Reagan Government too big for Ron Paul

Here is a hit piece on Ron at Capital Cloak, which is so ripe and full of misinformation that it begs to be Fisked. So here it is:
Reagan Mantle Too Big for Ron Paul
Actually, it was not his mantle, but his government that was too big. We libertarians believe that government should not interfere with your fireplace.
Libertarian conservatives have been busy artificially bolstering the myth that their presidential candidate of choice, Ron Paul, has a strong grass-roots base and wide appeal. During Fox News’ sophomoric cell phone text message voting during the second GOP presidential candidates’ debate, Ron Paul’s boosters voted early and often, causing the post-debate results to appear skewed toward the opinion that Paul was the winner of the debate, despite his trip to the proverbial woodshed courtesy of Rudy Giuliani for his argument that America brought 9/11 upon itself. Initially I thought that perhaps some of Paul’s poll votes were coming from Democrats hoping to dilute strong performances by Giuliani or Romney by voting for the least likely and most provocative of the candidates. However, comments posted by Paul supporters on conservative Internet sites or in blogs indicate that Paul is viewed by some as the only true conservative in the race and a champion of the constitution. Of course, Paul himself declares that he stands for the constitution, and on the surface that sounds like an honorable position to hold.
I am glad that on the surface you support the constitution. I hope that your support will broaden and deepen as time goes one. I suppose I should point out for those who did not see the debate that this is a misrepresentation of what Paul said. Don't take my word for it, watch the footage on youtube. Then consider the difference between causation and justification.
When it comes to government spending and government involvement in social matters, Paul’s urgings to limit government only to the duties expressly permitted by the constitution have appeal and resonate well in conservative circles. What conservative doesn’t want to see certain federal governmental departments disbanded and their duties reverted back to local and state authorities?
Well, if you define the Neo-Conmen as conservatives, they don't. They have expanded government in every area, foreign and domestic.
What conservative doesn’t want to see the dreaded income tax disappear?
Perhaps those who in 12 years in control of congress and 8 years in control of the entire government never bothered to try to get rid of it? But again, I'm assuming that you define neocons as conservatives.
To some conservatives, the economic/social aspects of Paul’s libertarian-leaning principles are a siren song by which they wish to be led, if only someone holding those views could actually secure the GOP nomination. Paul clearly is not a candidate that can win a national election, and for clear-thinking conservatives who can look past their own personal benefits from no income tax and smaller government, the reason for Paul’s lack of appeal is easy to identify.
So the logic is: if you vote for what you want, you might not get what you vote for. If you vote for what you do not want, however, you are sure to get it. Therefore you should vote for what you do not want. That's neocon logic.
Ron Paul is no Ronald Reagan. Paul’s supporters may claim he is the true representative of conservatism in the current candidate field, but Paul has an Achilles heel that keeps Reagan conservatives and Regan Democrats alike from ever considering him as anything more than a campaign footnote: He is selective about which portions of the constitution he would adhere to strictly, and “provide for the common defense” is not among them.
Actually, the reason Ron Paul opposes the war in Iraq is because it is an offensive, not a defensive war. Ron Paul supported the war in Afghanistan, because it was, indeed, part of the common defense. He would have liked for Congress to live up to their constitutional duty and declare war even there, however.
In the second GOP candidates’ debate, Paul stated the following: They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East [for years]. I think [Ronald Reagan] was right. We don't understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics. Right now, we're building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We're building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting… …They’re not attacking us because we’re rich and free, they’re attacking us because we’re over there. Reagan directly repudiated Paul’s isolationist foreign policies 23 years ago on the beach at Normandy, France, a site where American intervention in foreign affairs proved most decisive in freeing Europe from Nazi enslavement: The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc June 6, 1984, Normandy We in America have learned bitter lessons from two world wars. It is better to be here ready to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent. But we try always to be prepared for peace, prepared to deter aggression, prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms, and yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation.
Uhhh ... perhaps Mr. Reagan should have referred to governments with expansionist intent and some way to do something about it. It is amazing to me that people can turn Hussein, whose military we defeated in a few weeks, into Hitler, who actually had a larger military then we when WWII stared.
