Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Democats, Republicans--both the same. Ron Paul would be a real kick as President, wouldnt' he?

Friends discussing the current administration's assaults on the U.S. Constitution (provoked by the proposed new law to allow takedown of Web sites on mere allegation of copyright infringement), wondering what ever happened to the Constitution. The subject of detainees in Guantanamo arose.

One says of Obama: "This is a professor of constitutional law, now a US President. He knows damn well that Guantanomo is a cesspit of bad prior POTUS behavior, but one rooted in extra-territorial precedent. My altruism says: free them."

Another replies, "Mine too. But my inner soldier says, "...and have a firing squad greet them the second they step through the exit."

This is, indeed, a difficult situation. But two observations:

One: If, as Ron Paul points out, we weren't sticking our military noses in every corner of the world, we'd have fewer of these Constitutional sticky bits to deal with. When you act badly, your good choices become limited. I have a whole rant about this, but never mind for now.

Two: As a Libertarian, I was not interested in which pol won the last presidency, but I hoped that with a liberal Democrat in office, we'd at least get some of the things Dems like to consider themselves good at (and blast the Repubs for being bad at), like: less war; more respect for freedom of speech and other civil liberties. it would almost be worth paying the price in taxes and limits on property rights to back away from our many wars and our many assaults on our liberties.

Instead, we get more of the same. It might as well be Bush II up there. 

The ironies abound: When the Bushes were in charge, we got all the taxes, regulations, and gigantic new government agencies the Dems are supposed to do, and none of the restraint on the growth of government the Republicans claim to favor. And of course we got the Republicans' wars. With their predecessor, Clinton, similarly, we got the best Republican president the Democrats have ever had -- lower taxes, reduced regulatory intrusion, plus a Democrat benefit of few/limited military nosiness. We didn't know how good we had it.

So you get foreign-policy adventurism, growth in government power, growth in government spending regardless of ability to pay for it, and continued assaults on our liberties, with a general annoyance at the notion the Constitution might limit any of this -- from whichever major party you vote for. Or stay home and not vote for.

It would sure be a hoot if Ron Paul got nominated and then, even more improbably, elected. The likelihood of that guy, based on his history, voting for more spending, more taxes, more invasions, more civil-liberty assaults, and so on, is very low. It would be fun to watch D.C. turn upsidedown.

But unlikely all around: If he makes much more progress in the polls, they'll have to start mentioning him in every race roundup instead of only occasionally in passing, and when he gets too far up there, they'll go try to find a way to do a Herman Cain on him -- the political press's nuclear option when they want to get rid of somebody but don't want to acknowledge their complicity.

[end rant][God I hate politics]

Mac McCarthy

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Watch out, Ron Paul is Leading in the Polls

November 2011

Keep one thing firmly in mind as the election season rolls along: Now that Ron Paul is rising so high in the polls that they can no longer completely ignore him (he's number 2 in some polls), expect the media to switch from pretending he doesn't exist to paying all too much attention, of all the wrong kind, to him. 

They will dredge up lies and misquotes and glitches from his past. Since they can't just come out and say "We don't like this guy's ideas because we're liberals and he's not," they'll fall back on ol' reliable: personal attacks. Be very careful not to fall for these attacks, or eventual rumors about this act or that belief. They will try to paint him as a complete nut case, or a fascist, or a racist, or - given his age - around the bend.

None of these will be true. I've been following Paul for nearly 20 years, ever since he first got into the House. He's exactly as he pretends to be, has radical ideas (like a foreign policy of "mind our own business"), and even in areas where one might disagree with him -- he's against abortion, which is a problem for some people, and he, yes, actually doesn't completely believe in evolution (sadly) -- but in those areas he says it really shouldln't matter because - and this is KEY - he doesn't think the federal government should have control over those areas. And in a right-thinking world, the US President's beliefs in these and many other areas would not matter any more than his opinion of who should be winning American Idol -- it should be none of the Federal Govt's business. And that is the best answer of all.

And remember another thing: Sooner or later you'll find positions he takes that you simply don't agree with. After all, the only person who could run for president with whom you'd agree completely and totally would be yourself - but you're not running.

Keep reminding yourself to focus on which candidate you agree with the most - not completely, because there won't be such a candidate. And which candidate has positions you agree with that are the *most important* positions. So: His foreign policy positions, for example, I think are absolutely vitally important to the future health of our country. And finally, keep in mind which topics he can, as president, actually have an impact on -- some things, like foreign policy and certain kinds of regulations, he can rule by fiat  as president - heck, all his predecessors have. In other topics, Congress has to support him, which they won't. So if you agree with him on something you think it important, and he can as President actually act on, then that's an important position. If there's something you disagree with him about, but it's less important -- or it's something he couldn't do anything about anyway -- then it's less important.

I remember when George McGovern was running against Nixon, and I disagreed with George about his domestic policies (he was a leftist Democrat--interestingly, he's changed as he's gotten older) but I agreed with his get-out-of-Vietnam policy. Belatedly I realized that his domestic policy ideas didn't matter because he'd never get the Congress of that day to go along. But the war he could end by fiat (since it was being run by fiat). So the thing I agreed with, he could do; the think I didn't like. he couldn't do anyway.

I've voted with that in mind ever since...