Thursday, December 29, 2011

My path to Ron Paul

I am a fairly recent "convert" to Ron Paul. While I have been a conservative for as long as I can remember having political convictions, I was always more of a National Review kind of conservative which morphed somewhat when I became a Christian to include the social issues. I read National Review as a young adult, we watched The McLaughlin Group and Crossfire as a family when I was young and our bookshelves were stocked with conservative political titles. In recent years I was a pretty straight forward Evangelical conservative, pro-life, pro-military, pro-lower taxes, etc. Up until recently I stayed true to form by rejecting Ron Paul for his foreign policy positions.

My first real exposure to Ron Paul was similar to how a lot of people encounter Paul, through one of his, um, ardent followers. In my case it was a guy in Northern Michigan and this guy was the epitome of the stereotypical  Ron Paul supporter, a somewhat crazed acolyte who accosted people in the bank I was managing to drill them about the Constitution. This guy was a perfect example of the contention I have long held that Ron Paul's greatest strength is his rabid following and it is also his greatest weakness. He confirmed for me that Paul was not someone I was interested in supporting because only someone crazy would attract such crazy followers! I sort of compare some Paul supporters to some Calvinists, zealous in the extreme and angrily attacking anyone who disagrees. I even blogged a brief post about him in 2008 that was not terribly complementary: Why Not Ron Paul? (I initially supported Huckabee in 2008 until he dropped out). So what changed.

I did.

Ron Paul certainly didn't. Unlike a lot of the other candidates and politicians in general he has been very consistent over the years. I always liked most of Paul's fiscal positions but his foreign policy scared me. As someone infected with the notion of "American exceptionalism", a notion that is deeply intertwined with our notion of America as a uniquely "Christian nation", I assumed that our cause was always right and we had both a right and an obligation to make the rest of the world conform to us. If we had to break a few eggs to make that omelet, in the form of dead civilians in foreign lands and dead and maimed American soldiers, that was a price we were willing to pay to spread our understanding of freedom and liberty. Over the past few years my conviction regarding U.S. military interventionism has changed coinciding with my evolving position on the sword as a Christian. As I study and examine history, especially regarding the two world wars and the Western interference in the Middle East, I am convinced that our foreign policy over the last hundred years is largely counter-productive and likewise outside of the Constitutional boundaries. How many Americans died in Korea and Vietnam without so much as a formal declaration of war?

It is without question that Ron Paul is the most consistent and most vocal advocate of a drastically smaller Federal government. I think his foreign policy is likewise the most consistent with the Constitution and with my convictions as a follower of Jesus Christ. Other candidates are professed Christians although at least one of them is pretty suspect in that regard and two of them are members of a cult. All of the candidates to some extent are advocating smaller government. But of all of this crop of Republican candidates, only one is consistent in his fiscal conservatism and consistent and faithful to the limited scope of the Federal government in matter foreign and domestic. That man is Ron Paul and while no one is perfect, he is in my opinion the best man for the job of undoing the last four years of Obamanation and the last century of exploding Federal spending on all manner of Constitutionally dubious programs, including an enormous standing army stationed in permanent bases around the world. America cannot keep spending, taxing and regulating the way we have been. Our inverted demographics make that impossible and common sense makes it untenable. We cannot afford to be the world's policeman (or enforcer or bully depending on your perspective) and we have no moral or Constitutional authority to do so in  the first place. For the sake of the Constitutional integrity and the fiscal security of the United States, I am supporting Ron Paul for the office of President of the United States.

There is a lot of misinformation about Ron Paul, much of it unfortunately being spread by other alleged conservatives. I would encourage you to read where Ron Paul stands on the issues from his official webpage and decide for yourself rather than just taking the slanderous comments of others at face value.

A quick word about the rest of the GOP field and the upcoming general election.

If you have read anything on this blog or know me in person, you know that I think that President Obama is a horrible President and in real contention to replace Jimmy Carter as the worst President in my lifetime. I will therefore support, fervently, any of the announced Republican candidates for President who wins the nomination even if it is not Paul and even if it is Newt Gingrich. I am not in favor of Ron Paul running as a third-party candidate and don't think he has any intention to. That rumor seems more of a slander spread by media types who don't like him than any real concern. If Ron Paul is the candidate, I hope all conservatives rally behind him. If he is not, I strongly encourage those who supported him to support the GOP nominee. There is a fine line in a two party system between ideology and pragmatism and we cannot afford four more years of Barack Obama.

RON PAUL 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Irony Alert!

