a good writer, Goldstein.

  22. 25

    matt spews:

    But on immigration he isnt a nut and saying we should round them up and deport them. He seems more upset at the fact that someone who crosses a border illegally is given government services that the Americans tax payers money goes to. Should I have to pay for education, welfare, and healthcare for illegal immigrants. Ron Paul understands economics, and in economics the basic principle is consumer or producer actions are driven by incentive. Why are we offering incentives for illegal immigrants to come here if we don’t want them to come. Everyone, even the democrats accknowlaedge that illegal immegration isnt a good thing. So why at the same time provide incentive for them to come. Also I feel in the long run, Ron Pauls policies would be good for mexico. When your hardest workers are fleeing the country and comming to America it will never be good for your country. When most of the wealth is held a small percentage of the population, you dont want people fleeing the country, you want a revolution.

  23. 26

    Paddy Mac spews:

    Great post, one of the best essays I have read anywhere in a long time.

    Just to clarify: the racists used “states’ rights” as code for ignorning the Fourteenth Amendment, which had made citizens out of former slaves. Unreconstructed Dixiecrats like Sens. Thurmond, Helms, and Lott (yeah, he’s probably too young to be considered a true Dixiecrat, but play along here) never admitted the Fourteenth Amendment existed. Federalism got redefined in the Civil War, when the Union gained the power to shoot back at rebellious states. Anyone who doubts the federal government has the (a) power and (b) obligation to protect the rights of the citizen AGAINST the power of the state wherein he resides doubts the outcome of our Civil War.

    The problem, as Rep. Paul and Lee note, is when a state claims that, for example, citizens have the option of using certain medications, and the federal government makes “war” on that right. The Fourteenth Amendment in no way allows this, and the one experiment in amending the Constitution on this point failed, so miserably and so obviously, that it was repealed within two decades. The Supreme Court’s claim of federal supremacy via the interstate commerce clause does not even pass the giggle test, as some unknown amount of marijuana is grown for local distribution.

    As for our current occupation of Iraq, the various Presidents of United States have signed certain treaties, and our Senate has ratified them, strictly per our Constitution. At least one of these treaties defines warfare not in the national defense (“national defense” is defined broadly; we can engage in a pre-emptive strike against a real threat to ourselves or our allies) as criminal aggression. Others of these treaties mandate the treatment we must give to persons we capture on battlefields, or otherwise come to detain. (Note also that our Fourth Amendment does not specify citizens; it prohibits illegal search and seizure against anyone.) Our current Adminstration has repeatedly, willfully, and knowlingly violated these treaties, and thus has turned the United States into a criminal entity, vulernable both to international legal action and military response. (A country with a legitimate fear of American attack could attack us in pre-emptive defense.) The issue here is “limited government”, as in, “do any legal limits of any kind restrain the United States?” Our current administration has responded with many clear and unambiguous “no”s to that question. Anyone who believes in any limits at all on a nation-state’s ability to act can feel the appeal of Rep. Paul’s strong answer, a clear “yes”. Whether we agree with any of his other positions is another matter. On the issue of several limits to federal power, Rep. Paul is clearly on the correct side of the law (not to mention common sense; the Aussies just dumped our last major ally from office).

    Please note that several of Rep. Paul’s rivals for the Presidency hold offices, offices which would allow them to confront our Administration’s clear and consistent breaking of treaties and laws. That neither Sen. Clinton nor Sen. Obama has chosen to uphold our Constitution fuels Rep. Paul’s candidacy; thus, the politically expedient (and legally correct) course of action lies open to each of them. They can damage his candidacy by acting to uphold our Constitution, our treaties, and our laws. Rep. Paul’s continued appeal, at least on the issue of our illegal occupation of another country, rests on the repeated failure of certain federal officers to uphold their oaths of office.

  24. 28

    spews:

    I have a lot of respect for Dr. Paul. Unfortunately his ideas won’t work in today’s world. Compared to the corrupt dishonest bloodthirsty cowards in the White House at this time, he would be a step forward though.

    I wonder how much his supporters will follow him, when they realize what life in his dream world would be like. Every man for himself. (The Stone Age)

    Let the corporations rape and pillage all they want. If you get hurt sue them, if you don’t die first.

