Ron Paul: The Poster Boy For The GOP’s Assault On Compassion

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Recent press about Ron Paul contradicts the anti-war pro-freedom image he has done his best to project during his presidential campaign.  We learned about his racism, we learn he pals around with someone who believes in a final solution for gay people.  During one of the earlier GOP debates, we also learned something else about Dr. Paul, namely his attitude toward people without health insurance.

Dr. Paul’s comments are especially disturbing coming from someone who, at one time, practiced medicine. This is someone who was bound by the ethics that all doctors must follow. Historically, the Hippocratic Oath  contained several ethical provisions, including:

I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

Through time, the original Oath was updated and revised to the current version which states in part:

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick. (my emphasis)

In other words, Dr. Paul’s assertion that he would let an uninsured person die, defies his oath as a doctor. This begs a few questions.  By admitting that he would violate his oath as a doctor, how can Americans trust him to uphold the oath of the presidency?

The greater issue is that Ron Paul is a poster boy for the GOP’s complete lack of compassion. We saw that reflected in the applause and cheers when he announced that he would let an uninsured person die. In fact, the ideological views of the GOP and the Tea Party suggest that compassion is a character flaw.
Cataloguing all the examples of GOP policies that illustrate a lack of compassion would take a book.  Already several examples were reflected in year-end posts on politicususa by Hrafnkell Haraldsson in the Dirty Thirty Year End addition  and Rmuse in 2011: The Year The Republican Party Repeatedly Humiliated America .  So I’ll limit myself to a few examples that have or will adversely affect the health of Americans.
Let’s begin with the GOP’s effort to block confirmation of Regina Benjamin’s nomination to be Surgeon General during a global flu pandemic. Eventually, Dr. Benjamin was confirmed, ) so we can rule out the possibility that the GOP initially objected to her nomination on substantive grounds. In short, people’s lives were secondary to the all-important priority of GOP gamesmanship.

Then there’s the GOP’s desire to replace Medicare for seniors with a coupon system, resulting in less access to health care when it is needed most, and the overall detriment to health that would come with the inevitable increased poverty among seniors, since their healthcare costs would skyrocket. As reported in Forbes earlier this year, private health insurers cannot compete with Medicare on economic grounds.

“As I noted in “GOP To Propose Obamacare For Seniors”, private health insurance companies are simply more expensive to operate than government run Medicare, not to mention the importance of profit in the private system that does not exist in a government program. Accordingly, there is simply no way privatizing senior health care can cost us less.”

Under this arrangement, there would be another cost born by seniors.  More expensive healthcare means seniors would have less access lifesaving treatment or no access at all.

We have seen the brutal assault on Planned Parenthood. The GOP seeks a complete shutdown of cancer screenings, testing and treatment of STDs and contraceptives which represent over 70% of Planned Parenthoods services in the name of preventing the 3% of their services that involves abortion. The likely result of this “pro-life” policy is an increased number of deaths of treatable illnesses, not to mention even more children living in poverty.

When it comes to children’s health, the GOP’s priorities are with the lobbyists.  That’s what made it possible to declare pizza and french-fries as vegetables  under the rules regarding nutrition in school lunch programs.  Of course, the GOP would prefer to dispense with school lunch programs resulting in millions of American children going without even one decent meal a day, as reflected in Rmuse’s post on December 3:

Recently, the New York Times analyzed data from the NSLP that provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. For an alarming number of children, the federally assisted meal program is the only decent meal they eat.

The number of school children receiving subsidized lunches rose to 21 million last school year; a 17% increase according to an analysis by The New York Times of Department of Agriculture data.  In eleven states, including Florida, Nevada, New Jersey and Tennessee, there was a four-year increase of 25% or more.

Creating a situation in which there would be mass poverty and with it millions of malnourished children also means their health and with it, their lives, will be compromised.  Just name one country in which the children who are malnourished grow up to be healthy, thriving adults.

None of this is consistent with being “pro-life.”  If anything there is a macabre undertone to the GOP’s policies when it comes to the health and well-being of children, seniors and women, more so when you combine it with poverty.

These are also among the most vulnerable people in our society.  One can argue the financial aspects all they wish, but they cannot claim that starving our children, denying health care to seniors and women who live in poverty bears any resemblance to compassion. As importantly, there is nothing pro-life about policies that will inevitably result in more deaths among these same sectors of our society.

