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

“They (the emperors) frequently abused their power arbitrarily to deprive their subjects of property or of life: their tyranny was extremely onerous to the few, but it did not reach the greater number; .. But it would seem that if despotism were to be established amongst the democratic nations of our days it might assume a different character; it would be more extensive and more mild, it would degrade men without tormenting them.”     Alexis de Tocqueville

February 14, 2008

Quote Of The Day: There Are No Libertarian Gods Edition

by Doug Mataconis

This is exactly the wrong way to think about a politician, and, ironically, it comes from someone who supports a candidate who has run on a campaign of individual rights:

Ron Paul called for a march. If you are a supporter, youll go or at least try to. Anyone who thinks this isnt a good idea are not supporting Ron Paul. He is smarter than most of you if not all of you.

No politician, not Ronald Reagan, not Bill Clinton, not Thomas Jefferson, and not even Ron Paul is someone that we are required to obey whenever they express an idea. And anyone who cares about freedom and individual rights should reject the idea that any politician is smarter than they are.

Admittedly, this is from one person and not all Paul supporters are like this, but he’s not alone either. All too often, I’ve encountered people coming here to tell me how dare I disagree with the great Ron Paul.

Well, let me just say it.

Ron Paul is a good man, he’s got some good ideas. But, and I bet even he’d agree with this, he’s not perfect and treating him like he is, or like anyone who dares disagree with him is either per se wrong, involved in some wacked-out conspiracy, or worthy of being derided with profanity simply isn’t justified.

Blind obedience to one man, any man, is something that no person who claims to love liberty should ever fall victim to.

TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2008/02/14/quote-of-the-day-there-are-no-libertarian-gods-edition/trackback/
Read more posts from
• • •

160 Comments

  1. Thank you for this.

    I have to say that this is what most Ron Paul supporters need to hear this. As a RP supporter myself, I do have to say that a lot of people that frequent that site are, at times, over zealous about their candidate.

    I think Ron Paul is a great man, but not an all knowing all seeing man. His is the Barry Goldwater of our time…

    …And hopefully this movement will spawn the next Regean.

    Here’s to hoping!

    -MJ

    Comment by Michael Julian — February 14, 2008 @ 8:37 am
  2. Doug,

    Now you are trolling Ron Paul forums in order to find a pretense to disparage Ron Paul?

    You are even more pathetic than I previously thought. Congrats, that was hard to beat but obviously I underestimated your ability to reach new lows.

    Please continue your mission to herd people back to Hegelian Dialectic Corral.

    Comment by gmason08 — February 14, 2008 @ 9:25 am
  3. Gmason08,

    Actually, Karl Rove sent me the link to that posting after receiving instructions from David Rockefeller.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 9:28 am
  4. You know, it’s a common thing, even among fairly rational people like libertarians to start putting the leader ahead of the ideals. All you have to do is look at what Ayn Rand turned the Objectivists into to see that. I can understand why people support Ron Paul, but they’d be wise to study what happened with Rand as well…

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard23.html

    Comment by UCrawford — February 14, 2008 @ 9:31 am
  5. “Blind obedience to one man”

    OMG, where did he say “you WILL march on DC”?

    He said we *should* march on DC to show our true numbers…

    How you got from that to ‘blind obedience’ is beyond me…

    As to the ‘smarter than you’ comment… get over yourself dude. Ron Paul has been studying economics for more years than I’ve been LIVING! Not to recognize that he is (with 99.99999% likelihood) smarter than me is ridiculous…

    Furthermore, you need to take a stroll to dictionary.com and look up what it means to support someone. If Ron Paul asks for something and we (his supporters) don’t do our best to get it for him, we are not ‘supporting’ him…

    If he asked for something illegal, I would not ‘support’ him, but asking for money (campaign contributions) or time (volunteering, attending rallies) are things that Ron Paul supporters can and should do.

    Comment by Michael — February 14, 2008 @ 9:44 am
  6. Michael,

    I’m not talking about what Paul said, I’m talking about what his reporters supporters say. They don’t seem to understand the difference between thinking for yourself and parroting what someone else has said.

    And, just for the record, Ron Paul isn’t the only person on the planet who has studied economics. Like I said, he has good ideas but I refuse to concede that any politician is all-knowing, which seems to be the attitude of some “supporters” I’ve run into.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 9:58 am
  7. Michael,

    And one more thing.

    If Ron Paul says “let’s have a march” and someone says “I don’t think that’s a good idea”, that doesn’t mean that person # 2 is wrong they just have a different opinion.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 9:59 am
  8. Michael,

    Ron Paul has been studying economics for more years than I’ve been LIVING!

    If I understood the newsletter scandal correctly, where Paul said that he was too tied up in his studies of economics to supervise what was printed in his newsletter in the periods of 1987-1996, that would make your age somewhere between 12 and 21. In which case, I’ve also studied economics longer than you’ve been alive. Does that make me 99.99999% smarter than you as well?

    Comment by UCrawford — February 14, 2008 @ 10:15 am
  9. Hey Doug,
    It’s nice to see an author who isn’t afraid to tackle dissenting comments. However, I’d recommend that you don’t lump everyone together. I’m sure if you looked hard enough, you’d find some pretty unsavory supporters in every campaign. I know that RP doesn’t know everything and I’m sure that I have superior knowledge, in certain fields, that he does not. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize simple, plain truth when I see it. As a veteran, I’ve sworn an oath to defend this country and our constitution and I lived up to it. It nice to see someone in an elected position w/ the same set of moral values. You don’t take an oath you not willing to uphold. While there is an issue or 2 that RP holds that I don’t agree w/, this doesn’t not erode my confidence in his ability to carry out what he has promised…in fact, he’s the only one so far to actually lay out his plans and explain how each one WILL work using good old-fashioned logic. Show me a candidate that can do that who is also considered a ‘front-runner’. Oh yeah, you can’t. Show me a candidate that demonstrates the same kind of integrity by sticking to his guns, no matter what. Oh yeah, everyone else changes their pitch to match the current political winds. In fact, just show me ONE ‘front-runner’ that we can count on to OBEY the law of the land (The Constitution), AND honor his oath of office. Do that, my friend and you will have won over a new convert. I eagerly await your reply.

    Comment by Dave — February 14, 2008 @ 10:31 am
  10. Doug:

    Again with the ‘all-knowing’ stuff. Please show me how being smarter than someone else == all knowing…

    As to the different opinion comment, I agree, but then they are not ‘supporting’ Ron Paul. Which is ok, but to equate someone who says that a person who doesn’t support an idea of Ron Paul’s isn’t supporting Ron Paul (by definition if you aren’t supporting his ideas, you, um, aren’t supporting him) with someone who worship’s at the foot of Ron Paul is insane…

    UCrawford:

    Since Ron Paul has been in Congress since the mid-1970′s and was an advocate of the gold standard at that time, I don’t think it is a stretch to think he studied economics at that time too…

    As far as the magazine scandal is concerned… do you think Oprah reads all the articles in her magazine?

    She just collects a check…

    How about Turner Broadcasting? Does Ted review everything that goes on? McDonald’s?

    I’ve said this before and I’ll remind you guys again… NOT ONE PERSON has come forward and said Ron Paul has SPOKEN similar ideas/words before…

    The guy is 70-some-odd years old! Are you seriously telling me that the thoughts expressed in those letters would not have slipped out by now?

    Come on guys… grow some brains…

    Specifically I was talking about economics… I doubt he is smarter than me in the area of Java development, where I am smarter than 99.9999999% of the developer population…

    Comment by Michael — February 14, 2008 @ 10:33 am
  11. Michael,

    Since when do you have to agree with someone 100% to be “supporting” them ?

    Is there no room for dissent in the r3volution ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 10:34 am
  12. Dave,

    I’m well aware that not all Ron Paul supporters are like this. Unfortunately, that particular variety seems to be the most vocal — and, speaking as a complete outsider, I think they’ve done damage to the movement as a whole.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 10:35 am
  13. Michael,

    The problem with the newsletter scandal isn’t that the ideas were Ron Paul’s, it’s that he displayed horrible judgment in hiring, and then not firing, the person who expressed them under his name.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 10:36 am
  14. Michael,

    Since Ron Paul has been in Congress since the mid-1970’s and was an advocate of the gold standard at that time, I don’t think it is a stretch to think he studied economics at that time too…

    He’s been studying it since the ’60s or so, I was just teasing you. :) But it’s also important to keep in mind that just because somebody has studied a topic for a long time, that does not inherently make them “the” expert on that topic or incapable of being wrong (as Paul is wrong on immigration, according to economics). History’s featured many people who studied economics and drew the wrong conclusions (Marx being one of the prime examples), which is why it’s always important to question someone’s propositions…whether they’re an expert or not…and not fall into the trap of automatically deferring to someone’s leadership.

