The mainstream media is beginning to wake up to the likelihood that Ron Paul will do very well, if not win, in the Iowa Republican caucuses. Remember, Iowa is a caucus, not a primary, which means voters must be willing to go to the local town hall and hang around for at least an hour to case their vote. Having participated in a caucus, I can tell you that undecided voters are likely to be swayed by passion, which Ron Paul voters do not lack. And Ron Paul is more popular with Democrats and independents than the megalomaniacal Washington insider, Newt Gingrich.
If Ron Paul wins Iowa, which I believe he will, he goes into New Hampshire with tremendous momentum. Right now, the likelihood of a close race in New Hampshire is very good. What happens next? Nobody really knows, but Ron Paul needs to be considered a player in the Republican race, not the wacky also-ran of Republican elite fantasies.
The purpose of this post is to make the case for voting for Ron Paul and also take a stab at describing what a Ron Paul presidency will look like. Full disclosure: four years ago, I thought Ron Paul was a crazy isolationist. I was a big Mitt Romney supporter in 2008. But I no longer believe Mitt Romney will make the reforms necessary to make a difference for the country. In the meantime, I have listened to hundreds of hours of Ron Paul speeches via podcasts. I have read several of his books and the books of his favorite economists and philosophers (Mises, Bastiat, Rothbard, Hayek). And of course I have read his economic plan, which balances the federal budget by 2016 and is, in my opinion, the only serious plan being proposed by any of the presidential contenders. Please read on.
Given this is a religious site, I would like to begin by addressing the issue of Ron Paul’s religion and any possible hints of him being an “anti-Mormon candidate.” To sum up, there is absolutely no evidence of him positioning himself as taking advantage of anti-Mormon sentiment. It is true that he has spoken to evangelical pastors and voters regularly. But as a libertarian-leaning candidate, who is in favor of drug legalization and against federalizing moral issues, his appeal is somewhat limited. He is also very private about his religion, having been during his life Episcopalian, Lutheran and Baptist. Every once in a while he appeals to scripture to make a point, but it is certainly not central to his campaign. Here are a few key quotes that are think are relevant (taken from this article).
As Paul told Beliefnet in 2008:
some evangelicals get a little bit annoyed because I’m not always preaching and saying, “I’m this, I’m this, and this.” I think my obligation is to reflect my beliefs in my life. I like the statement in the Bible that when you’re really in deep prayer you go to your closet. You don’t do it out on the streets and brag about it and say, “Look how holy I am.” If a person has true beliefs and is truly born again, it will be reflected in their life.
Another exchange from that interview, which on the whole is required reading for those deeply concerned with the matter of Paul and religion, goes like this:
You caught some flack recently for quoting Sinclair Lewis on the Fox News Channel in response to a Mike Huckabee’s TV ad that appeared to feature a cross. You said that “fascism would come to this country waving a flag and bearing a cross.”
Unfortunately, that came up in dealing with Huckabee and it wasn’t directed [at him]… that ad came out and I hadn’t seen it and they asked me about the cross and that thing flashed across my mind.
Do you regret saying it?
Well I regret those circumstances, [but] the position is well taken. I think people should be cautious… because of people using [religion] and the insincerity. But I have not been judgmental. As a matter of fact, I’ve been strongly defending people. Even Mitt Romney—I don’t defend the pros and cons of Mormonism, but I hate to see him picked on because somebody saying “I don’t agree with the Mormon religion.”
To sum up, with Ron Paul, you get the perfect position on religion: he wants to practice his religion the way he prefers to do so, but he is not out proving to everybody how religious he is, and he is perfectly OK with you practicing your religion however you want to. And, he has refused to even hint at the anti-Mormonism that was behind the Huckabee, Perry and (perhaps) the Gingrich campaigns. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young would be proud.
Just one more point that may be relevant to readers: Ron Paul, a doctor who has been a congressman from Texas off and on since the 1970s, has been married to the same woman for more than 50 years. He has five children and 18 grandchildren. There are no hints of any “bimbo eruptions” hiding in Dr. Paul’s past.
If you are a fiscal conservative, there is no candidate with a better plan than Ron Paul. I will link it again here. I encourage you to look at it yourself. The highlights:
- $1 trillion in budget cuts in the first year, and a balanced budget by 2016. Lest you think $1 trillion would take us back to the 19th century, I would point out that we will still have a budget of $2.7 trillion, ie, the same size as 2006.
- No significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Let me repeat that: no significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
- Most of the cuts come from freezing discretionary spending and getting rid of five government Cabinet positions…and of course cutting military spending and foreign aid (more on that later).
- Cutting the corporate tax to make it more competitive internationally (we have the highest corporate tax in the world, which would help explain the lack of jobs).
- Repealing Obamacare and other job-killing regulation.
As I say, Ron Paul’s plan is the only way that addresses our $15 trillion debt in anything close to a serious way. But it is worth pointing out that Dr. Paul has said literally hundreds of times that he will be the president, not a dictator. Just because he proposes something to Congress does not mean that it gets passed (Obama’s big spending budget was voted down 97-0 this year).
