Campaigns/Elections

The Peacenik Republican

Would Ron Paul go farther if he toned down this anti-war stuff?

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So far in the 2012 Republican presidential campaign, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has more than doubled the number of votes he received in Iowa in 2008, more than tripled his vote count in New Hampshire, and nearly quintupled his vote count in South Carolina.

To achive this, the libertarian-leaning Paul has had to become more slick and political in his campaigning, while retaining credibility by sticking to his specific plan to chop federal spending by $1 trillion dollars. Despite the disappointment many felt about Paul's third-place finish in Iowa, and Paul's current last-place polling in Florida, Paul has said he's not going anywhere.

The strength of his campaign has forced the other candidates into humiliating and unpersuasive attempts to parrot Paul's economic policies, his warnings on unsustainable government spending, and particularly his attempt to end the reign of the Federal Reserve. But the policy area in which Paul seems to have the most trouble influencing the conversation is on war and foreign policy, an area where Paul is a staunch anti-interventionist.

Former senator and eventual winner of the Iowa caucus Rick Santorum said during the December 15 Iowa debate in reference to Iran, "they don't hate us because [of] what we do or the policies we have; they hate us because of who we are and what we believe in." He's the new Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City who famously clashed with Paul in a 2008 Fox News debate over the meaning of 9/11 and blowback. But former House Speaker Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are also close to Santorum's side of things, and they rarely miss an opportunity to grandstand about the Obama administration's supposed failure to protect Americans from terrorists and terror-states.

Like President Obama, none of these three would-be nominees would take any options off the table when it comes to dealing with Iran. On foreign policy, Paul diverges widely from both Gingrich and Romney, who have outpolled him in the first three primary states. Pundits, when they are not condemning his "sheer stupid half-witted parochialism," are fond of urging Paul to turn his foreign policy frown upside down

So why doesn't Paul dial back his humble foreign policy beliefs if he wants to really get elected? Paul is running for the nomination of a party whose majority still disapproves of the decision to pull out of Iraq. So why not run as another hawk and then govern as a non-interventionist president? Or why not at least tone down the unpopular non-intervention rhetoric? 

Paul clearly dislikes wealth-sapping programs like Medicare and Social Security, but he is just not as fiery in his rhetorical opposition to entitlements as he is in his pleading against a fiat currency and for a peaceful foreign policy. Paul's opponents have begun to exploit this enthusiasm gap.

A few weeks ago Eric Dondero, a former campaign aide of Paul's (and supposedly a disgruntled one), released a statement that said Paul had wanted to vote "No" on the 2001 Afghanistan invasion. The congressman's staff threatened a mutiny and Paul, obviously outnumbered in Congress anyway, yielded. If that story is true, it heightens Paul's anti-war credibility but makes him even more repellent to a certain type of politician and a certain type of voter. Paul has also dared to sound less than 100 percent certain about the sacred cow of World War II.

Within the confines of a Republican primary season, that makes Paul a radical. But it also makes him consistent. His opposition to war is not just situational but ethical.              

Paul's fellow candidates are also consistent, but not in a manner that suggests deep ethical thought. They are not only opposed to requiring that war be deliberately declared in a manner consistent with the Constitution, they won't even accept the most basic exercise in empathy: that if another country (China is often Paul's example of choice) treated the United States the way that it treats other countries, if China bombed the U.S. or built bases or took any number of intrusive foreign policy actions, we would be angry. This is a moral objection to war, not just a pragmatic one. It demands that you put yourself in the shoes of people who are your potential enemies. During the January 16 South Carolina debate the audience actually booed when Paul suggested a "golden rule" for foreign policy. "We endlessly bomb these countries, then we wonder why they get upset with us," said Paul as the audience audibly disapproved for several more seconds.

Who are the people booing Paul's Christian-tinged foreign policy, and do they really represent the Republican future? A January 26 article on Freedom Daily's website posited that there's a slow shift happening within the Republican party: Forty-six percent of Republicans said that intervening overseas should no longer be something America does frequently. And one consistent feature in the numerous why-do-the-kids-dig-Paul articles is the message that Paul is considered fab because he opposes war—both real war and the war on drugs. Paul, of course, also gets the most monetary support from military members, which he has said is proof that his views are not alienating to voters.

Paul decided to ignore Florida because he was polling dead last. He'll keep on running, but the odds are he won't be the Republican candidate this fall, and his anti-war views will probably get most of the blame for that showing. But Paul has already won. And he did so by picking the absolute best thing—the most important, life and death issue—about which to be a purist. 

Lucy Steigerwald is an associate editor of Reason magazine.

NEXT: Mitt Romney on Track to Win Florida, E.U. Leaders Almost Reach a Budget Deal, U.S. Drones Anger Iraqi Officials: P.M. Links

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  1. If he were running solely on the economy and domestic issues, I think he’d easily win.

    1. It is his overall consistent policy framework that makes him so predictable and dependable, and desirable to voters, though.

      Also, when he decided not to campaign in Florida he WASN’T polling dead last. and currently most polls have him tied with Santorum, who DID campaign there.

    2. You are wrong Pro Libertate, Ron Paul needs his anti-war foreign policy to survive. How else would he be able to cut the budget $1 trillion dollars the first year???
      If he drops his foreign policy position, his whole economic arguement falls apart.

      And what better way to cut the budget than from a money pool which has a good portion of the cash (but not all) going down a rat-hole?

      Barack Obama can mesmerize voters into believing his lies. But Ron Paul sells because he is genuine.

      1. You are wrong Pro Libertate, Ron Paul needs his anti-war foreign policy to survive. How else would he be able to cut the budget $1 trillion dollars the first year???