Reagan conservatives and Reagan Democrats need look no further than Reagan’s statement to find sufficient reason to shun Ron Paul’s isolationist ideas. Paul claimed during the second GOP candidates’ debate that the U.S. has been bombing Iraq for 10 years, as if it were unjustified and indiscriminate bombing of cities. That is patently false. Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, the U.S. had occasionally bombed Iraq’s air defense stations or shot down Iraqi aircraft because Iraq regularly violated the no-fly zone enacted by the cease-fire that halted the first Gulf War. Paul chooses to ignore the fact that the Gulf War was, as Reagan prescribed, a “response to a tyrannical government with an expansionist intent.” Saddam invaded neighboring Kuwait solely for expansionist and economic motives. He wanted Kuwait’s oil and Kuwait’s ports, and Kuwait’s accumulated wealth, and so decided to take it by force. World leaders in 1991 had the fortitude to band together and, led by the U.S. military, pushed Saddam back behind his original borders. Had Saddam not violated the terms of the cease-fire by targeting our aircraft, there would have been no need for any further bombing. The defense of the no-fly zone lasted from 1991 until Operation Iraqi Freedom made it a moot point by removing Saddam from the equation because of his failure to abide by any of the UN conditions for the cease-fire enacted in 1991. Thus the current Operation Iraqi Freedom is merely a resumption of hostilities and is a continuation of the Gulf War.
So the United States should remove any government that violates UN resolutions? Does this include Israel, which refuses to abide by UN resolution 242 (among dozens of other resolutions)? Personally, I am opposed to your proposed invasion of Israel. The United States should simply withdraw from the UN, which has no business commanding US troops who enlisted in the US military to defend the United States. If the UN wants it's resolutions enforced, they should raise an army, and they should pay for it. Of course the UN resolution thing is a thin justification for our attack on Iraq, since they didn't want us to go. But if it had been a good idea to go, I would have said "Go, and the UN be damned". I also would have opposed any suggestion that we invade ourselves for ignoring the resolution.
Saddam, like Hitler, was removed, and rebuilding a nation and protecting it from foreign interference by those with designs on fomenting chaos, much like post WWII, is why our troops remain in Iraq. Had Ron Paul been president instead of Truman or Eisenhower, all of Germany would have fallen under Soviet occupation and Japan would have been overrun by Soviet or Chinese forces seeking retribution because Paul would have pulled American troops out of both places and brought them home immediately upon conclusion of the war. There would have been no Marshall Plan, no rebuilding and friendship alliance with Japan. No BMWs; no VWs; no Hondas; no Toyotas. Likewise, in Paul’s isolationist world, there would be no democratic South Korea. There would only be communist Korea, since Paul would not have committed U.S. troops to defend the free people of South Korea.
Wow ... that is one commonality between Saddam and Hitler. They're dead. They also had really funky mustaches. Maybe these comparisons of Hitler, who commanded a huge military and could actually threaten the world, and Hussein, who commanded a tiny military and could actually threaten a country the size of Rhode Island, are not as absurd as I thought.
Ron Paul wants America to approach foreign policy with a pre-WWI mentality, when the mindset centered on the idea that America should not involve itself in any foreign war, and we nearly allowed all of Europe to be defeated by Germany. That war was so destructive that the isolationists redoubled their efforts between 1919 and 1941 to keep America from ever entangling itself in a foreign war. That isolationism resulted in Nazi occupation of continental Europe and Scandinavia, and horrific bombings of England. It also cost 6 million Jews their lives while Americans, who thought then as Ron Paul now does about intervention, stood silently on the sidelines of history, much to their condemnation.
Well, it would have been interesting to watch Hussein try to take over Europe. Turkey might have cooperated with him, allowing him to get as far as ... Greece. And then he would have been a grease spot, because Greece is part of the EU. Please don't think that I"m implying that the EU is not militarily pathetic. Just that they were not as pathetic as Hussein. Of course if we announce that the EU is responsible for defending themselves, they have economies that would allow them to defend themselves. This is in stark contrast to Iraq.
Paul’s supporters should consider another sentence from Reagan’s powerful speech at Normandy. His explanation for why America’s military remained in Europe to confront potential Soviet aggression long after WWII, was simple, profound, and prophetic of our continued presence in Iraq: Today, as forty years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose: to protect and defend democracy.
Actually, Reagan was paraphrasing Wilson, who entered into WWI, to "make the world safe for democracy", and thereby turned what would have been a defeat of the Kaiser into a rout of the Kaiser, and thereby ensured the rise of Hitler. I guess blowback is not a new concept after all?
