Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

October 29, 2007

The Club For Growth Grades Ron Paul’s Economic Record

by Doug Mataconis

The Club For Growth released another White Paper on the economic policies and records of the various Presidential candidates, and this time it’s all about Ron Paul.

“Ron Paul’s record contains some very laudable components,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “On taxes, regulation, and political speech, his record is superb. His spending record is impressive, though Paul has recently embraced pork-barrel projects in direct contradiction to his vociferous opposition to unconstitutional appropriations by the federal government.”

Unfortunately, his stubborn idealism often takes Ron Paul further away from achieving the limited-government, pro-growth philosophy he advocates. This is certainly the case with school choice, free trade, tort reform, and entitlement reform, in which he votes against vital free trade agreements, competitive school choice initiatives, and tort reform proposals.

“While we give Ron Paul credit for his philosophical ideals, politicians have the responsibility of making progress, and often, Ron Paul votes against making progress because, in his mind, the progress is not perfect,” Mr. Toomey continued. “In these cases, although for very different reasons, Ron Paul is practically often aligned with the most left-wing Democrats, voting against important, albeit imperfect, pro-growth legislation. Ron Paul is, undoubtedly, ideologically committed to pro-growth limited-government policies, but his insistence on opposing all but the perfect means that under a Ron Paul presidency we might never get a chance to pursue the good too.”

Now, before this sends all you Ron Paul supporters off on a rampage, there are a few things to keep in mind here. The Club for Growth is not a radical libertarian organization, and certainly not as radical as Ron Paul on economic issues. They describe themselves like this:

Club for Growth is a national network of thousands of Americans, from all walks of life, who believe that prosperity and opportunity come through economic freedom. We work to promote public policies that promote economic growth primarily through legislative involvement, issue advocacy, research, training and educational activity.

The primary tactic of the separate Club for Growth PAC is to provide financial support from Club members to viable pro-growth candidates to Congress, particularly in Republican primaries.

In other words, they are dedicated to working within the system to achieve progress toward economic freedom in a manner that might be described, in a non-pejorative sense, as realistic rather than radical. It’s not surprising that they’d be sympathetic too, but a little put off by, someone who talks about eliminating the Federal Reserve and returning to the gold standard.

And the CoG’s assessment isn’t totally negative in any respect. Take this on taxes (footnotes in original text omitted):

Ron Paul’s record on taxes is excellent, epitomized by his rallying cry for phasing out the IRS. A strong believer in the economic benefits of tax cuts, he declared in a 2006 article, “I reject the notion that tax cuts harm the economy. The economy suffers when government takes money from your paycheck that you otherwise spend, save, or invest. Taxes never create prosperity.” Over his career, he has backed up his speeches and articles with many pro-growth votes

And this on spending:

Rep. Paul’s strong belief in limited government translated into an impressive list of votes against increased federal spending

Although they do note the following (again, footnotes omitted):

Despite this impressive record, Ron Paul’s history contains some curious indiscretions, including a vote for $232 million for federally mandated election reform (only 1 of 21 Republicans to vote for it) and a vote against the line-item veto -even after it was modified to pass constitutional muster. Paul’s record on pork was outstanding in 2006, voting for all 19 of Jeff Flake’s anti-pork amendments in 2006, but his record took a stark turn for the worse in 2007, in which Paul received an embarrassing 29% on the Club for Growth’s RePORK Card, voting for only 12 of the 50 anti-pork amendments.

Others have criticized Paul’s record on earmarks and I won’t do so here. Instead, I’ll point out that I think that the CoG has it entirely wrong on the line-item veto issue. The Supreme Court emphatically decided, and Articles I and II of the Constitution make clear, that any attempt to expand the President’s veto power by allowing him to veto specific spending items in a bill cannot pass Constitutional muster; if you want a line-item veto, amend the Constitution to provide for one. Since I think that even legislators have a duty to vote against bills they believe are unconstitutional, Paul’s vote against the line-item veto was, I think, correct.

The Club also criticizes Paul on issues like trade, regulation, and entitlement reform; not so much because they disagree with him, but because they seem to think that his insistence on reforms that, at least at present, are not politically attainable, neglects support for measures that, while not perfect, do move toward the free market ideal:

When it comes to limited government, there are few champions as steadfast and principled as Representative Ron Paul. In the House of Representatives, he plays a very useful role constantly challenging the status quo and reminding his colleagues, despite their frequent indifference, that our Constitution was meant to limit the power of government. On taxes, regulation, and political free speech his record is outstanding. While his recent pork votes are troubling, the vast majority of his anti-spending votes reflect a longstanding desire to cut government down to size.

But Ron Paul is a purist, too often at the cost of real accomplishments on free trade, school choice, entitlement reform, and tort reform. It is perfectly legitimate, and in fact vital, that think tanks, free-market groups, and individual members of congress develop and propose idealized solutions. But presidents have the responsibility of making progress, and often, Ron Paul opposes progress because, in his mind, the progress is not perfect. In these cases, although for very different reasons, Ron Paul is practically often aligned with the most left-wing Democrats, voting against important, albeit imperfect, pro-growth legislation.