        You cut, cut, and cut until you get to $1 trillion. But even if you never get there, you go as far as you can. Even if believed Paul was trying to win, I wouldn’t take his $1 trillion target seriously.

        But you don’t need to be anti-war to make big defense cuts. What you do is point out that our forces are already far better equipped than the rest of the world and question the real defensive value of one DoD program after another.

        But if you want to be an obnoxious idiot and a miserable failure, call our soldiers aggressive warmongers and get kissy kissy with Iran.

        1. You wouldn’t take his $1 trillion target seriously? Despite the fact that he has explicitly laid out EXACTLY how he plans to get there?

          Now, while it is likely to be stopped or slowed by the big government folks left in Congress, even if Paul were elected, that doesn’t make it an unserious proposal.

        2. Sanjuro,

          You are dead wrong and it is clear to me that you haven’t done the math. How can you be for perpetual war and make defense cuts? Don’t pretend it is just Iran. What about Syria? And Somolia treats us the same way Iran did in 1978, that is a war coming down the pike. Another Afganistan. Good modern equipment and DoD programs are expensive and come with the territory. You sound like the domestic cutting politician who is going to get rid of the federal waste. Even if he were sincere, no politician including Ron Paul could do it. And Ron Paul is about as independent as you can get.

          But lets get back to the economics. Military spending, especially bombs, troops abroad, occupation, etc is money that does not come back to us since most of it is not spent in our economy. Medicare, Medicaid, Social security and even profligate unemployment compensation bounces back to us in domestic spending, largely for food and medical spending. Two industries we still excel in.

          But go ahead vote for the warmongers who haven’t said peep about where they will cut the military. Romney, normally a slimy flip-flopper, has been uncharacteristically honest in saying he would not cut the military at all for a start when if he takes office. In case you don’t understand political doublespeak that means he will not cut for the 8 years he is in office. Newt calls himself a cheap chickenhawk. That’s an oxymoron.

          But go ahead vote for them and help them win. This as China and Inia go around the world “kissy kissy” not just with Iran but with everyone, making friends and buying up resources with the dollars we send them for our war machine. Soon China will invest in Oil exploration off Cuba right in our face. That’ll be a hoot. And it will serve people like you right.

          1. Excuse me, did I say I was for perpetual war?

            1. No, but your use of the term “get kissy kissy with” for “not unconstitutionally launch an aggressive war against” is a dead giveaway.

              Nice try, warmonger.

      2. The problem with Paul’s foreign policy is that it comes across as anti-American.

        It is possible to be both pro-American and anti-interventionist. And that position would be acceptable, if not outright popular, to a large majority of Americans.

        When you start talking about Iran hating us because of all the evil shit we’ve don to provoke them, most people’s initial reaction is a hearty fuck you and stop listening.

        That’s just the reality of America today.

        1. You serious? Because, to me at least, it sounds like you are saying that one can agree with Santorum that Arab nations are full of a human version of Daleks or something, but then advocate – with a straight face – leaving them alone anyway, and still be consistent and win votes.

          1. YOUR PATHETIC DOCTOR CANNOT SAVE YOU!

            1. …but a flight of stairs can.

              1. That’s what you think!

          2. Most Americans are not really consistent. They may feel that consistency is important as a concept but most Americans are quite inconsistent in their views and in how they conduct their lives, whether they are conscious of it or not.

            Many people make up there minds about whether or not they listen to an argument based on their initial assessment of whether or not a person agrees with them. Most republicans still want an active war on terror and believe that the Bush approach is mostly appropriate. They will say they don’t like emperialism but refuse to listen to any argument that explains how the Bush doctrine is emperialism.

            Ron Paul is fighting a difficult battle. It takes a lot for a republican who has supported the foreign wars since 2001, the domestic efforts to stop terrorism and our general approach to foreign policy since 1945 to change their mind even if it obvious that they should. Ron Paul could be the most articulate candidate in American history and people would still think he is anti-American because of his stance on foreign policy.

      3. his whole economic arguement falls apart.

        Considering the credibility of most elected politicians’ economic platforms, I don’t see that mattering much. Granted, I like the realism behind Paul’s economic position, but most people seem to fall head over heels for either green jobs or a budget balanced by eliminating fraud and waste.

        1. “a budget balanced by eliminating fraud and waste.” That’s a joke, right? I remember throwing a new unused $3,000 steam cleaner overboard after my division officer gave me hell for giving it to the Marines to clean their Amtracs. He wanted it thrown away, not gotten rid of. I thought that we were sort of on the same team. Silly me.

          1. $3,000 in 1983.

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  2. Sure, he’d go further if he toned down the anti-war rhetoric. But between Romney, Obama, and Gingrich, we already have enough warmongers on the ballot. I like having someone out there saying something new and different.

    1. THIS^^^

      Plus the fact that the others parrot the “fiscal responsibility” line, but then trot out their big government plans.

      (Gingrich’s moonbase would run at least $1T, probably much more.)

      1. (Gingrich’s moonbase would run at least $1T, probably much more.)

        If (God forbid) Gingrich is elected, the moon thing might be turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Attacking Iran or Syria from Moonbase Alpha would be a logistical nightmare. And since the base would’ve cost so much to build, he might not have enough coin left over to launch a more conventional, earth-based war.

        1. And since the base would’ve cost so much to build, he might not have enough coin left over to launch a more conventional, earth-based war.

          Pfft, don’t you know that there’s no obstacle the Fed’s printing machines can’t overcome?

          1. Pfft, don’t you know that there’s no obstacle the Fed’s printing machines can’t overcome?

            Good point, I stand corrected. Plus, I hear that the presses operate much more effectively in a zero-gravity environment.

