Ron Paul supporters have liked to hold up Ron Paul as an example of reasonableness, someone they can point to and say, “See, he’s not crazy like the rest of them!”
And Paul has certainly tried to sound reasonable with regards to some issues, like foreign policy (and let’s face it, how difficult can it be given the competition?). But Ron Paul is not really a libertarian; he has differed more in matters of degree than of substance. And on Monday he proved it, pandering to religious extremists with the same open-armed enthusiasm shown recently by Newt Gingrich. He signed the Personhood USA pledge (already signed by Santorum, Bachmann, Perry and Gingrich), which says that “every human being at every stage of development must be recognized as a person possessing the right to life in federal and state laws without exception and without compromise.”
This from the man who thinks government ought to get out of our lives, and now he is saying that government must control women’s access to their own reproductive systems? How is this libertarian? It’s not – it’s conservative Christian, and Ron Paul has always been a wolf in sheep’s clothing in matters of religion.
The Constitution is always, always, trumped by the Bible, even if it’s a seriously flawed interpretation of the Bible. Republican candidates have convinced themselves, wrongly, that the path to the White House goes not through the writ of the very secular Constitution but through the holy writ of a book none of them seem to understand. Yet this is the same Ron Paul who claims, somehow keeping a straight-face, “I want to legalize the Constitution.”
But Paul has been under attack from Christian extremists for not being socially conservative enough, just as Gingrich is seen by many of them to be too pragmatic. The Hill tells us that “Bob Vander Plaats, a social conservative kingmaker, said that while he respects Paul, ‘sometimes his libertarian views trump his moral compass.’ (If so, Paul is saying “In your face!” here) and Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel and Liberty Alliance Action writes that “Mr. Paul is many things, but conservative is not one of them. He’s a died-in-the-wool libertarian. That’s one part conservative, two parts anarchist.” Barber concludes that Paul is dangerous.
Obviously, we are operating here on two very different standards. Barber is willing to concede that “Mr. Paul is relatively conservative from an economic standpoint, but in true libertarian form, has snapped off the legs of national defense and social values.”
How is putting the federal government in charge of women’s reproductive systems not socially conservative? How is it a recommendation of a candidate that he wants to ignore the world but obsess over a woman’s uterus? Get out of Iraq but get into a woman’s vagina? This is the platform of the sane Republicans?
Obviously, how Paul is seen and interpreted is critical to the success of his campaign. He is popular in Iowa, despite sixty percent of Iowan voters describing themselves as Evangelicals. Paul is going to push his social conservatism all he can given GOP ability to attack his ideas about American imperialism. Barber thinks that,
Ron Paul never had a chance; but now, with the possible exception of his most committed devotees, I suspect most people will finally admit it. Regardless of what happens in Iowa, the Paul engine has run out of steam. During the debate it pulled into the station and released its final wheeze right alongside the Cain Train.
Obviously, somebody batshit crazy enough to do as told by America’s self-styled prophets of the new millennium is much more attractive to somebody like Barber, say a Rick Perry or a Michele Bachmann. Paul shares some of their views but not enough for extremists. But Paul is far too extremist for America and he has proven it beyond redemption with his willingness to double-down on the Republican War Against Women. Foreign policy is an important factor but for an American president, it must begin with the candidate’s views about his own people, and Ron Paul’s are clearly unsupportable.
As Noah Baron writes over at HuffPo, some liberals are Paul fans, thinking that if conservatives hate him so much, maybe he is not so bad but there are manifest reasons liberals should shun Ron Paul. As Baron notes,
As Ron Paul has increased in popularity in recent weeks, scandals have followed. In particular, Paul’s involvement with wildly racist, anti-semitic and homophobic ramblings in a newsletter he funded and published in the 1990s.
I mean, look at this quote and tell me if this Is a guy a liberal should want in the White House:
“I’ve been told not to talk, but these stooges don’t scare me. Threats or no threats, I’ve laid bare the coming race war in our big cities… The federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS (my training as a physician helps me see through this one.) … The Bohemian-Grove–perverted, pagan playground of the powerful. Skull & Bones: the demonic fraternity that includes George Bush and leftist Senator John Kerry, Congress’s Mr. New Money… The Israeli lobby, which plays Congress like a cheap harmonica. And the Soviet-style “smartcard” the Justice Department has in mind for you.”
And how about this one?
“They would confiscate our guns… The right of ownership of private property is severely threatened by our own government, but it’s going to be a lot worse if the United Nations gets involved… If the United Nations has their way, there will be a curtailment of our right to practice religion… Eventually we will not have the United States of America and we will be nothing more than a pawn of the United Nations.”
Ron Paul is not an even “OK” candidate from a liberal or progressive stance and he has never been, and it is time for all Ron Paul’s liberal and progressive supporters to wake up to the fact that Paul is a conservative with some libertarian trappings. The fact that he is not batshit crazy enough for religious extremists hardly makes him sane enough for the rest of us – or for America and the world.