    As for the newsletter, Doug made my point on that for me just now. My problem with Paul isn’t with the content (which I’m sure he didn’t write himself), it’s with his handling of the entire situation, both then and now. If Oprah had an editor publish articles in her magazine about how the cops should be unleashed on whitey, you can be extremely certain she wouldn’t be keeping that person around afterwards. Taking responsibility is not just about saying “oops” when someone calls you on a mistake, it’s about taking corrective action as well, so you don’t repeat your mistakes.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 14, 2008 @ 10:49 am
  15. Ah, Doug (AKA Cpt. Obvious),
    You disappointed me. I was hoping to be a convert. I guess, being human, we all make mistakes. Speaking of which, RP made mistakes too…he’s not Jesus. So he (or someone else in his employ) hired some unsavory characters in the past, and they no longer work for him at this time. I guess he was smart enough to learn from those mistakes.
    But let me ask you this: If you are an outsider looking in, how can you speak w/ the authority of insider?
    Where do you stand on the issues?
    Who would be your ideal leader?
    Just curious…most outsiders don’t care enough to invest such an effort as you have. What makes you different from them?

    Comment by Dave — February 14, 2008 @ 10:52 am
  16. I think what most of you have forgotten is the fact that RP advocates real freedom. Real freedom is attractive to EVERYONE, including the unsavory sorts. Knowing this, how can you expect to NOT attract some loonies to the campaign? If you’re and advocate for freedom for all, you have to mean it, and RP does. For everyone…Blacks, whites, Hispanics, Muslims, Christians, black panthers, neo-Nazis, rich, poor, homeowners, and even the homeless. Of course the ones who have felt the most ignored, or the most discriminated against (in their own minds), are going to be very vocal once they have a candidate they believe will benefit them. That means if you believe in freedom, then you have to concede that even the unsavories deserve it too.

    Comment by Dave — February 14, 2008 @ 11:09 am
  17. Darn…I was abandoned. I as hoping for an intellectual debate amongst peers, instead, I make some valid points and the opposition turned tail and left. How about you, UCrawford? You seem to be articulate and educated while being on the other side of the issue. Will you take up the challenge? In fact, is there a site where intellectuals can go to debate current issues? Any seemingly qualified opponent I in these blogs that I find just can’t hold up against me. I’d love to find someone who can (thinks they can) convert me on this subject w/ logical debate. Any help here?

    Comment by Dave — February 14, 2008 @ 11:29 am
  18. Dave – all of your questions have been answered repeatedly on this site on a number of occasions.

    It’s also worth pointing out that the person who ghost-wrote the newsletters remains intimately involved with Ron Paul’s campaign, albeit in a somewhat unofficial capacity.

    Comment by Mark — February 14, 2008 @ 12:02 pm
  19. Dave,

    Where do I stand ?

    I consider myself a libertarian.

    Who is my ideal leader ?

    I don’t have an ideal leader, because I don’t wish to be led.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 12:06 pm
  20. Damn good answer, Doug! I like that attitude! But if you wish to not be led, then why immerse yourself in discussion involving the election of the next US President (AKA a leader)? Those who take the lead, (I’m assuming you one) tend to not care about such petty things as this. Forge on, …but where does your path lead to?

    Mark ~ Interesting comment. Do you have documentation, or is this speculation?
    While this site may contain all the answers to my questions, I find that actually interacting w/ people to be more stimulating.

    Please keep in mind here, folks, that I’m not here to make enemies, I just enjoy a good debate w/ intelligent people. I’m glad to have found some others who can think for themselves. Real intelligence, in this day and age, is a rare commodity indeed. That being said…let’s debate.

    Comment by Dave — February 14, 2008 @ 12:22 pm
  21. “I don’t wish to be led”

    Exactly why I can’t register with the libertarian party (not sure if you are) and why so many Americans cringe when they hear ‘libertarian’ because they see the typical libertarian as a hippie who doesn’t want ANY form of government (aka leaders)…

    You remind me of the guy in Futurama in the ‘Apathy Party’ where Fry wants to join but is rejected because he shows some enthusiasm for joining, then gets accepted when he says ‘aw, screw it’…

    You are no less free if you chose to follow a leader! Freedom is the ability to choose your leader…

    @UCrawford:

    So, you want Ron Paul to crucify someone for *their* beliefs? Instead of just getting rid of the guy because he put *his* beliefs under Ron Paul’s name? Hmmm… you sure you are a libertarian?

    Also, he says he got rid of the editor and said that guys beliefs are not his own.

    Comment by Michael — February 14, 2008 @ 12:22 pm
  22. Michael and Dave,

    Freedom is the ability to choose the people who run the government that performs it’s sole legitimate function of protecting you.

    I’m not looking for a messiah, I’m looking for someone who can get the job done.

    I liked most of Ron Paul’s ideas, but he proved to me that he would have been a horrible President.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 12:34 pm
  23. Dave:
    There has been a tremendous amount of documentation about who ghost-wrote the newsletters, most comprehensively here:
    http://www.reason.com/news/show/124426.html

    There are other sources as well, some of which are linked in the article linked to above.

    Comment by Mark — February 14, 2008 @ 12:53 pm
  24. I’m sure you’ve laid out these reasons, so I’m not going to ask you to do it again, but could you point me to your blog(s) where you did?

    Thanks…

    Comment by Michael — February 14, 2008 @ 12:54 pm
  25. Michael,

    I already said it:

    The problem with the newsletter scandal isn’t that the ideas were Ron Paul’s, it’s that he displayed horrible judgment in hiring, and then not firing, the person who expressed them under his name.

    Given that the most important thing a President does is appoint people who run the various offices of the Executive Branch, and take responsibility for firing them when they mess up, a history of bad judgment in this area is obviously a concern.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 12:57 pm
  26. I don’t have access to the information you have. I heard Ron Paul say that the editor was fired/let-go/released in the mid-1990′s when the newsletters in question were brought to Ron Paul’s attention…

    So that leaves your problem with Ron Paul to be that he hired someone who had these feelings.

    The guy has successfully delivered 4000+ babies and overseen the care of even more? He’s raised (to my limited knowledge) fairly decent children, RETURNS money to the treasury, votes against bills that violate the Constitution, stands on principle in Congress and you are going to dismiss him for letting someone he thought he knew write some newsletters under his name?

    I thought you just said that you don’t want a ‘messiah’ or a ‘god’! Because it seems the only person you’d follow would be infallible…

    Comment by Michael — February 14, 2008 @ 1:17 pm
  27. Michael,

    It’s a fairly well-known secret in libertarian circles that the author of the newsletters was Lew Rockwell and others affiliated with him and now affiliated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which strongly in Paul’s corner.

    I’m not looking for infallible, but I am looking for someone with certain skills.

    For example, I’ve seen some Paul supporters talking about backing his son — Rand Paul — for a Presidential run in 2012. This is a guy who has never run for any political office, has never held political office, and has no government experience. There’s no way someone like that is qualified to be President.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 1:20 pm
  28. While I can concede that a history of such mistakes would be alarming, I must point out the glaring fact that this was a single incident around 20 years ago. A single mistake does not constitute a ‘history’ of doing such things. If this is all the dirt that can be dug up on this man, then, by comparison, he is light-years ahead of the competition. So if your judging him for one mistake, made decades ago, that seems a little harsh in my opinion.
    RP is the man to get the job done. His ‘history’ shows this to be the case. (I’m sure you’ve been educated as to his voting record, so I’ll not reiterate it here) You couldn’t ask for a man w/ more integrity and honesty running through his veins.
    Mark ~ I’m still researching your link, but I’ll reply when I’ve done so.

    Comment by Dave — February 14, 2008 @ 1:29 pm
  29. Dave:
    This was not a single isolated incident. The newsletters at issue were published over a period of a number of years. Not only that, but they were a huge source of revenue for him, which largely funded his return to Congress.