Newt Gingrich, during an interview with Wolf Blizter, says he would not vote for Ron Paul if he becomes the Republican nominee and furthermore suggested that anyone who holds similar views to Ron Paul is not a "decent American"....
"I think Ron Paul's views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American," Gingrich said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

Gingrich continued: "He's got to come up with some very straight answers to get somebody to take him seriously. Would I be willing to listen to him? Sure. I think the choice of Ron Paul or Barack Obama would be a very bad choice for America."

When asked if he would be able to vote for Paul if his rival won the 2012 GOP nomination, Gingrich said unequivocally "No."
Um, under what standards would Newt Gingrich qualify as a "decent American"? A man who is a serial adulterer, a man who divorced the woman he had left his first wife for and replaced her with another woman twenty years his junior that he was having an affair with and blamed his infidelity on his love of country? A man who four years after engineering the GOP takeover of the House and rising become Speaker of the same was disciplined for ethics violatons and fined $300,000, resigned as Speaker and left the Congress in what can only be described as disgrace?  A man who profited enormously from his connections in Washington D.C. and seems willing to change positions on issues whenever convenient? A man who can charitably be described as pompous and arrogant?

It seems to me that there is more to being a "decent American" than blind support of Israel and a willingness to attack other nations for possessing the same weapons we have possessed for half a century and that we used on a civilian population not once but twice. If Newt Gingrich is the standard by which we determine who is or is not a decent American, I will gladly accept the charge of not being one.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What he must swear

Under the Constituion of the United States, any man (or woman) who assumes the office of President of the United States is required to swear the following oath:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." (Article Two, Section One, Clause Eight:)
Let's read that again. Is there any mention of support for the nation of Israel in that oath?

As a matter of geo-political policy, you can make a case for support of Israel. As a matter of inviolable national policy? No. Even less so as a theological obligation. If you base your support of a candidate on some perceived (and likely bogus) lack of zeal in defending the nation of Israel, you need to reread the Constitution.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I fear those who would enslave me in the name of security

We are supposed to believe that Ron Paul is unelectable because of a non-interventionist foreign policy. Americans just won't support someone who might let America go a few years without bombing, invading or otherwise tinkering with the government of another nation. How can America survive unless the government is spying on us and looking with suspicion at the

Meanwhile the Federal government seems quite comfortable in slowly carving away individual liberty in the name of "security". We trade what is ours for a false hope of security placed in the hands of the least competent institution in most of our lives but were are told that "they", i.e. those people over there, are the enemy.

Doug Wilson rightly points out that the danger from the Federal government is far more real for the average America than the threat posed by a Muslim terrorist....
Now let me be reasonable here. I understand the tangled legal issues when an American citizen heads over to Yemen in order to start his DeathtotheGreatSatan.com. I understand the legal issues when an American tries to light the fuse on his sneakers mid-flight while yelling inspirational phrases from the Koran. I get the fact that there is a difference between true enemy combatants and a shoplifter at the mall. So I do believe that the libertarians falsely underestimate the threat that bona fide Islamic terrorism poses to us.

But I do not believe that the libertarians underestimate the threat that our overweening government represents to us. Scale of 1 to 10, how concerned am I that Muslim terrorists are going to successfully do something really bad to me or to my family? Oh, 1 or 2. Same scale, how concerned am I that the federal government is going to do something really bad to me or to my family? More like a 6 or 7, and I am not counting the bad things they are engaged in doing right this minute.

Surely the government will use this power responsibly and wisely, right? Right . . . who would oversee this whole thing? What department would be responsible? Ah . . . the same guys who came up with Fast and Furious? No problem then. I drop my objections. I can see now that I was just being silly.
A nameless, faceless bureaucrat in Washington D.C. is far more dangerous to America life and liberty than a Muslim terrorist. On January 22, 1973, seven American men created the right to murder children in their mother's womb with the proverbial stroke of a pen, leading to 50,000,000 abortions in America. If you divide that number by 38 (the number of years Roe v Wade has been "the law") and further divide that by 365 days per year (skipping the leap years), you come up to 3,605 abortions per day. More American children are murdered in the womb every day than died in total on 9/11/2011.That is the power of the Federal government, the power to tax, to imprison, to murder and it is a power we willingly abdicate in return for a false sense of "security" in the name of patriotism and the occasional return of some of OUR money that we are supposed to gratefully accept from our Federal overlords like a benevolent nobleman dispensing a few coins to his subjects.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Support the man the troops support

Support the troops! God bless our troops!

We hear that all of the time and often the people who say those phrases are the ones who support policies that put those men and women in danger and do nothing to defend the security of the United States. What is telling is the level of support Ron Paul gets from our active duty military. Watch this outstanding video...