Ron Paul is, undoubtedly, ideologically committed to pro-growth limited government policies. But his insistence on opposing all but the perfect means that under a Ron Paul presidency we might never get a chance to pursue the good too.

It’s an interesting question, really, do you insist on the perfect or accept something less than perfect as an advance toward your ultimate goal ? As I’m learning as I read Brian Doherty’s book on the history of the libertarian movement in America, this is a debate that’s been going on for half a century now. Given the nature of the American political system, pursuit of the perfect while neglecting the good typically ends in failure — the American electorate is not revolutionary at the ballot box.

I’m sure that the most strident Ron Paul supporters out there will jump down the CoG’s throat over this but keep something in mind before you do —— we’re all on the same side in this fight folks, we just disagree about how to achieve the goal.

You can find the complete Club for Growth report here.

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  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    It is perfectly legitimate, and in fact vital, that…individual members of congress develop and propose idealized solutions. But presidents have the responsibility of making progress

    Umm, wow. Have they listened to any of his campaign speeches? If he were trying to be an idealist president, he would have to veto every unconstitutional bill. Instead, he has promised to veto every deficit budget and phase out unconstitutional programs.

    All of his House votes were based on idealism and his presidential platform is based on practicality. Isn’t that exactly the prescription CoG is asking for?

    It’s an interesting question, really, do you insist on the perfect or accept something less than perfect as an advance toward your ultimate goal ?

    That’s a very odd question coming from Mr. Nitpick.

  • Buckwheat

    The so-called “Club for Growth” is part and parcel of the corrupt political/corporatist/media system Ron Paul is in the process of destroying. There’s no way they were going to give him a positive report.

    The Club for Growth is *not* in favor of a free market with growth for everyone; they are in favor of their hooked-in insiders getting preferential treatment — government contracts, laws in their favor, etc. It’s as much about true growth as the USA PATRIOT Act is about being a patriot or the North American Free Trade Agreement is about free trade.

    The corrupt establishment is getting very nervous. This pesky internet thing is about to implode their house of cards.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    The so-called “Club for Growth” is part and parcel of the corrupt political/corporatist/media system Ron Paul is in the process of destroying. There’s no way they were going to give him a positive report.

    Nice Job Buckwheat, it only took 45 minutes.

    I would note as I have before that organizations like CoG and Cato have done more to advance a libertarian-oriented agenda in Washington than any political campaign in recent history.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Buckwheat,

    Nice job, it only took 45 minutes for the attack on a perfectly fine organization to come. Why not accuse them of being involved in the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 while you’re at it ?

  • Billy

    All in all I’d consider it a glowing endorsement! What little criticism the Club for Growth has for Ron I would chalk up as a lack of understanding of the definition of free trade and the role of the Fed vs. States in the area of education. -I know that can make me sound like a zealot for the man, but let me explain.
    There are so many people out there who genuinely believe that because an agreement contains the words “free trade” (like NAFTA) that it means free trade, but that unfortunately is simply not the case. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy researching NAFTA and the proposed CAFTA and it would take a novel to fully explain my contempt for these agreements. Thankfully, Paul summed it up in one sentence:
    “It’s not free trade, but MANAGED trade”
    The more you learn about NAFTA, the more you’ll understand why we’ve unnecessarily lost our manufacturing base and why these anti-free trade agreements are flushing our economy down the john.
    Also, you can’t stand for getting rid of the Department of Education AND have a position of getting the Federal government out of education and then turn around and vote for education initiatives at the Federal level. That’s not a lack of being pragmatic, that’s called not being an outright hypocrite.
    Great article, thanks for letting me post,
    -Billy

  • http://www.thesparsematrix.com rho

    Why do you always post negative articles about Ron Paul? Are you trying to convince yourself of something?

    Don’t vote for him if you think he’s unrealistic, crazy, in bed with lunatics, or unfit to be president.

  • http://www.orderhotlunch.com Jeff Molby

    Also, you can’t stand for getting rid of the Department of Education AND have a position of getting the Federal government out of education and then turn around and vote for education initiatives at the Federal level. That’s not a lack of being pragmatic, that’s called not being an outright hypocrite.

    Amen. I knew this country tolerated hypocrisy, but I didn’t realize we insisted on it.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    rho,

    Other than the fact that I don’t repeat the mantra that electing him will bring the long sought peace of the millennium, which seems to be close to what some of his more ardent online supporters say, why do you characterize this as negative article ?

    On the whole CoG gave Paul a positive review. The disagreement comes over tactics, not beliefs, and its a disagreement that has been part of the libertarian movement for a long time now.

    Heck, I didn’t even say I agreed with the CoG’s conclusions.