    Comment by Mark — February 14, 2008 @ 1:36 pm
  30. OK, Mark. Let’s just assume that everything that is printed in that story is the holy gospel and is irrefutable (sure…*wink*). Going along w/ that ASSUMPTION, we have to:
    1.) Breath a sigh of relief that Lew is not the one running for president.
    2.)Ask yourself:”Will Ron Paul practice what he is preaching?” (I believe so, and his history backs me up on that.)
    3.) Ask yourself:”How does this pertain to our future?” (in my opinion, it’s irrelevant)
    4.) Has anyone ever heard Ron (himself) make any comments like this? (Good luck there!)
    5.) Should any election be blessed or damned due to non-candidate (Lew) making some comments in poor taste? (Ex: Rudy has a pedophile ex-priest for a buddy, but nobody is running that news into the ground.)
    I say let’s focus on Ron…not his buddy. Ron is the one running for President.
    As for him still being friends and working w/ him still, well…I’ve got friends that have some opinions I don’t agree w/, but they are still good people, and I don’t have to agree w/ them to associate and work w/ them. So he made money, isn’t that what businesses are for? We all have to eat somehow.
    So, even IF all the allegations were true, I cannot find a reason to not vote for Ron Paul. He will deliver on his promises for the simple reason that: that is what he has always done.

    Counterpoint, please……

    Comment by Dave — February 14, 2008 @ 2:01 pm
  31. Dave,

    Without talking about his ideas, tell me why you think Ron Paul is qualified to fill the position of POTUS ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 2:19 pm
  32. …Except that these newsletters were published under Paul’s name. Given the amount of money the newsletters brought in for Paul personally, it’s also pretty safe to assume that he was aware of the material contained therein, whether or not he actually wrote the material (FWIW, he is widely known to have written a good chunk of the newsletters, just not the really bad stuff).

    As for your questions, I’ve written extensively on why the newsletter story undermined Paul’s value as a protest vote/means of advancing libertarianism and completely destroyed his value as a viable candidate. Since I don’t feel like re-writing all of the arguments I’ve made to that effect, I’ll provide you just some examples:

    Discussing the disingenuous nature of Paul’s response to the story and comments he has made publicly in the past:
    http://publiusendures.blogspot.com/2008/01/newsletter-story-gets-worse.html

    Arguing that a vote for Paul is worthless (FWIW, I was, in the end, compelled to vote for him anyways for other reasons not relevant here):
    http://publiusendures.blogspot.com/2008/01/four-step-argument-against-voting-for.html

    Discussing the fall-out from the story, and its broader meaning:
    http://publiusendures.blogspot.com/2008/01/whats-next-for-libertarians-and-ron.html

    …And plenty more.

    Comment by Mark — February 14, 2008 @ 2:31 pm
  33. Doug,
    Any one of the candidates is qualified to the position of POTUS, per the rules set forth by the Constitution, else their names would not have appeared on the ballots. It’s his ideas and his integrity that sets him apart. Haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like to have an HONEST man sitting in the Oval Office? One who doesn’t flip-flop, one who actually cares about the people, and not how much money and power he can accumulate in office? As a self-proclaimed Libertarian, I would have thought he would have been your ideal candidate. How could any self-respecting man (or woman) vote for anyone else KNOWING that a candidate of this very caliber is right there….waiting for your vote.
    Now I’ll pose a cpl questions to you:
    How do envision this country will be run if anyone other than RP gets into office?
    And: How do you envision it if RP were to get elected?
    Then: Which would you prefer?

    Comment by Dave — February 14, 2008 @ 2:46 pm
  34. Dave,

    I don’t mean Constitutional qualifications, I mean competence. Being President is about more than making nice speeches, as the term of ones James Earl Carter can attest.

    When Ron Paul isn’t elected, things will continue much as they are and the fight for liberty will go one.

    If Ron Paul were elected and all else was equal, I don’t think he’d accomplish anything. He’d couldn’t repeal the income tax on his own. He couldn’t even bring all the troops home on his own without violating treaty committments. He couldn’t bring back the gold standard on his own.

    Electing a President without changing other things doesn’t accomplish anything. Working from the bottom up is what matters.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 2:50 pm
  35. Mark,
    You’ve base your counter on this: “Given the amount of money the newsletters brought in for Paul personally, it’s also pretty safe to assume that he was aware of the material contained therein…”
    So the more money someone makes from something, the more he’s involved…is that your point? Sorry, I don’t buy that ASSUMPTION. Any well-run business can run independently from its’ owner. As a Business owner, I know this to be factual. I make good money, but does that mean that I know every minute detail that foes on in there? Sorry, but no, I don’t. It’s set up so that all I have to do is collect the checks and talk to certain people when I want to. RP was also running his medical practice at the time and it is entirely conceivable that his attention was focused on that since I believe that RP considers babies to be more important than magazines or newsletters.
    So, again, if this is all that you can come w/ to refuse a vote for him, then you are waiting for the second coming of Jesus. On a list of great men that have walked this earth, there would be very few names in between Ron Paul and Jesus.

    Comment by Dave — February 14, 2008 @ 2:56 pm
  36. Dave,

    On a list of great men that have walked this earth, there would be very few names in between Ron Paul and Jesus.

    This is precisely the messianic nonsense I was talking about.

    And before I’d list Ron Paul I’d list Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, Adam Smith, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Frederic Bastiat, Fredrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Robert Heinlein, Frederick Douglass, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, George Mason, Elie Weisel, Nathan Sharanksy, Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Pope John Paul II.

    Get the idea ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 2:59 pm
  37. Doug:
    No Ayn Rand?
    I’ll add some more: Benjamin Franklin, Barry Goldwater, Grover Cleveland, WEB DuBois, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Leonard Read, Maggie Thatcher, Milton Friedman, Ronald Coase, etc., etc.

    I should add that Ron Paul’s position on immigration alone makes him far less than the embodiment of libertarianism in my mind (though others will differ to be sure).

    Oh, and when you run a business whose sole purpose is the publication of a brief monthly newsletter, I have a hard time believing that you just leave the proofreading up to someone else and never look at the stuff. If you really don’t, then you’re not doing a very good job of management. When the newsletter is going out under your name, written as if it’s a personal letter from you, you would make sure that you’re ok with the material contained therein. Whenever you allow something to be published in your own name as if it is a personal letter from you, you are putting your most valuable asset on the line….your reputation. If a person claims that they didn’t regularly proofread such a newsletter, then they are either: 1. Lying, or 2. A colossally incompetent manager.

    Comment by Mark — February 14, 2008 @ 5:55 pm
  38. Mark,

    Yes, Ayn Rand too. And the others you listed.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 14, 2008 @ 6:50 pm
  39. Your statements are patently obvious to everybody, probably even the person you are quoting. Why do you disparage our greatest hope for liberty in our time? Why do you choose Ron Paul as your politician of choice? You could have chosen any other candidate who would be a better example. All other candidates are trying to run our lives while Ron Paul want to restore individual liberty and responsiblity. I don’t get your motivation.

    Comment by Jeff — February 14, 2008 @ 7:39 pm
  40. Jeff,

    Your statements are patently obvious to everybody, probably even the person you are quoting. Why do you disparage our greatest hope for liberty in our time? Why do you choose Ron Paul as your politician of choice? You could have chosen any other candidate who would be a better example. All other candidates are trying to run our lives while Ron Paul want to restore individual liberty and responsiblity. I don’t get your motivation.

    If Ron Paul invites you down to a freedom commune he’s running in Guyana, and when you’re there he asks you if you’d like a nice refreshing glass of Kool-Aid…by all means, enjoy.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 14, 2008 @ 8:00 pm
  41. Uh , Ron Paul is not the greatest hope for liberty in our time. If by our time you mean, say, the average 20 – 30 year old’s lifetime, I’m sorry to say, but RP is a little over 70, and faces the possibility of losing his re-election.

    No, the most important thing is for people to carry on what they learned about organizing, conventions, campaigns, the whole nine yards.

    RP supporters will eventually see the whole picture again, and some of the more feverish supporters (ones who seem to give the others that are clear headed and rational a bad name…), will eventually realize this as well.

    RP helped a bit, but it’s up to people to actually bust their asses, campaigning for those running for Congress who share many ideas & principles, continue to raise money & organize, as well as educating themselves & others about what they are about.

    I fully agree that RP is not this huge messiah; he never was. Blame it on our televised culture, writers strike causing a lack of daily celebrity worship for certain shows, or more likely a minority within a growing group of supporters who just got too rambunctious for their own good.