With the New Year, we have new opportunities to say no to the GOP, the Tea Party and Democrats who advocate that money comes before the lives of the most vulnerable people in our country.

We also need to recognize that the right wing’s callousness and increasingly open hostility does not end with seniors, children and women particularly those living in poverty.

We can dismiss Ron Paul as a particularly eccentric homophobe and racist, yet, he reflects GOP and Tea Party views that extend well beyond his cult.

From Rick Perry’s defense of his racist hunting sign  to Ron Paul’s excuses for his racist newsletters  the GOP’s long simmering racism has come out of the closet.

In their defense, the GOP and Tea Party’s enthusiasts will point to George Wallace and other historic examples of racism within the Democratic Party, while conveniently overlooking that as the Democratic Party changed for the better, the GOP changed for the worse following passage of the Civil Rights Act.

As noted in How Race Shaped American Politics:

Slowly and inexorably, white politicians drifted to the right and into the arms of the GOP, as the party once of Lincoln became more like the party of George Wallace, as far as blacks were concerned… President Richard Nixon codified that move as Republican policy when he used his “Southern strategy” to wean white voters from Democrats in his successful bid to win the presidency in 1968. In an electorate already open to racist appeals, it did not take much effort to pull off.”

The GOP’s resentment was reflected in the sort of policies that seek to preserve wealth and power for white people. It was always couched in talk of small government, states’ rights, and wealth creation, but ultimately it was about preserving white privilege.  Then, in 2008, Barack Obama was elected to serve as the President of the United States.  The “conservative” anger was immediate and extreme.  You may remember Rush Limbaugh’s “Barack the Magic Negro” , the birther nonsense and the emergence of the Tea Party and the uglier racist version of the GOP that we see today.

“Finally, the GOP has morphed into the radical politics of Tea Party advocates, a situation from which traditional Republicans are desperately trying to extricate themselves. Racism has always been accompanied by ridiculous denials, such as Donald Trump’s declaration that he has “a great relationship with the blacks,” or Glenn Beck’s sponsorship of a march on Washington. Shucking off the ridiculous is part of the task facing GOP leaders if they wish to recapture the White House in 2012.”

One may argue that these are isolated incidents of right wing commentators seeking to sensationalize for dollars, ratings or both.  But how does that explain the racial slurs and homophobic expressions used by ordinary Tea Party followers or even in their tweets on Twitter?

While attending the health care rally in Washington, D.C., on March 21, 2010, Springboro, Ohio, Tea Party founder Sonny Thomas posted a racist comment on the Springboro Tea Party Twitter page he managed by tweeting “Illegals everywhere today! So many spicks makes me feel like a speck. Grrr. Wheres my gun!?”

Then there are the Islamaphobic sentiments as reflected by Mark Williams who referred to Allah as a “Monkey god.”

There were Peter King’s Islamaphobic inquisitions to examine: the alleged radicalization of American Muslims.  The Year closed with Lowe’s lowly decision to put its money where its Islamaphobia is.

Homophobia is an accepted GOP/Tea Party value. Michele Bachmann’s solution is to pray the gay away. Rick Santorum would “invalidate” same sex marriages.

Ron Paul’s homophobic sentiments are also well documented as was his enthusiastic acceptance of dominionist Rev. Phillip G. Kayser who makes Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum sound almost liberal.

But Kayser’s views on homosexuality go way beyond the bounds of typical anti-gay evangelical politics and into the violent fringe: he recently authored a paper arguing for criminalizing homosexuality and even advocated imposing the death penalty against offenders based on his reading of Biblical law.

While one could suggest that these are the views of extremists within the Republican Party, we see the extent to which homophobia has reached the relatively mainstream in Mitt Romney’s views as reported by our friends at FreakOutNation:

No actually I think at the time the Constitution was written it was pretty clear marriage was between a man and a woman,” said Romney as an aide jumped in, insisting they had an interview with Fox News to go to.

The compassionate conservatism  that called for improving the general welfare of a society, albeit through conservative methods is replaced by resentment and hostility for America’s children, seniors, women, racial minorities, immigrants, the middle class and the poor.  Rather than seeking to improve the general welfare of society, the GOP seeks to improve the general welfare of America’s most privileged members.

