Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Other One

Of all the Republican Presidential aspirants who participated in the pre-nomination debates, the only one I found myself agreeing with regularly was Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Paul, of libertarian bent, was opposed to the Iraq War as well as Cheney-led curtailments of freedom under the Patriot Act et al. So while I agree with Paul on a number of very big issues, most importantly that the U.S. follow George Washington's lead to trade with all but stay out of entangling foreign wars, I'm generally in disagreement with him regarding government spending -- he wants to slash it to the bone, which I hold is not a responsible or suited response to the modern world.

However, what Ron Paul does have that the Republican party desperately needs -- and won't get from Gov. Palin, no matter how many post-loser Election interview she does -- is a consistent, comprehensible philosophy. Leaders can come and go but a philosophy can mature, prevail. Think Goldwater to Reagan. Or Robert Kennedy to Barack Obama.

Paul espouses in a CNN commentary he just wrote:

• Limited government power

• A balanced budget

• Personal liberty

• Strict adherence to the Constitution

• Sound money

• A strong defense while avoiding all undeclared wars

• No nation-building and no policing the world

I believe that the under-analyzed aspect of last week's election is Obama's philosophy, which is certainly not Marxism but does call for a responsible society, on both the governmental and personal level. While the government becomes an instrument of the Common Good, it does not reach into your television to turn it off during homework hours -- that's your job, albeit preached by Presidential example.

While the GOP casts about for some new packaging to somehow revive their party, Paul is offering something already made. If he can somehow turn his core of committed libertarian activists into the foundation of at least a mini-movement, I believe they could win a Republican Presidential nomination, whether it is Paul or a figure with less built-in loathing by his own party. And it could be a real threat to win, again if properly organized.

After all, who on the left could disagree with this passage from his commentary:
The Republican Congress never once stood up against the Bush/Rove machine that demanded support for unconstitutional wars, attacks on civil liberties here at home, and an economic policy based on more spending, more debt, and more inflation -- while constantly preaching the flawed doctrine that deficits don't matter as long as taxes aren't raised.
On the other hand, I have yet to be convinced that we should, per Rep. Paul, eliminate the Departments of Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development.

But I bet a lot of Americans would be open to the argument. Especially now.

Which gives upcoming President Barack Obama a very, very slim window to prove his argument in action.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul already has a constituency. It's called the Libertarian Party, and they routinely get ~ 1% of the national vote, which I think represents the number of libertarians who find the time to put down their assault weapons, stop counting their gold coins buried in the backyard, and drive their tricked-out Humvees to their local polling place.

I'm all in favor of a Paul/Palin ticket -- they might win Idaho, Alaska, and Utah.

(btw: did you know that there's an election in US history that was an electoral shutout [besides GeoWashington, who was unopposed]?)