  • Wiseburn

    But Ron Paul is a purist, too often at the cost of real accomplishments on free trade, school choice, entitlement reform, and tort reform. It is perfectly legitimate, and in fact vital, that think tanks, free-market groups, and individual members of congress develop and propose idealized solutions. But presidents have the responsibility of making progress, and often, Ron Paul opposes progress because, in his mind, the progress is not perfect

    Paul doesn’t oppose the Club’s idea of progress because it’s not perfect. He does so because it would expand the power of the Federal Government and the because the constitution doesn’t authorize the Federal Goverment do it.

    The Club also points out some of what they consider Paul’s more unusual votes without even bothering to look for Paul’s explanation. e.g

    More curious is Paul’s support for legislation requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate Medicare drug prices with drug companies,[68]

    Paul voted against the Medicare Drug plan, but when asked about this vote early in the said, said [I’m paraphrasing from what I remember] “if they’re going to do it, they may as well negotiate for the best price”

    The club is also running a poll http://www.clubforgrowth.org/2007/10/ron_paul_poll.php on whether Paul is a hypocrite for requesting earmarks? Since Paul always votes against the spending bills containing the earmarks, he clearly isn’t a hypocrite for passing on his constituent requests.

    After reading this report, I’ve decided the Club doesn’t really care about reducing goverment. It just wants the right kinds of “progress”. I have deleted my personal information from their database and deleted my cookies.

  • http://pragmaticlibertarian.thinkertothinker.com N. Pannbacker

    I’m not sure how to classify their report. It has enough errors in it that I suspect it will sap rather than support Ron Paul by adding the prestigious name of the Club for Growth to several common misconceptions. On the other hand, it’s hard to consider a review which positively glows when it talks about his aspirations as being bad.

    I do say that I agree with the prior commenter who said that the flaws in the report don’t appear malicious. For instance, as noted in the original post, they’re incorrect about the line item veto. As I’d like to note here, they’re also incorrect about the earmarks, as the money would be spent anyways. It’s just being controlled by the legislative branch rather than the executive branch. In an era of uncontrolled executive power, I must say I’ve come to have a positive impression of the practice of earmarking overall. (Not to the extent of supporting Byrd’s narcissism, but naming things after oneself and paying for statues is a different affair than anything Ron Paul has done.)

    The Club for Growth is a fine organization with at times more attachment to raw growth than Constitutional government. I do wish they understood how vital it is to our future competitiveness to devolve educational control to the states though. I believe that, in criticizing Ron Paul on his educational stance, that they are again displaying honest ignorance.

    It almost makes me want to join them. The report, overall, gives the impression that they could be convinced!

  • TerryP

    Doug said “It’s an interesting question, really, do you insist on the perfect or accept something less than perfect as an advance toward your ultimate goal ?”

    Where do you stand Doug? Do you expect him to be perfect or do you expect something less than perfect but an advance towards the ultimate goal.

    You seemed to have gone back and forth on this as you have at times crticized him for not being perfect enough and it seems at other times crticized him for being to perfect. It would just be nice to know where you are coming from.

  • http://bamapachyderm.com Beth

    we’re all on the same side in this fight folks, we just disagree about how to achieve the goal.

    Forget it. With most of them, you may as well be saying this to Scientologists. If you dare have an opinion that isn’t praising their Dear Leader, you are an evil corporate or government shill, an infidel.

  • CD

    Mr. Toomey,

    I voted for you against Arlen Specter, because I thought you were the conservative Republican. Sadly, the Republican establishment, namely Santorum and Bush, were against you. They ahould have supported you on priciple.

    Now, the true conservative candidate for the Republicans is Ron Paul. You have officially joined the fake conservative establishment by not endorsing him. How quickly you forget your roots. I guess if you can’t beat ‘em you join ‘em. Not me, I will vote for Ron Paul no matter what.

    You know full well the people of his congressional district are being robbed by the federal government and should get a piece of their own pie back in the form of TRANSPARENT earmarks. You also forget he votes against his own spending bills on principle. He knows they will pass anyway and feels his constituents deserve some of their own money back.

    Sewickley, PA

  • Buckwheat

    Sorry Doug — after all, we’re all in this together! As we can tell by your constant posting of negative pieces against Ron Paul.

  • http://pragmaticlibertarian.thinkertothinker.com N. Pannbacker

    Beth, please. Don’t degrade the discussion with flamebaiting. I respect the Club for Growth just fine. The same for the original poster here.

  • Buckwheat

    And Mataconis —

    Here’s a poll that shows how intellectually honest, how truly interested in economic growth the “Club for Cartelization, I Mean Growth” is:

    http://www.clubforgrowth.org/2007/10/ron_paul_poll.php

  • James

    “It’s an interesting question, really, do you insist on the perfect or accept something less than perfect as an advance toward your ultimate goal ?”

    A better question would be … Do we accept someone less than perfect as an advance toward our ultimate goal as Americans. Do we prefer freedom or do we prefer a police state. If you prefer going back to a more free America that is closer to the original intent of our founders then Ron Paul is the “most perfect” candidate. However, do you pass him over because he isn’t totally perfect?

