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

October 30, 2007

The Club for Growth Report on Ron Paul, An Analysis

by Kevin Boyd

The Club for Growth paper on Ron Paul has generated some discussion over pragmatism vs radicalism. The Club for Growth, while overall praising Ron Paul, took exception over some stances that they believed as too unrealistic. This post will take a look at the actual paper and evaluate which who’s right on any particular issue, Ron Paul or the Club for Growth.

1) Federal funding of elections:

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)

The Constitution is very clear on elections, states run them, but Congress can pass regulations on how they’re conducted for Federal offices. Without looking at the actual legislation in question, the legislation is clearly constitutional. I cannot comment on the merits of the legislation.

2) Line-item veto:

a vote against the line-item veto[27] -even after it was modified to pass constitutional muster.

The line-item veto is clearly a violation of the Constitution since there is no authority for the president to veto only parts of bills. The president must either reject or sign an entire piece of legislation.

3) Pork barrel spending:

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.

Some of the outrageous pork projects Paul voted to keep include $231,000 for the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association’s Urban Center; $129,000 for the “perfect Christmas tree project;” $300,000 for the On Location Entertainment Industry Craft Technician Training Project in California; $150,000 for the South Carolina Aquarium; and $500,000 for the National Mule and Packers Museum in California. This year, Ron Paul requested more than sixty earmarks “worth tens of millions of dollars for causes as diverse as rebuilding a Texas theater, funding a local trolley, and helping his state’s shrimp industry.”

In defense of his support for earmarks, Rep. Paul took the if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em position, arguing that “I don’t think they should take our money in the first place. But if they take it, I think we should ask for it back.” This is a contradiction of Paul’s self-proclaimed “opposition to appropriations not authorized within the enumerated powers of the Constitution.”

Paul has no serious defense for this special interest oriented spending for local projects.

4) Trade

Ron Paul embraces the importance of free trade, but lives in a dream world if he thinks free trade will be realized absent agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA. Paul himself argues that “tariffs are simply taxes on consumers,” but by opposing these trade agreements, he is actively opposing a decrease in those taxes. While Paul’s rhetoric is soundly pro-free trade, his voting record mirrors those of Congress’s worst protectionists.

The Club for Growth is absolutely correct, the only way the US will get lowered tariffs on its exports and imports is through trade agreements. There are too many protectionist special interests with too much clout in Congress and overseas, so the only way to get lower tariffs is to have trade agreements that demands other nations to lower their barriers in return for the lower barriers.

5) Social Security Reform:

Just as in trade, this tendency leaves Paul opposing pro-growth reforms of Social Security. He opposes allowing workers to divert some Social Security payroll taxes into private retirement accounts, arguing instead for cutting payroll taxes and leaving it up to workers to do what they will with the savings. While the ideal is admirable, it is not a sufficient reason to oppose the pro-growth, expansion of freedom that personally-owned retirement accounts represent.

I support private retirement accounts, however the Bush plan was a terrible plan. Ron Paul was correct to oppose it, however, he’s wrong to oppose the concept of private retirement accounts in general. Both sides have good points.

6) Welfare Reform:

The Congressman was also 1 of only 4 Republicans to join the Democrats in voting against the extension of welfare reform in 2002. While Paul probably opposed the bill because of his distaste for government welfare in general and the authorization of additional funding, the legislation was an important step towards weaning millions of Americans off the government dole and imposing new work requirements on welfare recipients.

There is no reason for opposing weaning millions off the government. Club for Growth is absolutely right here.

7) School Choice:

Ron Paul’s opposition to school choice stems from his opposition to the government’s role in education, arguing that federal voucher programs are “little more than another tax-funded welfare program establishing an entitlement to a private school education.” He consistently voted against voucher programs, including a 1998 school voucher program for D.C. public school students, and a 2003 bill for a DC voucher program.

Instead, Paul supported education tax breaks and introduced the Family Education Freedom Act (H.R. 612) that provides all parents with a tax credit of up to $3,000, available to parents who choose to send their children to public, private, or home school. While Paul’s sentiment is understandable, it doesn’t change the fact that his votes are a direct impediment to achieving high-quality school choice. By voting against school choice programs, Paul is aligning himself with Democrats and the National Education Association in opposing progress towards achieving a truly competitive, market-based education system.

I also prefer tax credits to school vouchers because of the fear that with government vouchers comes government control of private education. Having said that though, there is a way to come up with a voucher program that does not intrude on private education. Both sides have valid points here.

