Monday, February 4, 2008

Some of the Reasons I'm Voting Ron Paul on Super Tuesday

Well, tomorrow's the day. Utah is one of the 24 states voting on "Super Tuesday". I'm voting for Ron Paul despite the fact that Romney is at 84% in Utah in the poll I heard about on the radio this morning. It's too bad the polls become such self-fulfilling prophecies – numbers like that make me wonder if I might as well just give up on the Republican primary altogether but I'm registering my vote for Paul tomorrow regardless.

Paul got less than 8 minutes of the two-hour debate in the last pre-Super-Tuesday Republican debate on CNN but the upside of that is you can hear a lot of Paul condensed to very little time.

Here's the tape [If you really want to get right to the good stuff drag the slider to about 3minutes and 10seconds]:


0-1:20 Paul says our economy is in bad shape. Says we're bankrupting the country and the standard of living is going down especially for the middle class. Talks about fiscal policy and monetary policy and throws out terms that cause people's eyes to glaze which is really too bad since Paul understands these things far better than any other candidate in the running.

1:20-2:00 Paul answers the question about whether it is OK for Schwarzenegger to implement his plan for "greenhouse gasses" by saying that CA should be free to do whatever they like. In typical Paul fashion, however, he overestimates how informed his audience is and mentions in passing that he thinks it's too bad that nobody ever discusses property rights when they talk about pollution. This is an area Paul could really shine since his discussion of pollution is really unorthodox and pragmatic. He believes allowing big corporations to pollute public water, air, and land violates the property rights of those whose land or water gets polluted. This is simple truth, regardless of your political persuasion and yet you don't hear many politicians talking about it. It avoids simply siding with big business (all-too-typical Republican stance) against public health or siding with some indefinable "global village" against the property rights of big businesses (all-too-typical Democratic stance).

At any rate, Paul pushes right past this opportunity to press for what he correctly identifies as a topic that really needs addressing: talking about how silly the "mainstream conventional wisdom" is about conservative or liberal. Even most talk-radio extremists agree that those words get overgeneralized and abused [and apart from this strange notion where it's considered "conservative" now to police the world, Paul is the only traditional "conservative" on the stage]. But Anderson Cooper shuts him down with a lie about a question that addresses "exactly that" "in like 2 minutes or 2 questions." Big surprise -- the question and opportunity to speak on the topic never comes.

2:00-3:00 Paul is glad Huckabee is also making the point that it is absolutely ludicrous that we are borrowing from the Chinese to fund our government largesse. He notes that nobody else is talking about cutting spending (which I think is strange too because I would expect Romney to talk more about it . . . only he can't since he has signed onto this idea of pre-emptive worldwide military strikes which are unimaginably expensive). Paul notes our military expeditions are hitting $1trillion a year (with a lot of it being unbudgeted "emergency" addons during the year each year). He points out that our official foreign policy calls for taxing our people to blow up bridges overseas, then taxing our people to rebuild bridges overseas while all along we're falling behind on checking the aging infrastructure and bridges in our own country because there is simply not enough money to do both.

3:00-3:10 Paul starts a short answer about why he feels Sandra Day O'Connor was not a strict enough Constitutionalist but the CNN moderator Anderson Cooper frankly doesn't care and cuts him off at an awkward point (after less than 5 seconds) to simply turn it over to McCain.

3:10-5:10 Paul's best question and answer of the night. Paul is asked if he agrees with McCain's quote about keeping troops in Iraq for "100 years or more". Paul's answer is the reason I'm praying he's still in the media after tomorrow.

5:10-7:15 Paul's other best answer of the night. Even if you don't agree with him on foreign policy, this is the right answer on the economy. The fact that none of the other Republican candidates is willing to talk about these things is remarkable in my opinion.

7:15-7:55 Paul notes that though he doesn't pretend to know what Ronald Reagan would do that Reagan and he often campaigned for each other from before Reagan finally gained traction within the party. Furthermore, Reagan solidly agreed with [perhaps Paul's most infamous "crazy idea"] Paul that the U.S. needs to return to the gold standard to save the dollar. He backed that claim up with a great Reagan quote about it.


Toadicus Rex said...

Ok, here's my response.

1. I disagree with you on the economy. I don't think that Ron Paul "understands these things far better than any other candidate in the running". I think that's a mischaracterization. I think he's simply voicing conservative ideals. Please note that I do like Paul's fiscal policy. I think he's right on the money there. However, I think Romney is as well, I just think he's more of a pragmatist, and Paul is an idealist; lots of great ideas, no clue how to seriously get there.

