The Hayride

Why Do I Have A Problem With Ron Paul?

Why Do I Have A Problem With Ron Paul?
November 22
22:42 2011

There are lots of reasons.

But here’s one. Ron Paul isn’t serious about the most basic requisite of a national government, which is defense.

You can’t put this on any better display than you’ll see in this clip from tonight’s debate, in which Newt Gingrich takes him to the woodshed on the Patriot Act…

After this clip Paul responded by saying Gingrich’s answer was akin to putting a cop in every household so as to keep parents from beating up their kids, which is a straw-man argument worthy of Barack Obama.

Paul’s position just isn’t one reflective of serious leadership. The idea that the federal government doesn’t have an obligation to PREVENT a Timothy McVeigh or a Mohammed Atta or a Major Hasan from doing evil to innocent Americans is one which can’t be found in the head of anybody who understands what it means to be president.

Your fundamental job as the occupant of the White House is to insure domestic security. Without that, you can’t insure anything else in the constitution.

Does this mean we create a police state? Absolutely not. But this isn’t the either-or issue the Paul people attempt to make it. It never has been.

When we were in the midst of the Cold War and the Soviets had missiles pointed at every city in America, we did a whole hell of a lot of watching – and sometimes even more – of people who were openly sympathetic to their cause. Well, guess what? Islamists are just as implacable an enemy as communists were. And while the Soviet Union lasted only 75 years, the world has had Muslims – and jihadist Muslims – for almost 1,400 years. And in almost every year during that time, you’ll find in history vivid examples of jihadists assaulting non-Muslims in an attempt to spread that ideology to places it wouldn’t gain traction through the power of peaceful persuasion.

Which means jihadist Islam deserves every effort with which we fought communism.

While I was watching tonight’s debate I had a Facebook argument going with one of Paul’s people who called me a fascist for challenging him on the assertion made by Ron Paul that we have occupying forces in 159 countries, “not counting Marines at the embassies.” I asked why it was even remotely relevant to a discussion of America’s purported military empire that we should have Marines at embassies, did he expect that we wouldn’t have security at our embassies and did he have any idea how ridiculous he sounded even bringing that up.

And of course he had no answer for any of those questions.

Then I gave him a list of the countries in which America actually has military bases – some of which I am perfectly happy to bring troops home from…

  • Afghanistan
  • Bahrain
  • Bulgaria (which we really don’t; we have a joint presence at two of their air bases which essentially amounts to office space and use of runways when needed)
  • Brazil (a naval detachment in Sao Paolo, which amounts to a building serving our sailors when one of our ships makes port there)
  • Cuba (Gitmo)
  • Diego Garcia
  • Great Britain
  • Germany
  • Greenland (basically a science station)
  • Guam
  • Greece (a support facility, which is more or less a place where we maintain ships in the Med)
  • Iraq
  • Italy
  • Israel (which isn’t a base – the Israelis save us some space at the port of Haifa for whenever we might need it)
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Turkey

That’s a lot less than 159 countries.

His retort was that it didn’t include countries like Colombia, where we have troops “fomenting revolution” – which is news to me since the presence of military advisors in Colombia is in support of the government there and it’s Hugo Chavez in Venezuela next door who’s fomenting a revolution.

He was also opposed to America having a military presence in Panama. I mentioned that there’s a certain man-made body of water we built the control of which would be of great geopolitical value to people who don’t like us very much.

Again, silence.

In other words, the Ronulans simply don’t know what they’re talking about. They don’t have any understanding of, or appreciation for, American strategic considerations – which have nothing whatsoever to do with the domestic liberty interests Paul claims the mantle of protecting.

Paul’s economic message, most of which I agree with, is largely commensurate with a return to the laissez-faire, rugged individualism of America prior to the birth of the Progressive movement – essentially that of the period from the end of the Civil War to the presidency of Teddy Roosevelt – but while America was by no means the global force then that it is now we hardly failed to defend our interests when necessary. Even Grover Cleveland, who basically set the standard for American presidents where non-intervention was concerned, expanded the Monroe Doctrine to declare an American interest in any matter within the hemisphere.