    Dr. Paul evidently hasn’t read much about how our founding fathers feared corporate power, and what they wrote about it.

    What is the saddest fact is Dr. Paul really believes this crap. I respect him for telling it like he sees it, even though most people understand the need for things like Social Security, which he doesn’t seem to.

    At least he is not a two faced liar like the rest of the GOP field, looking to kill as many innocent people as possible to appear “strong” or some other crap.

  25. 29

    spews:

    If you don’t like Ron Paul, then chances are you need to learn how this country was intended to work, and more importantly how a democratic republic is supposed to work.

    Every time someone complains about Ron Paul, it is because they are distorting his views. You do not understand how government works, you for some odd reason believe that the federal government is the only branch of government who can do things. That just isn’t the case at all. The reason Ron Paul has the support he has, is because of people like me, who understand government, politics and how it works.

    Because a Republic we have is meant to work on multiple levels, many layers to best handle the diversity of our country. The federal government is limited to protect only the specific rights given to the citizens by the constitution. The 10th amendment says this specifically, that is in your Bill of Rights. Any jobs not specifically given to the federal government are passed down to the states. There is good reason for this, look at my blog for more information. The constitution does in fact work for all political parties, the democrat party for the past 50+ years has abandoned the constitution, and thats a shame. Of course, the republican party isn’t any better either. Ron Paul is change.

    The majority of power was given to the state governments. This is to help meet the diversity of the people, and more importantly, the federal government is supposed to be a check on those powers. The federal government is supposed to watch over the state governments to insure they don’t step on peoples rights. Now the federal government has taken to these jobs themselves, and as we have in our current government – we have no checks.

    You think Ron Paul is against this, you see Ron Paul as anti-this, anti-that. Which is what points out to me that you don’t understand how the government is supposed to work. As if you did understand how the government worked, you’d realize he is only saying – this is not a function of the federal government. As per the 10th amendment, these functions would automatically be passed to the state governments and down to the individuals if the states don’t pick them up.

    So, you see Ron Paul as being against public education. Not true at all. 0% truth to that. He is merely against a federal education system. If you let states handle the issue, you have 50 separate programs, all trying new things. When a state does something bad, that doesn’t work it’s only that 1 state that suffers. Like wise when a state finds somethign new that works well, the other states can easily add what works. Again, the 50 programs allow for the most innovation, changes and produce the best programs in the long run, compared to federal programs that have the entire country suffering through people like GWB, and not allowed to try new ideas. Even worse, the federal elections are less frequent, and your 1 vote means much less.

    Therefore those who are against Ron Paul fall into 2 categories generally IMO. The first being people who directly benefit from the current establishment. Afterall, someone gets the contracts on these jobs. The other is simply people who do not understand the constitution and how government is supposed to work. Which to be honest, isn’t exactly your fault, as you have likely NEVER been told the things I am telling you now. But now you do know!

    The above can apply to any issue. Deciding 1 program for the entire country is just a basically flawed concept and has lead to a huge decline in our country. It’s time to fix that, and Ron Paul is the only candidate who will do this.

    I am personally a libertarian. Which means I am not even in favor of state programs exactly. I do think state programs are a step in the right direction, as 50 programs working to solve issues is better than 1. However, I personally like to take that even further and let local communities handle it, and then rather than 50 programs, you have 1000’s of programs individually working to solve the problems and issues. It is the best way to solve problems.

    Ron Paul is about 1 thing. Returning the power to the people. Consider your 1 vote in a federal election. Look at how many people you are voting with. Your 1 vote means not so much. I lived in the south, and because the state is so republican, my vote meant very little as the majority of the state would vote republican, and because of that my vote ended up republican on the general election. You are only allowed to vote every 4 years for change. Meanwhile, on your state election, your 1 vote means alot more. Your 1 vote makes up a larger % of the total votes, and you get to vote for change every 2 years. And again, you can take that even further to your local community, which has more frequent elections, and your 1 vote is even more of a % of the total votes.