2. He believes allowing big corporations to pollute public water, air, and land violates the property rights of those whose land or water gets polluted. This is simple truth, regardless of your political persuasion and yet you don't hear many politicians talking about it.

Again, this is an ideal, but again, Paul fails to specify any real means to get there. Who gets to judge what pollutants are? Slippery slope, Doug. From my perspective, this is one of Pauls MANY failures. I don't care how intelligent he is, if he can't voice the reasoning behind his ideas in a coherent and understandable manner to the lay man, he'd fail because of his ability to communicate effectively.

3. Paul is the only traditional "conservative" on the stage

Whoa, Nelly. I disagree with you on that point. I think Romney is a conservative - he certainly fits the bill.

4. He notes that nobody else is talking about cutting spending

Flat out not true. Romney's been talking about that for the whole campaign.

5. Even if you don't agree with him on foreign policy, this is the right answer on the economy. The fact that none of the other Republican candidates is willing to talk about these things is remarkable in my opinion.

Sure, he's right about this... but I don't know where you get the impression that he's the only one that has the same ideals! That's ludicrous! The difference is that Romney recognizes steps to get us going that direction, where Ron Paul can only spout conservative utopian concepts! This is a seriously weak point for Paul - grand ideas, no plan.

6. Furthermore, Reagan solidly agreed with [perhaps Paul's most infamous "crazy idea"] Paul that the U.S. needs to return to the gold standard to save the dollar.

Ok... where's the plan? What's he going to do? Oh, wait. That's a great goal, and I bet Romney would support it. Again, however, Paul expresses no methods or means, only the end. The Presidency is all about knowing the means to get to the ends. Paul doesn't seem to get it.

Take it for what it's worth. It isn't that I don't like him. I largely agree with him, except on his foreign policy position. That said, unless he's going to run as an independent - which he already said he would - a vote for Paul may as well be a vote for McCain.

Doug said...

OK. I understand your responses. Here's my take:

1.) I do, in fact, think that it is demonstrably true that Paul understands these things better than any other candidate in the running. Particularly on macroeconomics and the actual dynamics of government interaction with the U.S. economy which is unique for a presidential candidate. Romney does indeed have an MBA from Harvard and has, in fact, done an excellent job in many budget managing situations from private business to the Olympics to the actual governorship of a state.

But there are many facets of federal economics where Romney has shown not only ignorance but a distinct incuriosity in his latest public incarnation. How the federal reserve board works, for instance, is not interesting nor popular nor even something other presidents have shown much interest in so Romney communicates that he intends to follow the same time-worn path. Our borrowing from China is another issue that only Huck and Paul have really mentioned with regularity.

But the biggest impractical, non-conservative, and -- frankly -- ignorant economic plank in Romney's platform is something that I don't think we see eye to eye on yet. And that is simply that Romney has no intention of truly balancing the budget in this "time of war". All sides agree that we cannot continue the "necessary" military expenditures for the "war on terror" and balance the budget. The best he can hope to do is rein in spending, tighten things up, and do some of the things he has shown to be good at. Which is commendable, but falls far short of what we need in my opinion.

Ron Paul clearly sees that the "war on terror" is a sham operation in defense of the American coroportocracy empire. It is the reason we send our CIA to overthrow democratically elected governments in Latin America and the Middle East and Asian islands. It is unethical, untenable, and the opposite of what our Founders intended.

Going after bin Laden in Pakistan -- as only the supposed 'Peaceniks' (neither is) Paul and Obama propose -- would be a reasonable use of the might and will of our brave young men and women in uniform as well as the hard earned dollars of the average American. But our current foreign policy is so twisted that instead we allow bin Laden to run free, reward his tyrannical protectors with cash and billions of dollars in planes and tanks, and declare new wars of aggression in areas that had nothing to do with the attack of Al Queda.

There is nothing pragmatic about our current foreign policy. Paul is not an idealist, he has clearly delineated how to solve this foreign policy mess. Whereas McCain, Romney, and Huckabee (and even the Dems to a lesser degree) all wallow in the idea that just in Iraq the problem is so intractable we may be there for 100 years or more! Talk about "no clue how to seriously get there" . . .!

