Third Party & Independents Archives

Ron Paul the RINO (Thankfully!)

“RINO” is an acronym for “Republican in name only”, and of the major party candidates for the ‘08 presidential race, only Ron Paul stands out as anything outside of the stale norm, and he is much more Libertarian than he is Republican… thankfully!

In 1988, Ron Paul, a doctor from Texas, ran for congress as a Libertarian. Needless to say, with the 'L' behind his name instead of an 'R' or 'D', he did not win. A few years later he decided to run for congress again, except that this time, he put that all-important 'R' behind his name. The result? In 2006 he ran for, and won, his tenth term as a congressman from Texas. What was different from his days as an 'L' and an 'R'? Not much...

Some would say the very fact that Paul switched parties shows that he caved in to the pressure of the two party system and became one of 'them'. But a closer look reveals this to be hog-wash, as, other than that letter behind his name, Ron Paul's political views have not changed one bit, even after serving 20 years inside the beltway... which, all too often, ruins even the most idealistic, fresh, young faces. He is still very much a Libertarian at heart. In fact, a couple of weeks back, Paul appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where Mr. Stewart pointed out that he appears "...to have consistent and principled integrity... Americans don't usually go for that." And isn't that the problem? Maybe that is why Ron Paul has virtually no chance of locking up the nomination.

Last week Mr. Paul appeared on one of my favorite shows, The Colbert Report, to talk about his candidacy for the presidency. When asked about his libertarian-leaning views and whether or not he is a true republican, he responded "I'm a Constitutionalist" to great applause. It amazes me that, in this setting, he gets such great applause for making these statements and backs it up with his 20 year record in congress... yet, when it comes time to decide for whom we will vote, we invariably vote for the same politician we always say we don't like. Stewart said it best when he said, "He (Mitt Romney) strikes me as the republican John Kerry," meaning that he will say and do anything to sound good to potential voters, but when it comes right down to it, he's just another stale politician posing pretty for the cameras. And we vote these people into office time and again...

With Paul's fiscally conservative and socially liberal views, he strikes a lot of people as a self-contradiction. Colbert humorously put it like this:

"You are an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, nestled in a sesame seed bun of mystery."

Colbert was just having a little fun with his guest, but the unfortunate thing is, this is what people think. How can someone like Paul (and myself, for that matter) be against both the Patriot Act (a traditionally Democratic view) and gun control (a traditionally Republican view)? I don't see the contradiction, personally, but I guess many people do... a sesame seed bun of mystery, indeed...

So, Paul as a RINO... maybe that's what we need? The American public has more than demonstrated our love for the two party system as, every two years when we have the chance for nearly complete turnover, we mindlessly go down the list to find either an R or a D, and punch the ballot next to these letters. It's maddening. But... Ron Paul has managed to stay in congress for 20 years as a Libertarian dressed up as a Republican. Maybe we don't need to equally mindlessly search the ballot for L or G candidates, but maybe we need to work within the system and change it from the inside. Listen... I am a somewhat devout Libertarian... and indeed, all other things equal, I will vote L over any other party when casting my vote, and I am certainly not advocating that I or anyone else abandon this strategy. And in addition to this, we need highly principled humans working within the system to try to change it for the better, keeping in mind that once in power, it is hard to actually do the right thing for society instead of oneself... I've always been a bit of a dreamer.

Before I wrap this rant up, a few of my favorite Ron Paul quotes from his appearences on these esteemed daily news shows...

"They're (the rest of the Republican field) not very good conservatives. They talk about spending less and balancing the budgets, but they don't do it."

"We're overseas spreading the message of democracy, but here, if you're in a third party, you have a tough time even getting on the ballot." (sing it loud, brotha!)

"It is dissent from government policies that defines the true patriot and champion of liberty."

"They (republicans in congress) didn't run away from the president and they lost ('06 congressional elections)... I ran away from the president and won."

"The government loves to use the word 'war' because it enhances the power of the government and stifles dissent." (war on poverty, drugs, terrorism, etc.)

"All these wars are just to scare the people in order to give up their liberties and their money."

Posted by Doug Langworthy at June 19, 2007 11:20 PM
Comments
Comment #223530

There is much to be respected about Ron Paul. But, he is not for the majority of the American public due to his opposition to economic safety nets for American workers. He opposes Social Security and Medicare. That will not put him in the White House.

Most Americans believe our government should demonstrate compassion and assistance to citizens who, through no fault of their own, have been wiped out (Katrina), our thrown into circumstances of not being able to provide for themselves (disability or loss of employment).

