A backward glance at Ron Paul

Here at A Wild Duck, politics is one of our Raison d’être. It appears on every page in the masthead, above the menu bar.

But regular ducks know that we never push a candidate. They also know that our social opinions lean sufficiently to the left (privacy, personal freedom, pro-choice) such that we would probably have little to say about the Republican Party presidential nominee in the US race for president.

But Ron Paul is no regular Republican. In fact, it’s not clear that he is a Republican at all. Other than a penchant for fiscal restraint, he doesn’t talk-the-talk or walk-the-walk.

My father died late last year. He was in his mid 90s. In his last months, we talked about the coming 2012 US presidential election. As it became gradually more difficulty to get out of bed, we watched a lot of political interviews and wonks.

Dad voted for Obama in 2008, but more recently, he was a Ron Paul supporter. He didn’t feel that Paul had a chance, and so he was also very interested in the Republican debates. Could one of the other Republican candidates counter his concern that Obama, an articulate man of integrity and principles, was leaning too much toward a socialist view of economics?

Dad felt strongly that despite Ron Paul’s appearance at the debates, the networks were shutting him out of the spotlight: Less discussion of his ideas and fewer interviews & features than warranted for a US Representative serving on and off for 35 years.*

Ron Paul was offered a speaking slot at the RNC, but he refused the two conditions of his invitation: That he give Mitt Romney his full-fledged (unqualified) endorsement and that his script be vetted by the Romney campaign. He refused, of course. Ron Paul can’t be bought, bribed, cajoled, or won over. What he stands for is clear, unwavering and is stated with surprising simplicity.

What does Ron Paul stand for?  Check out this RNC tribute video.

Ron Paul: Consistent on the deficit and a need for limited government

Ron Paul is a strict constitutionalist. He has always stood for smaller government, lower taxes, less redistribution of wealth, dismantling the Federal Reserve Bank and respect for individual privacy. He believes that the US is too quick to borrow, tax, spend and raise the debt ceiling.

He doesn’t associate with the “conservative-right” blending of religion and intolerance that is baked into the RNC platform, but there is controversy about his failure to denounce support from white supremacists, xenophobes and other racists groups. (Links omitted intentionally–Readers can Google these issues). This is apparent in a Newsletter that he published early in his political career, but that he now claims was written without his supervision.

Then, there is Israel…Paul wants to cut off aid to the American ally completely. But then, he is an isolationist in general. He doesn’t want US taxpayers to support any extra-territorial missions. Finally, his staff members state that he is very uncomfortable in the presence of homosexuals, but feels strongly that they should be able to live with the same privileges and freedoms that all Americans take for granted.

If Ron Paul were still in the running for a party nomination, the possibility of latent racism or anti-Semitism would merit serious digging. On his economic positions, he shines. He embodies the Holy Grail that–for me–has always been so elusive: Paul is an economic conservative and a social liberal.

The video tribute includes one of my favorite Ron Paul quotes: “Living beyond our means forces us to live beneath our means.” It also includes a statement by his son, US Senator Rand Paul. He explains that Washington lobbyists don’t stop by Ron Paul’s House office, because they know that he can’t be bought. If true, it makes a powerful point about lobbyists. I would hope that at least a few of them believe in the legitimacy of their arguments and the nobility of purpose. Why don’t they visit their own representative simply to present a persuasive argument based on its merits and their own sense of duty, logic or emotions?

I don’t know if Ron Paul could ever be US president. Even if his message resonates 4 years from now, his age would certainly be a negative factor in the 2016 election. But I wish that he were the current Republican candidate running against Obama. Paul -vs- Obama. Both candidates are articulate, with clear principles, and yet a profound difference in beliefs. That would be a very interesting contest!

Here at A Wild Duck, we still don’t endorse candidates. That’s why we held back this OpEd until the Republican National Convention. But we certainly like Ron Paul. Here is a man who stands for something on which most Americans agree, and yet few of their representatives have the backbone to explain with its full ramifications. At a time when China and Arab countries are owed so much from future generations, isn’t it time to sound the alarm bell? Isn’t it time to suck in the gut, hunker down and take personal responsibility for our debts and productivity?

* Ron Paul has been a member of the US House of Representatives during 4 decades: 1976-77, 1979-85, 1997-present.

Ellery Davies is chief editor of A Wild Duck. He hasn’t discussed a Republican candidate or politician since the Reagan era—perhaps to avoid personal attacks on character or platform.      -g.a.