8) Tort Reform:

Paul recognizes the danger of runaway lawsuits and bemoans “malpractice premiums that cost doctors tens of thousands of dollars per year, and increasingly threaten to put some out of business.” To his credit-and somewhat incongruous-Rep. Paul voted against a measure that would allow negligence lawsuits against gun manufacturers, for liability protection for manufacturers of certain gasoline additives, and for a bill that would move national class-action lawsuits out of local state courts to federal courts in order to stop the pernicious practice of court shopping.

Instead of traditional federal tort reform, he proposes “private contractual agreements between physicians and patients” that “enables patients to protect themselves with ‘negative outcomes’ insurance purchased before medical treatment.” In theory, Paul’s solution may help alleviate the situation, but it is politically untenable. While Paul’s idealism is laudable, he has not offered a viable alternative for dealing with a problem that is hurting American consumers and businesses, while diminishing our international competitiveness.

I agree with Ron Paul mostly on this. I oppose Federal intervention in setting caps on punitive damages because each incident needs to be judged and damages awarded on the merits of each case. I also oppose any Federal measures that restrict the jurisdiction of state courts. Other than that, I am open to tort reform measures that are targeted on the Federal level.

In all, this passage from the Club for Growth’s report describes one of the reasons why I don’t support Ron Paul’s candidacy:

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.

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

    In all, this passage from the Club for Growth’s report describes one of the reasons why I don’t support Ron Paul’s candidacy:

    Kevin, you’re missing a key point that we discussed in Doug’s thread. Paul’s trackrecord in Congress is certainly one of idealism, but his Presidential platform is full of compromises and transitions.

    He clearly recognizes that the role of a President is different than that of a Congressman.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Jeff,

    Paul’s trackrecord in Congress is certainly one of idealism, but his Presidential platform is full of compromises and transitions.

    He clearly recognizes that the role of a President is different than that of a Congressman.

    A couple of points:

    1) I don’t take anyone’s platform at face value. Candidates almost never stick to it when they’re elected.

    2) His record in Congress is the only thing we have to go on when viewing how he would govern. Therefore, it needs to be analyzed and debated accordingly.

  • http://bamapachyderm.com Beth

    I can only imagine the kind of hate mail the CFG is getting for not proclaiming RP as the Messiah, as the cultists insist. I’m sure they’re being denounced as “socialists” for it.

  • Sean

    A purist can do more as a President especially one that can stand up to outside pressure and not fold. Compromise in Washington usually goes towards big government not limited government.

  • http://www.thesparsematrix.com rho

    I can only imagine the kind of hate mail the CFG is getting for not proclaiming RP as the Messiah, as the cultists insist. I’m sure they’re being denounced as “socialists” for it.

    Beth, you are beyond parody.

    Kevin:
    1) I don’t take anyone’s platform at face value. Candidates almost never stick to it when they’re elected.

    2) His record in Congress is the only thing we have to go on when viewing how he would govern. Therefore, it needs to be analyzed and debated accordingly.

    2 supports 1. After decrying him for being a purist as he promised his constituents to be a purist, you can probably count on him keeping his campaign promises.

    That said, if you’re going on records, who do you like for President? ‘Cause the other candidates’ records are hilarious.

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

    1) I don’t take anyone’s platform at face value. Candidates almost never stick to it when they’re elected.

    Point 1 breaks down into two components:
    1) Do you believe he actually wishes to accomplish what he outlines?
    2) Is it practical to do so?

    We’re talking about a man with virtually unprecedented consistency over three decades, so I’m pretty sure we can all agree that he means what he says.

    So that leaves us with practicality. This is where you have to distinguish between what he believes is ultimately best for this country and what he actually promises to do. Most of the things he actually promises to do are either under the President’s direct control or reasonably possible to accomplish in 4-8 years.

    He’s virtually always talking about setting the wheels in motion for transitions. I’ve watched countless speeches and I’ve seen no indication that he is under a delusion that he can institute libertarianism in 8 years. He just wants to change the direction and make it possible for future Presidents to continue his work.

    2) His record in Congress is the only thing we have to go on when viewing how he would govern. Therefore, it needs to be analyzed and debated accordingly.

    I disagree; his record in Congress is very important, but it is not the only factor. Here’s how I approach it (assign each factor whatever weight you feel is appropriate):
    1) How has he behaved in his role as a private individual?
    2) How has he behaved in his role as a Congressman?
    3) How does he propose to behave in his new role?
    4) Is the sample size (of his past) large enough to be relevant?
    5) Is there anything in #1 or #2 that indicate dishonesty in #3?

