Re 2: GOP’s Circular Firing Squad: National (Ron Paul) Edition
A key problem with Ron Paul‘s candidacy, indicative of all his others, was by made clear by the biggest unheralded gaffe in the December 15 Sioux City, Iowa Republican Presidential debate, specifically the mess of an answer that Rep. Paul gave on the earmarks he has requested for his district over his Congressional career…
The real message is you should include in your question also you have never voted once for an earmark.So Rep Paul doesn’t vote for the earmarks he requests, and believes that if everybody followed his example and requested earmarks but didn’t vote for them, the budget would be cut and “there would be no earmarks” — which he apparently believes would be bad, since “congress has an obligation to earmark every penny”. Huh?
No, it’s a principle that I deal with, because if the government takes money from you and you fill out your tax form, you take your deductions. I look at that the same way in our communities. They take our money, they take our highway funds and we have every right to apply for them to come back.
As a matter of fact, it’s a bigger principle for me than that. I think this whole thing is out of control on the earmarks, because I think the congress has an obligation to earmark every penny, not to deliver that power to the executive branch. What happens when you don’t vote for the earmarks it goes in to the slush fund, the executive branch spends the money then you have to grovel to the executive branch and beg and plead and say oh, please return my highway funds to me.
So if this whole principle of budgeting that is messed up, but I never vote, I never voted for an earmark. But I do argue the case for my — the people I represent to try to get their money back if at all possible….
[Intervening question, “isn’t that the same thing of having your cake and eating it too…”]
Yes, but you’re missing the point. I don’t complain about earmarks, because it is the principle of the Congress meeting their obligation. But if everybody did what I did, there would be no earmarks. The budget would be balanced and we’d be cutting about 80 percent of the spending. So that would be the solution.
If a John Kerry or a Joseph Biden offered such a bumbling explanation of their position on a piece of legislation, they would be rightly excoriated for wanting to create an image for voters that did not portray accurately the reality of their governing decisions, and there’s no reason that Rep. Paul deserves any special exemption here. A Ron Paul presidency would not bring the United States governance by a “philosophically consistent libertarian” or even its illusion, because a President Paul would not have the luxury of being able to cast symbolic libertarian-sympathy votes against legislation that he supports for non-libertarian reasons. There is no voting “present” when you are President of the United States.
Ron Paul’s problem is not that he subscribes to some libertarian ideas, or that there’s a media conspiracy against libertarianism. His problem is and has always been the poor choices of compromises and alliances he makes with with non-libertarian and non limited-government quarters, which he (and his followers) want to pretend don’t exist. Two examples — that don’t even bring us to the issue of the newsletters — are his belief (acted upon in the earmark example above) in getting yours from government if you are in a position to do so while minimizing public accountability, and his belief that “world law” might not have allowed him to order the Osama Bin Laden raid, an idea which has nothing to do with libertarianism or limited government. These kinds of choices have justifiably placed Ron Paul on the fringe of what most GOP voters are willing to consider.