            1. It’s not like the lack of oxygen is going to hurt their brains.

        2. Couldn’t they throw rocks at Iran or Syria?

      2. Yeah, but we’d be able to launch moon rockets at the Middle East from absolute safety.

    2. Gingrich and Paul have a lot in common. They both love to hear themselves talk. After the election, people won’t be listening to them.

      1. I don’t have to wait until after the election to not want to listen to you. In that way, you have a lot in common with Newt.

        1. You don’t have to listen to Gingrich either. Nor do I have to hear you whine.

    3. Sure, he’d go further if he toned down the anti-war rhetoric.

      That bellicosity is so widely accepted is further proof just how fucked this country is.

    4. There’s also the little detail that being a warmonger means you’re not at all sincere on the fiscal issues. Ron Paul stands out because he means what he says.

      -jcr

      1. Being a warmonger means never having to say you’re sorry.

        (Couldn’t help myself.)

    5. How many conservatives say they like Ron Paul on everything but foreign policy? I think all but Rick Santorum have said something to that effect at some point. But is it true? Of course not.

      Look at the other candidates on issues other than foreign policy. None of them are like Ron Paul. They don’t call for his level of reduction in spending. They don’t share his views on personal or civil liberties. They don’t really believe in state’s rights. They don’t believe in his approach to monetary policy, though some has paid it a little lip service hoping to gain some of his supporters on that issue. None of them is like Ron Paul on the issues besides foreign policy. They only say that because he is on domestic issues what most Americans want.

  3. He won’t easily win no matter what, because today’s republicans are dolts.

    1. And how, precisely, does the Team Red dolt differ from the Team Blue dolt? (Other than by label.)

      1. The team blue dolts wouldnt vote for someone wanted to cut $1T from the budget.

        At least with his non-interventionist ways, some of the less doltish blue men may vote for him.

        1. Spoken like yet another a true dolt.

    2. “He won’t easily win no matter what, because today’s republicans are dolts.”
      As are 90% of Americans.

      1. 90%? And you call yourself a realist.

        1. We are the 1%

    3. It’s getting better. The dolts are dropping like flies. It’s just a matter of time.

  4. Paul decided to ignore Florida because he was polling dead last. He’ll keep on running, but the odds are he won’t be the Republican candidate this fall, and his anti-war views will probably get most of the blame for that showing.

    It is likely he won’t be the Republican candidate, but that does not preclude him from running as an independent. And despite common knowledge, this time it is not as clear cut that he will steal votes from the Republirat candidate only, especially when he’s polling against Obummer so well.

    1. Well said. With great Hope comes great Disappointment.

    2. I might actually register to vote again if paul ran as an independent, just to stick it to the republicans who keep saying that obama can’t get elected again no matter who gets picked.

    3. “It is likely he won’t be the Republican candidate, but that does not preclude him from running as an independent. And despite common knowledge, this time it is not as clear cut that he will steal votes from the Republirat candidate only, especially when he’s polling against Obummer so well.”

      First of all, polls do show that Paul would hurt Romney much more than Obama: see http://www.pollingreport.com/wh12gen.htm For example, the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Obama leading Romney by 49-43 (six points) but defeating Romney by thirteen points (45-32-18) in an Obama-Romney-Paul race. The Pew poll showed Obama leading Romney 50-45 (five points) but by twelve points (44-32-18) in a three way race including Paul. Similar results with the Democracy Corps poll (Obama beats Romney 47-46 in a two-way race but beats him 43-34-18 with Paul in the race).

      Second, Ron Paul will not run as an independent this year if only because this would destroy the chances of Rand Paul winning the GOP nomination in 2016 if Romney loses to Obama this year.
      For such a losss will–fairly or nor-be blamed by the GOP on Ron Paul. Rand Paul would have to repudiate his own father and back Romney to have any chance of getting the nomination in the future. I don’t think Ron wants to put Rand in that situation.

    4. Polling is an interesting affair. Only the most naive would think that polls are unbiased. Precisely because a poll becomes more persuasive when thought to be “fair”, partisan pollsters keep their partisanship muted so as to cultivate that credibility, and thereby enhance the (partisan) effectiveness of their activity.

      What’s interesting about Ron Paul polling is the lack of it. The Republican establishment won’t generate poll results detailing Ron Paul’s appeal because they don’t want any acknowledgement that he has any appeal whatsoever — their silence speaks volumes. And the Dems even more so. The Dems for their part don’t want anyone to know just how much the oldsters and youngsters in their progressive “base” feel betrayed by Obama and are attracted to Paul.

      It is because both “establishment” parties feel threatened by Paul that — when spoken of at all — he has been marginalized, tut-tutted, and dismissed as “unelectable”.

      Slow and steady however — not to mention reality-based, truthful, consistent, and principled — has a certain timeworn reliability in the affairs of man. As the process moves forward, as Santorum disqualifies himself as a warmongering religious whack-job, and Gingrich disqualifies himself as mean, opportunistic, arrogant, and truth-challenged, and Romney whimpers on as the most popular unwanted candidate, Paul will rise in the estimation of all, left and right. As he rises in popularity, the self-defeating presumption of “unelectability” will fall away and be replaced by a broad appeal, the substance of which is that he alone, among the candidates left and right, is a clear break from the same old same old parasites of the political class.

  5. Not gonna lie, I cried a little at the last sentence.

    1. well my eyes watered up, to be more pedantic.

  6. Feck Newt and the lot of ’em except Paul. If I had ki8ds (and I just might for all I know) I wouldn’t want some scumbag like Newt sending them off to do something HE was too scared to do. Drink!