    My answers are as follows:
    1) Exceptional. He’s a first ballot Hall of Famer
    2) Exceptional. He performed exactly as he promised his constituents he would.
    3) Seems like an appropriate, realistic platform and it’s several orders of magnitude better than any other platform in decades.
    4) 20 years of public business. 30 years of private business. Several years of military service. I don’t think you could ask for much more.
    5) No. He has walked the walk better than any other candidate I’ve seen.

    That’s why I work diligently to help him win.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    rho,

    That said, if you’re going on records, who do you like for President? ‘Cause the other candidates’ records are hilarious.

    Undecided, for that simple reason.

    Rudy strikes me as too much of an authoritarian and he’s basically a continuation of Bush’s failed policies both here at home and abroad . Romney lacks any sort of core principles. McCain and Thompson have some appeal to me, but too many red flags as well. Huckabee is too much of a Christian socialist for my tastes.

    On the Democratic side, the only one with some appeal is Bill Richardson.

  • Hector

    Kevin, thanks for initiated some good debate points here. I definitely would like to know how you define the criteria by which candidates receive your support.

    I do like the thoroughness of your analysis but I would appreciate a little background on your thoughts. So like rho, I will wait for your reply. Thanks (its nice to see bashing kept to a minimum with actual logical arguments made to begin a dialog).

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Jeff and everyone else who’s asking,

    When I analyze a candidate, here’s what I’m looking for with weighted percentages in parenthesis:

    1) What’s their record in office? (if applicable) (25%)
    2) What is their leadership style? (25%)
    3) What is their personal life and how do they conduct themselves in private? (20%)
    4) What is their platform? (10%)
    5) Is the platform they propose consistent with their record? (10%)
    6) Who are the contributors and others they associate with? (5%)
    7) Do I like this person and do they communicate their ideas well? (5%)

    Since we’re talking about Ron Paul, I’ll grade him:

    1) The record has been mixed. A good fiscal record and good on federalism and civil liberties. The best limited government candidate in the race. Disagree on some of his foreign policy stances and his position on trade.

    2) I think he’s too purist to get anything done in Congress and the presidency. However, in Congress he does serve as the guy who “speaks truth to power” on limited government issues. He should stay in Congress for that reason alone. I think he also is too quick to demonize people who disagree with him on issues.

    3) A committed family man and no one has come forward to say otherwise. People who have met him have told me he’s a nice man. I don’t think we have to worry about skeletons in the closet.

    4) Again, I agree with portions of the platform and disagree with other planks of it. Then again, I do with every candidate running for any office. There is no candidate or any person I will ever see eye to eye on. The overall platform is better than many running for president.

    5) Yes.

    6) I have huge problems with the “Truthers”, white supremacists, Birchers, Christian fundamentalists, anti-immigration ranters, and other fringe types associating with the campaign and the campaign not distancing themselves from it.

    7) He’s not a good communicator or speaker, though he has gotten better since he started running for president.

  • http://www.thecrossedpond.com Brad

    An answer to your objection, Kevin, might come from the candidate himself.

    But my approach is toward a transition. I’m not calling for closing down any of these programs [Social Security, Medicare]. Matter of fact, I do the opposite. I save hundreds of billions of dollars in rejecting this notion that we can run a world empire, cut the deficit, and then actually use some of those funds to tide people over who have become dependent. And this offers a way of helping people who are dependent without putting anybody out in the street.

    Or

    STEWART: Is that [Medicare] something you’d get rid of?

    PAUL: Yes…but that’s not high on my agenda. Matter of fact, we’ve taught a couple of generations to be very dependent on government, and…that’s not my goal, because we have to have a transition period. I happen to think that the market can deliver any service better than government.

    Paul gets a bad rap on the purist charge. He’s actually done more to reframe libertarianism than the Libertarians have ever done, as a gradual shift in our country’s POV rather than a slam-bang game-over for every bit of government the day after Ron Paul is elected. Follow those links for some more discussion.

    And, after all, we’re not voting for Dictator (unless you vote Giuliani).

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

    Good answer. I still disagree wholeheartedly on #2, though. You’re not giving any weight to the context of his role at the time. To not do so is to assume he was intelligent enough to understand his role. It doesn’t take much knowledge of the US House over the past 30 years to understand that Paul stood zero chance of forming any sort of coalition that would make any sort of progress in pursuit of his ideals. None. None. Wasn’t going to happen. He was simply too different from everyone else. In such a situation, why would you do anything other than stick to principle and “speak truth to power”?