9/11 didn't happen in a vacuum. The history of the U.S. involvement in the Middle East has consequences but because we assume that America is always right, we ignore them. The video of Donald Rumsfeld chumming around with Saddam Hussein is stunning. We supported the majahideen when it served our purposes and then a few decades later we have been fighting those same people. Our Constitutional mandate does not give America the responsibility or the right to tinker around with the affairs of foreign nations that pose no threat to us without a formal declaration of war, something we haven't done since World War II even though in the interim we have been involved in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East in general, Grenada, Iraq twice and Afghanistan plus countless other conflicts in places like Somalia and Haiti.

Let’s look at the example of the Korean peninsula since the nutcase dictator of North Korea just died. While information is hard to come by, it is assumed that North Korea has a population of around 24,000,000. South Korea has twice the population at around 48,000,000. South Korea’s GDP is well over $1 trillion while North Korea has a GDP of around $40 billion, in other words South Korea’s economy is 25 times larger than North Korea’s. So we have two nations in a state of conflict for the last sixty years. One of these nations is a major economic power and has double the population. The other nation saw millions of its own citizens starve to death in the 90’s because their economy is such a disaster and they have isolated themselves from the rest of the world. Although North Korea has a huge military, so does South Korea. According to Wikipedia (references provided): Consequently, South Korea has the world's sixth largest number of active troops, the world's second-largest number of reserve troops and the eleventh largest defense budget. So it is not like South Korean can’t take care of itself.

Meanwhile the United States has had a sizeable military presence in South Korea since the Korean War, from 1950 to present day or over 60 years. We maintain a presence of over 28,000 troops in South Korea even though South Korea has some 687,000 active duty personnel and 8 million various reservists. Granted the North has over 1 million uniformed personnel but given the economic disparity it is without question that the South has far better equipment. What a lot of people forget is that during the Korean War, the UN forces drove all the way through North Korea and captured Pyonyang. That precipitated the Chinese response which led to the current stalemate. Were it not for Chinese intervention, Korea might well have been unified. Unlike the Korean War, in the event that North Korea initiated new hostilities with the South, the Soviet Union is gone and China has no interest in seeing a shooting war on their borders.

Meanwhile we have stationed tens of thousands of troops in Europe, in Asia and around the world for decades preparing to fight an enemy that no longer exists (the Soviet Union and the rest of the Warsaw Pact). Our former enemies in World War II (Germany, Japan and Italy) are now some of our closest allies and trade partners. The world has changed but the Constitution has not and unfortunately neither has the unwavering support for the military-industrial complex. Ron Paul’s foreign policy is neither naïve not dangerous. What is naïve and dangerous is giving virtually limitless spending to the Federal government no matter what it is spent on. Likewise trusting that the Federal government can be trusted with control over the world’s most powerful military force with little more oversight than “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers.

Let me say it again. It is stunning that "conservatives", people who mistrust the government and want to shrink it put on blinders when it comes to the enormous military budget supporting a huge standing army that clearly is benefiting a small subset of people financially but costing America hundreds of billions in debt and worse thousands of America lives, not to mention the tens of thousands of civilians killed as "collateral damage".

If you disagree with Ron Paul’s foreign policy, that is your prerogative. I just ask that you actually think through the subject before parroting back what you hear from talk radio hosts.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Consistency

Most politicians change direction with the wind. One guy has been consistently speaking common sense for a long time.



Ron Paul 2012!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mitt Over Newt

Let me say at the outset that neither of these guys is my first choice. At this stage if I were voting, I would vote for Ron Paul (and still will if he is on the ballot when my state finally votes in the primaries). Paul is unique among the GOP candidates for his refusal to embrace militaristic interventionism and his plan for shrinking government is far more comprehensive and serious than that of other candidates. Ron Paul has been consistent on the issues for a very long time and hopefully will emerge from Iowa and New Hampshire with solid footing if not an outright win. Anyway, the media is all abuzz with the news of Gingrich, left for dead like road kill, rising Lazarus-like from the dead to become the latest “Not Romney” and seizing the lead in many polls over Mitt Romney who seems stuck at a modest level of support.

Gingrich, on paper, seems like a solid conservative choice but the closer I look at him, the more convinced I am that he is a poor candidate to unseat Obama and that Mitt Romney is the better choice.