And of course nobody seriously believes you could conduct the same kind of foreign policy today that you could have profited from in 1892. Not when countries have nuclear weapons, you can fly anywhere in the world in a day and we’re all intricately connected by trade and markets. It took weeks to travel from America to anywhere but our immediate neighbors back then and shipping costs made it almost impossible to move finished goods across oceans in mass quantities. And they certainly didn’t have cable television, satellite connections, the internet or even radio. That period saw a precarious birth of electronic communications through transatlantic telegraph cables, which shortened the time to send a message across the ocean from 10 days by ship to a few minutes by cable (when it was actually working). That effort began in 1858, and it was unsuccessful. In 1866 it was finally established on a continuous basis and it took 35 years or so before there was anything resembling a true network of transatlantic telecommunications. As for a transpacific telegraph line, that didn’t happen until after the dawn of the 20th century.

I think the principles of the Founders are timeless, and I believe the same basic order of American society the Jeffersons and Adamses of that time envisioned for us still informs the best iteration of our republic now. But the requirements of a president to keep this country safe and its interests secure are totally different now than they were when Cleveland, or Benjamin Harrison, or U.S. Grant was in the White House. Grant used to spend his afternoons while president reclining in a comfy chair with a cigar and a brandy at the Willard Hotel, and the American practice of lobbying originated with petitioners who sought him out in the lobby of that hotel to gain his favor as to policy. Paul acts as though our foreign and national security policy should be reduced to that level of vigor, and that’s not realistic.

We can pull back our military presence in a lot of these places, but we have to be able to defend our interests and project a strategic presence if we want to protect the economic freedom and personal liberty we enjoy as Americans.

Ron Paul doesn’t understand or appreciate that fact, and because of that he’s not a serious candidate for president. And because his followers refuse to acknowledge this weakness they’re not serious people, either.

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21 Comments

  1. Jay Teigh
    Jay Teigh November 22, 23:49

    Bravo!  Very well-said!  Now, the insane attacks by the kooks and the Ron Paul Internet Gestapo will occur. Duck and cover!

  2. PeaceMarauder
    PeaceMarauder November 22, 23:55

    Just call Ron Paul – The Angry Raisin

  3. Ryan Booth
    Ryan Booth November 22, 23:59

    It all depends on what your vision of America is.  I’m proud to be part of a country that defeated Nazism and Communism, a country that has actively promoted freedom throughout the world.  I believe that promoting freedom is the best way to keep ourselves safe from foreign threats.  Ron Paul does not believe this.  During the Cold War, there were many people who similarly advocated unilateral disarmament, a false peace.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous November 23, 05:32

    Paul is not a serious candidate, but he certainly got a lot of attention, last night – too much, IMO.

  5. Guest20192
    Guest20192 November 23, 07:31

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/sep/14/ron-paul/ron-paul-says-us-has-military-personnel-130-nation/

    “We tallied up all the countries with at least one member of the U.S.
    military, excluding those with personnel deemed to be “afloat.” We found
    U.S. military personnel on the ground in a whopping 148 countries —
    even more than Paul had said. (There are varying standards for what
    constitutes a “country,” so that may explain the divergence from Paul’s
    number.)”

    • Oscar
      Oscar November 23, 13:57

      “at least one member of the U.S. military?”

      That ain’t serious, dude.

  6. NBouterie
    NBouterie November 23, 08:20

    Ron Paul got the attention he did last night because…he is polling well in legitimate primary state polls.

    We’re getting to the point where these debates should feature just the Top 5, to give them more time for serious answers and rebuttals.  That would mean telling Bachmann, Huntsman and Santorum adios until they can poll better than 2 percent.