    As President, his role will be completely different. He will no longer be a non-critical cog in an unstoppable machine. He will be the sole possessor of 1/3 of the power* in the federal government. He will be able to change many things on his own and he will be in a powerful position to lobby for other changes. To assume he will accept nothing less than perfection in that role is to assume that he’s lying and/or not intelligent enough to understand the different roles.

    There is nothing in his track record to justify either assumption.

    * Yes, you can inject a lot of cynicism after that statement and much of will be true. For simplicity’s sake, I haven’t.

  • http://www.thecrossedpond.com Brad

    An answer to your objection, Kevin, might come from the candidate himself.

    But my approach is toward a transition. I’m not calling for closing down any of these programs [Social Security, Medicare]. Matter of fact, I do the opposite. I save hundreds of billions of dollars in rejecting this notion that we can run a world empire, cut the deficit, and then actually use some of those funds to tide people over who have become dependent. And this offers a way of helping people who are dependent without putting anybody out in the street.

    Or…

    STEWART: Is that [Medicare] something you’d get rid of?

    PAUL: Yes…but that’s not high on my agenda. Matter of fact, we’ve taught a couple of generations to be very dependent on government, and…that’s not my goal, because we have to have a transition period. I happen to think that the market can deliver any service better than government.

    Paul gets a bad rap on the purist charge. He’s actually done more to reframe libertarianism than the Libertarians have ever done, as a gradual shift in our country’s POV rather than a slam-bang game-over for every bit of government the day after Ron Paul is elected.

    Elections are about ideas, what direction you want the national conversation to go in, what voices you want heard, more than they’re ever about policy. Policy is important, no doubt, but more than anything what Presidents do is dictate the terms of the debate for, often, an entire generation. What candidates do well and what candidates don’t reflect less on what policy gets passed, but rather what direction parties, and populations, shift towards. Look at the destruction of the GOP that Bush II has wrought, or the crowning ascent that Reagan did, and the massive, massive level of changes both of those did for our country. It wasn’t any specific policy, or even bunch of them, that did it. Or, look at Perot, and the tone that set for the entire 90s, and he didn’t do a damn thing. Or Howard Dean giving the Democrats that balls to be an opposition party again after a pretty heinous 2001-2003 for capitulation and rubber stamp. Or…hell, you name it, any primary challenger that takes off or candidate who makes a dent in the political discourse of the day. I don’t know why you think his feelings on CAFTA are going to have more of an impact than that.

    And, after all, we’re not voting for Dictator (unless you vote Giuliani).

    From:
    http://thecrossedpond.com/?p=1749
    http://thecrossedpond.com/?p=693

    p.s. I can’t shake the irony of that white sheet and this post, that the subject is “The Perfect as the Enemy of the Good” and the content comes out the way it does. Maybe that’s just me.

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

    As for #6, they distance themselves regularly* and the unsavory supporters become more of a minority every day. There are a finite number of those people and they’re already on board. Ron Paul cannot win without the support of mainstreamers like you, so the obvious corrolary is that when he wins, it will be because he has broad support amongst upstanding citizens and the unsavory supporters will be relegated to the back of the bus like they are in every campaign.

    * “We’re not rushing to spend a lot of time reading what’s [on StormFront], but what you’ve described is certainly repugnant, and completely anathema to everything Dr. Paul stands for.” – Jesse Benton yesterday

  • William

    While the ideal is admirable, it is not a sufficient reason to oppose the pro-growth, expansion of freedom that personally-owned retirement accounts represent.

    Is Ron Paul really against personally owned retirement accounts???

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

    Is Ron Paul really against personally owned retirement accounts???

    Federally mandated and federally managed retirement accounts like Bush proposed? Yeah, probably.

  • Dodsworth

    Doug: Although Paul is the candidate who is closer to your views than any other candidate you refuse to support him. This strikes me as the ultimate form of purism. By the way, which candidate do you support?

  • Wiseburn

    3) Pork barrel spending:

    Paul has no serious defense for this special interest oriented spending for local projects.

    I think Paul’s defense is “he votes against the final bills”.

    I also think the Club should have mentioned this in their report and also in their poll where they are asking if Paul is a hypocrite. The Club should also have mentioned that in favor of transparency and openness, he was one of fifty members to release their earmarks. http://www.cnn.com/interactive/allpolitics/0706/popup.congress.earmarks/content.1.1.html

    From my understanding, blocking an earmark doesn’t actually remove any funding from the authorization. With the bridge to nowhere, Alaska still got the money.

    I believe Paul is in favor of the 535 representatives of the people deciding on spending as opposed to unelected bureaucrats in the executive branch.