2. If Anderson Cooper hadn't cut him off, Paul has written entire chapters of books on this "ideal". Paul is a pragmatist with action plans. He can in fact voice his reasoning, but it doesn't make good TV. Having Romney say to McCain "Hey when did you become the expert on my positions?" is much more entertaining in ways that even I have to concede.

3. Conservative and Liberal are such bloated, ethereral, and loaded words that perhaps they should be off limits lol. Romney is certainly conservative in many ways that I appreciate. Each of the Republican candidates can easily be called traditionally conservative in whatever aspects their supporters cherry pick. So on that one, I agree I went too far. My reasoning in the heat of writing was that only Paul met the litimus tests on my mind at the moment: 1)pro-Life 2)pro-government only supporting but not directing (or preventing) individuals in their attempt to make a living and make the economy work 3)limited government intervention overseas -- we are not the policemen of the world. 4)pro God and family, etc.

4) Flat out true that Romney is not proposing anything near true budget spending "cuts" (as in down below revenue taken in). Perhaps this is just a difference in definig terms. Romney is proposing a trim here and a tightening there, not systemic changes that would balance the budget and eliminate foreign borrowing.

5)Again if you looked any deeper than bad mainstream news reporting you'd see that Paul has the most detailed plans of all in many places. This opens him to much criticism but it passes the test. For instance Paul has said numerous times that if we entirely eliminated personal income tax today we would still have nearly as much total federal revenue as the US brought in just 10 years ago for the entire budget (including personal income revenue). This is a remarkable statement, but it checks out. Furthermore Paul's other "crazy" numbers check out like how much Paul claims we spend on our colonialization of Iraq. Paul clearly delineates how changes in our foreign policy would allow the entire elimination of personal income tax which in turn eases the burden on some social welfare programs (like Pell Grants for college for instance) because suddenly working people have a noticeable rise in income.

6)Finally this gold standard stuff is an idea that I've also mostly ignored. Apparently Paul has entire books on this and both the previous Federal Reserve Board chair and the current one have both written recently that Paul's arguments (and proposed pragmatic changes) make sense but that other policy makers neither understand them nor care.

Toadicus Rex said...

1. Demonstrably true that Paul understands these things better than any other candidate? How do you propose to demonstrate that Romney, McCain and Huckabee don't understand the Federal Reserve Board?

Stating that they haven't talked about it, and hence don't understand it is quite a stretch at best. Your suggestion that Romney is communicating that he "intends to follow the same time-worn path" is hearsay and speculation on your point... he's said nothing of the sort.

No, we don't see eye to eye. Because I think blasting the war is seriously the WRONG DIRECTION if you're discussing economics. Let's compare the costs; which costs the taxpayer more money? The war on terror, or Social Security? The suggestion that cutting the war on terror is the best way to balance the budget is laughable, Doug. You should know that. Compared to Social Security (alone) or Welfare (alone) the war is pocket change. Romney's plan involves the real solution, not one that does appeal to "peaceniks" within the Republican party.

Equally interesting is your suggestion that somehow it's not ok to stay in Iraq, but it IS reasonable to stay in Pakistan. I'm sorry, you can't have your cake and eat it too. You've stated a position and now you are completely breaking it.

The "war on terror" as a sham operation in defense of the American Corporatocracy???? We don't have a corporatocracy. The suggestion that we do is disgusting. For the sake of argument, can you name ONE GOVERNMENT IN THE WORLD THAT IS UNINFLUENCED BY ECONOMICS? Dude, every government has an OBLIGATION to be influenced by the economic status of its citizens, and to actively seek to improve it. I think you're dead wrong on this point. Dead wrong.

And Paul is an idealist. I don't care how you stack it up. And yep, we might be there 100 years. Like in Japan. We'll probably have an embassy there. We'll probably be actively involved with them, as we are in ALL of our other friendly nations. I hold that Paul has no plan whatsoever, except "pull out and bring the troops home". Pulling back from the world stage entirely isn't a solution, it's another of Paul's standard "it's broke, so gut it and ignore the consequences" suggestions. Lots of ends, but no realistic means.

3. If he can't voice his reasoning, he isn't a good leader. Not everyone agrees with Paul, and he has to win them over if he wants to even have a shot. That said it's still a slippery slope. Who gets to decide what pollution is? Paul?

BTW... We aren't the only ones that went to Iraq. It was a coalition of countries tired of dealing with terrorism. That isn't being the "policemen of the world" unless you're pretty conceited about America.