A lot of conservatives, including me, view Romney with some level of suspicion because of his flip-flopping on important issues and particularly because of Romney-care in Massachusetts. But as James Taranto states, writing for the Wall Street Journal, Mitt Romney has hardly cornered the market on flip-flopping…

So Newt is hardly a paragon of consistent conservative values (unlike say…Ron Paul). Even his recent potshot at Paul Ryan’s budget plan (describing it as “right wing social engineering”) caused a great deal of consternation among conservatives. Don't forget his questionable dealings with Fannie Mae, one of the great boondoggles in the history of America.
The main Republican objection to Romney is that he is inconstant, and thus not a true conservative. But is Gingrich really any better in this regard? In the past he has endorsed the individual mandate for medical insurance and even made a global-warmist video with Nancy Pelosi in which the two ex-speakers share a love seat!
Oddly, Newt is also not nearly as popular with people he was worked with in the past than he is with the primary voters. He seems to have a knack for rubbing people the wrong way, not for his principled stands so much as for being a jerk. Romney is by all accounts a nice guy and in my eyes has been a loyal soldier for some time. During the last election when Mitt finally conceded the nomination to John McCain, he was a good trooper and did all of the right stuff to support the doomed candidacy of Senator McCain. I think few people noticed it but I certainly did and applaud him for it.

When it comes to personal issues, issues of character, there is no contest. A co-worker often remarks to me that when you are on an airplane, you don’t care what kind of guy the pilot is, just that he lands the plane safely and gets you to the gate. Being President is somewhat more complicated because when you are the leader of the free world, a man with enormous power and influence unlike anyone else, personal issues matter. You represent us as a people to the world. While you might think that personal issues are not terribly important in this election given the dire straits our nation finds itself in, I still think that the personal life of a candidate speaks to their character. In other words, character counts. A man who is untrustworthy as a person is not someone I am keen on putting at the head of the world’s most powerful military. I trust Newt far more than I trust Obama but that is the equivalent of stumbling over a pretty low bar.

The sordid story of Newt Gingrich as a person is well known. Newt is thrice married, twice divorcing his wife at the time for the woman he was having an affair with. His current wife is 23 years his junior. In an interview earlier this year, Newt blamed it on his love for country:

Wearing white after Labor Day is not appropriate. Cheating on your wife and getting divorced twice is sinning. Big difference. Newt might be one of the few politicians who can match Barack Obama in terms of narcissism and utter lack of self-awareness. No President other than Ronald Reagan has been divorced and The Gipper met Nancy after his divorce was in process. Callista Gingrich would be the first home-wrecker to serve as first lady, not a particularly noble distinction.
There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.
Mitt Romney meanwhile married his first wife in 1969 and 42 years later is married to…that same woman.

There are concerns that many evangelical voters will shy away from Mitt because he is a mormon. As a former mormon Mitt’s faith concerns me as well but as a former mormon I also can see pretty clearly that Mitt’s mormonism plays second fiddle to his political career. Besides, when push comes to shove and I have to choose between unbelievers for President, I choose Mitt over Obama 100 times out of 100. It is not exactly as if Newt Gingrich is a poster child for evangelicalism. Newt Gingrich converted fairly recently to Catholicism, the faith of his current wife (that he left his prior wife for (who of course was the wife he left the wife before that for)). Not exactly a Damascus Road type conversion story.

So in summary. Romney is no less a conservative than Newt, he is not more of a flip-flopper and he is far and away a man of better character. By any rational measure he is more electable because he will draw more independents and Newt certainly carries an enormous amount of personal baggage that will cause voters to think twice (polling numbers show this fact quite starkly). While Romney doesn’t have Newt’s knack for casting random historical facts around, I have a hard time believing that voters will find Gingrich’s pompous self-importance very endearing and lest we forget Romney has a B.A. from BYU and a M.B.A. and J.D. from Harvard, so he is no dummy. By almost any measure other than personal repugnance, Mitt Romney is a better choice than Newt Gingrich. I still can’t believe that we are at this point where Newt Gingrich is the front runner. Where is Mitch Daniels when we need him?

Of course the best choice is still Ron Paul

Monday, December 5, 2011

Am I A Suspect?

Apparently I might be a terrorism suspect. Watch this video, esp. the first part where Senator Rand Paul lists some of the ways that the National Defense Authorization Act allows the government to detain American citizens who are suspected terrorists and some of the tell-tale signs include having several guns in your possession and food stored for more than seven days.



There are not nearly enough voices speaking out against this. One of the easiest ways to take away liberty is to do it under the pretense of security. A people who will trade their liberty for state sponsored "security" quickly stop being citizens and start being subjects.

(Hat Tip: Bubbling Brook Farm)