    Honestly, it’s not like none of us have seen this unwarranted deity like worship happen before, whether in real-time on current events or in hindsight concerning historic figures & events. This over glorified worship will eventually case, hopefully replaced by a tempered respect (though, obviously, not the case for every individual).

    Keep the fire going, but don’t burn out; that more or less sums it up for me, I guess.

    Comment by Nitroadict — February 15, 2008 @ 3:14 am
  42. “I should add that Ron Paul’s position on immigration alone makes him far less than the embodiment of libertarianism in my mind (though others will differ to be sure).”

    What? He wants to allow immigration but that would be IMPOSSIBLE while the welfare state is in existence… It’s why we have the problems with immigration today!

    Again with the only-incompetent-people-don’t-read-newsletters-with-their-name-on-it BS argument. You telling me Forbes/Oprah read everything in their magazine?

    And as to the newsletter making him tons of money!? WTF are you smoking?

    Comment by Michael — February 15, 2008 @ 5:45 am
  43. “Keep the fire going, but don’t burn out; that more or less sums it up for me, I guess.”

    Yes, it’s what libertarians do best… nothing…

    Should seriously change the party name to ‘Apathy Party’. Face it, libertarians don’t do / haven’t done sh1t.

    Comment by Michael — February 15, 2008 @ 5:47 am
  44. Michael, are you suggesting that in the years of publication, not once did any staff member of this newsletter other than the writer, nor any subscriber, nor any family member (Paul listed his wife and daughter as staff on the newsletter IIRC), nor any friend of Ron Paul, not once did any of them read it and say “whoa…that’s inappropriate…better make sure Dr. Paul hears about this!” Remember, it was more than just one article – there were at least several so there were multiple opportunities for this to happen. To hear everyone else tell it, the ONLY person reading Paul’s newsletter was the guy writing the articles. At best, Paul was terribly, terribly ill-served by the newsletter staff as a whole.

    And comparing a small niche newsletter to a newsstand magazine that has hundreds of thousands of readers monthly and probably ten times as many staff is a bit like comparing the operation of a mom-and-pop corner store to the operation of a major convenience store chain.

    And, frankly, if I were Oprah, yes I darn well would want a draft on my desk before it hit the printers. It’d be worth five minutes of my time once a month to make sure something blatantly stupid and embarrasing didn’t go onto the stands or into the mail.

    Comment by SC — February 15, 2008 @ 6:14 am
  45. Nitroadict,

    Keep the fire going, but don’t burn out; that more or less sums it up for me, I guess.

    That should be what sums it up for everyone. Excellent points all around.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 7:30 am
  46. I’m well aware of why Ron Paul claims he is against immigration, but that doesn’t mean that I think he’s right. To me, relatively open borders are one of the most important and useful tools for encouraging the growth of liberty since they promote competition between governments for citizens.

    As for the amount of money Ron Paul made from the newsletters, that has been pretty well-documented. IIRC, the business that he set up to publish the newsletters (and which was comprised of just himself, Rockwell, and Mrs. Paul) raked in about $750,000 annually. It also served as a vehicle for his congressional fundraising operations. Unfortunately I can’t find the links that discuss this, but I know Reason discussed it in one of their columns, and I read about it in a few other places as well.

    Comment by Mark — February 15, 2008 @ 7:43 am
  47. Nice Doug…(Sorry about ducking out yesterday, if you have kids, you’ll understand) your list was smaller than mine would have been, but you did get the point…I hope. Any one of those men would be a great choice for POTUS, but, unfortunately, only one of them is running. It is not messianic BS to recognize a noble heart and noble intentions. I do not worship him, nor do I believe he can fix everything that is wrong w/ this country, but fact remains that he is THE SINGLE BEST CHOICE THAT IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE. And ripping on him for a mistake that was made and corrected years ago is just childish and immature. If cannot acknowledge plain logic, then I have to assume that you aren’t being reasonable and that there is an ulterior motive involved here. Can you sit there and honestly tell me that any other candidate out there has NOT made mistakes of the same or greater caliber? To deny that would be just infantile. But, for some odd reason, you’d rather cast your vote for the greater misfits!? Baffling…I just don’t understand it.

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 7:46 am
  48. Mark, (Good morning)
    How much did his medical practice rake in during that time? I would assume that any man running for office would use all funds available to him to make a bid for office. Focusing on a side business that he’s clearly acknowledged was not under his direct control is not validation of racism. That IS what all this is about, right? Is RP racist, or does he associate w/ racists? Let’s get down to the core issues here.

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 7:58 am
  49. Dave,

    A noble heart and noble intentions ? Perhaps, but as the saying goes the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    As I have said more than once, no, I don’t concede that Ron Paul is the best choice for President available. Right now, there are no good choices at all and the best one can hope for is that the worst possible choice doesn’t win.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 8:00 am
  50. “To me, relatively open borders are one of the most important and useful tools for encouraging the growth of liberty since they promote competition between governments for citizens.”

    Not sure what you are complaining about. We have ‘relatively open borders’ and the US has been competing for citizens…

    WE GIVE FREE EDUCATION, MEDICAL CARE, EARNED INCOME CREDIT…

    We have won the proverbial battle for the citizens… but not through liberty but through handouts.

    We can’t simply switch from one form of enticement to another.

    Ron Paul’s plan is simple.

    1. close borders (to illegal immigration)
    2. get people off Medicare/Social Security (will take a generation or 2, sorry promises were made)
    3. re-open borders (or at least ease any immigration restrictions)

    As to the profit/revenues of the newsletter, I haven’t seen that information. Are there actual tax returns available for the business?

    Comment by Michael — February 15, 2008 @ 8:00 am
  51. Michael,

    Ron Paul’s immigration position appeals to nativists who are all in favor of Point One, might agree with Point Two, and would never agree to Point Three.

    This effort to tie entitlements, which are a legitimate problem, into immigration, which I consider a net-plus to America, is a complete cop-out on RP’s part.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 8:02 am
  52. So by using your reasoning, Doug, anyone w/ good intentions is bound for hellish consequences, therefore we should never look upon anyone w/ good (or noble) intentions in a favorable light. Only vote for those who tell us honestly that they have criminal intentions, or just straight out lie to us? Often, the path to redemption lies through hell…you have to make it through it to get to the other side. (and being a combat vet, I do know a little about going through hell!) So, using this amazing (!) wisdom, what criteria do you use to select a presidential candidate?

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 8:15 am
  53. Dave,

    What I meant is that merely because one has good intentions doesn’t mean the consequences of those intentions will turn out for the good.

    Ron Paul’s intentions don’t matter to me as much as whether he is appropriate for the job of President of the United States. Based on what I’ve seen and what I’ve read, I don’t think so — and that conclusion has nothing to do with his policy positions.

    But, tell me, do you honestly believe that Ron Paul is as great as Jesus Christ, or was that just a bit of hyperbole ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 8:23 am
  54. It doesn’t show he’s a racist – it shows he’s either: 1. Incompetent, or 2. Dishonest, or 3. Both. Where has anyone here claimed that Ron Paul is himself a racist? But to claim that he neither had nor should have had direct knowledge of the newsletter content strains credulity.

    As for the immigration question – where, exactly, is the proof that illegal immigrants come to this country to take advantage of our welfare state? Isn’t it more likely that they come to this country because that’s where the jobs are? At some point, it would be nice to see some evidence that illegal immigrants are a greater burden on our welfare system than they contribute to our economy.

    Comment by Mark — February 15, 2008 @ 8:28 am
  55. Mark,

    Considering that the vast majority of illegal immigrations in my neck of the woods — Northern Virginia — live under the radar, I’d bet that they are using the social service system far less than some people might suspect.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 8:31 am
  56. If you don’t start w/ good intentions in mind, then you’ll never end up w/ a good outcome. How does one go about fixing things that are wrong w/o the intention to do so? I never said, or implied anywhere in any of my statements that RP is as good as JC. The message I was trying to get across is that if you are waiting for someone better than RP, (and considering the choices we have before us) then you may as well be waiting for the second coming of JC. If you see a better candidate and can validate that claim, then do so. What kind of God-like standards do you have for a POTUS candidate? RP has demonstrated the most integrity, the most honesty, and the most consistent voting history than ANYONE else running (spotless). That’s about as much as anyone can ask of a MAN. Anything more, and your asking for a god. I’m not asking for perfection, nor do I expect it of any MAN, but I will vote for the one who has demonstrated his goodness by talking the talk and walking the walk. Can you say that any other candidate has done the same?