4. Flat out NO true. Romney just the other day was discussing cuts to Social Security and Medicare. It isn't "a trim here and a tightening there", but it also isn't a standard Paul method - "it's broke, so.... (see above)".

5. So. Let's talk about this. Elimination of personal income tax. What are the ramifications of doing that? Oh, wait, there are a LOT of problems with doing that in the short term. I agree with you that in the long term it would produce more money than the government sucks in currently, but there are immediate issues with that and if Paul's supposed to be brilliant on this, let's hear em. I haven't heard one, not from "bad mainstream news reporting" that I don't read/watch/listen to anyway, or on his website. Point me to something, if you like, but all I see is "if we do this it will all work, trust me!"

I don't like Ron Paul's foreign policy. I think I've said that. I think it's irresponsible and reckless at best. Are there things that should be done? Sure. But it's got to take time, it can't be done all at once without risking major global issues. We can argue this till the cows come home, but I think it comes down to an agreement to disagree. The problem is that so much of what you're saying depends on it. If I reject it, like a house of cards, the rest of the arguments seem to me to crash to the ground.

6. I'd be interested in seeing this stuff. Links?

Summary: Look, I largely agree with him fically and socially. I disagree wholeheartedly with foreign policy. I am interested in finding out what he has to say on the gold standard, and I'm not abject to reading more of his plans. I just don't think that he's the guy for the job.

Doug said...

OK I think we agree on a couple of things. First of all, Ron Paul doesn't have the necessary broad-based support to become the next President of the United States.

Secondly, Paul's fiscal policies are generally "on the money." :]

But you are right, everything else that I care about, have studied, or can speak intelligently upon depends upon foreign policy. The truth is I know very little about pollution or the gold standard.

I know quite a bit about how much of our budget goes towards the military versus social security, medicare, etc. however. In Mitt Romney's own speeches and writings he has been citing the military budget - which he pegs as only around 20% of the total federal budget - as being dwarfed by Social Security, Medicare, and other social welfare programs.

Since I won't have the time until later today to give you references to rebut his lowball 20% figure, let's take Romney at his word. Pundits who discuss Paul's abolishing the income tax fairly ask where Paul would make up the 12% shortfall in revenue (income tax really doesn't bring in the lion's share of federal revenue -- here is a link to get you started: Politifact Checker)

Since Paul talks about reducing our military waste (not reducing the military itself, mind you, just the senseless expeditions) by more than half *and* talks about reducing or eliminating entire bureaucracies like the Department of Education, the IRS collectors, etc. Paul has the most opportunities to actually reduce spending and balance the budget of any proposals I've seen.

But we've already entered into the no-man's land of me calling out our foreign policy for "senseless expeditions" where you and I cannot currently agree.

So at the moment let's simply pause and agree that we disagree on foreign policy. I'll try to find some concise references since I know you are a fair and intelligent reader and perhaps you could do the same.

Because I actually disagree at the moment with the cw that "It's the economy stupid" and I'm far more of the mindset that "It's the foreign policy . . . which seriously effects the economy . . . which is landmined with all types of stupid". :]

Doug said...


You also mentioned:

Equally interesting is your suggestion that somehow it's not ok to stay in Iraq, but it IS reasonable to stay in Pakistan.

We're not, technically, in Pakistan since Musharrif won't allow us which is what makes no sense to me. Perhaps you're confusing me with hardcore pacifists or isolationists.

I'm not 100% against war. Perhaps the best analogy would be that other legalized but detestable killing in the U.S.: abortion. I have the LDS Church's stance on abortion -- that it should only be used in cases of incest, rape, or the mother's life being in danger and -- even then it should be a careful and prayerful decision. Some would say that is analogous to being pro-choice and thus we have pro-life protesters at General Conference every year.

With bin Laden and al Queda taking credit for an attack on U.S. soil it makes no sense that we would allow the Pakistanis to harbor him and his enterprise. On the other hand I do not agree that we should have invaded Iraq or that we should continue attacking other nations elsewhere in the world (Syria, Venezuela, etc. -- it shocks me what people think is valid reason to "go to war!")

Leiandra said...

I voted for Obama. Turns out they won't let registered Democrats vote for a Republican in CA in the Primaries. Who knew?

As for why I'm a Democrat: I think my college poly sci. teacher oversimplified the definitions of Republican and Democrat. "Democrats are generally young and want change," he said. "Hey," I thought, "I'm young. And I want change."