    1. If I had ki8ds…

      The condition is survivable, but requires 20 – 25 years to recover.

  7. During the January 16 South Carolina debate the audience actually booed when Paul suggested a “golden rule” for foreign policy.

    I guess that being an avowed Christian does not translate into following the teachings of Christ.

    1. No “guess” about it. And those terrorist motherfuckers aren’t our neighbors in any sense of the word.

      1. So what precisely are the geographical limits of Christ’s dictum? The neighborhood, precent, city, county level?

        1. So what precisely are the geographical limits of Christ’s dictum? The neighborhood, precent, city, county level?

          Good question, but Christ’s jurisdiction clearly wouldn’t extend to the New World, as it hadn’t yet been discovered during His lifetime.

          1. The Angel Moroni has an answer for that!

          2. “Who is my neighbor?”

            I think Bourn Agin had a pretty clear reference to the answer on that one. And the parable clearly applies to America and (insert flavor-of-the-month enemy terrorist/nation), as Samaritans were the evil and hated flavor-of-the-era enemy of the jews.

        2. “The Golden Rule” isn’t exclusive to Christians, though I prefer the Silver Rule myself. (“Do not do unto others what you would not have done to yourself.”)

          1. Sanctity of life, expect some lives are more sacred than others. Never mind the 200+ children killed by drones in Pakistan.

          2. Sanctity of life, expect some lives are more sacred than others. Never mind the 200+ children killed by drones in Pakistan.

      2. I am Matt Damon.

    2. Maybe the people who booed were avowed Christians maybe they were not. How do you know?

    3. I’ve only met about a dozen Christians in my life, and whole lot of liars.

      -jcr

      1. Mark Twain had it right: “If Jesus were alive today, he certainly WOULD NOT be a Christian.”

      2. Mark Twain had it right: “If Jesus were alive today, he certainly WOULD NOT be a Christian.”

  8. A few weeks ago Eric Dondero, a former campaign aide of Paul’s (and supposedly a disgruntled one), released a statement that said Paul had wanted to vote “No” on the 2001 Afghanistan invasion.

    I haven’t seen evidence of this or corroboration. I think this is just typical Dondero bullshit.

    1. I tried to express that anything from him is inherently a bit dodgy, but it certainly wouldn’t make me think less of Paul were it true.

      1. The Paul campaign should release a statement urging voters to disbelieve the ravings of an assistant night janitor fired for huffing Pine-Sol on the job. Sure, it would be kind of a lowbrow thing to do, but no more lowbrow than the shit Dondero has been spouting.

      2. Don’t be ridiculous, Lucy. It was critical that we went into Afghanistan!

        Look, if some foreign nation is keeping Osama bin Laden safe and protecting him from answering to the U.S. for his crimes against us, then that state is our enemy, and we’ll do whatever it takes to see them destroyed along with him. Well, unless they have nukes, in which case we’ll just send a SEAL team to whack the tool and hope they don’t give us too much shit about it.

        1. That was a better plan than hanging around for ten years. Should have tried that first.

          1. Actually, just pushing the Taliban aside long enough to surround Tora Bora, terminate Bin Laden, and declare “Mission Accomplished” would have sufficed. Sadly, Bush was a serial incompetent surrounded by Imperial Zionists bent on “Full Spectrum Dominance”, and a MICC bent full spectrum profitability.

            So the American sheeple got what they got: Full Spectrum Screwed.

    2. Paul wants to pull troops out of Afghanistan now. So there are two possible interpretations that I can see:

      1) Donderoooooooo is right, and Paul never wanted to go to Afghanistan in the first place, but he made a political compromise as Representatives do.

      2) He has seen the vagary of the mission in Afghanistan and the pointlessness of continued occupation, and changed his mind as a result.

      Either way, he looks a lot better than the rest of the Republican field.

      1. 3) Mission was accomplished when Taliban was removed from power.

      2. 1) Donderoooooooo is right, and Paul never wanted to go to Afghanistan in the first place, but he made a political compromise as Representatives do.

        Sending people off to die would be a helluva thing to agree to just to gain political capital. And I think RP has far too much integrity for that. That alone reinforces the notion that Dondero is clearly full of shit.

        1. Sounds nothing like Paul.

    3. Dr. Paul has been far too kind to Dondero for far too long. He should go ahead and tell the world why he canned him.

      -jcr

      1. For writing those newsletters.

        Poetic justice indeed.

        1. That would make my decade.

          1. +1 billion
            … (or 1 trillion if it turned out that the newsletters were written by Dondero and a young Weigel.)

    4. That makes me like Paul even more, if it’s at all true.

      WTF are we doing in Afghanistan? We have no objectives. This “war,” which is really just a world cop beat, is against a nomadic, ideological affiliation, not a nation. We’re once again protecting the bass-ackwards goat-f*ckers of some rocky toilet from their own tendency to want to live the 10th century high life and shoot each other.

      None of the 9/11 hijacker/bombers were Afghan. Osama bin Laden was hiding in plain sight where, again? Not Afghanistan.

      1. We’re once again protecting the bass-ackwards goat-f*ckers of some rocky toilet from their own tendency to want to live the 10th century high life and shoot each other.

        Dude,

        Afghanistan hasn’t reached the second millenia BC yet.

        1. They don’t eschew all modern conveniences. They might shoot a movie projector because they think it’s a radio, but they can shoot it a lot of times really fast.

    5. It doesn’t seem inconsistent that Paul would have wanted to vote against invasion. Hasn’t he said that he would have preferred, and tried to introduce, letters of marque and reprisal instead?