    IMO, The manner in which Ron Paul is “less than perfect” is far better to those of the other candidates in either party.

    In the last election I had to vote for Bush because I just happened to dislike Kerry more … but I still hated the idea of voting Bush. It was exactly like South Park portrayed it … I was either voting for a douche or a turd sandwich. I NEVER want something like this to happen again in my life time.

    With Ron Paul I know exactly where he stands on just about any issue … I just have to open up the road map to Ron Paul decisions (aka the constitution) and start reading. There are no surprises with the man and he truly believes in what he wants and is very forward about it.

    At worst, if Ron Paul get elected, he may not get everything done that he wants to do … but the process will have at least been started so that another president in the future can get it done.

  • PM

    What’s wrong with a gold standard, anyway? First off, Ron Paul did not say he would abolish the Fed Reserve overnight with a dictate, but rather by removing the stupidly absurd 28% collectables gains taxes on gold (and silver) coins. We were taken off the gold standard pretty much in 1 day, so why can’t those who choose to spend gold and silver coins be allowed to do so without a tax penalty starting today? The competition between paper and specie would at least abolish the paper-backed-by-your children’s-future-labor aspect of the federal reserve.

  • C Bowen

    Nobody cares what the Club for War says. They have long since sold their soul to attacking anti-war Republicans. The big lie about supply siders posing as conservatives is they make clear they want to “cut tax rates” so the government will take in more revenue. These are socialists, and the worst sort of dishonest ones at that.

  • Franjo from Croatia

    Ron Paul is the only candidate that speaks about real issues. He speaks about personal freedoms, Federal Reserve System, about Military industrial complex and Big Pharma and I truly admire him for doing that. I wish we had a candidate like him here in my country. This RP thing is being watched throughout the world with big hope. We must protect our liberties. Greetings from Europe!!

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Buckwheat,

    Frankly, I think the argument that there’s at least some inconsistency between Paul’s rhetoric and his record on earmarks is pretty strong.

  • http://www.owenslawoffice.com Robert Owens

    The Club for Growth completely misses the boat on free trade issues relative to CAFTA, NAFTA and the like. These agreements are soviet style central planning trade agreements that undermine the sovereignty of the United States. It does not take thousands of pages of legislation to describe “free trade.” Ron Paul is absolutely correct in opposing these agreements that are in effect corporate welfare for specific special interests.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Robert,

    And the other side of the coin is that without these types of agreements we would never be able to open trade in other countries, and the political pressure on Congress and any President who is in the White House from business and union interests would make it politically difficult, if not impossible, for the U.S. to lower its trade barriers if the rest of the world isn’t lowering their.

    It ain’t perfect, but it’s the way the world works right now.

  • TB Supreme

    Ron Paul Campaign Donor Confirmed Taco Bell Supremecist

    http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s2i26233

    I suggest you look into this pronto Doug.

  • Bob

    National Review has also made the point that Paul opposes the good is search of the perfect. A few years ago Paul opposed a budget amendment that would have cut spending significantly because he didn’t think it cut enough. Because of his opposition the amendment failed and the budget increased. I’m still looking forward to voting for Paul. If he becomes President expect 4 years of vetoes and stagnant government, which given the bills that pass congress, might not be a bad thing. I wonder if after 4 years of such governance would voters trust a pro-liberty candidate again?

  • Craig

    Give me a stubborn, pro-Constitution, anti-big government idealist in the White House any day over someone taking a “practical” approach to compromising with the enemies of liberty and establishing a “third way” of government/corporate “partnership.”

    On a practical note, campaigning for an ideal solution can lead to an eventual compromise that is much closer to the ideal solution than campaigning for a compromise from day one.

  • http://www.thesparsematrix.com rho

    Beth:
    Forget it. With most of them, you may as well be saying this to Scientologists. If you dare have an opinion that isn’t praising their Dear Leader, you are an evil corporate or government shill, an infidel.

    You attach great weight to Ron Paul paying Alex Jones $1,300. Perhaps using hyperbole to ridicule others isn’t a good tactic for you.

    Doug:
    Other than the fact that I don’t repeat the mantra that electing him will bring the long sought peace of the millennium, which seems to be close to what some of his more ardent online supporters say, why do you characterize this as negative article

    It’s just an impression I get. It seems to me that you post a lot of “Is Ron Paul really the messiah?” stories. Well, of course he isn’t. Good job, you foiled the Paul campaign’s plans to trot Ron out wearing a halo and wings.

    On second thought, it’s possible that you’re simply Ron Trolling for hits.

    Ron Paul is perhaps the most thoroughly comprehensive candidate as to his policies, ideas and philosophy. He’s only been pretty consistent in his beliefs for some 20+ years and has written copiously on the topics. 75% of the “Ron Paul” articles are really “Ron Paul Supporter” articles, which is kind of like writing a review of a Broadway show that focusses on the audience. It’s lazy and irrelevant and it shows contempt for the reader.