10 years later, I still haven't taken the initiative to fill out the registration form again, although I've got increasingly more interested in politics over the past number of years.

Truth be told, I think I'm neither. I think some of the other parties have better ideas, but I can't really see them getting elected to president in the near future. And I think it's important to vote in the primaries. So, I'll stick with Republican (actually got the form this year), since I tend to agree with more of their ideas than the democrats.

Doug said...

Oh hey! I'm a huge Obama fan -- which drives some of my friends on this site crazy . . . it's true that he doesn't appear to share too many of the same concerns about what somebody like Reagan or Ezra Taft Benson would have termed "the proper role of government"

But right now I think our foreign policy is the biggest stumbling block to "proper" and "constitutional" government. And Obama is better on that platform than McCain and Huckabee. And as much as I love Ron Paul he didn't get many more votes than my own on Super Tuesday.

Plus I genuinely like Obama's character. And his optimism. Heck and even his story -- I mean the guy quit his lucrative law gig to go help people in some low paying social services job on the streets of Chicago. He pulls politics sometimes too - hence his success - but markedly less so than the other also-rans this year.

I'm looking to put an Obama sign out front next to my Paul sign. Two fairly different worldviews. But ones that I can respect. And in both cases I think they move us to a better place. That's at least the right direction.

Toadicus Rex said...

And there you have it. I think your view of this war is too far ahead in your mind, and you're blanking out real problems... and it tells me that you either a) haven't really considered what that might mean, b) are really delusional about Obama's political leanings, or c) you've joined the other side and become a liberal. I'm simply astounded.

Fact is, we have significant issues that are FAR bigger than this war. Regardless of the war, I thought you liked Ron Paul's other message; fiscal conservatism and the like. Obama has the MOST LIBERAL VOTING RECORD OF ANY IN CONGRESS. So much for the rest of Paul's message, huh? Just so long as the war is over?

Doug said...

Well, hey let's look at this fairly.

Who's more fiscally conservative? John McCain who has grandiose plans for world invasion and no way to pay for them or Barack Obama who conceivably would save money by reducing unnecessary military expeditions *and* accompanies any expensive proposals that he might have for government largesse with an honest discussion of funding (he proposes ending the Bush tax cuts for the top 6% of incomes).

Not to mention which -- Obama's proposals would have to be argued, discussed, analyzed, and modified through the legislature which provides some sort of checks and balances. Not so historically (and especially lately) with expensive military interventions. A McCain presidency is guaranteed outrageous largesse, an Obama presidency seems much more fiscally wise.

That to me was the most disappointing part of Romney's putting warmongering and part loyalty ahead of clear thinking in dropping out. I may have strongly disagreed with the kind of info. Romney was buying from the likes of Cofer Black - and I found him less acceptable than Paul in that regard - but Romney is surely a more experienced financial manager than McCain or Huckabee. It's simply not true that anything magic happens by having an (R) or a (D) by your name. Leadership *does* matter and I was disappointed by Romney's clear intimation that it matters that much less than party affiliation.

Toadicus Rex said...

Let me say this: I DO NOT SUPPORT JOHN MCCAIN. I will NOT vote for him. If Obama wins as a result, fine. If Ron Paul goes independent, he's my nominee. I cannot support someone that has betrayed this party so deeply.

Your argument against the war has to be accepted before I'd accept that Romney is a warmonger. We've been down that road, and I think you've got blinders on. And I don't think Romney went for party loyalty over his principles. His shot at the nomination was growing very cold, and he was simply stating that Obama or Hillary would be worse.

I agree with that thinking, though I wish he had stayed in.

You're making the case that Obama and John McCain would basically be the same in terms of fiscal and social policy, except that McCain would pursue the war.

I don't believe that at all. While he's a liberal Republican, he isn't a liberal as Obama, and may just do things to concede to the right. Obama will do NO SUCH THING. Therefore, he would not be better. There is a democratic congress currently. I think he likes butting heads, and I'd much rather he actually do that than be like Obama.

That said, I won't support McCain because it sends the wrong message to party leaders. You can sense my conflict, I'm sure. I can't support Obama either, even though I think he's a decent enough fellow, his ideas are atrocious.

Let Ron Paul go independent.... well, better yet, let him get a clue on foreign policy (yep, I still don't and probably will never agree with him on the war) and then he'd be my candidate.