  9. This is a moral objection to war, not just a pragmatic one. It demands that you put yourself in the shoes of people who are your potential enemies.

    And that’s the problem. Paul seems to think that people around the world are rational beings who eschew physical conflict unless they are pushed into it, because they want to go on living and improving their lives.

    The truth is that America is exceptionally enlightened, and the only thing that people in other countries enjoy more than killing Americans to appease the rapacious bloodthirst of their heathen gods is raping the bodies afterwards.

    If we stop bombing the Middle East for even a second, we’ll see al Qaeda warships come steaming over the horizon to occupy America.

    1. You forgot: We hate you for your Freedoms.

      1. No, we know. That’s why we are getting rid of them – so the world will like us better!

    2. I thought Al Queda used Zeppelins.

      Or am I mixing up the propaganda films of the various wars?

      1. I thought Al Queda used Zeppelins.

        Here’s a pic of the al Qaedan air force:

        http://www.isotx.com/uploads/O…..00×745.jpg

        1. Don’t show that picture to Newt.

    3. Why does Ron Paul want to see Lucy and all the other women get raped and killed by that Qaeda (I think his first name is Al or Albert) guy, Hugh? Why does Paul hate them?

      1. It’s Al Queso, which is Spanish for “to the cheese.” It’s the name of a new Mexican chain.

        1. You’re avoiding the question, America-hater.

          1. There is nothing–nothing!–more American than Mexican restaurants. Paul understands that, and he also understands that we have to make sacrifices.

            1. Since Mexico is an American nation, you are absolutely correct.

            2. Tex-Mex is more American.

    4. The truth is that America is exceptionally enlightened, and the only thing that people in other countries enjoy more than killing Americans to appease the rapacious bloodthirst of their heathen gods

      ——–

      I’d recommend keeping your parodies a little tighter, because that’s actually very true, although it’s certainly not universal.

      1. Yessir, we Amerkins sure are an exceptional bunch of folks.

        1. I think we are exceptional, along with the rest of the West to a lesser extent, but the problem is that we aren’t as exceptional as we used to be, and we’re getting less exceptional on a daily basis.

          1. Societies aren’t exceptional. People are. Individuals.

            1. Yes, yes, I agree. I didn’t mean that in any collectivist sense.

              1. Except for the Irish. They are, as a whole, the opposite of exceptional.

                1. Exceptionally drunk?

                  1. Piss off! We gave you David Feherty!

        2. Yeah, that’s a whole lot worser than killin ’em!

    5. If we stop bombing the Middle East for even a second, we’ll see al Qaeda web foot camels come swimming over the horizon to occupy America.
      There fixed it for ya….no charge.

    6. If we let up on Vietnam, the dominoes will fall.

    7. Rational people around the world?

      And here I thought they were all Daleks: “Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!”

      Although, if you really think about it, you could replace Santorum with a Dalek and barely tell the difference.

    8. “The truth is that America is exceptionally enlightened..”

      I haven’t laughed that hard since Solyndra. Thanks, dawg.

  10. But Paul has already won. And he did so by picking the absolute best thing?the most important, life and death issue?about which to be a purist.

    ——–

    The difference between me and you, I’m going to wager, is that my moral objections to interventionism stem mostly from the American side, or side, of things, and that I just don’t give a shit about these Asian barbarians. So I’m not sure it’s the most important issue, but it’s awesome that he’s so principled on it.

    1. …these Asian barbarians.

      Several thousand years of Chinese history would like to have a word with you.

      1. Uh.

        To the believers in “The Middle Kingdom”, there is no distinction between ‘non-Chinese’ and ‘barbarians’.

        (Curiously, the same attitude on the part of the Hellenes gave us the word ‘barbarian’.)

      2. 1) Appeals to history in the appraisement and judgment of cultural enlightenment and/or moral legitimacy and maturity don’t work. Chinese achievements of yesteryear do not make the fact that, for example, the People’s Republic of China is a God-awful abomination any less disgusting, just as the events of the American revolution, the events surrounding it, and their extraordinary fruits have absolutely no bearing on OUR troubling present — that we’re close to waist-deep up the Shit’s Creek of tyranny, and our boat sank long ago.

        2) Either way, I was referring to the Arabic (and, to a lesser extent, Persian) sphere nations.

        1. I find it odd for some reason to think of the Middle East as Asian, even though it pretty much is.

          1. It’s way harder to get a three-dollar blowjob in Tehran than it is in Hong Kong.

            1. Perhaps that’s it.

            2. I don’t think that’s true. What’s Iran’s currency worth exactly?

            3. Not really they are free. Just rape the girl. If she complains, she is the one stoned to death.

          2. Yeah. I picture attractive Japanese, Chinese, or Korean chicks when I think “Asian”. Colloquialisms, eh?

        2. “the events of the American revolution, the events surrounding it,”

          Yeah, tell that to my UEL ancestors, who were terrorised, deprived of their property and forced to flee for their lives after 1783.

          1. University of East London?

            The googles are failing on that acronym.

            1. Ah, United Empire Loyalists…apparently some crazy Canadian bullshit.

            2. United Empire Loyalist. I.e., traitors!

          2. The University of East London is a bunch of ponces. They’re lucky to have escaped with their livers.

      3. I live among these Asian barbarians, but they think I’m a barbarian. And I am. It’s fun.

  11. Despite the disappointment many felt about Paul’s third-place finish in Iowa, and Paul’s current last-place polling in Florida, Paul has said he’s not going anywhere.