    Steve

  • Dodsworth

    Ooops, I meant Kevin, not Doug.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Dodsworth,

    Although Paul is the candidate who is closer to your views than any other candidate you refuse to support him.

    Not necessarily. Again as I said earlier, I agree with some of things he says, disagree with others.

    By the way, which candidate do you support?

    Undecided. Some candidates appeal to me more than others. I’ll be announcing my endorsement (FWIW) probably sometime in December.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Steve,

    I think Paul’s defense is “he votes against the final bills”.

    And yet the bills pass something like 420-5. He can afford to do that.

    I also think the Club should have mentioned this in their report and also in their poll where they are asking if Paul is a hypocrite. The Club should also have mentioned that in favor of transparency and openness, he was one of fifty members to release their earmarks. http://www.cnn.com/interactive/allpolitics/0706/popup.congress.earmarks/content.1.1.html

    Good for him. That’s more than what 485 members did.

    From my understanding, blocking an earmark doesn’t actually remove any funding from the authorization. With the bridge to nowhere, Alaska still got the money.

    I believe Paul is in favor of the 535 representatives of the people deciding on spending as opposed to unelected bureaucrats in the executive branch.

    When an earmark is eliminated, the money goes back to the department the money was allocated to originally. You are correct in that it is not eliminated from the Federal budget.

    When the representatives allocate the money, it usually for projects that involved one of the following:

    1) Vote buying.

    2) Payback for contributors and/or relatives and/or friends.

    At least when the executive branch allocates the money, objective criteria such as “need” and “interests of the nation” are used so the money is used more wisely.

    Again, a weak defense for pork barrel spending.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Jeff,

    You’re not giving any weight to the context of his role at the time. To not do so is to assume he was intelligent enough to understand his role. It doesn’t take much knowledge of the US House over the past 30 years to understand that Paul stood zero chance of forming any sort of coalition that would make any sort of progress in pursuit of his ideals. None. None. Wasn’t going to happen. He was simply too different from everyone else. In such a situation, why would you do anything other than stick to principle and “speak truth to power”?

    Perhaps, but he still could have aided modest and incremental changes along the way. There is a time and a place for stands on purity and a time and a place to be pragmatic.

    As for your response to my #6:

    Ron Paul cannot win without the support of mainstreamers like you, so the obvious corrolary is that when he wins, it will be because he has broad support amongst upstanding citizens and the unsavory supporters will be relegated to the back of the bus like they are in every campaign.

    There’s Ron Paul’s Catch-22. He has to reach out to mainstream classical liberals such as myself and at the end, even I’m irrelevant in the big picture. Ron Paul needs to reach out to the average Republican party primary voter. Most Republicans are not future Lew Rockwell.com contributors nor are they raving neo-con Bushbots.

    Most Republicans are classical American conservatives who run the gambit from classical liberal/limited government conservative to social conservative to paleo-con. One of the biggest slurs the Democrats and their allies use against Republicans is the race card so that’s why the ties to Nazis is a bit touchy.

    Also, most Republicans still support a war against Islamic terrorism so the ties to the 9/11 “Truthers” is suspect there.

  • C Bowen

    The Club for Growth supported the biggest spending project of our time, the aggression in Iraq. Anyone who still works there is a whore or an apologist to Traitors.

    As to a policy wonk point that you support “private accounts” for “Social Security”? For once and for all, please remove Pat Henry’s good name from this web site.

  • Scott

    I’ve enjoyed reading this discussion, It is definitely one of the most civil and thoughtful discussions your going to find that mentions Ron Paul.

    I can’t fathom this statement though.

    “At least when the executive branch allocates the money, objective criteria such as “need” and “interests of the nation” are used so the money is used more wisely.”

    I’m pretty sure it was the executive branch that gave Haliburton no-bid contracts in Iraq and other companies no-bid contracts after Katrina. I just cannot reconcile that with the phrase “…money is used more wisely”

  • Craig

    Staking out a bold position for liberty doesn’t preclude later compromise. It just means that the later compromise will be closer to the ideal than if you start out with a compromising attitude.

    See the record of President George W. Bush for an example of the latter strategy:

    GWB proposed: Limited spending growth on discretionary spending.

    We got: Unlimited spending growth everywhere.

    GWB proposed: Modest tax cuts.

    We got: Modest tax cuts that will soon expire.

    GWB proposed: Partially privatized Social Security accounts, sort-of.

    We got: The same old bankrupt system.

    Ron Paul will go into office calling for an end to the income tax, massive spending cuts, a balanced budget, and fundamental entitlements reform.

