Foreign Policy

Ron Paul on Fiscal Conservatives: They Can Take on NPR, But Drop the Ball on Afghanistan


Rep. Ron Paul on the House floor yesterday:

mocked so-called fiscal conservatives for moving so enthusiastically to defund NPR, a move which might save the government $10 million dollars when we have spent upwards of a trillion in Afghanistan in the last decade.

There's a serious question of whether [defunding NPR] will even cut one penny, but at least the fiscal conservatives are going to be overwhelmingly in support of slashing NPR, go home and brag about how they're such great fiscal conservatives!  And the very most they might save is $10 million.  And that's their claim to fame for slashing the budget.  At the same time they won't consider for minute cutting a real significant amount of money.

 In the end the House voted to defund NPR and rejected an immediate Afghanistan pullout.

Paul was one of only eight Republicans to step to the plate and vote for an end to the Afghan war yesterday. It was co-sponsored by Paul and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Oh.) and lost 321-93. For those interested in momentum on this issue rather than victory (like the administration in its war aims….), a similar resolution in the House last year lost 356-65 with only five GOP votes.

Paul's floor speech regarding the Afghanistan pullout vote yesterday:

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  1. Most of our politicians are like Willie Sutton pretending to not know where the money is.

  2. I skimmed the linked article and it said “few tea party backed” republicans voted for the Afghan pullout. Who were the eight republicans that voted, and were all that voted tea party candidates? That still might speak volumes about the seriousness of tea party candidates.

  3. Ron Paul could really stand to learn from his son regarding rhetoric — difference between honey and vinegar, and all that. I also hope that the excerpted quote is not the base of RP’s statements on the floor — money is the least of what is wrong with our policy in Afghanistan, and is probably the least convincing argument for conservatives predisposed to seeing military spending as “good” spending.

    1. Re: Eric,

      money is the least of what is wrong with our policy in Afghanistan

      Well, maybe, but Paul’s argument puts the so-called “fiscal conservatives” to task.

      1. I don’t know about that… I’ve found that most fiscal conservatives put military and law enforcement spending in its own bubble. You need to unpack some of the spending and show that it is not all dedicated to blowing up the bad guys to get a hearing, rather than simply point out that it costs money to maintain an army — while I doubt the intelligence of some conservatives, I’m pretty sure they figured that one out on their own a while back.

        1. Ah, good old mental accounting.

        2. Then they aren’t fiscal conservatives

        3. Those aren’t fiscal conservatives. They’re Law and Order conservatives.

          They are perhaps the worst kind.

        4. While this may have been the case in previous eras. I believe the bubble that you refer to no longer exists on that same level. Most conservatives that I talk to are ready to cut spending across the board, including military. We are unprepared for the possibility that things could get worse and we need to decrease federal spending even if it gets painful for some.

    2. Some people like it…and it is hard to argue that it is ineffective given that he does posses a marginal political philosophy.

      He still has his house seat, he gained a pretty powerful subcommittee chair and his presidential run was spectacular given the circumstances.

      But yeah I also prefer Rand’s over Ron’s rhetoric style.

      1. Rand is good, but I get tired oh him pussyfooting around on foreign policy.

        He speaks like he’s not afraid to be radical on domestic spending and regulations (see: toilets), but when it comes to trillion-dollar-wars he gets all cautious like he doesn’t want to defend the Rumsfeld-fellaters

      2. Rand is definitely more suited to be a politician than Ron. Also, Rand is probably trying to set himself up for an eventual White House run. Ron knows full well he’ll never win a presidential election so he can just tell the truth without sugar coating or trying to appease certain groups.

        1. I’m not sure that Rand can win either. Team Blue will paint him in every bad color they can, along with libertarianism, and this time we’ll have those other than Kentuckians voting.

          He’s already evil, and people haven’t even had a chance to see his voting record.

  4. [Rep. Ron] Paul (R-Tx.) was one of only eight Republicans to step to the plate and vote for an end to the Afghan war yesterday. It was co-sponsored by Paul and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ooh!) and lost 321-93.

    Yesterday in his show, Sean Hannity replied to Kirsten Powers (his guest) that Afghanistan was a fight “we” required to fight for freedom and to strike at the heart of the terrorists who want to kill us, when she mentioned that NPR’s defunding was a joke compared to the real money being spent on that war.