    Uh… Who is disappointed? He obtained a very close 3rd in Iowa, besting Newt, Rick, Bachmann and Hunstman; a solid 2nd in New Hampshire, besting Huntsman; and Florida doesn’t matter as it is an all-or-nothing state. The showing in SC was disappointing but, then again, we’re talking about people that voted for Newt…

    1. He did a hell of a lot better so far then I could have ever hoped 4 years ago.

    2. Actually Paul didn’t lose Iowa, he tied for 1st. He came in 2nd in NH and came in last in SC and will do the same in FL no matter how many votes he gets. What matters is how many delegates he get not how many beauty contests he wins. Newt and Frothy aren’t even on the ballot in a couple of states and don’t have full slates in others. This race is what it’s always been, a 2 man race between Paul and Romney.

    3. …and booed Jesus.

  12. his humble foreign policy beliefs

    I know “humble” in this context is a stock almost-empty signifier that doesn’t mean what the actual word “humble” means, but I’m bitching about it anyway.

    Paul’s war-related rhetoric doesn’t really cohere (or really seem to strongly inform his actual legislative actions), but to the degree that it does, it coheres around claims?his and his fans’?to superior personal insight into the minds and motives of various distant enemies/others, and/or a really fucking ridiculous claim to a “basic empathy” that another (less distant) other lacks.*

    That shit’s not humble, yo. It’s a big ol’ yambag-swingin’ cowboy-swaggerin’ conceit?a purer one than the “Well, I guess we hafta kill ’em back, I guess” the average TEAM RED! voter has in his head.

    Hence the boos. “Jesus is with me and my pals, not you conscienceless animals” is gonna get some fucking “boo,” no matter why it’s whipped out.

    (I used “basic empathy” to figure this out. And it was easy! Because that’s just how better-than-you I am.)

    *You can say he just takes Them at Their word (if you’re that sort of collectivist), but he doesn’t do that. He takes some of them at the parts of their word that sound like shit Ron Paul would say. Humbly!

    1. I disagree 50-50 on the causes of our troubles outside our borders, but I agree wholeheartedly with his non-interventionism. I don’t give a fuck about how he presents himself, though he should, since his campaign depends on it.

    2. Im not sure the “his fans” part is right. I think you reach the same position as he does without having to put yourself in the other guys shoes.

      NAP handles it.

    3. Doesn’t the fact that the overwhelming majority of people “over there” don’t spend their days planning and executing attacks on the US sort of imply that Paul has a point about their motivations/intentions?

      Whatever humble means, assuming that the other guy spends his night laying awake thinking of ways to get you is not it.

      1. Doesn’t the fact that the overwhelming majority of people “RIGHT HERE” don’t spend their days planning and executing attacks on the F’in Arabs sort of imply that WE KNOW NOTHING about their motivations/intentions?

    4. “Humble” in the sense that ‘We’ (aka the American Government) DOESN’T know how to run the world, and more importantly, has no RIGHT to, is not an “almost-empty signifier”.

      Your bitching is really empty, though. It’s not “basic empathy” alone that leads to this view. It can also be found by rationally considering them FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS, instead of a soulless race of creatures bent on universal conquest and domination, utterly without pity, compassion or remorse (possibly with the catchphrase “Exterminate!”).

      1. We can’t even run our own fuckin’ country. How can we run a bunch of other ones?

  13. “Would Ron Paul go farther if he toned down this anti-war stuff?”
    Most probably, but then he would be just another shit for brains warmonger.
    When everyone can vote, everyone loses.

    1. Yeah.

      Democracy =/= freedom.

      1. Democracy does NOT equal freedom.

        1. That’s what I said. :O

          1. Say it this way: democracy ? freedom.

          2. I know…we agree.

      2. Yup, Democracy is a wolf and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner, blah, blah…

        1. Actually, what you describe is anarchy and could never work. A true democracy would be “two” wolves and a sheep voting on dinner.

          1. Noooo…it would be two wolfs, one sheep, a muscrat, and three jackals voting on what’s for dinner. Get it right, scrub.

            1. Diversity! I approve.

            2. Diversity! I approve.

    2. What, Either he tells everybody how wrong America is about Iran or he’s a warmonger? Gee, reminds me of the “either you’re for us or against us” rhetoric that Bush was attacked for.

  14. Ron Paul is not anti-war. He is anti-unconstitutional war. Big difference.

    1. I would argue that he’s pretty frequently anti-war. But if this is one of those things, like illegal immigrant or or anti-government, which is supposed to be a pejorative but is not to me, fair enough.

      1. He’s anti-war enough that I’ve wondered if a President Paul could make my paper for National Security Law a reality–the one where I decided that a president could veto a formal declaration of war.

      2. I was going to make the same point (and I’m also from Texas… go figure). Only I was going to put it slightly differently in saying that he was “anti-undeclared” war.

        But I think Brian put it better, because Paul’s foreign policy *would* actually allow for undeclared war (e.g. to repel an imminent/ongoing invasion).

        Anyhow, my personal opinion is that Paul is “fairly to strongly” anti-war, personally, while only “anti-unconstitutional” war, as a matter of public policy.

        (with a politician like Paul, it’s *always* important to separate the personal from the political… as he is one of the few who can do it)

        1. As an addendum, the difference between being “anti-war” and “anti-unconstitutional war” (or even “anti-undeclared war”) is that:

          1.) As a member of the legislative branch, an “anti-war” politician would ‘never’ vote to go to war, while one of the other two types would, in certain circumstances;

          2.) As a member of the executive branch (namely, the POTUS/CINC), an “anti-war” politician might actually veto a congressional declaration of war.

          My personal opinion is that Paul (as POTUS/CINC) would likely prosecute a congressionally-declared war, in most any circumstances.