    As for the Club for Growth, reason characterized the article as “Paul exemplifies ‘perfect as the enemy of good'”. That’s pretty accurate to my mind. What nobody has adequately presented, IMO, is where strict adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law (“perfect”) is anything other than a good idea and the only acceptable option in a political candidate. The really annoying part is that Ron Paul is willing to compromise a bit. For example, he does not like the Fair Tax bill for good reasons, but he would support it if it came up for a vote since it’s better than what we’ve got now. He votes for compromise legislation fairly often. So the CfG is full of shit.

    The long and the short of it is: if you think government is too big, you have to vote for the person who says he is going to cut the size of government. If you vote for the guy who is “electable”, and will only grow government a “little bit” because you don’t think “idealism” will “work”, you are going to get bigger government. Period. End of story. That is the answer, there is no other. You have to vote for the guy who says, “government is too big, and here is what I will cut”. Nobody else will do.

    It really is as simple as that.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    rho,

    For me the choice is simple when primary time comes around. I either vote for Ron Paul, or I vote for nobody.

    And, when the General Election comes, its either or another wasted vote for the LP, or I just decide to tank Election Day this year and do something more enjoyable than standing in line at a polling place.

  • John Danforth

    It’s called damning with faint praise. The objections come from the premise that freedom and free markets don’t really work. If someone advocates ‘fascism lite’ as an alternative to ‘fascism’, then one can only hope to slow the inexorable slide toward a totalitarian government. My question is, in order to buy more time for — what? As the nation destroys the remnants of the wealth-creating sector of the economy, for many of us it’s gotten bad enough that only a restoration of freedom will work. We aren’t politically connected, and more government interference, more managed trade will shoulder us completely out of the market. So we won’t be taking advice from someone who encourages us to reach for compromise only to have any real progress snatched away from us at the last second again. How many times in a row must we be fooled before we stop playing the game?

    Corporations bribing politicians who grant favored status to the corporations is one definition of fascism. Is this not what this organization is actively engaged in? Why should we as Americans ever have to donate money and beg to be left alone just to survive?

  • http://www.nolanchart.com Walt Thiessen

    The thing that amuses me is that this club’s president has no problem with eliminating the IRS. That’s been a libertarian staple for decades in the face of often heated resistance. Instead, they have problems with other aspects of what Paul and other libertarians advocate. I remember back in the early 1980s of a libertarian publicly advocated the IRS’s abolishment, many critics would cautiously applaud while also saying things like, “but his insistence on opposing all but the perfect means that…we might never get a chance to pursue the good too.” Times and attitudes change and evolve, even if criticisms don’t.

  • Buckwheat

    “Frankly, I think the argument that there’s at least some inconsistency between Paul’s rhetoric and his record on earmarks is pretty strong.”

    Well then which is it, Mataconis? Do you not understand the not-very-complex nuance involved — that Paul doesn’t think govt. should spend this money and tries to stop it at every turn, but if they are going to spend it, he feels obligated to
    pass on requests from his district — or do you think your readers are stupid enough that you try to fool them by glossing over it?

    I’d love to find out whose payroll you’re on.

  • http://republicanrenaissance.blogspot.com David M

    “But presidents have the responsibility of making progress”

    Not to me they don’t. The reality is this: Paul will be able to accomplish only as much as the Congress and the SCOTUS will allow, which probably won’t be much at all. But I don’t want him to accomplish things (except with foreign policy); the only mandate he has from me is to use his veto pen.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org Doug Mataconis

    Buckwheat,

    What’s interesting, which David Weigel points out over at Reason’s Hit & Run today, is that Paul’s earmarking increased significantly over the past year, just when he’d be gearing up a re-election campaign that, by the way, is collecting contributions right now.

    He’s doing what he needs to get re-elected.

    Frankly, I like Jeff Flake better on this issue.

  • Ignoramus

    Ron Paul and his earmarks

    > Mataconis: “Frankly, I think the argument that
    > there’s at least some inconsistency between
    > Paul’s rhetoric and his record on earmarks is
    > pretty strong.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWTyHbGcUQY
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NlI_jtNKjs

    People who second guess Ron Paul’s integrity without doing research to substantiate their claims tells me more about themselves than the candidate. After all, you see the world they way you are, not the way it is.

  • Buckwheat

    Mataconis,

    Govt. spending has increased massively. Paul’s earmarks — WHICH HE VOTES AGAINST! — will naturally increase as well.

    “Paul’s earmarking increased significantly over the past year, just when he’d be gearing up a re-election campaign that, by the way, is collecting contributions right now. He’s doing what he needs to get re-elected.”

    Let’s see — he’s gotten elected 10 times by bucking the system and sticking to principle more than any congressman in the 20th century — and you posit that now, to get elected an 11th time while simultaneously bucking the system again while running for PRESIDENT, he’s suddenly selling out a lifetime of principle for a few shrimp farmer donations?