    Even if we don’t get everything he asks for, we will be 10,000 times better off than with any other candidate winning.

    The whole “perfect is the enemy of the good argument” gets ridiculous when applied to Ron Paul. Non-supporters say, look, he’s not 100% perfect, it’s more like 93%, so join me in voting for someone who’s 51% perfect. Talk about self-defeating.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Scott,

    I’m pretty sure it was the executive branch that gave Haliburton no-bid contracts in Iraq and other companies no-bid contracts after Katrina. I just cannot reconcile that with the phrase “…money is used more wisely”

    I don’t know anything about the specific contracts given to Haliburton in Iraq so I won’t comment on them. However, I am familiar with some of the contracts that were given out after Katrina and some of them were outrageous.

    All government contracts, unless providing for services that only one or two companies can do and/or an extreme emergency (such as say a week after Katrina), should be lowest bidder.

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

    There is a time and a place for stands on purity and a time and a place to be pragmatic.

    Fair enough. A few rhetorical questions to consider: Of all the times you believe he should have been more pragmatic, how many of them were negatively impacted by his decision? How severe do you believe the impact was? Most of all, is this fault really a deal-breaker? Would you really rather continue our headlong pursuit of socialism than risk an occasional imprudent veto?

    There’s Ron Paul’s Catch-22.

    You’re definitely right about that and it may end up being fatal. Read on to see why it might not be.

    He has to reach out to mainstream classical liberals such as myself and at the end, even I’m irrelevant in the big picture.

    First, I’m not sure what else he could do, write, or say to reach out more to you. If you get a chance to meet him, you should definitely take advantage of it. I’m glad I did.

    But aside from that, this right here is him reaching out to you. If I weren’t typing this right now, I’d be working on one of several marketing efforts. I’m setting them aside for the moment because I know how important you are. You’re the next step. The Truthers were the first 2%, then came the pacifists and then the eager libertarians like myself.

    You’re the reluctant libertarian and you’re the next step. You can get us into the high single digits and in such a crowded, imbalanced field, that could easily be enough to start bringing the moderate conservatives on board.

    The key is to make it clear to them that Ron Paul couldn’t fully implement a libertarian government even if he wanted to and even if he were reelected. This election is a referendum on the direction of the federal government, not the ultimate destination.

  • clell

    This election and the Ron Paul ‘revolution’ as some call it is about freedom and liberty, not just about Ron Paul. I do want to mention this though; this has been THE most thoughtful discussion of Dr. Paul’s candidacy.
    And for a ‘dark horse’ candidate, the Neocons and Socialists sure do get all riled up. :)

  • http://freedomfundamentals Cory

    Craig:

    “The whole “perfect is the enemy of the good argument” gets ridiculous when applied to Ron Paul. Non-supporters say, look, he’s not 100% perfect, it’s more like 93%, so join me in voting for someone who’s 51% perfect. Talk about self-defeating.”

    You said it perfectly. In comparison to the other candidates, it’s a joke. If you were to take all the criteria for selection proposed by former comments higher up on this page and use them to screen out the best candidate….Ron Paul wins without a doubt. Craig, your comment was perfect and it was a joy in seeing it phrased so simply yet elegantly.

    As for the “truthers” out there. I can’t say that i’m one of them, BUT, i think about people like Noam Chomsky and Aaron Russo, and others who speak of multiple false flag operations in history, war-propaganda, the horrendous truth that democracy is short-lived in the historical record, and you have to wonder given the power grabs that came after 9/11 if there is something more to it. I don’t wear tinfoil on my head, nor do i say that there’s any smoking gun to 9/11 being an inside job, but put in the proper historical context, it becomes MORE likely than not that such a thing, in it’s form and content, could be possible. And if it came to light through an official congressional investigation that it WAS an inside job, the repercussions would be infathomable to most.

    Honestly, i think after reading so much out there from so many credible sources that there was inside involvement. There i said it. To what extent and with what specific intent, i’m not sure. Just about every war in recorded history was used as a tool to take over a nations liberties and rights under the guise of “for your safety and security”, and again, a lot of those wars were started by a false flag operation. So history merits a good hard look at what really happened. Look at the cia involvement in vietnam and the congressional hearings that took place then. So much came out, and it was disturbing, they were overthrowing governments, installing military dictatorships, and killing thousands of innocents. These were americans under orders from congressional higher-ups.

    Think about it, and don’t rule out anything.