    Because your 1 vote carries a greater % of the election, and because they happen more often, this puts the power over your life more into your hands. And that is what Ron Paul stands for. In the end, Ron Paul will tell you – I do not want to decide for you. He is about returning the power to the people, and that is something everyone can support, no matter what your political stances.

    And that is the Ron Paul Phenomenon – Power to the people, and that is why the establishment is so much against him, and why they feel he is a threat. I encourage you to ask yourself who can do the best job of managing your life, you or some lawyers who are known liars who will say anything to get elected, while taking backroom deals with lobbyist. Their worse nightmare is for the people to want their power back.

  26. 30

    SF_guy(RET) spews:

    “kook” “loon” “outdated” “impractical” and of course my favorite “moonbat”
    it has been 6mo since RP came in (on a pair of ducks?); the climate with regard to the GOP in nearly comatose-something, anything resembling its former glory is an appeal

    in case no one has watched the “appeal” of candidates over the last dozen years:
    Bush played the same “Bubba” card that Hillary is trying to
    use—just like Bill did (many faces of an idea, but always
    the same-an alternative)
    Bush against the Clintonite/DemoS; Clinton against the standard
    In case no one is watching MSM (I only view youtube), they have grown RESPECTFUL of RP some even calling his points NECESSARY, and now “would you take the #2 spot”.
    How has he gotten so far?
    With your help.
    Continue.
    Kook. Loon. Antiquated. Impractical.
    don’t stop
    As the nation moves forward, those descriptions only become more appealing to the average citizen/non-voter (HALF of the voting public doesn’t vote), causing more people to find out about the man (half the populace has still not heard of him).
    Moonbat?
    Please more.
    Unfit in a modern world (consider the move toward more basic times–weekend getaways in a cabin, isolated boats, and yes a homecooked meal with the help of Rachel Ray). The campaign requires you more than me.
    I call it a Hegelian Zeitgeist.
    I love detractors.
    Anyone want a cup of TEA?

  27. 31

    spews:

    @29 You know why a Libertarian should never be president? If we have an outbreak, we want our government to work as good as humanly possible.

    Ron Paul is a Republiconvict. He should be sitting in prison as an accessory to the Bush Crime Family as far as I am concerned, with all other Republiconvicts. He is part of an organized criminal enterprise, at every level. From election fraud to profiteering like we’ve never seen before. Crony corrupt capitolism, at it’s worst.

    As long as he is running as a Republiconvict, I will look at him as a common criminal. Just like every single other Republiconvict.

    By the way, I read his website. A lot of good fluff. Not one single answer to the problems we face today. All fluff, no plan. Having corporations run everything in America sounds about as good as Hitler’s ovens did to the Jews……

    I’m just sayin’…..

    So if I don’t like Ron Paul, it means I don’t understand government? I think that if you like Ron Paul, it is because you don’t understand anything. The problem is not too much government, it is the fact that the rule of law does not apply, and hasn’t applied since Bush’s inauguration. This criminal gang has, through intimidation, and control of the press, burned the constitution Dr. Paul keeps squawking about. Shredded it. The only problem America has, is the lack of prosecution of the animals in the White House.

  28. 32

    spews:

    Again, you assume that the federal government is the only branch of government. Simply not true. Did you actually read what I wrote? And then you resort to name calling, first sign you have no real response. I mean you looking at the letter behind the mans name rather than his record and what he says pretty much says it all, so much for the facts supporting your position.

    Look at all the regulations we get, and that comes from lobbyist. You blame all corporations and businesses, for the actions of a few. Government regulations hurt small businesses and smaller corporations MORE than they hurt the bigger corporations. This is why all the regulations and such are lobbied. If they create a tax on operating systems that says you had to pay a certain tax. The smaller company is going to have a harder time paying those taxes and keep up with those regulations. Meanwhile, a big corporation like Microsoft has no trouble paying and doing those things, because they are such a big company. All the while these regulations are said to hurt the big companies, and that just isn’t reality as has shown. The big corporations keep getting bigger and the smaller competition is getting bought out, which returns the majority of the customers to the bigger corporation and overall the big corporations win out, as is apparent in todays world.

    I mean who do you think pays the lobbyists? Corporations. They spin it for the good, and make profit. Ez money.