    You can’t be serious, pal. But you are a DC-area lawyer who blogs a lot of gratuitous nitpicking on Ron Paul, which presents a strong circumstantial case that you’re either hooked in to the corruption or that you want to be.

    As Ayn Rand said, those with a big government attitude tend to either be the state or to want to be the state. What firm do you work for again, and what % of their money do they make from the federal teat?

    I’m going to do a little Mataconis research tonight. This shilling is too obvious to let stand any longer.

  • Jason

    The CoG’s only real problem is that they did not analyze Ron Paul’s reasons behind his votes on a lot of the things they criticize him on – and it is almost always the same issue every time.

    Ron Paul is a Federalist, and believes in states rights. On almost every issue that CoG is critical of, it is because Ron Paul was voting as a Federalist – he sees does not see the expansion of federal power as progress (which is correct), and CoG does not hold this view.

    The only other thing was on trade. The free trade agreements that Ron Paul votes against are managed trade agreements that gives special privilege to certain corporations or industries and not others. This is NOT progress, as any form of state subsidy is inherently anti-free market.

  • Jason

    Oh, and on the earmark issue, most people don’t understand that if he does NOT vote for earmarks, the money will go to the executive branch to be spent on “whatever”. Ron Paul votes for earmarks for transparency.

  • Buckwheat

    This is quite interesting. Another “Liberty Papers” blogger, Jason Pye, is also very anti-Ron Paul. He says he’s “pretty much through with Ron Paul” and “looking for another candidate” here:

    http://www.jasonpye.com/blog/2007/10/looking_for_a_new_candidate.html

    Is the “Liberty Papers” a phony neocon website designed to look like a libertarian stronghold that just, gosh-darn it, oh-so-regrettably, has a few serious problems with Ron Paul?

    It’s looking that way. More research to come, kids.

    System. about. to. collapse.

  • Buckwheat

    So Mataconis, tell me again what law firm you work for? Or are you going to make me Google it?

    And why do I think I know what I’ll find when I see where you work — federal government teat-sucking attorneys?

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org Doug Mataconis

    Buckwheat,

    I’ll let Jason defend himself but you might have done some research before calling him a neocon.

    And as for me, no I don’t work for the government.

  • Drena

    Stop spreading the rumour that Paul wants to return to a gold standard. He has said explicitly in interviews that he does not want to return to the gold standard – that fixing the dollar to gold is problematic. What he wants is simply to legalize gold and silver as legal tender, as called for in the Constitution, and remove the sales tax on them. By doing this, private notes backed by gold can compete on a level playing field with Federal Reserve notes. This will help keep the value of money from eroding, because people will gravitate toward the currency that is most reliable.

    Paul does not advocate a gold standards. You bloggers need to inform yourselves instead of just spreading rumours.

  • Kevin Parker

    So, to be clear, the Club for Growth is rejecting Ron Paul because, while he is quite good, he is not exactly what they are looking for because, while he rejects policy proposals that may have some good effects, they are not quite what he is looking for? (Nod to James)

  • Fazsha

    Since Pat Toomey insists that Ron Paul is “stubbornly idealistic”, let’s follow Toomey’s advice and not be stubbornly idealistic. Let’s vote for a candidate who, while not faultless, nevertheless is the closest to our ideals. Hmmm, let’s see – oh, I guess that would be Ron Paul!

  • Timothy Leonard

    Ron Paul is not impractical.

  • Buckwheat

    I didn’t ask if you worked for the government, Mataconis. Most teat-sucking lawyers don’t. Instead, they work for law firms whose main client is the federal government, and they press endlessly for complex legal solutions to simple problems and other ways of screwing over the American taxpayer.

    That you dodge the question is telling. I think I’m pretty close to discover a conflict of interest that will explain your consistent anti-Ron Paul posts on a site that claims values that square pretty precisely with Paul’s platform.

    I suspect I’m going to discover tonight that, far from being an objective political philosopher, you’re a DC lawyer with a dog in this fight, and that dog eats US taxpayer money. I suspect I’m going to find that you’re as objective as National Warmonger Review and the Club for Cartelization/Growth, each of whom has many irons in the federal government fire.

    I’ll update soon. I hope I don’t find that you’re a bought and sold shill, Doug, but I strongly suspect that I will.

  • Kevin Parker

    Interesting (emphasis added):

    Club for Growth on Giuliani:
    “‘Rudy Giuliani will still need to flesh out his positions on a number of federal issues, and we hope he will reconsider his few anti-growth positions,’ Mr. Toomey said. ‘But it is impossible to ignore Giuliani’s overall commitment to a pro-growth philosophy and his executive talent for implementing that philosophy in a hostile political environment.'”