    Here’s Kirsten Powers, by the way, one of the few non-ugly liberals:…..powers.jpg

    Good for Kirsten! I think I just fell in love!

    Sean Hannity is a sack of crap.

    1. Hannity really is execrable, even given the low baseline set by right-wing pundits — even Ann Coulter partly makes up for her terribad policy preferences by being a gifted and entertaining writer. I still don’t know what Hannity brings to the table.

      1. Powers is from Alaska, and while she has no love of her former governor, the two of them have in common that they are selling points for visiting the Land of the Midnight Sun. (Even if you don’t necessarily want to hear their notions on most subjects.)

        I still can’t believe Hannity pulls the audience that has.

        1. Powers isn’t too bad, for a leftie. From what I’ve seen, she’s at least willing to entertain the notion that you are not a racist homophobe for wanting smaller government, and she’s a cut above her comrades in terms of looks and personality.

          1. Old Mex-

            I watched Hannity last night as well. Regarding Hannity, I was thinking the same thing. Regarding Kristen, please don’t fall in love-she does not think that NPR should be defunded.

            1. Obama and Hannity on the same page about “necessary” wars.

  5. Off topic to the Reason staff:

    Can we get an article about the US going to war in Libya?

    It doesn’t have to be a big one…hell even an open thread will do.

    I really want to bitch an moan about it in the comments over the weekend and I suspect others here do as well.

    1. I normally don’t comment over the weekend. I prefer to have fun with me wife and me kids. One can get enough of Tony and Neu Mejican and the other relativists…

      1. Some of us are single and childless who live to argue.

        Plus, you know, the US is entering a new war while we still are fighting two others. Its a big deal and I want to get my chops in early on this one.

        1. I’m married with (as the saying goes) no children worth mentioning, and post to no determinable schedule.

          On Libya: surely Gaddafi and his goons will stop everything now that the ever-altruistic Arab League has called for it.

          I think we’re being suckered bigtime, and with malice aforethought. What better way to break an already overstretched economy and military than an open-ended, ill-defined, “humanitarian” intervention?

        2. Plus, you know, the US is entering a new war while we still are fighting two others.


          1. Defense Industry Stocks!

    2. Hey, I asked for an open thread already for the NCAA tourney. I’m calling dibs.


      1. Hey, I asked for an open thread already for the NCAA tourney. I’m calling dibs.

        I see no reason why a throw-away Friday open thread could not contain both.

        1. How about the gold coin guilty verdict story?

          1. As a place for an open thread…

            1. I would

              1. support that.

        2. Okay, RP lacks rhetorical flair.

          Does he possess a marginal political philosophy? I presume you are referring to electoral results? If so, you appear to be dismissing the fact that he has won reelection so many times.

          1. I said no such thing. I just asked for an open thread. How could you infer my thoughts on RP from that?

  6. War? What war? There is no war, here.

  7. Shouldn’t “So-Called” be in front of Fiscal Conservatives in the headline?

    1. Shouldn’t “So-Called” be in front of Fiscal Conservatives in the headline?

      Is there no time a fiscal conservative can support war? Just because RP doesn’t support the action doesn’t make it a fiscal issue. Could a fiscal conservative under Paul’s definition fund the Navy? Could a fiscal conservative under Paul’s definition fund the defense of an invasion? It would cost money.

      Co-sponsored by Dennis Kucinich, the poster boy of fiscal conservatism? He wants to multiply what we spend by a gazillion, but would cut the military (fighting is bad, m’kay) so he is a fiscal conservative?!

      1. Red herrings and straw mans and weak analogies, oh my!

      2. Certainly there are times when fiscal conservatives fould support funding for a war. I was just noting that what passes for fiscal conservatism is anything but. If the best this team of clowns on the right can come up with is $60B in cuts, then we’re fucked.

        Fiscal conservatism means balancing the budget at the least. If you can do that and fight a war at the same time, you are still being fiscally conservative, IMHO. These guys aren’t even thinking about doing that, hence the “so-called” label I’m attaching to them.