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 8:39 am
  57. Doug:
    Yeah, I lived in that area up until a few years ago. That was definitely the impression I got.

    Comment by Mark — February 15, 2008 @ 8:50 am
  58. Mark~”it shows he’s either: 1. Incompetent, or 2. Dishonest, or 3. Both”
    Quick, somebody alert all those mothers that an incompetent, dishonest Dr. has delivered their kids.
    An incompetent, dishonest mans has consistently defended the Constitution his entire political career…alert the presses!
    Seriously? A man isn’t allowed any mistakes in life if he’s running for president?
    I guess that just disqualified the entire field.
    Who are you voting for Mark? Ghandi? Sorry, he’s not on the ballot this year.
    Don’t even get me started on how incompetent McCain is, or how dishonest Clinton is. Obama just talks to hear himself talk, he’s just full of hot air. I don’t think that even he knows what kind of change he would have.
    If this is the criteria that you are using to disqualify RP, then you have to admit that all others are not worthy as well.

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 8:52 am
  59. Dave,

    If the Paul campaign has proven anything it’s proven that there is not sufficient electoral support in this country for a libertarian candidate.

    That’s what needs to change, and it needs to change from the bottom up.

    Which is why I consider much of the last year an exercise that wasted resources.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 8:57 am
  60. Dave,

    One other point, Mark and I, and for that matter the other contributors to TLP, aren’t the ones that you need to convince when it comes to Ron Paul.

    We’re all basically libertarian or classical liberals. Natural Ron Paul voters when you think about it. And I, at least, would’ve voted for him Tuesday if things had been different or if my vote would’ve actually made a difference. Since the Republican race was essentially over, I choose to do other things.

    Where the campaign failed, and failed miserably, is convincing otherwise mainstream Republicans and conservatives why they should support Ron Paul.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 9:03 am
  61. That doesn’t answer my question, Doug. The campaign is a whole other debate I could go on and on about, but let’s stick to the subject. So again, I ask you:
    What kind of God-like standards do you have for a POTUS candidate? RP has demonstrated the most integrity, the most honesty, and the most consistent voting history than ANYONE else running (spotless). That’s about as much as anyone can ask of a MAN. Anything more, and your asking for a god. I’m not asking for perfection, nor do I expect it of any MAN, but I will vote for the one who has demonstrated his goodness by talking the talk and walking the walk. Can you say that any other candidate has done the same?

    I am not that easily deflected, I know it’s a hard question, but just try and answer it for me.

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 9:07 am
  62. Dave,

    Two criteria:

    1. The Right ideas; and,
    2. The administrative competence to do the job.

    Having the right ideas without the ability to carry them out, or the judgment to pick the deputies who will do it for you, isn’t enough.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 9:09 am
  63. Doug,
    Do you not agree w/ RP’s ideas, then? Does (real) freedom for all, prosperity, and peace not appeal to you?
    He’s performed his administrative duties as well as any other congressman, and many would argue that that he has out-performed his opposition in that regard. Heck, he does so well at that that he returns a portion of his budget every year, but I’m sure you were already aware of that fact.

    What then, in your opinion, would be the right ideas?

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 9:20 am
  64. Dave,

    I agree with much of RP’s ideas. But, I think he’s wrong about immigration, I think he’s too close to isolationism on foreign policy, and I think he places far too much trust in the states (and far too little teeth in the 14th Amendment) when it comes to issues of individual liberty.

    As for competence, being a Congressman, or even a Senator is far different from being President of the United States. Which is why no sitting Congressman has been elected President since 1824, and no sitting Senator has been elected since 1960 (although that will clearly happen this year) and, before that, the only other time it happened was in 1920.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 9:29 am
  65. Dave,

    Being competent about delivering babies is a completely different thing than being a competent magager, leader of men or maker of policy. Are you a competent brain surgeon? A competent deep-sea diver? Competent fighter pilot?

    And we’re not talking about forgetting to turn off the bathroom light when he went to bed, here. We’re talking about a newsletter published and mailed out to thousands over the years with his name on the banner, published by a company bearing his name, that made him and his family a non-trivial income, and printed some material that included some things that were simply of questionable taste but also a few things that were genuinely offensive. And this is a newsletter to support political aspirations. Politicians often live and die by the printed and spoken word, and less offensive things said by or in the name of a political figure have done irreparable damage to careers. To suggest that Paul was delivering babies 24/7 and he was so wrapped up in his medical career that he could not spare fifteen minutes once a month to read a draft of his own newsletter is at best a fantastical stretch if not an outright apology. If he can’t be bothered to take fifteen minutes a month to review his own newsletter staff’s work, what makes you think he’ll be any better at supervising cabinet members, department heads, etc.? Answer me this, Dave: what makes you think that he will be a more competent manager of the entire United States Government than he was of a newsletter staff of maybe a dozen?

    Comment by SC — February 15, 2008 @ 9:33 am
  66. Doug,
    As far as his foreign policy goes, what would you do if a bully were pushing you around the playground? That amounts to us (the US) being the bullies. As a veteran myself, who has sworn to defend the Constitution, as has every other service member (of which BTW, the lions share has donated to RP, so the majority here agrees w/ RP and I) I’m tired of us being the big bad guy that everyone hates. It’s not isolationism, it’s called common sense, mind your own business and we will mind ours (or non-intervention). Would you go beat up your neighbor if bought a bigger gun than you had? I certainly hope not, and I don’t think that our govt (who supposedly represents us) should either. You don’t just blow away your neighbor and claim his property because you don’t like him. They attack us, yes, kill them…but not before they have instigated the hostilities. If you send all your guards out to acquire new properties, then who is left at home to defend it from the guy who just bought that big gun? Sorry, but my brothers-in-arms and I agree that we need to be HERE, defending OUR turf…not someone else’s.

    As far as him being ‘just a congressman’, it’s been done before (you just validated that), therefore not impossible. POTUS may be different, but if RP can transition from being an MD to an honest politician (and he’s done quite well at that, I might add), then I think that he can handle the transition from House Member to POTUS. He’s demonstrated that he can handle change. I’m sure you cannot deny that.

    Bottom line is this: By the Constitution’s standards, he’s qualified, who are you to refute that?

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 10:14 am
  67. “And I, at least, would’ve voted for him Tuesday if things had been different or if my vote would’ve actually made a difference. Since the Republican race was essentially over, I choose to do other things.”

    Again, you need to join the Apathy party…

    But back to the POTUS qualifications… I hate to point this out, but really guys, do you think George Bush sits around ‘managing’ people?

    I would put forth that managing a small business involves more ‘work’ (and possibly stress) than being the POTUS. Seriously, the POTUS makes big decisions (which I’m sure are stressful) but the POTUS is MANAGED by his staff! He is told where he will be and how long he will be there.

    You think George Bush has a little calendar and calls folks and makes meetings and takes minutes and then ponders what he is going to do to get a bill he wants through Congress!? Of course not, that is what his staff is for.

    The POTUS sets policy and makes the big decisions… something I think Ron Paul is MORE than capable than doing.

    Look at the people running for office and really think of who is pulling their strings… I don’t think anyone is pulling Ron Paul’s strings…

    What you see is what you get… not at all like the other candidates.

    Comment by Michael — February 15, 2008 @ 10:25 am
  68. SC,
    Since this incident occurred, (nearly 2 decades ago), has any other situation arisen to compare w/ it? Has anything like this ever occurred while he was IN OFFICE? No. Y’know, it IS possible for people to actually learn from their mistakes and apply those lessons to ones’ life. Why is it so inconceivable to believe that this was a one-time mistake and forgive the man for that?
    I’ll tell you the same thing I told Doug, if your waiting for the perfect man to show up for the job, then get to praying for Jesus to run for POTUS. There isn’t a single person running that can claim only one mistake of this magnitude in the past 20 years. Can you honestly claim that McCain, Clinton, or Obama have no (bigger, worse) skeletons? Bottom line is this: RP didn’t write, nor endorse them. He has assumed MORAL RESPONSIBILITY for it, and that is more than any other candidate has ever done in the history of elections. What do you want, blood?

