Lifesworthknowing is looking to engage our audience even more – this post comes at the request of an ex marine living abroad that requested some more insight into presidential candidate Ron Paul.
Ron Paul is many things; a former Air Force doctor, obstetrician, and career politician. He has a rabid political following that is more energized on a grassroots level than any Republican before him. He has a libertarian bent that encompasses legalizing drugs and ending monetary policy as we know it.
He is the curmudgeonly old uncle in the Republican debates who dons ill-fitting suits that make him appear even smaller, and spouts off about the gold standard and gets booed by the audience when he states that the Iraq war was a mistake, and we shouldn’t start a war with Iran. He is the perennial (or so it seems) presidential candidate that gets ignored by the Republican kingmakers over on Fox News, and even undersold by actual journalists like David Gregory on Meet the Press. He is also an (alleged) racist and homophobe.
Ron Paul is many things; I’m just not sure what it means.
Ron Paul has always been a fascinating politician. He seems to fall right into line with the straight shooting texas stereotype – but unlike Rick Perry, Ron Paul actually has some interesting things to say. Take for example his position that we should “End the Fed.”
Let’s simplify monetary policy into a paragraph. The Federal Reserve (or The Fed for short) acts as a pressure release valve on the economy. When unemployment is high, the Federal Reserve can make dollars more available to banks and companies so that they can borrow more and (in theory) hire more workers. On the flip side, if inflation is high, the Federal Reserve can take money out of the economy, thereby making the dollar more valuable and stopping inflation.
That’s what the Fed does, it acts as our economy’s central bank so that it can help to balance out the dueling pressure on the economy.
Ron Paul says,
“The Fed essentially creates money out of thin air, manipulates interest rates, and interferes with the free market. By doing so, the Fed fuels our economy’s boom-bust cycle and has helped devalue our dollar by over 95%. According to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve branch’s own website, what you could buy with $1.00 in 1913 would now cost you $22.55.”
I don’t mean to sound condescending, but…seriously?. Prices are obviously going to be much higher today than they were in 1913. How exactly is that a bad thing? Wages are also much higher, and our standard of living is much higher, how is this an undesirable outcome? I really don’t understand his end the Fed argument – but that is not his most popular position.
He has been pretty popular among the college aged crowd, and he also wants to legalize drugs. I’m pretty sure that those two things are related. He preaches a consistent brand of libertarianism that stresses personal responsibility and limited government. So limited, in fact that he thinks the war on drugs should end and we should treat drug addiction like we do alcoholism – as a medically treatable illness. Instead of criminalizing drugs and locking up millions of nonviolent offenders, Paul wants to legalize drugs for medical purposes. It is a pretty convincing argument – but not one that will win him voters in South Carolina and Florida.
He is also the only Presidential candidate to publicly stand against the War in Iraq and aggression towards Iran – he is a staunch isolationist that manages to combine fiscal responsibility with pacificism to create a unique and compelling argument that the United States simply cannot afford another war – we do not have the financial wherewithal to support another hundred billion dollar fiasco.
It really does seem that since he came into the national consciousness with his Presidential runs in the past decade, he has remained remarkably consistent with a true small government, personal responsibility message. (So much so that he would rather let a man die that have government healthcare).
Although, that is not the whole story. Recently, some intrepid journalists uncovered some newsletters that were sent out under Ron Paul’s name in the 80s and 90s. Think of these newsletters as the blogs of the 20th Century – it was a way for a public figure to address concerns and keep himself in front of his constituents. He sent them out all throughout the 90s and they contained such enlightening quotations like:
“I think we can assume that 95 percent of the black men in that city [Washington] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal” and had these touching thoughts on Martin Luther King “We know that King was a Marxist and a world-class adulterer….Am I glad I voted in Congress against and expensive federal holiday for this man.”
There has been some incredibly racist material coming out of these old newsletters – and Ron Paul has denounced them saying that he wasn’t the person that penned those paragraphs, but it was sent out under his name, and first person is often used as if to imply it was the Congressman himself. It is not something to be taken lightly, if he couldn’t control the editorial content of his own newsletter, do we expect him to take ownership of the economy and our national security?
That brings us to the last and most recent charge – that Ron Paul is homophobic. This charge arose because Paul embraced the endorsement of an Iowa pastor, even sending out press releases to highlight this support. The problem is that this Pastor Phillip Kayser has actually gone on the record stating that homosexuality is a crime that should be punishable by death.
In his defense, Ron Paul has since scrubbed Pastor Kayser off of his website, and I am sure that the Congressman does not share the same views, especially in light of his support for the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell. But it was unwise to invite controversy.
This isn’t to say that Paul wouldn’t be qualified for the Presidency, he sometimes seems like the only adult in the room at Republican debates, and he is certainly more consistent than Romney, more electable than Bachmann, more likable than Gingrich, and can actually string together complete thoughts, unlike Perry. But he will have to answer for those newsletters, and convince the Republican electorate that Timothy Geithner is a greater threat than Ahmadinejad.
It’s interesting, sure, but not likely.