    Club for Growth on Romney:
    “‘While Governor Romney still needs to explain some of his past positions,’ Mr. Toomey continued, ‘given his overall record as governor and the strong pro-growth positions he has taken on the campaign trail, we are reasonably optimistic that, as President, Mitt Romney would generally advocate a pro-growth agenda.'”

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org Doug Mataconis

    Buckwheat,

    I’ll save you the research.

    I’m a lawyer in private practice in Virginia, concentrating in commerical debt collection, construction litigation, civil litigation, and defending the occassional minor traffic offense.

    In between Court appearances, of course, I receive orders telepathically from William F. Buckley Jr. and Dick Cheney.

  • http://www.rlc.org Bill Westmiller

    What I find amusing is that CfG is guilty of exactly the same thing they fault Ron Paul for being: not perfect.

    However, I agree with Doug that the CfG review is very favorable … recognizing that the organization has carved out its own very limited (economics only) libertarian niche.
    That’s a good, pragmatic, political strategy, since they can solicit from a much larger pool of fiscal conservatives (if such still exist). It is, after all, a “child” of CATO.

    I doubt that CfG is going to endorse or support any candidate for President. More likely that they’ll toss kudos to any nominee and then focus on the vast array of open GOP congressional seats.
    That’s fine. Best of luck.

  • Buckwheat

    Kevin Parker’s comment is correct, the press reports are all taking the line that the Club for Cartels/Growth has given Paul a “mixed” review.

    Which was the Club for Cartel’s intent.

  • http://www.cafepress.com/freespeecharea /////ANDRE

    What’s with this unending quest for “growth”?

    Here in California we’ve had just about enough “growth”. The roads are jam packed, the housing is jam packed, the Illegal Immigrants are still growing, there is no more water, blah, blah, blah… The rest of the country is right behind us.

  • Daniel

    “We work to promote public policies that promote economic growth…”

    The only real public policy to promote economic growth is not to have a policy. Paul is an exemplar at this.

    Of course, the usual government reaction is to start a new government department to study public policies to promote economic growth…

  • Kevin Parker

    > What’s with this unending quest for “growth”?

    Think economic growth, and not just new buildings, and I think the answer falls into place: more wealth, hopefully for everybody, especially those with least. This means everything from better schools to better medicine to greater cultural opportunities. Think of the gadgets and experiences you would not like to lose or to have missed out on–many have missed out on these because there has not yet been enough economic growth for those goods and services to be generally attainable. “Growth” is a major reason X-rays, indoor plumbing and computers are everywhere in the U.S. today. Lack of it is why that’s not true of every nation. People are productive and gradually improve their situation when they aren’t hindered by their governments (often in collusion with certain elites) or denied property rights and stable, limited rule of law.

    In short, economic growth is the real antidote to poverty and shortage of opportunity. As for traffic, housing and immigration, I’m all in favor of clear-headed investigations into the causes of these tensions. So far, I believe hyperactive government has played a significant role in all three.

  • http://orat.blogspot.com Orat

    From orat.blogspot.com:

    What the CfG fails to understand is that even though measures which may seem to be a step in the right direction in the short-term are actually steps in the wrong direction when viewed long-range. Let’s take their example of federally-funded school choice, for instance. While this may pragmatically appear to be a step toward more choice and more freedom for families to choose where to send their children, the reality is that it is at least as large a step backward by handing more power into the hands of the federal government. Consider the fact that federal funds always have strings attached to them, and that any recipient of federal funds will eventually have to comply with federal stipulations. Then what happens is that the path of least resistence is to simply comply with federal dictates rather that forego the federal subsidies or exemptions. A good example of this sort of tactic is 501(c)(3) status being used as a tool to gag speech in churches. The government offers a perk, the people fall for it, and thus the federal government acquires more control.

    This is precisely how clever manipulators of the system coax us toward a more fascistic system with the illusory promise of “free markets”. Were we to follow the CfG’s advice, the federal government would slowly (or perhaps quite rapidly) expand its power both economically and politically. It is precisely the sort of principled stand taken by Ron Paul that guards against this trickery and lights the path to true free market solutions. The fact that the rest of Washington is not onboard is an indictment against Washington, not Ron Paul.

  • TerryP

    Doug I asked you this earlier in the thread but you never answered me:

    Doug said “It’s an interesting question, really, do you insist on the perfect or accept something less than perfect as an advance toward your ultimate goal ?”

    Where do you stand Doug? Do you expect him to be perfect or do you expect something less than perfect but an advance towards the ultimate goal.

    You seemed to have gone back and forth on this as you have at times crticized him for not being perfect enough and it seems at other times crticized him for being to perfect. It would just be nice to know where you are coming from.

    Comment by TerryP — October 29, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

  • Kris

    By your own admission, Ron Paul does support certain imperfect, pro-growth strategies. He just doesn’t approve spending bills that allocate his districts money to other parts of the country. The appropriations he requests for Texas are pro-growth, and he pursues these appropriations because he feels that while the system is as problematic as it is, he has a responsibility to his constituents to get as much money back from the Federal government as possible. Why is it that a pro-growth bill that affects a locality or a state is considered a pork-barrel bill, but one that affects the country, and is usually prohibitively expensive, is simply considered a pro-growth bill?