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 10:30 am
  69. Michael,
    I agree w/ you, but they aren’t concerned about him doing the job, (I think…they keep changing the subject) they are concerned about his judgment in appointing those staff members. I’d argue that since this incident occurred, none of his staff has kicked off a scandal such as this since. I’d say he’s made the proper adjustments since this is the case.

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 10:38 am
  70. Dave,

    As far as foreign policy goes, I simply don’t agree with Ron Paul’s suggestion that America has no national interests worth protecting and, if necessary, defending outside of the boundries of the United States itself. Can I define easily what those interests are ? No, but I think they exist and I think that ignoring that and bringing all the troops and ships home as Paul has said he wants to do is naive and dangerous.

    And one thing about Congressmen ascending to the White House. The last guy that did it was John Quincy Adams, son of a Founding Father, and even he had to rely on the House of Representatives to get him into office

    Bottom line is this: By the Constitution’s standards, he’s qualified, who are you to refute that?

    So are Hillary, Barack, McCain, Huckabee, and crazy loons like Alan Keyes, Mike Gravel, and Dennis Kucinich. That means nothing.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 10:46 am
  71. Michael,

    Then it gets to an issue of who he would have appointed to run the Executive Branch. And I don’t honestly think that having Lew Rockwell and some of the other guys from LvMI in the West Wing would be a good thing.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 10:48 am
  72. Dave,

    Y’know, it IS possible for people to actually learn from their mistakes and apply those lessons to ones’ life. Why is it so inconceivable to believe that this was a one-time mistake and forgive the man for that?

    Because the way in which the Ron Paul campaign…and I’m talking about the parts of the campaign that Ron Paul and the people he actually hired had control of…indicate that he hasn’t improved as a manager at all. The official Paul campaign was plagued by shoddy work, poor communication, disorganization, questionable strategy. Judging by his most recent body of work in running an organization, there is no indication that his managerial skills have improved at all in the last 20 years, thus he is (at least to my mind) patently unqualified to hold the office of President.

    What do you want, blood?

    Competent leadership.

    Sorry, but my brothers-in-arms and I agree that we need to be HERE, defending OUR turf…not someone else’s.

    I’m also a military veteran, who has served in this war, so I’ll thank you not to assume the role of our spokesperson. Unless you’ve been hired by a veterans group or the Department of Defense and are acting in an official capacity as their spokesperson your comments here reflect only your own position on Ron Paul’s fitness as leader…one that you’ve no business tying to anyone who hasn’t explicitly given you permission to.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 10:49 am
  73. Doug,

    Let me ask you this, are there ANY of his CURRENT advisor’s that you like?

    Comment by Michael — February 15, 2008 @ 10:50 am
  74. Michael,

    I honestly don’t know who he considers his closest advisers outside of the LvMI crowd.

    I do know that he recently hired as economic adviser a guy who believes the nonsense legal theories behind the idea that we are not legally obligated to pay income taxes:

    http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2008/02/01/ron-pauls-tax-advisor-believes-you-dont-have-to-pay-taxes/

    That guy, quite honestly, is a crackpot.

    At the same time, I know that Doug Bandow, who used to be with Cato, is part of the foreign policy group and Bandow is generally a pretty sensible guy (although he had to leave Cato a few years back when it was revealed that he was receiving $$$ from an lobbyist for an industry he was also writing columns about, a no-no when you’re part of a non-profit public policy house).

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 10:54 am
  75. Doug,

    The last guy that did it was John Quincy Adams, son of a Founding Father, and even he had to rely on the House of Representatives to get him into office

    Actually, it was James Garfield in 1880 :)

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 10:56 am
  76. I simply don’t agree with Ron Paul’s suggestion that America has no national interests worth protecting and, if necessary, defending outside of the boundries of the United States itself.

    He voted to pursue AQ into Afghanistan.

    There’s plenty of room for you to disagree with RP without being dishonest.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 15, 2008 @ 10:56 am
  77. Doug,
    You’ve been mis-informed. He does not want to bring home ALL the troops. He does wish to keep key bases open but down-size the Empire so that we have the financial means to take care of our own citizens. As a soldier, I can assure you that our borders being secure is immensely important in our training.

    As far as all those others being qualified as well, that’s exactly my point. Now that we know they are all qualified, who best represents your views (RP?), AND has the track record to follow through w/ promises made (RP?)?

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 10:57 am
  78. Dave,

    As a soldier, I can assure you that our borders being secure is immensely important in our training.

    I’m sorry, but what in the hell are you talking about? Border security is generally conducted by Border Patrol, with occasional assistance by the U.S. military in case of emergency or for drug interdiction (with mixed results). I’m completely unaware of any military units who dedicate the brunt of their time to border security except perhaps local National Guard or reserve units in border states. And those are hardly reflective of the priorities of the military in general.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 11:01 am
  79. Jeff,

    Then he came up with the nonsense idea of letters of marquee and repriasal and, when it came up in debates, seems to regret his decision authorizing the Afghan War.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 11:06 am
  80. U.C.,

    You are correct, I stand (well, sit really) corrected.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 11:07 am
  81. Dave,

    Everytime I’ve heard him talk about national defense, he always talks about bringing troops home whether it’s from Iraq, from Europe, or from Korea. Never once has he said or implied what you say, and his national defense issues page on his website is, as those things usually are, pretty vague on that issue.

    As far as all those others being qualified as well, that’s exactly my point. Now that we know they are all qualified, who best represents your views (RP?), AND has the track record to follow through w/ promises made (RP?)?

    You misunderstood me. They’re all Constitutionally qualified, yes. So is Ron Paul. Heck, so am I and every other American citizen over the age of 35. That doesn’t mean we’re all fit to be President.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 11:09 am
  82. Doug,

    You’re also a bit off on Ron Paul’s foreign policy. The only thing that I’ve seen him say about regretting the vote on Afghanistan was that Bush used it to exceed his mandate and engage in nation-building (which Congress didn’t authorize). I’ve never heard him say his vote on Afghanistan was incorrect, only that the authority it gave the president was abused.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 11:15 am
  83. U.C.,

    You are correct, it’s just a gut feeling I’ve gotten. If I’m wrong, then I’m wrong.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 11:18 am
  84. Doug,

    You’re wrong because it’s a straw man that you’re using to attack Paul’s foreign policy position. Essentially, you’re accusing Paul of being untruthful in his foreign policy position without evidence to say so. My problems with Paul aside, he’s taken the time to spell out his foreign policy in the past and unless there’s clear evidence he’s lying about it, it’s disingenous to attribute a policy position to him that he’s never proposed. He voted for Afghanistan because he felt it was appropriate and in self-defense…he regrets the vote only because Bush exceeded his mandate and abused his authority. Assuming more than that at this point is purely speculative.

    Gut feelings aren’t facts.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 11:26 am
  85. UCrawford~
    “…except perhaps local National Guard or reserve units in border states.”
    Exactly what the name itself implies. To Guard our nation. Are you a veteran? Have you gone through Basic training, AIT, then lived in ‘permanent party’? Have you jumped out of C-130′s, fully armed, into foreign countries shouting ‘USA!”? Just because you may not know of something, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Unless you’re omniscient, that is. Can you possibly deny that they United States Army was created to DEFEND our NATION? What do you think they should do? Plant flags all over the world to impose our arrogance and presence in nations that our troops aren’t welcome, nor have any legitimate business in?

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 11:29 am
  86. Dave,

    Are you a veteran? Have you gone through Basic training, AIT, then lived in ‘permanent party’? Have you jumped out of C-130’s, fully armed,

    Yes to all of the above. No combat jumps, however, as the unit I was assigned to in Afghanistan scrubbed the one they were going to do so I had to settle for insertion by HUMVEE. How about yourself?

    Just because you may not know of something, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

    Except, of course, that the law states that it’s not the military’s job to provide border security, only support to border security (when requested).

    http://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RS22443.pdf

    Ever hear of Posse Comitatus?

    Unless you’re omniscient, that is.

    Nope…just someone whose suspicion gets aroused when people who claim an expertise on military matters start making inaccurate generalizations on the duties and functions of the military.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 11:43 am
  87. UC,
    Hooah, thanks for serving as well. I’ve got 4 combat jumps under my belt as I was inserted into both Kuwait and Bosnia back in the 90′s. The focus, then, was not on borders, but when we were doing sgts time training back home on Bragg, we did do border patrol training exercises. I left 10 years ago, so I couldn’t tell you what they are training for now. (Iran, perhaps?)
    Posse Comitatus was enacted to restrain the army from acting as law enforcement personnel (that’s all I can remember about that).
    The Omniscient comment was just me being sarcastic. I apologize, I should show better restraint.