        1. These guys aren’t even thinking about doing that, hence the “so-called” label I’m attaching to them.

          Fair enough, they certainly are not fiscally conservative under almost ANY definition. RP seems to be claiming that you can’t support this war and be fiscally conservative. I am hardly claiming that any exist in Congress, only that you could be in favor of even this war and still be fiscally conservative. It isn’t their support for the war that refutes their supposed conservatism, as he seems to be claiming, it is all of their other actions, which unarguably do.

          1. A fiscal conservative should not support unnecessary or ineffective military activity. Let’s dispense with saying “war” when referring to the high-stakes game of Whac-A-Mole that the AFG operation has degenerated into.

            By that logic, one could say that fiscal conservatives should never question spending on the Post Office, since it’s a core constitutional power of the federal government.

      3. “Is there no time a fiscal conservative can support war?”

        Given the country’s dire fiscal state, and relative lack of consequences to leaving the neolithic goatfuckers to kill each other without outside intervention (the USSR or Third Reich, they ain’t), I’m thinking this is not one of those times.

  8. I don’t think cutting NPR/PBS is frivolous.

    Shrinking government is not just measured in dollars but it is also measured in scope.

    De-funding federal money for NPR/PBS may be a small dollar amount but in terms of limiting the scope of what government should do it is far larger then what the dollars show.

    The government has no business entertaining us and even less competing in the news industry.

    1. I would tend to agree, but I would fully support government-funded entertainment if was in the form of CSPAN airing a monthly “battle royal” in the Senate chamber comprised of 20 Senators chosen at random.

      If tickets were sold for the seats above, it would probably fund itself anyway.

    2. “”Shrinking government is not just measured in dollars but it is also measured in scope.””

      To me, that’s the only thing good about the defunding. But the fiscal aspect that is being touted is BS. The Rs don’t want to save the taxpayer any money, they will reallocate the funds to some program they like. It’s just partisan bullshit. They see NPR as a political enemy they want to kill, while making it appear like they are doing something fiscal.

    3. Government does have a role in funding news reporting, or at least the dissemination of news (NPR funding actually goes to local radio stations). There’s absolutely no good reason all news should be a corporate product.

      1. That’s not news, Tony, that’s propaganda. How is “state sponsored” and “free press compatible (HINT: they aren’t).

        1. If all it does is supply some money, they are. If it tries to control content, that’s a problem. I understand that giving money might present a conflict. But the reality is, corporate media has a much bigger thumb on it. What’s more likely–NPR reporting on news that’s damaging to the current government, or FOX reporting something that’s damaging to News Corp.?

          1. “What’s more likely–NPR reporting on news that’s damaging to the current government, or FOX reporting something that’s damaging to News Corp.?”

            Hard to tell which of those is less likely, Tony. I would say it depends on the circumstances.

            Regardless of whether NPR is biased or not (such a loaded, subjective term if there was one), it’s still taking taxpayer money. Why not let the market decide? If NPR is so great it should have no problem competing with others.

            That said I think the effort from the GOP to defund NPR is a total waste of taxpayer money and time b/c as Dr. Paul said it’s a miniscule drop in the bucket — see my post below.

            1. Why not let the market decide?

              Because, as evidence increasingly suggests, the market won’t produce quality factual news because the market doesn’t reward it. Still, as I think everyone will agree, factual news is important and necessary for a free society.

    4. Seriously though, it’s a waste of time looking to be penny wise and pound foolish is not going to help.

      We need to stop the real bleeding NOW. NPR is not hemhorraging money from the budget.

  9. The government has no business entertaining us

    But, it makes me laugh, and cry, and changes my life. If that’s not entertainment, I don’t know what is.

    1. Classic!

  10. Who cares what that racist old fuck says?

    1. “Who cares what that racist old fuck says?”

      A lot more than people who care what some irrelevant twit named “Max” says or thinks.


  11. RP is right but insufficient. He needs to come up with a plan to leave Afghanistan and NOT let it become a breeding ground for anti-American groups ie non-noninterventionism ie a serious FP.

  12. Moral “victories” like cutting NPR will end up bringing in more fundraising money for GOP politicians that it actually cuts from the federal budget.

    1. Sounds like a win-win.

  13. Actually it’s “GOP wins, we lose”

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