Commentators continually draw attention to the “steadiness” that Mitt Romney has shown vis-à-vis the GOP presidential primary contest. Romney, they point out, has “steadily” maintained his first place position. Yet never do these same commentators point out that for all of the race’s “frontrunners” that have come and gone—Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain—Ron Paul has steadily remained in third or fourth place, depending on the polls.
In this “An Honest Look At…” series, I have sought to show that in spite of their protestations to the contrary, each of the GOP presidential candidates exhibits a penchant for the ideology of Big Government. Each is either ignorant of or indifferent to the secret of American liberty, a secret that lies within the fact that our national government is supposed to be a federal government, a government to which our Constitution assigns but a few specific “powers.”
As this final edition of the series establishes, it is in the person of Ron Paul alone that the Republican Party’s rhetoric of liberty becomes incarnate.
Let’s begin by examining Paul’s positions on domestic policy.
Rick Santorum is widely heralded among the Republican Party faithful as a strong “social conservative.” For example, Santorum, we constantly hear, is as “principled” and stalwart a defender of the unborn as anyone in contemporary politics. But Ron Paul has proven himself a tireless champion of the unborn, not just in political life but, more tellingly, as an obstetrician. Over the span of decades, Dr. Paul delivered over 4,000 babies. Not once did he so much as entertain the possibility of performing an abortion, and he regularly assisted women in pursuing life-affirming alternatives—like adoption—to the life-denying choice of abortion.
If elected President, Paul would seek to pass a Sanctity of Life Act which would identify conception as the beginning of human life. He would also “effectively” repeal Roe v. Wade and introduce legislation that would prevent “activist judges from interfering with state decisions on life by removing abortion from federal jurisdiction [.]” Being the Jeffersonian that he is, Paul agrees with our third President that it is at once “sinful and tyrannical” for anyone, whether individuals or governments, to coerce another to subsidize “the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors.” So, in order to prevent this “sinful and tyrannical” coercion, Paul has expressed his desire to labor inexhaustibly to end all taxpayer-funded abortion services.
Paul, it should be obvious, is as committed—and consistent—an exponent of both “the right to life” and “the right to liberty.” In both word and deed, Paul has shown that the two are inseparable.
Of his Republican competitors, not one forecasted the economic crisis of 2008. Ron Paul did. Moreover, Paul predicted as early on as 2001 that the housing market was headed for a crash, an event that would have dire ramifications for our entire economy. Unlike some of the other GOP presidential candidates, Paul staunchly opposed TARP and “the bailouts” of which it consisted. He recognized—and insisted—that the government’s response to the economic crisis was an instance of precisely the sort of intervention in our economy that fueled it to begin with. Correctly, Paul as well predicted that such intervention, far from abetting this crisis, would actually exacerbate it.
To begin repairing our economy and restoring our lost liberties, Paul suggests some measures that, as President, he promises to appropriate.
First, he will veto any and all unbalanced budgets that Congress sends to him.
Second, he will steadfastly refuse any proposed increases in the debt ceiling.
Third, upon insisting upon a “full” audit of the Federal Reserve, President Paul would set his sights on abolishing it.
Fourth, Paul would establish “sound money,” so that our government could never again dream of dramatically debasing the dollar by printing money out of thin air, so speak.
Fifth, Paul advocates the elimination of the income tax, the death tax, and capital gains taxes. With a President Paul in the White House, Americans would be able to actually keep their legally acquired property.
Sixth, Paul would affect a drastic reduction in gas prices by way of a number of measures. He would allow off shore drilling, eliminate the highway motor fuel tax, increase the mileage reimbursement rates, and supply tax credits to those utilizing and producing natural gas vehicles.
Seventh, as Investor Business Daily has acknowledged, Paul is the only candidate in the GOP (or, for that matter, the Democratic) field that has shown seriousness regarding spending cuts. He has released a plan that would cut spending by one trillion dollars, not in ten or twelve or 15 years, but in one year.
Congressman Paul is as faithful a friend to Americans’ right to bear arms as any that it has ever had. He has made legislative proposals to repeal both the Brady Bill as well the ban on “assault weapons.” Furthermore, Paul has sponsored legislation that would withdrawAmericafrom the United Nations, an international body that has sought to impose “gun control” plans—like “the Small Arms Treaty”—around the world. Paul, it would appear, has this peculiar notion that it is unconscionable that American taxpayers should be forced to subsidize such efforts. Finally, Paul authored a bill that would permit airline pilots and other “specially trained law enforcement personnel” to carry fire arms aboard commercial airlines.
Ron Paul is opposed to all foreign aid. He discerns no small measure of injustice in an arrangement under which Americans are made to part with their legally acquired earnings in order to fund foreign governments.
As far as national defense is concerned, the conventional wisdom among establishment Republicans is that Ron Paul is something on the order of an appeaser. However, we needn’t look far to see through this piece of reasoning for the folly that it is.
First, of the eight GOP presidential candidates, Ron Paul is the only one that has actually served in the military. Secondly, he routinely receives more in the way of monetary contributions from active-duty military personnel than all of the other candidates—and their Commander-In-Chief—combined. Third, Ronald Reagan, upon whom Paul’s Republican detractors look as a great “conservative” god of a sort, once remarked of him: “Ron Paul is one of the outstanding leaders fighting for a stronger national defense. As a former Air Force officer, he knows well the needs of our armed forces, and he always puts them first. We need to keep him fighting for our country.”
But there is much more to show that not only is Paul not the appeaser that his Republican foes make him out to be; he is actually more serious—much more serious—than are they about national defense.
National defense is the one, the singularly most important, of the federal government’s responsibilities. This Ron Paul believes firmly. Thus, he finds it inexcusable that Americans are being compelled to invest billions of dollars annually into protecting the borders of other countries while the borders of their own country remain porous. Correcting this injustice and devoting the resources of the federal government back to where it belongs—America’s borders—Ron Paul considers the greatest of our nation’s priorities.
Paul voted in favor of America’s deployment of military force in order to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, as well as other targeted terrorists. Yet he adamantly rejects as a colossal waste in treasure and blood an interminable “War on Terror” consisting of “the democratization” of the Islamic world and beyond. “Nation building” is at once unconstitutional and immoral, to say nothing of foolish.
As President, Ron Paul would indeed continue in pursuit of those who would do America harm. But to this end he would employ only those means that our Constitution accommodates. This, in turn, implies that the Patriot Act would be put swiftly out to pasture. It also implies that America’s days of waging undeclared wars would just as rapidly come to an end.
If Republicans, Tea Partiers, and self-avowed conservatives are truly serious about wanting a presidential candidate who is thoroughly committed to restoring and preserving liberty, then Ron Paul is their candidate—their only candidate.
Jack Kerwick, Ph.D.
originally published in The New American