When I was first handed this Halloween assignment, to write about the most frightening things about a Presidential candidate, I immediately jumped on one of the least obvious, Ron Paul. He was least obvious because there is absolutely zero chance he could win. The truth is, I could have written about anyone, because no haunted house, no vampire or werewolf makes me quite as frightened as the cast of characters running for the 2012 GOP nomination. Yes, I’m inviting some trolls here, but there is not one, with the possible exception of Jon Huntsman, who doesn’t make me seriously consider expatriation.
The reason I chose Ron Paul is because he is interesting. He’s diminutive. Among the Mitt Romneys and the Rick Perrys, he looks more Keebler elf than Presidential candidate. His suits seem ill fitted, like he has yet to grow into them. His voice matches his build, thin and somewhat frail. At 76, he’s the oldest of the bunch. Yet, there is something about Ron Paul that makes you think he’d be kind, that as an obstetrician, he probably took time to listen to his patients. Unlike Romney and Perry, it would be tough to imagine Paul losing his temper. Superficial qualities aside, it’s tough for even the most progressive among us, including myself, to resist the lure of some of Ron Paul’s words. The problem with Ron Paul is that he keeps speaking.
The best description I’ve read of Ron Paul came from the other side of the political aisle from me, Matt Labash of the conservative Weekly Standard,
“The Ron Paul Revolution is like a cozy winter fire. From a distance, the crackling flames of individual liberty and freethinking libertarianism take the chill off sterile two-party politics. But get too near the searing embers, and they will cause blistering, profuse sweating, and all-around general discomfort.”
Ron Paul is for the legalization of drugs. He’s against war. He was against the Patriot Act. He believes that Wall Street has too much influence over our financial system. Paul speaks his own mind. He doesn’t seem to fall victim to politics or lobbyists. It’s easy to see why he seduces even many progressives.
But, like I said, he continues to speak. This is where it gets really scary.
Ron Paul is a racist – He has said he wouldn’t have voted for getting rid of the Jim Crow laws. Throughout the years, Paul or his staffers have written newsletters with quotes such as, “opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions,” that “if you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be,” and that black representative Barbara Jordan is “the archetypical half-educated victimologist” whose “race and sex protect her from criticism,” among many many others.
Paul has denied writing them or he says the comments were taken out of context, but the newsletters did carry his banner. More of Paul’s racist newsletter comments can be read here.
Even if Ron Paul is not himself a white supremacist, his views are such that he has the support of white supremacists.
Ron Paul puts property over people – His justification for his statement that he would have voted against the Jim Crow laws was that they would violate property rights…that property owners should be free to discriminate as they see fit.
“I believe that property rights should be protected. Your right to be on TV is protected by property rights because somebody owns that station. I can’t walk into your station. So right of freedom of speech is protected by property. The right of your church is protected by property. So people should honor and protect it. This gimmick, Chris, it’s off the wall when you say I’m for property rights and states rights therefore I’m a racist. That’s just outlandish.”
When asked if he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act, he said,
“If it were written the same way, where the federal government’s taken over property–it has nothing to do with race relations. It has nothing to do with racism, it has to do with the Constitution and private property rights.”
Ron Paul really doesn’t like gay people -
“If you want to change people, you change them through persuasion, through family values and church values, but you can’t do it through legislation because force doesn’t work. But if homosexual groups want to enforce their way on us, there’s no right to do that, either. At the same time, you should eradicate all these hate laws. They indicate that some people would receive a different penalty on others.”
He voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, but not because he believes in civil rights. He voted against DOMA because he thinks churches should control marriage.
“I think marriage should be between a single man and a single woman. And the federal government shouldn’t be involved. I want less government involvement. I don’t want the federal government having a marriage police. I want the states to deal with it. Really, why do we have to have a license to get married? Why don’t we just go to the church? What other individuals do, why can’t we permit them to do whatever they call it that is their problem not mine? Just so nobody else forces their definition of marriage on you. That is what we have to prevent. So I would say less government would be better if you have to have regulations let the state governments do it.”
In principle, that might not sound terrible, but marriage does have a legal benefit. Without a federally recognized marriage, partners could be prevented from having health insurance, adopting children (which really wouldn’t matter to Paul because he voted against gay adoptions) and even visiting their partner in the hospital. Oh, and don’t get me started on Social Security. Actually, I will get started on Social Security, in just a bit.
Ron Paul is anti-woman - He voted against equal pay legislation. He is vehemently anti-choice. Despite his anti-government rhetoric, he is somehow comfortable with the federal government inserting itself inside a woman’s womb. In fact, he has called abortion “The greatest moral issue of our time.”
“Pro-life libertarians have a vital task to perform: to persuade the many abortion-supporting libertarians of the contradiction between abortion and individual liberty; and, to sever the mistaken connection in many minds between individual freedom and the ‘right’ to extinguish individual life.”
In other words, a fetus has more right to liberty than a woman.
Ron Paul believes in States’ Rights - Okay, let’s forget for just a minute that ‘States’ Rights’ is the primary rallying call for white supremacists. The fact is, States’ Rights is a non-starter. Thanks to Laissez-Faire capitalism, a system that Ron Paul is himself an advocate, we are a global society. It’s tough to find a business that doesn’t do some sort of interstate commerce. People are more mobile. Personally, I have lived in six states. Could you imagine being married in one state, having to move because of a job and having your marriage not be recognized? Imagine if a child was to move with his parents, only to be told that his adopted parents are no longer his parents.
Ron Paul is a hypocrite - He wants to abolish every government agency and program that has ever helped anyone, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, FEMA, the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the TSA, federal student loans, etc. He also wants to abolish the federal income tax, yet he has no problem accepting a federal income tax paid paycheck.
Ron Paul is anti-regulation - In Ron Paul’s imagination, the free market will take care of everything. Bad word of mouth will shut down restaurants, after they poison their customers. Polluters will stop polluting because??? Actually, I have no idea. Thanks to corporate lobbyists and think tanks, “regulation” has become a dirty word in the American version of the English language, but regulation is just another word for “laws.”
Ron Paul is anti-worker and anti-union - It’s all about the free market, remember?
Ron Paul’s ideas are completely untested - Ron Paul believes in the Austrian School of Economics. It’s never been tested. It’s never been shown to work. I’m not an economist, but neither is Ron Paul. This guy, however, is:
The bottom line is, a Ron Paul world is a scary place. In his world, the poor are left to fend for themselves, depending on private charity to open soup kitchens and shelters. Inaccessible and unregulated healthcare could result in global pandemics. Liberty, in Ron Paul’s world, is reserved for businesses and property owners. The American dream would be lost to most because protecting property means protecting wealth. Who is wealth protected from? Anyone else who wants to achieve wealth. Anyone who wants to get past the disadvantages that life handed them, like poverty or simply the mistake of being born neither white nor male.
All I can say is, I’m glad Ron Paul won’t be our President. Now, if I could only confidently say that about the rest of the GOP field.