          But that scenario (one in which Paul were POTUS/CINC and Congress declared a war) would be the best litmus test to see whether he was truly ‘anti-war’.

          1. Just out of curiosity what would happen if congress overrides a presidential veto of a declaration of war?

    2. Paul is pretty hardcore antiwar, he is a Rothbardian.

  15. But Paul has already won. And he did so by picking the absolute best thing?the most important, life and death issue?about which to be a purist.

    That’s right. He’s already a legend in his own mind.

    1. He’s also the only contender that can genuinely claim to be coming from the direction of true American republicanism and actual and demonstrable principles of liberty.

      1. Politics is not true anything or pure anything. Politics is the art of the possible. Democratic politics, that is. Even in that venue, utopian thinking has a short shelf life.

        1. “Politics is the art of the possible”

          True. But that’s no excuse to vote for people who you find abhorrent, and disagree with you 80% of the time. It doesn’t make any sense.

          1. If you disagree with anybody and everybody 80% of the time, it makes little difference who you vote for or whether you vote at all.

        2. Too bad nature follows the law of the inevitable, and when politics keeps trying to the impossible, the inevitable collapse must happen.

    2. That’s right. He’s already a legend in his own mind.

      And the minds of millions of others. Ron Paul was the only Republican presidential candidate who won in 2008. He’s likely the only one who will win this year.

      Check the exit polls for the under-30 vote if you don’t understand what I mean.

  16. Ron Paul would possibly do better to lay back on the anti-war stuff for a couple reasons.

    First of course, the party he is trying to get a nomination from and their beliefs, but also because it’s already known.

    Let his opponents point it out constantly with him saying things like, ‘haven’t we discussed this?’ than wasting valuable time and energy trying to get a party who disagrees to understand the nuances.

    As a desperate note – I think golden rule foreign policy should be booed, as it demonstrates a misunderstanding of foreign policy and the impact of US policy to countries around the world.

    Probably not the reason most booed him, but just be nicer to North Korea isn’t a policy.

    1. There is a preview button, yes? lol

      Desperate should be separate and there’s a word or two missing elsewhere.. sorry.

    2. you’re right being nice to North Korea is not the answer, cutting military welfare to Japan and South Korea is the answer.

    3. “golden rule foreign policy should be booed, as it demonstrates a misunderstanding of foreign policy and the impact of US policy to countries around the world.”

      Not really. It represents a desire to stop fucking around with the business of other countries. The idea is that we wouldn’t like it if other nations that were more powerful were bossing us around – and we fought the War of 1812 to stand up to Britain doing exactly that – then it logically follows that we should stop doing it to other nations (you know, until one of our wars ends up as our version of Britain’s side in the War of 1812).

    4. We’re nicer to them than we are to the Afghans and Iraqis. Still wondering why Iran wants a nuke?

      1. Iran wants a nuke, because Israel has nukes and it decreases the chance of us bombing them.

  17. Although I tend to lean more and more to Paul’s view, I think in some cases the toning down would be beneficial. For example, even though he made good points about the problems with how we went after Osama, it probably would have been better just not to have made them. It just opened himself up for an attack that he didn’t really want to get him.

    Then when he was attacked in the debate, he didn’t articulate as well as he could have his defense.

  18. Good to see one person stick to principles, even when it costs them. This is much too important of a defining issue to back off the slightest. The empire must stop invading and killing in the name of peace and security. Ron Paul, never give up.

    1. For a split second I thought this was our “regular” John.

      Nope, it’s not.

    2. Hope he gets plenty of delegates for the convention. But he isn’t going to get the nomination, and I doubt he’ll even get a door prize much less a cabinet appointment or a convention speech. After that, he’ll retire.

  19. How long does Dondero get to keep riding that “Former aid to Rep. Ron Paul” wagon?

    Why does anybody still talk to him?

    1. Does anybody still talk to him? I’ve seen far less mention of him this year as compared to 2008, even though Paul is getting many more votes this time around.

    2. I made the mistake of visiting Dondero’s shitty blog a few weeks back. I shit you not – he is claiming that the small government candidate if Mitt Romney.

      1. So the Afghan war vote rumor was supposed to be insulting? Too bad it wasn’t.

  20. It’s telling that Ron Paul is painted as a fringe candidate and a wacko for espousing George Washington’s vision of foreign policy.

    1. I have it on good authority that George Washington was a military leader in an illegal revolutionary organization.

  21. Have you ever had to stop and ask yourself, Who’s your Daddy?

    http://www.pc-anon.tk

    1. Guys, anonymity bot got all sleazy!

      1. Either that or it’s mother was a guest on the Maury Povich show.

  22. But Paul has already won. And he did so by picking the absolute best thing?the most important, life and death issue?about which to be a purist.

    Fuck yeah, that’s brilliant. Be pure, baby.

    And the winner never writes history. That’s why there’s so many stories in the history books about all the great losers that were far more pure than the people who conquered them. That’s how it works, right?

    This is why I don’t believe Paul wants to win.

    1. No, but the history books are full of great losers that fell precisely because they WEREN’T pure.

      But the real question is whether principle or “victory” is more important. And it can only be the former, as the latter means that you have, in politics at least, become your enemy.

      If someone is elected on “pro-war” rhetoric, and then drastically scales back the military and eliminates sanctions on “rogue” nations, they won’t get reelected or pass their legislation. Ever. Even if the US were to experience a golden age of economic growth and peace. Rival politicians will still decry the lying incumbent and blast a “weak” policy. You can only really change things if you are elected based on your real stances, along with Congress members that agree, that you can effect *lasting* change.