Let’s make this the year that we say no to the GOP and yes to a return of compassion.  Let’s make this the year that the GOP knows what unemployment means from first hand experience.  Let’s make this the year that all Americans, regardless of race, sexual orientation or economic status have someone representing their interest in Congress.


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23 Replies to “Ron Paul: The Poster Boy For The GOP’s Assault On Compassion”

  1. The more I’ve learned about Ron Paul since the first stages of the GOP presidential aspirations came out in debate, the less I like him. He’s a dangerous man, and make no mistake about that.

  2. The GOP candidates seem to be trying to outdo each other in demonstrating which of them can be the least empathetic or compassionate in order to determine which is the most “conservative.” In spite of Ron Paul’s very few good ideas, he is by no means an exception to the GOP candidates’ appeals to the most ignorant, short-sighted, and selfish among their base.
    His facade of folksiness and those few good ideas have the huge risk of drawing votes from people who disagree with him on just about everything else, which makes this embrace of him dangerous. Apparently, they choose to ignore his writings that clearly illustrate racism, homophobia, misogyny, his unwarranted faith in an unfettered free market, and a mindset that is firmly bogged down in the past. No matter how he tries to package himself as something different, he embodies exactly what should make any rational, thinking human being reject the ideology of the GOP in its present form.

  3. Brilliant Adalia.

    Paul is in with the corporates as evidenced by his following the “states rights” mantra. Get rid of the fed, give the states away to the Koch or any other group that wants them.

    There is nothing like this batch of candidates in American history. And they all want to give this country to the wealthy.

    Ron Paul and his gop brothers win. The corporate takeover is around the corner. Welcome to the state of Ron and Koch

  4. If you read “The Nazi Doctors”, by R. J. Lifton, you will find that compassion and empathy were considered by Nazi medical doctrine to be the marks of a Gegentypus, who deserved extirpation from the human gene pool. It appears we are looking at a similar school of thought here. I say this at the risk of being accused of violating the Godwin’s law injunction and invoking the argumentum ad Hitleram, but the many resemblances are too eerie and uncanny to be accidental, and the school of “medicine” the Drs. Paul seem to belong to look altogether too much like this one. You have to wonder if they’d be capable of calculating dietary regimes designed to ensure that “lives not worth living” are snuffed out through deliberate malnutrition.

  5. Whether medical care is available through charity or goverment programs should not be a point of discussion, since citizens pay in both cases.
    The only difference is that “cheapskates” (like Ron Paul) may opt out of charities but not Medicaremedicaid.
    Poor Ronnie and Randie.

  6. There is little funnier than Paul saying healthcare should come from charities. Did he neglect to tell everyone the source money for those charitys will have to come from taxes since no one will pay the billions we spend today on healthcare for those who don’t have it?

  7. The fact is that Ron Paul was one of two congresspersons to vote against funding for malaria immunization and prevention in Africa which saves millions of lives a year is also “wise”. Away from the vital humanitarian concerns (as we are a hope and beacon for liberty, freedom, and human rights) imagine the void that this would create in which Islamicists would quickly fill without avoiding an eyeblink. And then, Islamicists would control and run a new terror haven called AFRICA.

  8. I find it hard to beleive that any of the other commenters watched the clip of Ron Paul’s debate response. He said nothing that defied his hippocratic oath, nor did he say anything that showed a lack of compassion or empathy. The story and the video don’t match up – this an absurd article if ever I read one. And it’s supposed to be (if the title means anything) about Ron Paul being the best example of what is wrong with the Republican party. Well, after reading this nonsense, I can say that this article is the “poster boy” for why we live in a welfare-warfare state where everybody depends on a governmental program or bureaucracy to take care of them and tell them what to do, including sacrificing themselves for the cause of the military industrial complex.
    “If our government were scrupulously faithful to the Constitution, we would not need to be especially concerned when a person who represents a philosophy different from our own, takes political office. Our Constitution delegates relatively few tasks to the Federal government, so it should be almost a matter of indifference who is elected….. And we would be spared the spectacle of countless American individuals and corporations frantically donating to (political)candidates during election years in order to reserve a place on the federal gravy train if their favorite should win.” RON PAUL
    If your favorite candidate isn’t using language like this, they’re probably riding on that gravy train, funded by out tax dollars, for as Ron Paul often points out, governments have nothing and they create nothing in the way of capital. So anything they promise has to be taken from someone or something. This is one of the arguments for smaller government – big government just becomes an ineffectual, expensive waste of tax-payer’s dollars, which are already worth precious little due to the inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve. There’s your homework assignment, people – look up and research the Federal Reserve!