So, what can we realistically expect from a Ron Paul presidency? At best, he will get half of what he wants, and this only if Republicans re-take the Senate and House in 2012. So, the $1 trillion in cuts almost certainly will not happen. At best, perhaps a few hundred billion. But the president sets the tone, and he can veto spending bills and regulation, and this will make a huge difference in changing the business environment in the country.
Let me be very clear: there are trillions of dollars in the world right now looking for a safe haven for investment. Europe is a basket case. Asia is better and is getting a lot of the investment. Some is flowing to Latin America and Africa. But the investment is not flowing to the United States right now because of the regulatory environment and anti-business climate created by the Obama administration and the congressional Democrats. If you want to know why unemployment is stuck as high as it is, you need to think like a businessperson. Businesspeople want a safe return on their investment. Because of excessive regulation and taxation, the United States does not allow anything close to a safe return. Ron Paul will change this, and the unemployment rate will plummet. This is something that I can guarantee: a Ron Paul presidency will spur a hiring and investment boom not seen since the 1980s and 1990s.
Ron Paul will make the biggest change in US foreign policy since the 1920s, when Harding and Coolidge changed direction after eight years of Wilsonian adventurism. He will immediately bring troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq (most are expected to be gone from Iraq by the end of this year, but we still will have many thousands there to protect the embassy). He will move to close most if not all of our military bases overseas. All thinking people are wondering why we still have troops in Germany protecting one of the richest countries in the world. It is simply insane to continue to expect US taxpayers to protect central Europe.
As I argue in this post at BCC, the truly conservative position is to adopt Ron Paul’s foreign policy. There is nothing conservative about US taxpayers spending hundreds of billions of dollars patrolling the world and sending money to foreign dictators so they can exploit their people. We simply can no longer afford it. Defense is central to the role of the federal government, and defending our country is an honorable and important role for the military. But we do not defend our country by keeping thousands of troops in more than 100 countries worldwide (did you know we are now sending troops to Australia!!?? Australia, which has been going through an economic boom, cannot defend itself???!!!!). And, I would like to note, even under Ron Paul, Defense spending would go slightly up from 2013 to 2016 (look at the Ron Paul plan linked above).
Make no mistake about it: Ron Paul sees the Fed as one of the greatest sources of misery in the history of the United States. He favors a return to the gold standard and abolition of the Fed. But he also believes that in the short run this is not possible politically. So, he wants currency competition, which means the legalization of the use of silver and gold as currency. Utah recently passed a currency competition law. Of course, he wants a full audit of the Fed, which nobody should oppose. Regardless of what you feel about the Fed, it is important to see what central bankers are doing with the currency. And the information that has come out is alarming, to say the least: $7.7 trillion in money for big banks, loans to overseas banks including Qaddafi’s bank in Libya, back-door deals for the politically connected. If you believe in secret combinations, the Fed is the biggest one in existence.
Dr Paul is an OB-GYN and has delivered thousands of babies. He is anti-abortion. He tells a heartbreaking story about witnessing an abortion in one hospital room in which the baby was taken out still breathing and crying and dumped in a trash bin (will God ever forgive us?). In the next room over, a baby the same age was delivered prematurely, and 10 medical specialists worked to keep the baby alive.
But even somebody as pro-life as Dr. Paul refuses to federalize the abortion issue. He opposes a Constitutional amendment against abortion. He believes that like other key issues abortion is something that should be left to the states. Dr. Paul will certainly appoint federal judges who support his view, and it is possible that some day Roe v. Wade will be overturned at least partly because of judges he appoints. But, it is worth pointing out that if you are pro-choice and live in a more liberal state, abortion is likely to be legal in such states even after Roe v. Wade is overturned. Abortion will become like the death penalty, ie, individual states will adopt a variety of different laws.
On same-sex marriage, Ron Paul says he is personally against gay marriage but does not think the government should get involved in the issue. He is opposed to federalizing the issue, although he supports some aspects of the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows states to adopt their own policies on same-sex marriage.
Ron Paul wants to abolish the TSA and privatize airport security. Yay! He is against the Guantanamo detention center. Yay! He is against the use of torture. Yay! He is against the Patriot Act. Double yay! He favors allowing states to legalize pot and other drugs and would certainly decrease federal involvement in drug busts. Yay! He is the only major Republican candidate to speak out in favorably about the Occupy movement (I oppose what they stand for, but I love free speech). Yay! In short, Ron Paul has read and internalized the Constitution and does not want the government to oppress you. What’s not to like?
In terms of actual policies, I believe you would see a noticeable change in federal policy during a Ron Paul presidency. At the very least, the federal government would be less visible and less oppressive. What a relief that would be.
I could go on, but this post is already quite long. To sum up: a Ron Paul presidency would bring real hope and change. We would get spending under control and there would be an economic boom. And the federal government would become much less oppressive. Ron Paul offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a true transformation. I hope you can join me in supporting him.