    Kevin, thanks for not taking the RedState approach, very mature and commendable. Your arguments are valid, and i understand what you are saying. Thanks for giving Ron a fair shake despite the barrage of Ron supporter emails and backlash that you may receive. But, as i started out in this email, Craig is dead right. Ron may not be 100%, but he’s definitely in the 90’s….so by saying he can’t win constitutes the reasoning for choosing the 51% guy/girl is just wrong.

    Issue for issue, no-one stands up against him. He would crush Hillary one-on-one. There isn’t a single candidate with a written record like his, nor a voting record, and ABSOLUTELY not a personal and intellectual record like his. He’s simply the moral, ethical, intellectual, and rational choice for what best represents america.

    Take care all.

  • TerryP

    To the poster that asked about Ron Paul’s stance on social security private accounts. He is actually for the most purest private accounts. He wants at least initially for young people to be able to opt out of social security entirely. That is the purest, most no stings attached private accounts that you can get. My hope is that as time goes by he will come up with a plan to allow all people under 60 to opt out of at least a portion of the social security sytem that they haven’t paid in yet. Actually in my mind it wouldn’t be that difficult to do. Where he gets some flack is that it seems he doesn’t want the government involved in making decisions about what the individual does with that money that was formerly going to social security, whereas most of the other republican candidates will dictate to some degree where and how that money will be used and that it must be held in a retirement account. He would just rather give the individual the control without strings attached.

    My guess is that as President he will make a fuss about individuals not being able to do what they want with their own money in “private” social security accounts, but likely in the end be willing to compromise some to move us towards a transition away from social security towards individual control and responsiblity that eventually gets us to where he wants us to be, while still ensuring that we cover the promises that we have already made to our older citizens regarding social security.

  • HeathB

    Kevin,

    I have read this string and many other posts on this blog and just don’t understand your logic on mdeciding who you will support for President. Dr. Paul seems to be leading the pack of other candidates in all areas and yet you have definitely decided against him. If I understand what you and others on this blog support, no other Republican or Democratc candidate could be favorable to Dr. Paul. I understand that you will decide later in the year who you will support, but are there any others in the race that you have decided against supporting?

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Jeff,

    Forgive me for taking so long to respond, I wanted to actually take some time to think about my response.

    Of all the times you believe he should have been more pragmatic, how many of them were negatively impacted by his decision?

    Fortunately, none. The votes of passage have been too lopsided to make a difference in Congress.

    Most of all, is this fault really a deal-breaker?

    By itself, no. But there are other factors.

    First, I’m not sure what else he could do, write, or say to reach out more to you. If you get a chance to meet him, you should definitely take advantage of it. I’m glad I did.

    Tell him come down to Louisiana (preferably the New Orleans area) and I’ll be more than happy to meet him.

    The key is to make it clear to them that Ron Paul couldn’t fully implement a libertarian government even if he wanted to and even if he were reelected. This election is a referendum on the direction of the federal government, not the ultimate destination.

    I can see the value for voting for Ron Paul as a protest vote in the general election. However, there has to be more than just saying the direction (in this case, the Republican party) is wrong. You need to lay out an alternative direction. Paul has to his credit laid out some alternative plans, but there needs to be more. What’s Ron Paul’s plan about the entitlement shortfall that can actually be implemented? What’s Ron Paul’s vision of America’s overall role in the world? What’s Ron Paul’s tax reform idea? These and other ideas Ron Paul needs to articulate other than “Go back to the Constitution” or “Abolish the Federal Reserve” or “Bring the troops home from everywhere”.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    HeathB,

    My opinions are my opinions alone. I do not claim to speak for anyone else who posts on this blog nor can I.

    As for who I’ve eliminated: Rudy, Huckabee, and pretty much all three leading Democrat candidates.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/22/a-bit-about-kevin/ Kevin

    Craig,

    The whole “perfect is the enemy of the good argument” gets ridiculous when applied to Ron Paul. Non-supporters say, look, he’s not 100% perfect, it’s more like 93%, so join me in voting for someone who’s 51% perfect. Talk about self-defeating.

    What’s equally self-defeating is voting for the guy who is 93% perfect and can implement 0% of my agenda when I can have someone who is 51% perfect who can implement 51% of my agenda.

  • http://www.lunchworks.net Jeff Molby

    Forgive me for taking so long to respond, I wanted to actually take some time to think about my response.

    No problem. It’s actually refreshing to see that some people still do that. :-)

    Fortunately, none. The votes of passage have been too lopsided to make a difference in Congress.

    Have you considered the possibility that he factored that into his decisions?

    Tell him come down to Louisiana (preferably the New Orleans area) and I’ll be more than happy to meet him.