Regardless of how Iraq’s democracy came into existence, it is there now. Iraq has a constitution. Iraq has a democratically elected parliament that represents the wide variety of religious and tribal divisions of its population. It is imperfect, and it is often contentious, but so was America’s in its early years. The question Paul should be forced to address is, “Does America have a duty or role in history to protect and defend democracy in the world?” As an isolationist he will argue that such is not America’s role as it is not defined in the constitution. Reagan understood history far better than Paul, who would like to believe that the world begins and ends at America’s shores and nothing that occurs in foreign lands is worthy of intervention unless American interests are directly threatened. Technically speaking, from an economic/trade point of view, would it have made any difference to isolationists like Paul if Europe had been enslaved by Hitler as long as Hitler let America alone? America could have conducted normal trade in goods with Nazi Europe, including lucrative arms sales. Rescuing Britain, France, and Italy from Nazi control certainly involved an enormously “entangling alliance,” something George Washington warned of and Paul concurs with wholeheartedly. Why then did America free Europe and remain there in defensive posture for decades? The answer, as Reagan stated so perfectly, is that isolationism has never been and never will be an appropriate response to tyranny. Tyranny must be confronted wherever it exists, defeated, and replaced by freedom. Ron Paul would rather put his head in the sand and selfishly keep democracy and liberty all to himself.
Actually, I get the idea that Ron Paul believes we should avoid sand. Of course he does not want to keep democracy to himself. He just recognizes that if you impose democracy on people who do not want it, they will vote it away, and that when you force liberty on people at gunpoint, you have not freed them. The mindset in the Middle East is not quite what prevailed in America during and after the Revolution. If you want liberty and democracy, you have to be willing to die for it. We were. They are not.
Reagan understood something that Paul does not: America does not hold an exclusive right to freedom. America does not possess liberty out of luck or superior intellect. America is free and powerful because it is destined to use that power to spread and preserve freedom throughout the world. Paul’s strict but selective constitutional adherence seems to ignore that the right to liberty is identified in the Declaration of Independence, not as an American, English, or French right, but a right that belongs to all men, presumably even those in the Middle East whom Paul would abandon as apparently unworthy of these Jeffersonian words: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
I don't think that Paul ever said we should prevent Iraq from gaining freedom, if and when they want it. Just that we should not try to impose it on them, when they do not.
This is the great issue of our time, and Paul falls woefully short in his willingness to engage in the defense of freedom. His GOP opponents more closely resemble the Reagan tradition. For example, when asked in the third GOP candidates’ debate what was the most important moral issue facing America, Giuliani replied that the greatest moral issue is whether America will share its blessings of freedom and liberty with the rest of the world. Conservatives should not allow themselves to be fooled by the Ron Paul Internet “phenomenon.” Paul was declared the winner of two GOP candidates’ debates by MSNBC, CNN, Politico, Slate, ABC News, and myriad other left-leaning media sources. A review of Wikipedia’s Ron Paul page certainly could leave an undiscerning reader with the idea that Paul has widespread support and is whipping all comers in the GOP debates. The liberal slant is obvious. Clearly from an ideological perspective liberals do not embrace Ron Paul’s libertarian views, so why is he the darling of the media and many Internet blogs? Quite simply, it is because Paul is 2008’s Ross Perot. If even 3 percent of conservative voters are swayed by Paul, it could spell the difference in a tight race and throw victory to the left, just as Perot’s theatrics did in 1992 and 1996. The left knows this and is in fact counting on it for victory.
The problem with defending freedom abroad is that in order to do so, you have to destroy it at home. Have a look at the Patriot Act, or the draft for Vietnam and Korea, or an income tax form if you do not understand this concept
Libertarian conservatives should not worship Paul as the constitutional savior they hold him out to be, and Reagan Conservatives and Reagan Democrats should remember that Paul is an isolationist hoarder of liberty, unwilling to preserve it among nations who possess it or share it with oppressed peoples who long for it and implore America to help them obtain it.
I suppose that Washington and Jefferson, by your definition, were "hoarders" of liberty, when they suggested "free trade with all nations, entangling alliances with none". But they never suggested that we should prevent people who so desired from achieving liberty. It is not like, were they to achieve liberty on their own, we would somehow have less. You cannot hoard liberty. If the Iraqis truly wanted it, they could have removed Hussein themselves. I think that you fail to understand what Reagan did understand (at least after Lebanon): the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics. If you need help in this respect, have a look at the irrationality of your own.

1 comment:

Dr. Alan Weldon said...

Great post! I find very few aspects of the UN that I like. If we as a country want to do something that is in our best interest...then do it. We need nobody's blessing. Your comment on the UN and war is spot on " If the UN wants to wage war let them raise an army and pay for it" . I like a lot of what Ron Paul says, but I don't think he will get a sniff in the primaries. Most of the others seem to have no core, are soft on the Fair Tax, and say what they think will get them elected. The Democrats scare the hell out of me. I'm a vote without a lever to pull.