  7. TerrorTrends
    TerrorTrends November 23, 11:12

    The look on Ron Paul’s face at the end is priceless

  8. mikeymike143
    mikeymike143 November 23, 12:25

    ron paul is a senile, egomaniacal anti semite with no real
    political support outside of left wing anti war activists and conspiracy
    loons. which to be honest is about 5% of the republican primary voters.

    and the 2008 republican presidential primary proved that. in 2007,
    nutjob paul won a bunch of straw and online polls and his followers were
    gleefully pointing to the poll results l…ike
    this loon was actually going to win. then the actual primary voting
    took place and ron paul only ended up with 5% of the vote. in other
    words, 19 OUT OF 20 REPUBLICAN PRIMARY VOTERS WISELY REJECTED PAUL AS A
    CANDIDATE FOR POTUS!!!! in fact, lets look at ron paul’s
    record of success when running for president(although in his case i
    would say his record of failure is a better term to use). ron ”the loser” paul ran for president in 1988. and out of the 50 states that were available to win, he won zero. 0-50
    then paul ran in 2008 and again got shut out. winning zero states out
    of 50. so paul has already been rejected twice by every single state in
    the nation. 0-100 now nutjob paul is running again in 2012. i
    am going to make my written prediction now. ron ”the failure” paul
    does not win a single state in the republican primary. meaning every
    single state in the nation, including his home state of texas, will have
    voted against him as a candidate for president three times. 0-150 and yes this will once again be a DIRECT REJECTION of paul, his followers, and his agenda!!!!!!
     

  9. Talbot
    Talbot November 23, 13:27

    All the things you say we need the patriot act to defend us from (Major Hasan et al) did in fact, happen.  Most with all this extemist Gestapo style ‘anti-terror’ measures in place.  They never accomplish squat against the handful of terrorists who actually are a threat.  But they are mighty good at depriving citizens of their rights.  What is the point of fighting for freedom when we are not free?   Why give more power to a government that is actively promoting all sorts of fith most of us do not agree wtih?    I’ve lived sixty years now and watched my country go from being relatively free to an over regulated mess governed by venal ninompoops with militarized police barely keeping the lid on social  problems created by our own government.  That folks, is insanity.

    • Oscar
      Oscar November 23, 13:58

      Them straw men you got around you – they got guns or knives on ‘em? They’ll need ‘em from the assbeating you’re layin’ down on ‘em.

  10. Clifflbullock
    Clifflbullock November 23, 15:29

    Ron Paul is serving a purpose. I disagree with him a lot. I think he is the worst of the candidates in the race. However, he propels a dialouge about what our role in the world should be. That’s a good thing….even if he is a Looney Tune.

  11. Michael House
    Michael House November 23, 19:58

    http://www.anunews.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/aa-American-empire-map-of-bases-around-world1.jpg

    I think this map will show what Paul is talking about.  The dark red are countries with U.S. bases and the light red is countries with U.S. troops stationed.  He is correct once again. 

  12. Trstrunk
    Trstrunk November 23, 20:59

    Oh come on. We have no right to stop a crime before it is committed. You have to allow a Terrorist to kill lots of people and then capture them (No one has the right to shoot them). Then you read them their rights. Some fancy lawyer will come from the ACLU and defend them. Find all kinds of loop holes and get the person off. But don’t worry we’ll get them next time But Terrorist have rights too you know :-P

  13. John
    John November 23, 23:13

    The founder are timeless BUT… and then we proceed to ignore our founders’ basic teachings.  Timeless things are just that; timeless.  Jefferson didn’t need to know that cars would be invented to know that individual freedom must be paramount.  Washington didn’t need to know about ABM’s to counsel staying out of Europe’s wars.  Do you think they didn’t know that society would evolve?  How simple and short sighted are those who think they know better because they’ve seen a few technological changes.

    • Oscar
      Oscar November 23, 23:17

      Jefferson fought an undeclared war in the Mediterranean against a bunch of jihadists. Maybe you didn’t get taught that in clown school.

  14. Liberated4Ever
    Liberated4Ever November 24, 19:36

    Let me answer your question directly…  Because you are really a Liberal at heart?  I see in your bio you “claim” to be a “staunch” conservative.  I think not from what you have written here!  You might as well go on the Ron Paul Media Black out like all the rest of the Controllers with a news outlet!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDaHH-Rk39U&feature=digest_wed 

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