    Just take a look at what they are doing wanting to give all kids “free” medication. Sounds great huh, like they are doing something good. On the surface, yes. But behind the scenes you must realize that the companies supplying the medication are behind it and benefitting. Why? Because it’s not actually free, the taxpayers pay for it, and as such the corporation makes more money. The more pills they can shove down your kids throats, the more money they make.

    Same thing with universal healthcare. You wanna know how that will end up if it works? Everyone will get crappy “free” healthcare, while paying alot more in taxes. Meanwhile, the rich will have their own paid for healthcare, that is much better. And you’ll still be arguing saying “oh, they just need someone good in there”. Because it’s a scam.

    It’s not hard to see why it looks so good. If you imagine yourself as being the leader, then you would say – oh look I can do good. But that just a false sense of reality. You aren’t in charge, you aren’t getting in charge, you are giving that control to someone else, and hoping like hell they do what they say. And of course, 4-8 years later, another politician comes along and says oh this sucks, we will change it, we will make it better. And of course what that really just means is “We will spend more money”, of course, just what they corporations who get that money want to hear.

    All the while our services continue to decline. As when the government takes over these things, you basically automatically hand over a monopoly to the corporation to handle the job. Even if it’s just buying supplies, a corporation somewhere is going to get that money. Meanwhile, the companies that don’t get the big government contracts struggle under the same regulations. It’s unavoidable. What is avoidable is giving a few people so much power and control. And that is done by returning the power to the people.

    So corporations DO run everything today. And they will continue to under any of the other candidates. They did so under Reagan, they did so under Bush1, they did so under Clinton etc. People understand this, people want change, that is why Ron Paul has the support he does. Because we are tired of.

  29. 33

    SF_guy(RET) spews:

    Government has no competition, only a monopoly (how many governments can a nation have after all?).
    Every FINANCIAL aspect the government has legislated (long before BUSH-see HMO under Nixon, and sign me DOWN for HIllaryCare) has been eventually managed by corporations, not because of GOP/DemoS mindset, but because of money, and its appeal to politicians. LOBBYISTS have been writing DC laws for decades, and decentralization of that would BE VERY COSTLY to any faceless entity.
    Manage at the source of difficulty, before is arises, and efficiency is commonplace.

  30. 34

    spews:

    @33 I take it you are not sick? Sign me down for “Hillary Care”? If you were sick, you would be crying your eyes out at the $250,000 hospital bill, while they were auctioning off your house, after garnishing your wages.

    I take it you support Kucinich Care?

    @32 Kucinich’s turd would make a better president than any of the Republiconvicts. Dr. Paul included. Has anyone asked Dr. Paul if he would support impeachment? If he is not calling for impeachment (just like every other candidate isn’t, afraid of the 3rd rail I assume) then all his bs is just bs. He squawks about the constitution, but, unlike Kucinich, does nothing to stop the criminal behavior.

    To tell you the truth, I don’t know what it would take to make our government serve the people, instead of the top 1%, and the fortune 500. I just don’t think Dr. Paul’s fantasies about good government could ever be applied.

    The only thing worse than a government program, is the private sector doing the same thing, with half the service, for twice the price. Just look at what happened at Walter Reed if you need proof.

    http://desertbeacon.blogspot.c.....tract.html

  31. 36

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Lee, you rarely post a boneheaded comment, but this one is a doozy.

    Ron Paul is a lunatic.

    The fact that he is true to his ‘deeply held convictions’ does not absolve his lunacy. When you get out into the far zany political ether on either far, far, side of the ideological spectrum where oxygen levels are low, you have to realize you are in the land of Oz (you know, the land where both nazis and PL’ers oppose the war in Iraq because it aids the international jewish banker conspiracy, the 16th amendment was adopted illegally, slavery was good for blacks, and Lyndon LaRouch is an unquestioned genius).

    I urge you to wear proper protective equipment the next time you splash around in these weird waters, and tread a lot more carefully than you did in this post.