Ron Paul also believes America should return to a commodity based valuation of money, like the Gold Standard which America threw overboard several decades ago. Ron Paul said on the House Floor:

In fact, Congress’ constitutional mandate regarding monetary policy should only permit currency backed by stable commodities such as silver and gold to be used as legal tender. Therefore, abolishing the Federal Reserve and returning to a constitutional system will enable America to return to the type of monetary system envisioned by our nation’s founders: one where the value of money is consistent because it is tied to a commodity such as gold. Such a monetary system is the basis of a true free-market economy.
But, there is no escaping the fact that were Ron Paul to have his way, enormous hardship would befall the Middle Class and poor in America, because returning to a commodity backed dollar would mean a severe contraction in the value of money, turning savings and retirement accounts into only a percentage of their current dollar amounts.

Dr. Ron Paul goes on to cite that freedom and gold go in hand in hand. But, the obvious critical response to that statement is that freedom then is only available to those with the gold. Gold is a limited and rare commodity. Ron Paul’s argument says that the Government SHOULD NOT engage in assistance to Katrina victims if the gold is not available to provide that assistance.

I agree with Ron Paul’s criticisms of the effects of deficit spending by our government causing inflationary erosion of wages and the transferring of debt to future generations for political expediency, and there is ample evidence to prove his claim is quite accurate.

But, there are more positive ways of ending deficit spending without contracting the value of the dollar (people’s savings and retirement accounts) to do so, which is what a return to the gold standard would result in.

But, the worst consequence of returning to a commodity based dollar would be the global international consequences which could be catastrophic for Americans. Returning to a gold standard would immediately abrogate many of our trade agreements and treaties with foreign nations (not that some don’t need abrogating). But, tariffs and trade barriers would begin to rise against American consumers almost immediately, since we are importing 3/4 of trillion dollars a year more goods and services than we export and on a gold standard that would result in a debt balance which many foreign nations like China would have to suspect cannot and will not be paid given:
1) our near 9 Trillion dollar national debt already,
2) unwillingness to dramatically raise taxes,
3) and inability to dramatically impoverish 10’s of millions of American consumers by ending entitlement spending, which would collapse our economy.

Ron Paul is long on Libertarian ideology, but, extremely short on answers as to how the transitions could be made without wrecking America sooner, rather than later.

One final critique is with his logic. He says the Constitution never provided for a Central Banking system or authorized leaving a commodity based monetary system. But, by that logic, the Constitution also never authorized overthrowing State’s Rights on the issue of slavery, civil rights, women’s and Black person’s voting, or ending the practices of child labor.

His penchant for arguments based on the premise that if it ain’t in the original Constitution, it ain’t no good, is an overtly false Libertarian, and sometimes conservative, argument. Amending the Constitution is IN the Constitution, and therefore, dissing Amendments is in fact, dissing the Constitution which provides for them.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 20, 2007 2:07 AM
Comment #223535

I actually do like Ron Paul. But David he doesn’t have the balls, at least yet, to do what Bloomberg did. I hope Bloomberg runs as an independent: “You bet I did and I enjoyed it”…Mayor Bloomberg on if he had ever smoked cannabis….
http://www.norml.org/images/Bloomberg_NORML_Kiosk1.jpg

Virtually zero modern politicians have been true on their drug use, Bloomberg is one of the few who was straight forward on his drug use. He is honest. I’d love to see someone question Ron Paul and all the rest of the Republican candidates on if they have ever smoked cannabis and see them all say no, and you know at least one of them if they were to take a lie detector would show they lied. Bloomberg is honest. Bloomberg is trustworthy. Bloomberg is actually an independent, now I don’t like him but I do like him more than Ron Paul and I like Ron Paul.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 20, 2007 4:30 AM
Comment #223536

I meant Doug not David

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 20, 2007 4:37 AM
Comment #223559

I’m not very economically savvy, so I guess this is more of a question from me, but, David said that commodity backed currency would deflate to amounts in fractions of what it is … our savings and 401’s would diminish numerically? Or in value? Perhaps even wages.

But, wouldn’t the reverse be true for prices on goods, services, and health care? I hear that today’s dollar is worth about 4 cents of the 1913 dollar. Based on that, wouldn’t a dollar bag of fritos suddenly be a nickel bag? I was inclined to believe that reverting to a commodity based monetary system would, mostly, eliminate inflation. Besides, if the dollar were backed by gold and silver, wouldn’t the value of precious metals rise? And wouldn’t that be good?

Paul also says that he would abolish the IRS. I don’t need to tell you how happy it would make me to keep that ~25% of pay every two weeks, but I’m certainly not alone here.