    He toured the country this summer, but from this point on, he’ll probably be focusing on the early states. I’ll keep an eye out for you, though.

    I can see the value for voting for Ron Paul as a protest vote in the general election. However, there has to be more than just saying the direction (in this case, the Republican party) is wrong.

    Even if he didn’t go any farther than that (he does), isn’t awareness and acceptance of a problem the first step towards correction? Wouldn’t he still be closer to the finish line at the end of the day than the hare who runs headlong in the wrong direction?

    What’s Ron Paul’s plan about the entitlement shortfall that can actually be implemented?

    His own words
    – Remove SS receipts from the general fund
    – Cease paying benefits to illegal immigrants
    – Allow young workers to opt out

    What’s Ron Paul’s vision of America’s overall role in the world?

    A friendly giant as opposed to the zealous dragon-slayer we are now.
    His own words

    What’s Ron Paul’s tax reform idea?

    Reduce spending to the point where an income tax is unnecessary. Sounds lofty, but it would only require us to go back to FY2000 spending levels.
    His own words

    These and other ideas Ron Paul needs to articulate other than “Go back to the Constitution” or “Abolish the Federal Reserve” or “Bring the troops home from everywhere”.

    You’re right that most of what you hear are just buzz words, but that’s a function of today’s society. Unlike most candidates, however, there’s substance beneath the surface.

    I encourage you to watch some of the lengthier videos for a deeper understanding.

    Candidates @ Google (1 hour)

    PBS (20 minutes):
    Part 1
    Part 2

    Robert Taft Club (1 hour):
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
    Part 5
    Part 6
    Part 7





  • http://www.lunchworks.net Jeff Molby

    Kevin, the spam filter ate my reply. See it here

  • http://www.lunchworks.net Jeff Molby

    What’s equally self-defeating is voting for the guy who is 93% perfect and can implement 0% of my agenda

    Do you really think that would happen? I see this election as a referendum on “politics as usual”. If Paul is elected and Congress stonewalls him at every turn, I think America would swear in a couple hundred faces in 2011.

    We’re talking about a “change” candidate that has impeccable credibility. If 2009 and 2010 turn into a game of “chicken”, Paul won’t be the one blamed for it.

    I can have someone who is 51% perfect who can implement 51% of my agenda.

    Has that approach been effective? Also, don’t forget to account for the inaction within your agenda. I know there are many thing where I simply pray the government fails to pass a certain bill. President Paul would implement 30% of my agenda with nothing more than a veto pen.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Actually, I’d say that if Paul frequently wields the veto pen and restructures the Justice Department along Constitutional lines (which is the executive branch’s prerogative), he’s accomplished a hell of a lot more than 0% of what pro-freedom advocates want him to do.

    “I can have someone who is 51% perfect who can implement 51% of my agenda.”

    Congratulations, you aspire to mediocrity. Although your math seems a little flawed, considering that a 51% perfect candidate seems unlikely to be able to accomplish 51% of your goals, unless he failed to achieve every single policy goal that counteracted your philosophy while achieving every single policy goal that you agreed with. Considering how our government is set up, this seems improbable. What’s more likely from a 51% acceptable candidate is a success rate of 25% or less with things you agree with and a success rate of 75% or more for things you oppose. As Jeff said in another post, I hope nobody’s paying you for that political advice.

  • http://www.lunchworks.net Jeff Molby

    As Jeff said in another post, I hope nobody’s paying you for that political advice.

    No, that arrow was slung at Doug. Kevin and I are having a reasonable conversation.

  • Akston

    I seem to remember quite a few cases where Reagan had an agenda that was unpopular in congress, yet used his popularity and presidential bully pulpit to prevail. I’ll have to look around for details.

    I general, don’t most politicians simply acquiesce to what’s popular? In a 2009 game of chicken, who do you think will blink first: the philosophical freedom advocate with 20+ years of consistent voting, writing, and action (even when he was alone in it) – or a group of slick, inconstant panderers who base their doctrine on leading poll indicators?

  • Akston

    Weird, I actually posted after Jeff (hence my referring to his apt “game of chicken” analogy), but my post came in before his.

    To summarize, I think that while Ron Paul is perhaps not the Club for Growth’s (or anyone else’s) version of perfection, he actually has a set of standards he consistently tries to achieve. In a contest of wills, a leader with identifiable standards will either prevail over the fickle mob, or they’ll constantly bicker and get nothing done.

    In light of the fact that Ron Paul will support liberty, and Congress “getting things done” usually curtails liberty, I find myself happy with either outcome.

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