    I think the major thing that Club for Growth misses here is that due to the fiscal irresponsibility of the federal government over the past century, our country no longer has the luxury to approve excessively costly, imperfect growth bills. Often times these pro-growth stances are unsustainable. For instance, keeping interest rates artificially low and maintaining a constant federal deficit are pro-growth stances in the short term, but in the long term they are disastrous. Like the private, corporate sector, the public sector has long ago decided to pursue short term growth strategies, and we are now at the point, especially with the first baby boomers starting to cash in on their entitlements, that we can no longer afford imperfect, pro-growth strategies.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Terry,

    Where do you stand Doug? Do you expect him to be perfect or do you expect something less than perfect but an advance towards the ultimate goal.

    The latter, because it’s clearly the most realistic strategy.

    You aren’t going to be able to eliminate the Federal Reserve and put America back on the gold standard any time soon, if ever. You can appoint members of the FRB who are committed to sound monetary policy.

    You aren’t going to be able to bring every American solider home from Iraq instantly, or shut down every overseas military base overnight (assuming that shutting all those bases down is a good idea to begin with). You can reform American foreign policy

    You aren’t going to be able to tear down America’s trade barriers without regard to what other nations are doing (for reasons I’ve argued before, it is political impossible given pressure from businesses that would be hurt by foreign goods, unions, and general public xenophobia). You can negotiate agreements with other nations that open our barriers to their goods and their barriers to ours, benefiting both nations.

    How’s that for a start ?

  • TerryP

    Doug

    Then why were you upset at him with his stance on using the funds from decreasing the military budget as a transition to getting people off of the social security system? This is obviously not a perfect overnight solution, but it seems you got upset at him because it wasn’t.

    I don’t believe he ever said he would bring all the soldiers home overnight. He has made it clear that bringing them home would be done as soon as possible but not overnight.

    He has not called for the elimination of the federal reserve that I am aware of. He has called for private markets to be able to compete against the fed, which would effectively eliminate it over time.

    Seems like you agree with him more than you think.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org Doug Mataconis

    Terry,

    I was criticizing the rhetoric he used in the ad; the idea that saving money in one area means that we can use it to “help” people is simply nothing more than tacit acceptance of the idea that there is an obligation to “help” anyone, which I don’t accept.

    If you’re going to run a truly revolutionary campaign then someone needs to stand up and say what no politician ever has — Social Security is broke and it needs to be ended.

  • Paul Weber

    Ron Paul may not become President, but he is educating Americans on a scale never before seen about the Federal Reserve fraud and other corruption in all major institutions.

    As his opponents come out one by one to denounce them, they reveal themselves as phony conservative special interest whores….

    Very Interesting.

  • TerryP

    I still don’t get your opposition to his social security plan. You have basically said that if he comes out with a plan that just says we will end social security tomorrow you will roast him because it is to perfect. Instead he comes up with an idea of how to fund a transition away from social security by allowing young people to opt out and you are roasting him because he is not presenting a plan that is perfect enough. You make no sense. His plan will eliminate social security over time. Isn’t that what you want? A reasonable plan that will eventually get us to our goal of eliminating social security. This is the ulitimate in private accounts. Every young person would have pure private accounts. My only suggestion would be for him to design a plan so that all people under 65 will also be able to opt out of at least the portion they haven’t paid in yet.

    For political reasons he can’t just come out and say he wants to end social security. He will get roasted. But he can come out with a plan that does just that while getting young people behind his plan since they will be able to get out and appeasing older people by saying he will meet the promises that we have made to them. I think his plan may actually be very smart. He is taking an issue that the “left” likes in getting out of Iraq and using some of the funds going towards that now to help pay for something that the “right” will go for in slowly transitioning us out of social security.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org Doug Mataconis

    Terry,

    You missed my point.

    It’s not his plan. It’s the commercial I have a problem with. They don’t mention plans in the commercial.

  • TerryP

    You are grasping at straws Doug to find anything you have a problem with regards to Ron Paul. I assume you have critiqued every other commercial by a Presidential candidate as well to find rhetoric that you don’t like and blogged about it.

    You are getting ridiculous when you are more worried about rhetoric in a commercial no-less than actual substance. There is no one in this contest that even comes close to Dr. Paul when it comes to substance. Now if “proper” rhetoric is what you are after then Paul obviously isn’t want you are looking for. Hillary probably takes the cake with “proper” rhetoric, however, so she might be what you are looking for if you are not looking for substance.

  • PAFreedom

    The writer for C.F.G. really missed the large point.

    Dr. Ron Paul doesn’t vote against something because it is not perfect, rather he votes against legislation that is illegal (unconstitutional).

    Without this kind of integrity, the conservative movement is worthless.

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