Trade is a whole other ball o’ wax. I know where I stand on globalism and the global economy. Basically, a global society won’t work without centralized power over populace. World domination should be in no country’s doctrine. Trade with other nations is good, of course, but fair trade only. I don’t quite understand how, or why, we should be running a deficit with China, a communist country which we don’t consider an ally. How and why do we allow our companies to draw such enormous profit from chinese slave labor? I see it as proof of our government being paid to look the other way.

Anyway, the only thing I really don’t like about Ron Paul is that, I’m sorry to say, he’s long in years. I mean I wish him all the health and godspeed, but he is 72 or 73 already. Other than that, I still would like to think that this country, under the leadership of Ron Paul, would at the very least, regain true patriotism (not the fanaticism we see today). I’m not the smartest guy in town, but his visionary ideals are very appealing to me, and I hope he gets a chance to prove himself in office.

Heh, after George Bush, what could really go wrong?!

Posted by: wtc7 at June 20, 2007 11:11 AM
Comment #223562

David,

When you critique Ron Paul’s logic, you mention several things that you think wouldn’t have happened with a more literal interpretation, and then end saying “Amending the Constitution is IN the Constitution…”

Ron Paul is arguing AGAINST broad, implied powers, preferring to be a strict Constitutionalist. Your argument above is flawed. You compare Acts of Congress with Constitutional Amendments.

Creating a Central Bank was an Act of Congress, not a constitutional amendment. If we (the United States) wanted a central bank we should have passed an Amendment allowing it. As opposed to perverting the Constitution’s meaning by saying “it didn’t mention this by name so it must be implied..wink.wink.” The only exception to this being the 9th and 10th Amendments which apply to states and people NOT the federal government.

As for Ron Paul, one of his consistent critiques is that the Congress today will NOT call a convention to discuss changes to the Constitution regardless of the fact that it’s in Article V of the Constitution.

I personally think this has turned into a major problem today. It is easier for Congress (politicians in general, not a specific party) to argue broad, implied powers in a Hamiltonian way and let the courts battle it out, rather than use the construct provided by the Constitution (no, I don’t think what the court does today is Constitutional, Marshall way overstepped the bounds, another argument for another day).

As an example, prohibition was enacted with the passing of the 18th Amendment. An Amendment to the Constitution to ban a substance. Illicit drugs were made illicit by an Act of Congress NOT an amendment. The thinking today has shifted towards Congress passing bills and letting the court (whose make-up is largely determined by presidents, hence political parties) to decide its fate.

Anyhow, I definitely have problems with this, and as far as I can tell, so does Ron Paul. He believes in the Constitution, and I believe that he believes in the Constitution, which is more than I can say about any other candidate. Given the tremendous growth the the federal government and expansion of federal powers over the past 20 years, particularly the authoritarian powers granted in the Patriot Act and by the Bush Administration, and for me the choice is clear: VOTE FOR THE GUY WHO BELIEVES IN THE CONSTITUTION!!!

Posted by: Peter at June 20, 2007 12:15 PM
Comment #223563

wtc7 said: “I was inclined to believe that reverting to a commodity based monetary system would, mostly, eliminate inflation.”

Yes, semi-correct. Over time a commodity based monetary system holds values fairly constant, rising and falling only with the value of the commodities backing the currency. The error in your statement is in the use of the word “reverting”. An established commodity based dollar is non-inflationary. But reverting from a non-commodity based dollar to a commodity based dollars is full of upheavals and adjustments, a great many of which will be very painful for holders of dollars assets IF the value of the dollar is already highly inflated. In this case, our case, the dollar will deflate, causing savings to deflate. Once deflated, the purchasing power of the dollar will remain relatively constant.

It is this reversion to from our inflated dollar to a precious metal backed dollar that folks like Ron Paul don’t want to talk about on the campaign trail. They only want to talk about the benefits AFTER the reversion process. But, for Americans and America, one has to ask if the cure for the disease won’t kill the patient. A very valid and important question. There is no question with enough rads any malignant tumor can be killed, but, the patient also in the process.

If America did NOT have its current debt load, personal and national, and IF America was a net exporter, converting to a commodity standard dollar would not cause widespread dislocation and losses. But, that is not the case for America. And Ron Paul and gold standard conservatives and libertarians do not offer details on how such a transition could be accomplished without impoverishing a significant portion of the middle class.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 20, 2007 12:29 PM
Comment #223566

Peter said: “If we (the United States) wanted a central bank we should have passed an Amendment allowing it.”

WHY? I don’t see a prohibition against a central bank in the Constitution?

What I do see in Article One, are the following: (Note what I have put in Bold as it is particularly pertinent to the role of the Central Bank. Also note the absence of any prohibition to Congress for delegating authority to a department under its oversight and purview.)

Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

To regulate the value of money is precisely what the Federal Bank does. Increasing interest rates limits money supply making it more valued and decreasing rates makes money supply more freely available making it less valued along a supply and demand continuum.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 20, 2007 12:50 PM
Comment #223581

Great, thoughtful responses to my original posts… some thoughts…

David - I agree, we do not need to go back to the gold standard as it is rather outdated. Why gold? So, once we are past that, what we agree upon is that Paul is a principled and honorable man, which was really the point of my post. Yes, he is long… quite long, on Libertarian ideals, and some of those ideals are a little passe’, in my opinion. Just like anything else, Libertarian ideals are living and breathing and can and should change to reflect the updated values of a society. Example…

A traditional Libertarian would not see the need for the EPA or any state agency like it, but as a devout Lib myself, I completely disagree. Seems contradictory? Maybe, but here is my rationale… Most Libs (Libertarians… not liberals!) would agree that one of the duties of the state is to protect its citizens… and, most of us would agree that the state should not over-step its bounds in doing so, but… protecting the environment is indeed protecting its citizens. Just like everyone has a right not to be robbed at gunpoint, everyone also has the right not to be suffocated by carbon monoxide. The state has the obligation to protect its citizens in both instances. So, if this line of reasoning is correct (and it is), a vast majprity of persons with Libertarian ideals, Mr. Paul included, need to have those ideals updated.

Where am I going with this? Paul does not stand for everything I believe in, but he is an upstanding, honest congressional veteran (an oxymoron?), and the only guy you can trust currently declared as a presidential candidate, whether you agree with him or not.

Richard - Are you suggesting that Paul doesn’t have the… what did you say… “balls” that Bloomberg does? Pu-lease… You mean the same Bloomberg that, when deciding to run for Mayor of NYC, switched from the D’s to the R’s, not for ideaological reasons mind you, but because he knew he didn’t have a chance at the Democratic nomination for the post? That’s ball-sy to you? Well… one man’s ball-sy is another’s slimy…

It takes no “balls” to leave a party to which you never belonged in the first place.

wtc - He is kinda long in the tooth, huh? No offense intended to anyone… and I don’t actually mean that in the way that he is physically too old… no, he is old in the brain… his Libertarian ideals are a little outdated… that said, he is the only declared candidate for whom I would currently vote… by far!

Peter - yep… to just about everything you said.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at June 20, 2007 6:11 PM
Comment #223635

Let’s be honest, for most of this country’s history, the Democratic and Republican parties as they stand today did not exist. If we were to use modern terms, the parties were mostly Libertarian on the Right and Populist on the Left. It wasn’t until social issues became more important to voters than economic issues that the parties aligned the way they are now. Only by modern standards is Ron Paul an enigma. He is very much my late brother in reverse. My bro was an old-school, William Jennings Bryant style Populist: Born-Again Christian social conservative, hard core economic liberal. He always voted Democrat because he believed in Jesus’ views on the poor, and thought that helping them was more important than his views on, say, Harry Potter being evil (boy he and I had a row over that one). Such points of view are only difficult to understand by modern standards.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at June 21, 2007 9:44 AM
Comment #223731

Ummm Doug you should have known I was talking of Bloomberg dropping his R and not dropping his d

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 22, 2007 3:59 AM
Comment #223756

Richard, I did know that… And my point stays true… He dropped hid D because he knew he didn’t have a chance in the D field… He dropped his R because he knows the R race is crowded and he’ll have free reign over the independent group, not because of any ideological differences… He’s a smart man that is going where there is less competition… that takes brains, not balls.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at June 22, 2007 11:10 AM
Comment #237621

People can NOT keep brushing the social security issue aside - it is downright ignorant. You will have thousands of homeless disabled and elderly if you ‘do away’ with it. Do you all think you will be young and strong forever? Are you honestly that short sighted? (I’m only 31 years old and NOT on govt assistance btw.)

People with family and friends who are in dire need of their disability need to speak up LOUDLY and OFTEN on the Ron Paul websites! You should be very afraid, this old man hasn’t a clue about disabled people, despite being a doctor! There are only so many positions for wal-mart door greeter for disabled people, those genuinely in need of SS/disability can’t do much else. And it COULD be any of us, anytime. Please take a step back and think about this even if it doesn’t impact you immediately.

PEOPLE WHO ARE UNABLE TO WORK WILL NOT HAVE ANY MONEY. What then? He is opposed to state-assisted suicide… which would be the only way to avoid becoming homeless, for MANY of these people. No matter how young you are now, one day you, too WILL be elderly and in need of a social security program to take care of you. Pensions are weaker than ever before, and non-existant in many places today that they used to be commonplace. Please THINK.

Posted by: ver at November 5, 2007 9:36 AM
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