  32. 37

    correctnot right spews:

    @32: Badmedia says:

    “Look at all the regulations we get, and that comes from lobbyist. You blame all corporations and businesses, for the actions of a few. Government regulations hurt small businesses and smaller corporations MORE than they hurt the bigger corporations. This is why all the regulations and such are lobbied”

    So the solution to bad government is….no government? let the big corporations do whatever they want? Bring us back to monopolies and the robber barons? Is that what you are trying to say? Say good-bye to all small businesses then…

    What we really need to do is to take lobbyists money out of politics – no private corporations should give to politicians. We should publicly finance elections and limit the airtime politicains get.

    The republicans had the K street project with Abramoff, they designed it to limit all lobbyists to the republican party.

    Why is RP running as a republican if he is against big corporations and lobbyists?

    the bottom line on ron Paul is how he would fix the problems we have. When directly asked he blathers on about the free market. His website contains lots of verbiage but little actual answers to the problems we have.

    Health care – free market

    Every other major industrialized country on earth has a public health care system. Ron Paul wants to go back to the frontier.

    the environment: free market, states

    Sorry – there needs to be an effective national policy. a patchwork of states do not work for the national environment.

    Energy: Free market

    there is no free market in energy now – how would RP fix this…nothing.

    Antitrust: We have a federal antitrust law since the days of the robber barons – ron Paul would get rid of it.

    so – sorry, little ron Paul supporters who are upset that he is actually being examined here – he is out of touch, can’t answer some basic questions and so maybe I shouldn’t call him a loony juist because of that – instead:

    how about unable to explain what he would do to fix the problems in america – just incoherent and unqualified.

    Except he pretends to have answers and does not….so that qualifies as loony.

    If you RP supporters don’t like it – then explain how RP will deal with these problems in a coherent way. by the way, just saying free market or states rights doesn’t cut it…that is not an explanation. that is a preesciption for making things worse.

  33. 38

    spyder spews:

    very interesting~~ but not quite right… as Arte Johnson would say:

    Perhaps all of this would benefit from some of the discussion by actual libertarian philosophers and thinkers who have surprising reservations about Ron Paul. Between: Positive Liberty, Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Jon Rowe’s blog, Timothy Sandefur’s home page blog, Jason Kuznicki’s blog, etc. and so forth–you have a fairly complete review of Paul’s positions and thoughts compared with the objectivist and libertarian formulations by these scholars. What emerges is a stunning concern for Paul’s affiliation with right-wing xTian extremists (possibly the basis of Neiwert’s issues) who advocate for the development of theocratic communities around the country. That is not a good thing, unless of course you are a member of such a group.

  34. 39

    spews:

    Hear ya,
    I was born and raised in mississippi. I am a white male. The issue of States Rights has nothing to do with slaverey or segregation with me. I want the power in this country to be focused more at local and state levels. Where people actually have a chance to change it. Washington has become the focal point of all power – it’s gained too much authority and is a bad idea in my opinion.

  35. 40

    Dilema in NH spews:

    Braodway Joe says:
    “Decision ‘08: The Year They Paint The White House Blue.”

    This is very serious and very true. The question I ask myself is this. Do I, who might pull a lever for Rudy/Mitt etc, really want to live with Hilary or any other Democrats for the next 4 – 8 years. Ron Paul supporters will not go vote for Rudy or Mitt (the South voting block will not be too happy with them either) Can the Republican Party really believe that their base will vote for these “non-conservatives”? I’d like to have other Rudy and Mitt supporters respond to this. The way I see it, we need to think really hard and long. We also need to look in the mirror and ask in reality can either of these two candidate possibly get the electoral College without the Western and Southern base coming out to vote. I personally do not believe so (2006 is the proof – NH, KS, NM got slaughtered in Fed/State elections that year). Next if this is true… and I think that Ron Paul could beat Hilary … I’d rather have Ron Paul then a socialist. I’m leaning towards Ron Paul in the Primary … I can always vote for the Rep. in the general if Ron Paul doesn’t get it. Other opinions?

  36. 41

    spews:

    How can Paul attract such diverse crowds as “racists” and “liberals”?

    Because PEOPLE who support Paul UNDERSTAND what he is trying to do: Restore our Constitutional Republic. This way, it doesn’t matter “who’s on top”. EVERYONE’S Contitutional Rights will be protected.