  9. Everyone depends on the govenrment? Really?

    Could you please detail where the country is that lives on limited government and pays no taxes, as well as everyone living happily ever after?

    Sorry, I don’t want anyone saying stuff like Ron Paul in office. He is a corporatist just like the rest of them. His voting record makes Ben Nelson look good

  10. If you watched that video and came away thinking Ron Paul said anything close to “let him die” then you’re so far out of touch with reality that anything I say here won’t matter. I did here him say that he would advise the hypothetical patient to have a major medical policy. If he chooses not to then who’s fault is that? I guess there are two mindsets here. Those who want to take personal responsibility for their actions and those who want to be told what to do. I choose the first option.

  11. There are 3 mindsets. The third is the fellow that cant afford to pay for the corrupt healthcare providers coverage. Those are the people that Paul could care less about.

  12. There are also pro choice republicans. There was a huge pushback on Bush when he tried to stop abortion

    Whats more, there are many people who are pro-choice but do not believe in abortion. They just want you to have the constitutional right of choice.

    You remember the constitution right? Im sure your all about it

  13. You really don’t see the irony of a pro-choice liberal quoting the Hippocratic Oath to attack a political opponent? Does it really need explanation?

  14. A pro-choice person isn’t always in favor of abortion. A pro-choice person is in favor of a person having the choice. Not having something mandated to them. You have to ask the pro-choice person if they are in favor of abortion for your talking point question to work

  15. Where am I on record as being “pro-abortion”?
    For the record, I am pro-choice which means medical decisions should be between a woman and her doctor. As for the hipocratic oath and abortion, it seems to me that it applies as much to the woman as it does to the fetus. In that case, Dr. Paul’s opinion that life begins at conception overlooks the application of the hipocratic to the woman in cases where continuing a pregnancy would put her life at risk.

  16. Its the talking point syndrome Adalia. Prochoice is always a liberal etc etc etc and they all want abortions. Etc etc etc.

  17. A physician that performs an abortion in response to the woman’s choice violates the Hippocratic Oath. Sacrificing the baby to save the mother’s life is, of course viewed as acceptable by all. But leave that aside and let’s address your distinction between being pro-choice and pro-abortion. Would you allow an 1860 senator from a border state to say “I’m not pro-slavery merely pro-choice so as to whether a plantation owner be able to own slaves. I’m not in favor of mandating they do not”. Of course not, because we see the ownership of another person as wrong, not something to be left up to anyone’s choice. And as far as a “constitutional right” (Shiva) to choice (or abortion?). I would argue this is not guaranteed by the Constitution, merely by the Supreme Court (analogous to the Dred Scott Decision).

  18. But in all fairness, your main point has some validity. It is why libertarianism doesn’t appeal to me. Ultimately I think society, when it can, should be in a position to help the less fortunate. The “leave me alone government, I can do it on my own” attitude misses the opportunity for government to sometimes make a difference. Where the lines are drawn is a reasonable question for debate and absolutes (even pro-life vs. pro-choice) has its limits.

  19. Well actually, that was the arrangement the native Americans had before they were taken over by the Europeans.
    Ron Paul is not a corporatist at all. It’s funny you should say that. I saw a video of Ron Paul, wherein someone referred to Obama as a socialist and Paul corrected him saying, “I don’t think he’s a socialist, but he IS a corporatist”. And I agree because I heard Obama telling America that we needed to bail out all those big corporations who made malinvestments because of the false financial signals that were put forth by the Federal Reserve. Ron Paul did NOT vote for any bailouts! He does not try to defend the Republicans either. He and I agree on that – almost all politicians are riding on that gravy train that Bernanke is engineering and Ron Paul is the teacher that we need to pay attention to or be doomed to labor under the same old misconceptions that political leaders want us to believe.

  20. Say WHAT?

    There were multiple political and economic systems in place before the occupation. Which tribe and area are you talking about?

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