There's something about this Ron Paul guy.
And I'm not just talking about the fact that he is currently third in raising funds. I'm not just talking about the fact that he wins straw polls left and right, often by a huge margin. (81% in my home state of Alabama (2nd place was 5%), and 28% in my current state of Maryland (2nd place was 24%), to name just two examples).
I guess what I'm talking about is the fact that his message seems to resonate with so many people.
Let me say up front that I am a Mike Gravel supporter. But I want to give an honest rundown of Ron Paul, so that everyone can see what I see whenever I hear about him, which seems to happen more and more often lately.
The one thing that shines through about Ron Paul is his sincerity. He has very strong opinions, and his votes on the hill never deviate from them. One thing that he is very strong about is his absolute refusal to vote on any measure that he believes the constitution does not authorize the congress to oversee, even if he is in fact in favor of hatever that measure is trying to address. The man is a constitutionalist, through and through, and he has stood up against special interests and lobbyists of all kinds throughout his tenure. In fact, it is so well known that he remains true to his core beliefs that few lobbyists even bothered to try with him, at least up until his presidential campaign got up to speed.
Many times, looking at congressional voting records is difficult, as there are almost always extenuating circumstances with different bills. But not so with Ron Paul; his voting record is clean as the driven snow.
He has NEVER:
- voted to raise taxes
- voted for a budget that wasn't balanced
- voted to raise congressional pay
- voted for a bill that he believed was contrary to the constution, including any and all bills restricting gun ownership of any kind, and any bill that would have granted the executive power additional powers
- In addition, he voted against the Patriot Act.
- He voted against regulating the internet.
- He voted against the Iraq war.
Furthermore, he is one of the most active congressmen I've ever seen. When compared to any other single member of congress, he has introduced the most pieces of legislation, though to be honest, not many are able to get through, due to his unwillingness to work 'behind the scenes' and participate in quid pro quo policies.
In short, Ron Paul is honest, decent, and truthfully believes in his convictions. It is rare to see such a person running for President. It is even rarer to see them actually starting to do really well, as Dr. Paul is.
His foriegn policy is very similar to Mike Gravel's. He wants to pull our troops out, not just from Iraq, but from most everywhere else, too. To quote Mike Gravel on a point that Ron Paul agreed with: "Policing the world is just their way of enforcing our American empire."
Ron Paul's ideas on free trade are quite confusing. He is libertarian, yet... Ron Paul believes that free trade deals and world governmental trade organizations like ICC, NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and CAFTA are bad for our nation. To quote Dr. Paul: "We must withdraw from any organizations and trade deals that infringe upon the freedom and independence of the United States of America."
Ron Paul also strongly believes in privacy, even though he does not agree that constitution has a privacy clause in it. He's against a national ID card, against the use of a social security number in the private sector (he wants it to be gov't only), against letting medical insurance companies see your medical info, against the current US law that notifies the US gov't wheneveryou deposit $10k or more into a bank, etc.
He is also strongly against birthright citizenship. "As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong." And Dr. Paul believes that removing incentives is the only way to properly enforce laws.
He is for what he calls 'health freedom', which he describes is your ability to take care ofyour health the way you best see fit. This includes a move against the FDA, possibly to the point of shutting them down, and an opposition of any bill that would require US citizens to be immunized from any disease, such as the recent HR 5005 that authorized the forced vaccination of American citizens against small pox.
He is very strongly pro-life, as he was a practicing medical doctor for many years, and delivered many babies himself.
He is even more stringently against taxation, wanting to minimize taxes to the extreme. He wants to abolish the IRS and replace it with NOTHING. He points out that the loss of income tax will bring our national income level to about where it was in 2000. He thinks that cutting spending to that level shouldn't be that difficult. He also wants to start backing every dollar with something physical, so that the US gov't has to stop taking loans out by printing more money. He is an extreme fiscal conservative.
He wants to eliminate social security for all younger people, and yet still pay out top dollar to those depending on it, as well as actually increasing what they receive, because he believes that all taxes on social security income should be immediately repealed. This would be paid for by reducing the military.
I could go on and on. But you get the idea. His issues are pretty straightforward, and he believes in them all fairly strongly.
There are a number of things that I disagree with. But the weird part is... If he were president, most of this stuff he'd never be able to implement. And the stuff that he would be able to implement is stuff I basically agree with.
So, in a weird way, I almost wouldn't mind if he were president.
Please don't get me wrong; I support Mike Gravel. And I think removing the FDA is just as ludicrous as his consistent voting record to allow citizens to legally handle submachine guns. But I have to hand to it to him that at least he's consistent. And when you think about it, only congress has the authority to deal with gun legislation. Only congress has the authority to deal with birthright citizenship. Only congress has the authority to back the dollar. And since Ron Paul is so sincere, I cannot imagine that he would use the executive branch to subvert his own ideals in order to bring those policies into place. No, if he were president, these insane ideas that I wholeheartedly think are stupid would never come into play at all.
On the other hand, everything that I do agree with is stuff that he would then have authority to start realizing: foreign policy, trade agreements, int'l organizations, etc. The only thing, in fact, that he would have power over that I don't immediately like is the possibility of his appointing new supreme court justices. But Ron Paul seems so honest... I can't imagine him appointing anyone that wasn't a strict conservative constitutionalist. And those types of people would never repeal earlier decisions by their own court without overriding need, and so they would not vote to overturn Roe v Wade, for example.
So with Mike Gravel getting beaten back left and right, and with Dennis Kucinich saying incredibly stupid things like "I saw a UFO" on live national television, I'm really starting to think hard about Ron Paul.
And I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet.