New at Reason

Cathy Young looks at Ron Paul and the GOP debates.

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  • Edward||

    It's pretty hard to argue that Ron Paul isn't a nobody.

  • ||

    Cathy had a good article there until she pretended like the "debates" were actually debates, and that they could be enriched.

  • ||

    the defeat of the Soviet empire ... most likely, would not have been possible without American Soviet interventionism.

    There fixed

  • R.Totale||

    What's your point, Edward? Cathy is arguing that Paul's viewpoints should be heard. Nothing more.

  • ||

    Anyone else miss Arnold Vinick? I know I do. Now there was a well-spoken libertarian.

  • Casey Khan||

    "while Israeli actions certainly do not deserve unqualified support, it still remains a lone (if flawed) outpost of liberal Western values in a region dominated by religious and political dictatorships."

    Make that massively flawed; try complete socialist nightmare.

  • ||

    It's pretty hard to argue that Ron Paul isn't a nobody.

    Ron Paul has been elected to congress more than once. He was on the stage with everyone else in those two debates. He may be reviled by the money-machine driving the top-tier candidates towards nomination. But the fact that some operatives are mounting a campaign to eliminate him for being a distraction proves he is not a "nobody".

    Edward, however is just an invisible troll that posts useless commentary on a blog forum. That make Ed as much a nobody as possible.

  • ||

    What is it about Reason contributors born overseas that makes them so optimistic (or at least not pessimistic) about U.S. adventurism?

    And the Soviets wouldn't have been defeated without American interventionism? Yeah, they had a swingin' economy and perfectly sustainable political structure before we came along and brought it crashing down.

  • ||

    I think Cathy touched on the heart of the issue, our support of Israel. As much as it would hurt, I wish Ron Paul would do the same in one these debates. Israel is a doomed state and our policy with them is fatally flawed. As much as I love to root for the underdog, it may be time for the US to start backing the inevitable winner, or even better stay out of the mess althogether. We have very little to gain from our current stance with Israel and a heck of allot to lose.

    Hows that for arm chair qaurterbacking?

  • ||

    I'm with Warren. Vietnam is a really lously example to make Young's case for interventionism.

    "Paul cited Vietnam, where we lost 60,000 people in a war and where we now have a good business relationship with the communist regime; yet such a relationship is possible due to the defeat of the Soviet empire of which that regime is no longer a part"

    We could have had a business relationship with Vietnam in the 1940s, if we wanted to. Ho Chi Minh asked us to make Vietnam an American protectorate when the war ended, fer chrissakes! Business relationship?!?

    But no, we wouldn't take it the deal, and you know why? Why, because of that very same interventionist, anti-Soviet foreign policy. We said No to Vietnam, that we weren't going to make them an American protectorate on their way to independence, for two reasons: 1) because they were commies; and 2) because of the French dangling the Soviet Union over our heads. We couldn't stand up to the French on Vietnamese independence; we've got a Cold War to win!

    Let me rephrase that more succinctly: we would have had this "business relationship" for the past sixty years with Vietnam, EXCEPT FOR our interventionist, anti-Soviet foreign policy.

  • ||

    But while Israeli actions certainly do not deserve unqualified support, it still remains a lone (if flawed) outpost of liberal Western values in a region dominated by religious and political dictatorships.

    Uh, is she implying that Israel's existence somehow encourages Arabs to strive for their own democracies? The opposite is pretty much the case. Israel is a boon to Arab dictators who need a bogeyman to blame for maintaining the miserable conditions in their countries. I don't see how a non-Arab, militaristic "democracy" that requires constant support from a distant superpower to continue existing, is the "city on the hill" that will bring about change in the Arab world.

    There's just no substitute for a democracy established by Arabs, which owes nothing to a Western country. Both the Zionist and the neocon shortcuts have done little to make the Middle East a better place.

  • Brian||

    But these are arguments that should be on the Republican table, not pushed beyond the pale by moral posturing about an alleged insult to the victims of September 11. And surely as we contemplate the debacle in Iraq, Paul's criticisms of reckless foreign entanglements and nation-building commitments have a strong resonance.

    This is exactly the point. RP has 90 seconds to squeeze in 2+ days worth of logic. It's amazing to see a party that acts like there is no other choice but to kill as many muslims as possible. The policy they're currently using is obviously in need of reform. Or, Better yet, replacement.

  • Brian||

    Uh, is she implying that Israel's existence somehow encourages Arabs to strive for their own democracies?

    No, she is saying it's hard to be non-interventionist when a US interest and seeming ally is at stake, being surrounded by totalitarian dictatorships and all. Although I'm sure the real reason for intervention is neither of those things.

  • bill||

    "totalitarian movements rooted in religious extremism"

    You mean like the House of Saud? Oh wait, we signed a treaty to protect them now and forever. Is that a case of blow back?

  • ||

    "Uh, is she implying that Israel's existence somehow encourages Arabs to strive for their own democracies?"

    I think she's just calling them the good guys. We should support them, because they're the good guys.

  • ||

    The "good guys" have over 200 "weapons of mass destruction"--can't they take care of themselves, yet?

  • Gene Berkman||

    I agree with Joe - Vietnam is a lousy case to use to justify interventionism agains the Soviet Empire.

    The "Blowback" from the Vietnam War was to make Communism popular among young people around the world, who saw the "heroic" Vietnamese fighting the American invaders. Even if that was not accurate, that is how young people in Europe and on American college campuses saw it.

    After the war ended, the little Communist groups became ever more marginal in America, and a lot less significant in Europe.

    It is the same kind of "Blowback" that makes Islamists popular in the Middle East, when they see the US government bombing a country that never attacked us (Iraq).

  • Derrick Miller||

    Two points and a question:

    1) There's a lot of truth to Ron Paul's foreign policy views, but he doesn't always do a very good job of articulating them.

    2) Anti-Americanism in the Middle East creates a source of funding/recruiting and a support structure for radical terrorists like OBL. Get rid of the Anti-Americanism, and Al Qaeda is reduced to a couple of old guys ranting in a cave. They no longer would have a steady stream of money and 19-year-olds who are willing to die for their cause.

    3) Why does H&R keep forgetting me, even though I check the "Remember Me" box?

  • Edward||

    Geez, all I meant by "nobody" is that the guy's chances of winning the Republican nomination are zilch. He's a nobody Republican in the sense that Kucinich is a nobody Democrat. Does it sound better to say he's a somebody who can't win?

  • ||

    Edward, I think that the overwhelming majority of us know that Ron Paul will not get the republican nomination. What has us excited is that he is on the stage in debates and is given a forum for articulating "out of the mainstream" positions. This has made what would be otherwise BORING debates and political discussion leading up to the 2008 primaries and election actually interesting.

  • ||

    Just because everyone keeps saying Ron Paul is a nobody and has no chance to win doesn't mean its true. Ron Paul has a lot of support, as does the Constitution which he defends, many people are re-registering as republicans so they can voice their support for Ron Paul when the time comes. There is certainly no need to qualify any positive statements about RP with a statement that he has no chance win, as it is the people who vote in the end, not CNN or FOX or Reason, which is a good thing. Though, they will try to convince us all that a vote for RP is a waste of a vote, and they do this by marginalizing him and telling us all that, while he may make a good candidate, it is pointless for him to try because he is not a multi-millionaire...

  • Roy||

    "Though, they will try to convince us all that a vote for RP is a waste of a vote, and they do this by marginalizing him and telling us all that, while he may make a good candidate, it is pointless for him to try because he is not a multi-millionaire..."

    --this comes into more focus when we remember that the only 3rd party candidate that has ever been worthy enough to run was the multi-millionaire Ross Perot...

  • Non||

    And the US intervention in WW1 (and subsequent treaties, etc.) led to the rise of the Nazi Party, Hitler, and WW2, etc...

  • biologist||

    Roy, don't forget Ralph Nader

  • Roy||

    "Roy, don't forget Ralph Nader"

    Ralph was never treated as a viable candidate by the mainstream, media or otherwise...

  • Rothbard is cool||

    With the incredible groundswell of support springing up for Paul from the Internet(mostly), I wouldn\'t discount him too much. (Bart Simpson\'s admonition of reaching people who\'s opinions really matter nothwithsatnding.)

    He\'s getting quite a bit of support from both the Right and Left and I think the more exposure he gets to the average American, the more his ideas might resonate.

    As it stands now, he\'d probably get a sizeable chunk of both Dem and Repub votes if he ran as independent. What if he switched to Dem?

    It\'ll be worth watching.

    BTW next GOP is on June 5 in N.Hamp. and will be broadcast on CNN. Ron Paul will be there.

  • ||

    Ron Paul stands on the right side of almost every issue. His suggested policies are logical and limit the role of government to what government is supposed to be doing. He doesn't believe in cutting taxes while increasing spending - shouldn't we all? He believes we were attacked because our meddling pissed off some scary individuals - isn't that true?

    It seems to me Congressman Paul knows he doesn't have a realistic chance of winning. But he is doing something *very* important-- he is providing Americans with truth, free of spin and sugar coating. He's laying it bare, letting us know what exactly is going on in D.C. and why it makes no sense for the future of America. I think the other candidates feel threatened by him as his intelligent, factually-backed statements and ideas threaten their strategy of delivering nice-sounding sound bytes about 9/11 and the dangers of terrorism while avoiding real, material conversation about policy.

    Also, how many other politicians not only donate a portion of their salary to the U.S. Treasury but also reject the congressional pension plan?

    Everyone stands to benefit from researching Paul's positions, proposed legislation, and especially to hear his voice in the debates. To suggest he be banned from future debates is ludicrous and should be seen as alarming.

  • Edward||

    Chuckg

    Good point. I welcome his presence because of his stand on the Iraq war. But frankly, he strikes me as a bit of a loon. I suspect that's how he would strike the average voter if the average voter ever took notice of him

  • Daniel||

    I liked your article; however, I wish that more people would stress the following fact...

    It's not simply Dr. Paul who is saying these truths; it's the 911 Commission Report, the CIA, OBL/Al-Qaeda fatwahs, the alleged hijackers, the Constitution, The People, and virtually every respected, credible historian and scholar on U.S. foreign policy.

    Why make it into a Ron Paul vs. the world thing? In reality, it's far from it (underneath the Mainstream Mafia's vile, fraudulent veneer of character castigation, that is).

  • ||

    Never say never. He's still a viable candidate!

  • Rich Thau||

    In moment-to-moment dial tests conducted by messagejury.com, Paul consistently did better with Democrats than Republicans. Take a look at http://www.messagejury.com/category/candidates/paul/

  • ||

    Ron Paul is BIG. Teflon Ron.

  • Edward||

    What I mean by loon:


    http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?disc=149495;article=110959;title=APFN

    Eric Rainbolt: "Great! If we can take a look at the big picture, could you tell us, the people in this room, any information that you may have of an international and deceptive conspiracy to overthrow the American Republic and its Constitution & Bill Of Rights in order to set up and usher in a totalitarian World Government likely espoused under the UN also.."?

    Congressman Paul: " He asked if there was an international conspiracy to overthrow our government. The answer is "Yes". I think there are 25,000 individuals that have used offices of powers, and they are in our Universities and they are in our Congresses, and they believe in One World Government. And if you believe in One World Goverment, then you are talking about undermining National Sovereignty and you are talking about setting up something that you could well call a Dictatorship - and those plans are there!..."

  • Daniel||

    Matt, Brian, et al... no doubt!

    People are trying to repeat the same mantras, over and over, in hopes they will become "truths":


    "Ron Paul has no chance."
    -or-
    "Ron Paul is too radical."