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 12:15 pm
  88. Then he came up with the nonsense idea of letters of marquee and repriasal and, when it came up in debates, seems to regret his decision authorizing the Afghan War.

    Like I said, there’s plenty of room for you to disagree with him without erecting strawmen. Retract the following statement if you wish to be intellectually honest.

    I simply don’t agree with Ron Paul’s suggestion that America has no national interests worth protecting and, if necessary, defending outside of the boundries of the United States itself.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 15, 2008 @ 12:16 pm
  89. Jeff,

    Did you watch any of the debates ? That’s pretty much what he’s said. He doesn’t just talk about bringing troops home from Iraq, he talks about withdrawing everywhere.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 12:17 pm
  90. “pretty much” doesn’t cut it. If you want to be intellectually honest, characterize his position correctly.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 15, 2008 @ 12:22 pm
  91. Dave,

    I apologize, I should show better restraint.

    It’s okay…happens to all of us at some time or another.

    To reply to your comment, border security is handled by domestic law enforcement, not the military (the military is only supposed to intervene when requested by law enforcement or in time of emergency…which is fairly infrequent). Border security jobs may be a part of the METL of some local units, but generally it’s not a function the U.S. military considers a priority (unless things have changed drastically in the two years since I’ve been out) because it’s not their responsibility.

    so I couldn’t tell you what they are training for now. (Iran, perhaps?)

    There wasn’t much training for Iraq going on before we invaded so I doubt that it would be taking place for Iran…from what I’ve seen and heard the military’s too busy focusing on what’s on their plate now to handle extensive training for the next war. Robert Gates seems opposed to the idea of invading Iran, anyway, so I’m doubting that there’s going to be an invasion. We just don’t have the resources to pull it off, whether Bush wants to or not.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 12:30 pm
  92. Doug,

    “pretty much” doesn’t cut it. If you want to be intellectually honest, characterize his position correctly.

    Got to agree with Jeff here.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 12:31 pm
  93. Doug,
    You still never answered my questions:
    Now that we know they are all qualified, who best represents your views (RP?), AND has the track record to follow through w/ promises made (RP?)?

    Are you a politician? You seem fairly adept at dodging tough questions.

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 12:33 pm
  94. Jeff,

    Everytime I’ve heard Ron Paul talk about foreign policy, he talks about bringing troops home and ending the so-called American Empire (a term I think is applied incorrectly, but that’s an argument for another day).

    Not once have I heard him talk about what foreign committments he would maintain, or what international deployments he considers acceptable (outside of, presumably, Afghanistan). His issues page on national defense is, as I said, pretty vague on the question.

    All that leads me to the conclusion that he doesn’t seem much need for worrying about what happens outside our borders as long as it can’t directly threaten us physically. If I’m wrong, then it’s only because he hasn’t explained his position adequately.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 12:34 pm
  95. Dave,

    Nobody currently in the race.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 12:36 pm
  96. Doublethink at its finest, Doug.

    You acknowledged that he does consider at least one international deployment acceptable (or at least did at one point in time) and then stand by your original characterization:

    I simply don’t agree with Ron Paul’s suggestion that America has no national interests worth protecting and, if necessary, defending outside of the boundries of the United States itself.

    Acknowledge your error like a man.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 15, 2008 @ 12:39 pm
  97. Doug,
    Is there anyone alive that you would vote for?

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 12:39 pm
  98. Jeff,

    If that’s the impression that I get from the rhetoric I hear coming from the good Congressman, then that’s my opinion. It’s not right or wrong and you don’t have to agree with it.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 12:43 pm
  99. Dave,

    Good question.

    There are those, such as Ed Crane over at Cato, who would say the very act of voting is pointless anyway.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 12:44 pm
  100. Doug,

    Not once have I heard him talk about what foreign committments he would maintain, or what international deployments he considers acceptable (outside of, presumably, Afghanistan).

    I’m pretty certain that Afghanistan’s the only major commitment he considers to be essential at this time…since it was still clearly self-defense and since al-Qaeda maintains an actual operational presence in the region. I see no reason to disagree with him. If you go down the list, there’s little reason to maintain most of our major presence in these areas because the strategic reasons for keeping our bases there have changed or disappeared.

    -Korea
    -Okinawa
    -Germany
    -Sinai
    -Italy

    You could make arguments, as a non-interventionist, in favor of our involvement in east and north Africa (since al-Qaeda has a long-term significant presence and base of support there) but if they were withdrawn I think the damage would be minimal since many of the nations in the region are autocracies that would not recognize bin Laden or al-Qaeda as an asset. Our presence in Iraq is destructive to our interests in the long-run and our troops should be removed. Much of our support network through the rest of the Middle East could be drawn down after that (since they’re mainly there to support Iraq) but not completely done away with since they’d still be needed to support operations in Afghanistan (where I think we still need to be until we can kill/capture bin Laden and al-Zawahiri). I don’t know Paul’s position on a continued naval presence in shipping lanes (which does work in our interests) but I’d be curious to hear more on it.

    There’s actually very little about Ron Paul’s foreign policy plan that’s disastrous or stupid…it was the same policy platform as Bush proposed in 2000 and it’s just as rational now as it was then. And, as you pointed out, Paul hasn’t exactly added crackpots to his foreign policy team. Whether he’d make smart choices as to who would run his foreign policy if he were elected, however, isn’t a gamble I was willing to consider given his overall management problems.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 12:47 pm
  101. U.C.,

    What about the Navy ? You can’t have an international Navy, which I would submit is essential, without bases in other parts of the world.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 12:51 pm
  102. If that’s the impression that I get from the rhetoric I hear coming from the good Congressman, then that’s my opinion.

    That’s awfully convenient, Doug. When his rhetoric can be spun to make your point, you focus on that. When his track record can be spun to make your point, you focus on that.

    And sometimes, you just bang the table. Typical lawyer BS.

    If you’re actually trying to make an honest assessment (instead of just trying to pursue your agenda, whatever the hell it is), you take all factors into account. In this case, his track record blatantly falsifies your “impression” of his policy. And you know that.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 15, 2008 @ 12:52 pm
  103. Jeff,

    We’ve been over this a dozen times and accomplished nothing. I disagree with Ron Paul’s hard-line non-interventionism and that’s that.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 12:54 pm
  104. Heck, so is going to a baseball game, Doug. What does that accomplish? Entertainment, about the same as politics. Since, individually, we have no say in what goes on (as only the majority rules), following baseball and politics are fruitless endeavors. Is debate, then, the purpose of these hobbies of yours? If you don’t care enough to vote, why do you care enough to blog?

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 12:55 pm
  105. We’ve been over this a dozen times and accomplished nothing. I disagree with Ron Paul’s hard-line non-interventionism and that’s that.

    So say that. Don’t exaggerate it to be what it’s not.

    Comment by Jeff Molby — February 15, 2008 @ 12:56 pm
  106. Dave,

    Because I do care about what happens. And, unlike Crane, I do vote although not always in every election and not for every race on the ballot.

    I do reject the idea, though, that someone who doesn’t vote because they choose not to, or because none of the candidates up in a particular election are acceptable, is somehow unqualified to comment or complaint about politics. Nobody is required to vote, and nobody should be required to vote.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 12:59 pm
  107. The biggest problem I had with Paul’s foreign policy was on his unwillingness to get involved in international trade agreements. I understand his arguments on why he thinks they’re horrible, and his arguments are perfectly consistent with libertarianism, but I strongly disagree with them.

    That’s the area where I thought his foreign policy bordered most on isolationism. Well, that, and his immigration policy (which is somewhat distinct from foreign policy).

    I had a few other problems with his foreign policy, but they were more on details rather than large concepts.

    Comment by Mark — February 15, 2008 @ 1:04 pm
  108. Doug,
    Common sense tells us that if you don’t vote, you can’t bitch because you didn’t contribute to trying to make a difference.
    I agree that voting should never be a requirement. However, if you saw a sink left w/ the water left on, would you turn it off, or would you complain to someone else until they turned it off? Taking action is a moral imperative, not a legal one. Don’t they teach lawyers that kind off stuff? HA! jk….we all know they don’t.

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 1:11 pm
  109. Mark,

    Yea, that’s another area I had problems with too.