  23. I’ve been wondering for a while, just who is this chest-pounding on Iran, etc., appealing to? Even hardcore Republicans have to be a little war weary. The Republican party has become so tiresome. I almost miss the days when evil geniuses called the shots–this lashing out and desperate repetition of jingoistic platitudes is not worthy of Karl Rove.

    1. Glad to see that you’re finally admitting that Obama’s not a genius.

    2. I can tell you exactly whom this chest pounding really appeals to. I used to work at a defense contractor. You have never seen people so excited about the prospect of a war.

  24. Former senator and eventual winner of the Iowa caucus Rick Santorum said during the December 15 Iowa debate in reference to Iran, “they don’t hate us because [of] what we do or the policies we have; they hate us because of who we are and what we believe in.”

    Proof I’m not Iraqi – I hate Santorum because of what he does, the policies he has AND because of who he is and what he believes in.

  25. Of course, no Reason article about Ron Paul is complete without the reminder that he can’t win.

    I always thought campaigning, and arguing, and voting were how we decided winners and losers. Silly me. I forgot that the pundits get to decide, and all we have to do is carry out their prognostications.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

    1. I get your frustration but I can’t pretend to feel more optimistic about Paul’s chances than I actually do. And I didn’t say “can’t” I said probably won’t. I would be glad to be wrong.

      And I — and Reason — don’t endorse candidates, but I like Paul more than just about every other politician.

    2. He can’t win if he’s trying so hard to lose.

  26. An appreciated article! thanks for your posting. I really like when reading your article. It attracts me so much.please post this blog more to share your ideas with readers. I am sure that most of readers will visit your site.

  27. every one know that a real conservation wants
    a government so small that it can not exercise any power over it’s citizens,
    but just big enough to rule the world….

  28. Paul would do better if he could articulate ‘humble’ (neo-isolationist) foreign policy without saying America is to blame for Islamism, and for essentially excusing non-state actors like Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hezbollah.

    1. Good lord…citations?

      This is one of the wilder posts I’ve read on this thread.

    2. “…without saying America is to blame for Islamism…”

      Got a bad case of crap-in-your-ears, don’tcha?

      Dr. Paul’s been observing – quite correctly – that decades of federal foreign policy actions in the Sandbox have so flagrantly fed the inescapable intrinsic Islamist flaming xenophobia that this “blowback” (and that’s the precise official C.I.A. term for this response) was and is inevitable.

      Like any other sensible and honest diagnostician, Dr. Paul simply discerns the etiology of the disease we’re confronting.

      Too damned much like a page out of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People – in which another dutiful doctor dares to speak plain goddam sense to a population pushing government policy gone destructively stupid – doesn’t it?

  29. Get your absentee ballots so you can write in RON PAUL. A vote for Obama, Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum is a vote for more of the same. All four are members of the Council On Foreign Relations ( http://jbs.org ), America’s shadow government and a judeo-communist front. DEAN BERRY MINISTRIES

  30. He does need to tone it down. He doesn’t need to change it though. As a RP supporter, it’s painful to watch him bring up the war about every freaking time he speaks in a debate. It always seems to go like this:

    “Rep. Paul, what do you think should be done to encourage economic growth?”

    “We need to lower taxes, but we can’t do that until we end these unjust wars that we had no business getting into in the first place. Also, inflation.”

    He seriously needs some debate coaching.

  31. Ron Paul’s foreign policy isn’t a majority position in the party, but it doesn’t hurt him so much that he couldn’t win a plurality in a 3 or 4 candidate race.

    The reason he’s not winning is that most primary voters don’t think he can win, largely because the mainstream media don’t treat him as a serious contender. (He polls better than Gingrich and Santorum against Obama.)

    1. And raised more money than Gingrich and Santorum, and has more actual grassroots supporters, and wins more straw polls, and actually managed a competent national campaign that got on all the state ballots.

  32. I feel as though Lucy Steigerwald gets me. What will it take to get a date with her?

    1. Kill a score of a million fewer people, then we’ll talk.

  33. Ron Paul is crazy enough to tell everyone the TRUTH. You can not start wars all over the world and expect to remain a free-wealthy Republic at home.

    The people who support him have figured this out and have enough integrity to act on it. Those who are afraid to change oppose him. It is a package concept.

  34. Millions of Americans have been willing to give up some freedom and liberty for a little feeling of safety.Benjamin Franklin was right.Also, over 50% of the citizens depend on the government for some type of assistance.The people work for the government.This is not the way our founders planned for things to be.as a nation we have remained ignorant and ignored the warnings from our founders time and time again.Ron Paul has been speaking the truth for thirty years.Politicians realize it is political suicide to mention cutting back on Social programs or mentioning reducing the Defense budget. the government will continue to grow and the national debt will climb higher and higher.we are moving closer to being the USSR.United States Socialist Republic with a European type of Socialism. All because millions want the government as their caretaker.

  35. Paul decided to ignore Florida because he was polling dead last.

    In a winner-take-all primary contest like the one set up by the state Red Faction establishment in Florida, what the hell would be the purpose of wasting time and effort and money contending against Willard Mittney and Newt-for-Sale?

    The idea – as Dr. Paul has so cogently repeated in his interviews – is to get votes supporting his candidacy in the Republican national convention.

    That was made impossible in Florida by establishment ordination.

    What’s that bit of old original Star Trek wisdom?

    “Only a fool fights in a burning house.”

  36. Excuse me, did I say I was for perpetual war?
    Gendongan Bayi

  37. He’ll keep on running, but the odds are he won’t be the Republican candidate this fall, and his anti-war views will probably get most of the blame for that showing handuk terry palmer, handuk terry palmer murah

  38. seems to have the most trouble influencing the conversation is

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