    (What a load of horse dook.)

    I'll go one step further with what Chris Nolfi said: Ron Paul is the ONLY viable candidate!

    Ron Paul or Bust!

  • ||

    Regardless of the nominee, Republicans should underwrite a Ron Paul third-party campaign. He will the Ross Perot of 2008, except with the reverse outcome. I would be happy to write a check.

  • Robert Sa||

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."

    -Ghandi

  • ||

    "Paul has no chance of winning the nomination; but he certainly has a good chance to enrich the debates."

    Unfortunate but true. The best we can do is to vote democratic to punish the GOP for abandoning their traditional conservative values and hope that finally brings them back in line for 2012. Quite frankly there is very little, if any difference between Rudy McRomney and Hillary Clinton. All of them will give you big government, as well as a continued Utopian idealistic nightmare for a foreign policy. The NeoCons MUST be expelled from the GOP. The only way that's going to happen, if at all, is with repeated defeat at the polls. Perhaps if the Libertarian party can moderate and learn the art of politics we can get a 3rd party going someday but I wouldn't look for that to happen anytime soon.

  • Robert Sa||

    "The best we can do is to vote democratic to punish the GOP for abandoning their traditional conservative values and hope that finally brings them back in line for 2012."

    I disagree with you AlmightyJB. The best we can do is to vote for Ron Paul in the primary elections and support his cause. He is the only presidential candidate speaking the truth - a truth that deserves to be heard across the country.

  • Mike Reason||

    Ron Paul makes the rest of us libertarian Republicans look bad. If Ron Paul had his way, world globes would only display the continental US with the words: "There be dragons here" printed on everywhere else. I believe in limited government but one of the few duties of government is to protect our rights and interest at home and abroad. The world's problems don't go away just because we ignore them.

  • Mike Reason||

    Also, he's a conspiracy nut.

  • Joe Gelman||

    I say keep Ron Paul in the debates. His views are easily countered and he should be discredited in the open marketplace of ideas. If he is the face of libertarians, then it is libertarians who will be embarrassed by this man.

  • Equality 7-2521||

    Why are so many of you so damned sensitive about how other people percieve libertarians?

  • Forum||

    Ron Paul is our only hope to stop the ongoing and enlarging police state.

  • ||

    Horrible Vietnam example (for Cathy, prime example of blowback). Ho Chi Minh was a nationalist (not a communist) who worked with US support during WWII against the Japanese occupation. He was educated in France and was well versed in Liberte/Egalite/Fraternite as well as the founding of the US. After the war, he expected an independent Vietnam (after all, he studied in France and got to hear how Wilson made the world safe for democracy). When the US bowed to France's colonial ambitions, Ho took whatever support he could get (Russia) to free his country from the French and (after Dien Bien Phu) American occupation. The fact that Vietnam became a communist nation is a direct result of the US valueing political alliances (French colonialism) over principle (Vietnamese self-determination).

  • Jennifer Schulz||

    Ron Paul is the best thing that has happened to the Republicans. Finally they'll get a chance to win back the hearts and minds of constitutionalists, religious rightwigers, and libertarians. A force that the Dems will find hard to defeat.

  • Asharak||

    I say keep Ron Paul in the debates. His views are easily countered and he should be discredited in the open marketplace of ideas. If he is the face of libertarians, then it is libertarians who will be embarrassed by this man.

    Where do neo-cons get off lecturing to libertarians?

  • ||

    Mike: It seems that the spirit of Paul's message is that the world's problems aren't necessarily our own, and that we should focus on the ones that immediately concern us before tampering in other's affairs. It's hard to get that message across when he's only given 5 minutes to speak at both "debates," but considering his overall attitude concerning Al Qaeda, he seems to take the same position that we took towards the Barbary Pirates that war hawks repeatedly try to use in order to discredit Paul's incompatibility with the view of the Founders.

    I'd also say it's prudent not to automatically trust the government when it investigates itself, and the global government is real. This doesn't have to be a conspiracy, since when you have people who believe in a one-world government, they're going to act towards that interest.

  • Asharak||

    If Paul's detractors believe he doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of winning, then why are they throwing a collective hissy fit over him running?

  • Asharak||

    Good point. I welcome his presence because of his stand on the Iraq war. But frankly, he strikes me as a bit of a loon. I suspect that's how he would strike the average voter if the average voter ever took notice of him

    I'll most likely be going with the write-in candidate option in 2008, but Paul is no more of a loon than the so-called mainstream Republicans who still believe Bill Clinton was involved in drug-running and had TWA Flight 800 shot down and that the "Chi-coms" are going to steal our precious bodily fluids.

  • ||

    I hope that

    "Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us? ...We don't understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics."



    doesn't become Paul's albatross the way "I invented the internet." has become Gore's.

    Of course Giuliani took it out of context to score "I was Commander-In-Chief During the War of 9/11" points and implied that Paul said something different than he actually said. But, according to Snopes http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp, Gore never actually said the "I invented the internet" thing either...

  • ||

    RP may not be a viable candidate, but he is the only one worthy of a vote.

    IDL

  • ||

    "If Paul's detractors believe he doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of winning, then why are they throwing a collective hissy fit over him running?"

    Because they want to be seen throwing the hissy fit. Republicans operate like an animal pack, and being seen putting down a fringe member of the pack is how they win respect from the other members.

    They don't want Ron Paul gone. They want him there, so they can yell at him.

  • ||

    The worst thing about capitalism is...capitalists.
    Sadly, much the same can be said about Libertarian philosophy....Ron Paul's simply awful, clumsy and inarticulate debate performance is on par with his inability to take a 'reasoned' stance versus the "Students for 9/11 Truth". It's no wonder so many ordinary folks think that all too many Libertarians wear tin-foil hats!
    It's getting embarrasing.

  • ||

    Does Young actually believe the Soviets were defeated by US intervention? Soviet corruption and inefficiency defeated itself in the marketplace of ideas and dollars. Soviet communism could not deliver the goods, and neither does Islamism. I think Paul understands that Islamism (and therefore Islamic terrorism) would decline if left alone but is fostered by US imperial interventionism.

  • ||

    It seems to me that the most significant reason behind the Middle East problem is our support of Israel without demanding a just settlement for the Palestines, but that really is a "sacred cow". That, plus our interventionism.

  • David Rollins||

    I'm sick of hearing that Israel is the only pro-Western democracy in the region. Why just today there is a front page article in the WSJ stating that Lebanon has an "openly pro-Western government".

    (Yes, I'm trying to get Michael Young's goat.)

  • Doug||

    I think Paul's comments at the second debate greatly helped his campaign. In a ten-candidate field, you have to get noticed, and Ron Paul's name is all over the media now.

    Some of the spin has been negative (or outright fabrications, as on Fox), but Ron Paul's biggest problem wasn't that people think he's a fringe candidate, it was that they had never heard of him.

    Once people find out about him, and find out that he is not only against the war, but is also against bigger government and for protecting our constitutional liberties, and has a long and consistent track record and unblemished integrity, they become Ron Paul supporters. I've seen it happen.

  • Godwhacker||

    Hi Cathy,
    thanks for letting us know who can and can't be elected in the election that doesn't begin until next year. Those are some crystal balls you have.

  • ||

    Every country that the USSR came to dominate weakened them. Look at the aid the USSR gave to Cuba.

  • ||

    If you choose not to vote for someone because you feel that your vote will be wasted because that person has no chance.

  • ||

    sorry, I was interupted.

    ...then the world will not change for the better. I have carefully researched Ron Paul's positions over the last week and although I definitely do not agree with him on all points, I like his overall philosophy. He seems thoughtful, honest and with a lot of integrity. I will probably vote for him. Before letting the pundits et al. make up your mind, learn about him.

    John Huckans, Ph.D.

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