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Texas Republican Ron Paul’s quixotic quest for the White House has received a surprising amount of sympathetic coverage in the main stream press lately. A recent St. Anselm poll showing Paul polling 7% in New Hampshire, ahead of Thompson and Huckabee, raised a lot of eyebrows (yet the 5 other polls taken within the last month showing him in 6th place are generally ignored). Despite rarely registering above 1% in national polls, Paul raised $5 million in the 3rd quarter, almost matching the $6 million raised by the man who nearly won the GOP nomination in 2000. His campaign is driven by an internet-based cult following composed largely of young people. Even more startling is the attention and support he’s drawing from liberals.

On the surface, this following makes perfect sense. He’s against the war, favors abolishing the Patriot Act and restoring civil liberties, supports legalizing medical marijuana, funding stem cell research, while opposing torture and capital punishment. Yet this is all the main stream media seems to focus on when discussing Ron Paul, which might help to explain why so many people still take him semi-seriously.

Here’s what news stories on Paul generally neglect to mention:

Ron Paul wants to abolish Federal Reserve Bank and the income tax, which as the Politico notes are “issues widely viewed as settled since their creation in 1913”. Similarly antiquated is his support for abandoning the fiat currency system in favor of tying the value of currency to gold and silver and repealing the 17th Amendment. Yes, you read that right: Ron Paul wants to take away the right to vote for Senators directly, one of the landmark democratic achievements of the progressive era, and give it back to state legislatures.

Oh, and by the way, he also would like to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, the Food and Drug Administration, Medicare, Veterans Administration hospitals, and welfare, while pulling out of NAFTA, the WTO, and the United Nations. But who’s going to miss any of those things?

Other parts of his platform read like they were authored by a conspiracy theorist:

“H.R. 1146 would end our membership in the United Nations, protecting us from their attempts to tax our guns or disarm us entirely.”

“NAFTA’s superhighway is just one part of a plan to erase the borders between the U.S. and Mexico, called the North American Union. This spawn of powerful special interests, would create a single nation out of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, with a new unelected bureaucracy and money system. Forget about controlling immigration under this scheme.”

“Both the WTO and CAFTA could force Americans to get a doctor’s prescription to take herbs and vitamins.”

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in order to comply with standards dictated by supra-national organizations such as the UN‘s World Food Code (CODEX), NAFTA, and CAFTA, has been assuming greater control over nutrients, vitamins and natural health care providers to restrict your right to choose the manner in which you manage your health and nutritional needs.”

It’s not that I’m seriously worried about a President Ron Paul. True libertarians cannot win national elections because Americans are inspired by candidates who promise to DO things, not restrain, cut back, and downsize. While Paul can continue to delude himself saying “the majority of Americans are with me”, the bloated federal government that he is so appalled by came about for a reason – the people demanded federal action to solve problems.

The Ron Paul ‘movement’ is based largely on ignorance of his true extremism.


Rach C said...

i was, no joke, just thinking TODAY on the metro about how much better life would be if we repealed the 17th amendment.

it actually makes sense in a kind of weird, twisted way-- reduces the need to constantly campaign. running direct statewide elections are VERY expensive.

just think about it.

Jack said...

Getting rid of the 17th amendment probably wouldn't actually change anything. State law complies with the 17th amendment so all getting rid of the amendment would do is give state legislatures the ability to change the law and appoint senators in other ways. But I imagine any attempt to arrest the popular election of senators would be met with huge resistance.

If we did return to legislatorial appointment I think a few citizen directed insitutions would arise to keep the legislature accountable but it would still be a really anti-democratic system-- though probably not as bad as it was before.