May 21, 2007
Ruins Ron Paul’s Run
Paul’s candidacy was at first quite exciting for Republicans,
particularly for small government conservatives. Paul’s role in the race
for the Republican nomination is the same as that of a third party in
the general election. Although neither Paul nor, say, the Libertarian
Party ever hopes to win an election, they each play a crucial role in
pushing the debate to the economic right and incentivizing the GOP to
adopt more fiscally conservative positions.
And such a push in
the debate is indeed much needed. Until it collapsed a few months ago,
the Republican Congress had in the last several years spent money, as
Governor Mike Huckabee aptly said, “like John Edwards at a beauty shop.”
Worse still, not only did President Bush not veto Congress’s wasteful
spending bills, but he oftentimes encouraged such spending and the
enlargement of the federal government.
Ron Paul is one of
the few House Republicans, along with taxpayer heroes such as
Congressmen Jeff Flake, Mike Pence and John Shadegg, who have continued
the fight for spending cuts and smaller government. Unlike many other
libertarians, Paul maintains the traits of a true conservative by also
being a social conservative, and perhaps crucially, pro-life. For the
reasons mentioned thus far, Paul is a candidate that, even if
unelectable, should be welcomed by every conservative into the
discussion within the currently ideologically feeble Republican
But as he
demonstrated in last week’s GOP debate, Paul risks negating his positive
role in the run for the White House with his stance on foreign policy.
On the spectrum of foreign policy perspectives in America,
non-interventionism today is somewhat on the fringe. It is, of course, a
different matter when politicians or parties oppose intervention in
certain situations. An inflexible and set policy of non-interventionism,
however, is reserved for those with little grasp of realism.
How would Paul, an
avowed non-interventionist, have acted in reaction to the Japanese
attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941? World War II is a war that the
overwhelming majority of Americans feel justified about being involved
in, both today and several decades ago when public opinion was decidedly
more non-interventionist than it is today. Would Paul have blamed those
attacks on our annoyance of the Japanese in the same way that he blamed
the 9/11 attacks on the foreign policy of recent U.S. administrations?
After implying that
we invited the attacks on our civilians, Paul refused to withdraw his
remarks, supplementing them instead with more ludicrous statements such
as, “I'm suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the
reason they did it.” Listen to Osama Bin Laden?
That’s the thing
about non-interventionists and pacifists – they too often cling to the
belief that everyone else would stick to these non-interventionist views
if they themselves stick to them long enough. But that is not how it
works. That is never how the world has worked. And it is certainly not
how the ideology of extremist Muslims works. For the expansionist dogma
that has brought us some of the worst terrorist attacks in world
history, a non-interventionist enemy is a gift that is too good to be
The fact of the
matter is that the radical Muslims running Al Qaeda and like terrorist
organizations have as a goal the conversion of the entire world populace
to their way of life. Non-interventionism would do nothing to alter this
goal, which would exist regardless of America’s actions. Letting
terrorists quietly establish bases in the Middle East so they can use
them to convert the world would indeed represent the end of history as
we know it. Yet non-interventionism is the policy that Paul advocates.
Following the debate
that saw Paul expand on his foreign policy views, he gained much
attention, and largely from Democrats who misunderstood his position to
be a statement against the Iraq War in particular – when Paul’s ideology
also means that he would just as strongly condemn any of the left’s
international causes. But more importantly, Paul lost the respect of
This is highly
unfortunate. Paul has missed the chance to move the debate on taxes,
spending and the size of government in a direction favorable to
conservatives. With his irresponsible foreign policy statements, he has
discredited himself and alienated many from lending an ear to his
otherwise solid and useful beliefs. Whether he – and the libertarian
strand of the GOP – can recuperate anytime soon is left to be seen.
© 2007 North Star
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