Monday, August 27, 2007

Why I oppose Ron Paul

I got a response letter from a netizen about Ron Paul. I thought it important to understand the ideas and thought process behind someone who does not support Ron Paul. This country and Ron Paul especially engage in the idea of free speech. Although a free platform is not required, I thought this post was especially thought through and requires a response. Please by all means respond to this post with your thoughts and counter-arguments. Please keep the thread without insults people.

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by Kursio
published 8/27/2007

I think that Ron Paul’s policy of non-intervention, withdrawal from Iraq and immigration stances are good ideas, not to mention that he brings a lot of hope and inspiration for many people and get usually politically inactive young people to take part in campaigning. However I don’t like his libertarian domestic policies (except promoting state’s right and standing up for constitution) that would effectively abolish most federal programs which help the poor and low-income people the most while Paul would want toreduce regulations on enterprises to a minimum: government power would change to corporation power at worst, in the long-shot. His voting record is clearly anti-environmentalist which I see highly irresponsible in the time of global warming, he opposed raise on the minimum wage that would raise the quality of life of the poorest workers and he opposes right for abortion (though he would let the states decide), not to mention that he could reduce foreign aid as he sees it more harmful than helpful. When looking his voting record he hasn’t fought against corruption that much but on the contrary wanted to maintain it by voting NO on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions, voted NO on banning soft money and issue ads, and promotes UNLIMITED campaign contributions; with full disclosure. This would lead to even more corrupted politics and money would get even bigger role, effectively maintaining and strengthening two-party system. Furthermore, Ron Paul opposes giving a representative who could vote in Congress & electoral vote for over 500 000 D.C. residents, appealing to the Constitution which clearly isn’t flawless when today’s world is concerned. Hisstance in this issue goes against the principles of democracy: every adult citizen counts in the decision-making process.

What comes to Paul’s isolationist foreign policy: withdrawal from international organizations such as WTO, NATO, World Bank and especially the UN (in addition to some free trade treaties) would be showing back to rest of the world while hurting US economic & political interests and strengthening the idea of strong nation states in other countries, and I don’t think that such countries are in anyone’s interests. Lack of cooperation and strong, selfish major powers eventually got the world into WW I and II.International cooperation at political, economic and military level is what brings stability and peace to the world: the EU was established for the very reason for European countries to cooperate with each other, increase commerce, promote common values and stop further wars. Moreover, withdrawal from the UN would mean that the USA wouldn’t take part in the peacekeeping operations anymore.

Ron Paul is seen as a candidate of true change but if that’s the case, why he doesn’t promote abolishment of ”first-past-the-post” election system which effectively created & maintains corrupted and undemocratic two-party dominance and replace it with a multi-party system, not to mention the Electoral College that isn’t needed anymore? Why he doesn’t actively campaign against the power of lobbyists in Washington? Why he doesn’t talk about electoral reform in general? I take my information about Paul mainly from but have also read ”issues” section from his homepage.

I indeed support Barack Obama for president though I don’t 100% agrees with him in issues. He’s not just charismatic & able speaker, he’s also honest, humble and energetic “people’s man” who has good record in fighting against corruption & lobbyists while promoting voting rights & bi-partisan approach. He’s relatively young in the US politics and as black he would significantly increase racial equality & tolerance, if not by legislation at least by attitudes. His plan for withdrawal from Iraq is realistic like his new foreign policy proposals which mainly emphasize cooperation over using the force ofarms. His health care & energy plans are seemingly good & extensive, and he’s Washington outsider compared to other major candidates (except John Edwards). Obama brings hope & change while he has realistic chances to actually make it to the WhiteHouse unlike Ron Paul in current conditions. I actually think that most Paul-supporters will vote for Obama if he’s nominated in the Democratic Convention.

It’s true that Ron Paul’s presence in the internet is extensively strong and young people show him strong support but this isn’t enough. Ron Paul lacks a lot of campaign money compared to front-runners to get face & policy recognition, the mass media largely ignores him and polls don’t look that good. Some people point out that Ron Paul has almost as much campaign money as Mitt Romney after expenses but this is a false comparison: Romney has got a lot of media visibility with his money unlike Paul who has used it pretty carefully. Though Paul won New Hampshire straw-poll it must be noted that the poll didn’t hold much significance compared to Iowa straw-poll, and internetpolls give very biased & even false picture as people can vote more than once in most of them. Not to mention that strong hype & campaign activity in the streets and in the internet may not mean a lot of actual support: Governor Howard Dean had stronggrassroots support and internet presence in 2004 but he came down like a janitor from the roof in the Primaries. I think Ron Paul will make it to 4th or 5th place but he won’t win the primaries: people aren’t completely fed up with the Democrats & Republicans whohave many different candidates, the mass media calls the shots and money talks, not to mention that there’s no visible crisis in the USA in the eyes of most people that would require totally new candidate for president. It can also be questioned if there are thatmany voters in the USA who actually agree with Paul’s libertarian policies.

What comes to the Council of Foreign Relations: it’s a political think-tank, a policy discussion club with a lot of influence & also secrecy surrounding it, agreeto that, but as far as I’m concerned it’s still not some secret conspiracy society that promotes North American Union under one government: increasing economic and security policy cooperation isn’t the same thing, and pointing out that X actually means Zdoesn’t make it true. There’s not even a mention about the one world government like many want to argue, and there’s no actual proof that Barack Obama or evenother presidential candidates would be actual members as the CFR doesn’t publish its membership records anywhere and speaking in CFR event doesn’t make aperson a member, even active one: Youtube videos and conspiracy sites are hardly credible sources. For example many Germans were members of the NSDAP during1930’s & WW II just to help their careers or not stand out from the pack. Furthermore, the policy statements & programs are written by a small group of CFR insider members and those statements & programs aren’t voted on in some national CFR convention to get approval from CFR members. Whole hype around the CFR makes me wonder: is this really the only major argument that many Paul-supporters make against frontrunners andother candidates? I hope not.

Furthermore I would like to add that even if, by some miracle, Ron Paul would be elected to become the president of the United States; he would hardly get much done if he would stand as firmly behind his principles as he has to this point. Legislation initiatives would get grid-locked, Paul’s vetoes repealed by Congressional majority, and Paul’s legislationinitiatives would hardly pass in addition to fact that mass media would bombard maverick president Paul. What this would cause would be a better cooperation andunderstanding between the Democrats & Republicans while strengthening support for third party and independent candidates which is a good thing.

Nevertheless, my main concern in this whole Ron Paul-issue was that no matter who supports what candidate, is that some people spread negative, hateful and even false information around from other candidates and paint devils into walls while taking noopposing, not even tiny critical stance towards their own candidate: in this aspect I just happened to read comments of Ron Paul’s videos and decided to comment a little bit in trying to break this image of Ron Paul as some Vice Jesus for many of his supporters. Isnegative campaigning really bringing about hope & change? The Paul supporters should make positive campaign emphasizing Paul’s values instead of furiously attacking against other candidates: criticizing others and attacking others are two different things.

P.S. I remembered that Iraq was going to switch to euros but wasn’t able to fully carry it out until the Coalition invaded at 2003.

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