    His position against treaties like NAFTA and CAFTA simply ignore the modern reality that, because of the political reality of the situation, we aren’t going to get free-er trade without agreements of that type.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 1:12 pm
  110. Dave,

    We’re going to have to agree to disagree on that one. My right to Free Speech isn’t dependent on whether or not I voted in the last election.

    And, as far as law school, they teach us to represent our clients.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 1:13 pm
  111. Mark,
    He wants to have trade w/ all countries, and entangling alliances w/ none. What’s wrong w/ that?

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 1:14 pm
  112. Doug,

    What about the Navy ? You can’t have an international Navy, which I would submit is essential, without bases in other parts of the world.

    Nuclear-powered ships, Doug…you don’t need refueling stations to store coal like back when you were young :)

    We don’t actually have that many naval bases overseas, and many of them could probably be scaled back with minimal harm to our ability to defend our shipping on commercial lanes from things like piracy. It’s also important to keep in mind that a lot of what we call “defense” involving our navy is actual coercion of other countries by maintaining a strike capability so we can influence policy. Quite a bit of that could go, without endangering shipping…since most of those nations would still have a desire to trade with us and it’s in their interests to keep their shipping lanes open as well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Navy_installations#Djibouti

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 1:20 pm
  113. Doug,

    If that’s the impression that I get from the rhetoric I hear coming from the good Congressman, then that’s my opinion.

    Your unsubstantiated opinion, which you are using as the basis of an accusation against Ron Paul’s foreign policy.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 1:21 pm
  114. U.C.,

    But you need refitting stations, storage, liberty calls, etc.

    And not every ship in the navy is nuclear powered. Outside of the carriers and ballistic missile subs I’m not aware of any that are.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 1:22 pm
  115. Doug,
    Agree to disagree it is, then. However, if representing your clients is all they taught you, and placed no emphasis on morals or ethics, then I’m very glad that I’ve never gotten involved w/ law. Both of those have been very important in my life and I couldn’t imagine placing those to the side just for a ‘win’. *shudders* I’ve dodged bullets, but you are a braver man than I, in that respect.

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 1:23 pm
  116. Dave,

    Common sense tells us that if you don’t vote, you can’t bitch because you didn’t contribute to trying to make a difference.

    Ah now, Dave…that’s a load of bunk.

    Let me hit you with a hypothetical here. If you were a registered voter and you had a choice in an election between voting for someone who represented the policies of Joseph Stalin and someone who represented the policies of Adolph Hitler, are you seriously saying that anyone who says “I can’t vote for either of these candidates because they’re both monsters” has no right to bitch?

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 1:24 pm
  117. Doug,

    But you need refitting stations, storage, liberty calls, etc.

    All of which can still be provided with scaled back bases. Note that I didn’t say those bases should all be eliminated. And it would be impossible for Ron Paul to shut all of those bases down anyway…phasing one out takes at least a couple of years and it’s not entirely his call.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 1:26 pm
  118. Doug,

    So say that. Don’t exaggerate it to be what it’s not.

    Got to agree with Jeff again.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 1:28 pm
  119. Dave,

    I didn’t say that lawyers aren’t bound by an ethical code, we are. Our primary duty, though, is to zealously represent our client within the bounds of that code and the law. Sometimes that means not being able to do the right thing.

    Case in point. There was a lawyer here in Virginia who was involved in a criminal case 2 decades ago he represented one of the two men accused in a robbery where someone died. His client gave him information that would have exonerated the other defendant, who he didn’t represent, of murder charges and implicated himself. He could not, and did not until the man died last year, reveal that information and if he had he likely would have lost his license to practice law.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 1:31 pm
  120. Dave:
    As much as I would love to remove all tariffs tomorrow and have wonderfully free trade, that just isn’t going to happen. His opposition to NAFTA, which at least is a huge step in the right direction, doesn’t make sense to me on those grounds. What we had in existence before NAFTA was far less free trade.

    One thing on voting: not voting IS voting, in its own way. By not voting, you are casting a vote against the process and/or against all candidates.

    Personally, I’ve voted in almost every election for the last 10 years, but I see no problem with someone who chooses not to vote complaining about politics.

    Comment by Mark — February 15, 2008 @ 1:34 pm
  121. Doug,

    Case in point. There was a lawyer here in Virginia who was involved in a criminal case 2 decades ago he represented one of the two men accused in a robbery where someone died. His client gave him information that would have exonerated the other defendant, who he didn’t represent, of murder charges and implicated himself. He could not, and did not until the man died last year, reveal that information and if he had he likely would have lost his license to practice law.

    The thing to keep in mind here, Doug, is that you’re not bound by a relationship with a client and therefore have no reason not to disclose all relevant information in our conversations. Sneaky lawyer tricks are fine and understandable in a court of law, but if your goal here is actually to convince people to buy into your beliefs then those technicalities won’t serve you well here…honest arguments where you don’t misrepresent others’ positions (such as Ron Paul and his foreign policy platform) will.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 1:37 pm
  122. U.C.,

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about here. Dave made a comment about the legal profession and that’s what I was responding to

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 1:42 pm
  123. Doug,

    It’s just that sometimes I think that you get caught up in winning the argument and you use tactics from your job that don’t lend themselves to honestly arguing for your position here. Like with Ron Paul’s foreign policy arguments…you have (on a couple of occasions) characterized Paul’s foreign policy position as something very different from what he’s argued for without making the distinction between what Paul has actually said and what you suspect that Paul actually believes. Going after someone for a position they’ve stated is fair game. Debating the ramifications of a position that someone’s stated is fair game. Making an argument based on an unsubstantiated opinion of what you think someone “really” believes and arguing it as a stated fact is not.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 1:54 pm
  124. UC,
    “If you were a registered voter and you had a choice in an election between voting for someone who represented the policies of Joseph Stalin and someone who represented the policies of Adolph Hitler, are you seriously saying that anyone who says “I can’t vote for either of these candidates because they’re both monsters” has no right to bitch?”
    OK, you’ve got me there…but that is not the case in this election. Comparing RP to either one of those guys is a real stretch for me. I can concede that not all of RP’s ideas are right, but they are far better than what the opposition is offering.

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 2:21 pm
  125. Dave,

    Comparing RP to either one of those guys is a real stretch for me.

    Actually, I’d compare him more to Jimmy Carter. Well-intentioned but a horrible manager of people with a tendency to get distracted to the detriment of all around him. Given a choice between Stalin, Hitler, and Carter I still wouldn’t cast a vote…because while two of them would be monsters the third would still be a horrible president. I don’t consider “least-worst” to be sufficient reason to vote for someone if I don’t think they’re capable of doing the job. And simply put, I just don’t think Ron Paul was capable of doing the job…even though he did have some good ideas.

    During your stint in the military you probably saw plenty of officers and NCOs who meant well and had good ideas but still weren’t cut out to do certain jobs (I know I ran into my share). I think Paul’s a smart guy, a good man and a good Congressman, but I think he would be a terrible President because he’s done poorly in situations where he’s been responsible for hiring good personnel and keeping them focused (which are two of the President’s most important responsibilities). And I just don’t think anyone should be obligated to vote for somebody’s who’s not going to be good just because they think someone else might be worse.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 2:32 pm
  126. OK, you’ve got me there…but that is not the case in this election. Comparing RP to either one of those guys is a real stretch for me. I can concede that not all of RP’s ideas are right, but they are far better than what the opposition is offering.

    That’s not the choice most people are faced with now. Ron Paul isn’t going to be the nominee and he’s not going to be on the ballot in November, except it would seem down in TX-14.

    And I think U.C.’s Carter analogy is pretty spot-on. Good ideas are essential, but without the leadership and competence to back them up even the smartest President will be a disaster in office — and it’s argugably the case that Carter, along with Woodrow Wilson, was one of the more intelligent President’s of the 20th Century; like Wilson, though, his Presidency was a disaster.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — February 15, 2008 @ 2:36 pm
  127. UC,
    “he’s done poorly in situations where he’s been responsible for hiring good personnel and keeping them focused (which are two of the President’s most important responsibilities)”

    Once, many years ago, yes he did. Since the same type of incident has not occurred again, are we incapable of forgiving a man his mistake that he has apparently learned from? We are all human and we all make mistakes. Can you not concede that much?

    Comment by Dave — February 15, 2008 @ 2:46 pm
  128. Dave,

    Once, many years ago, yes he did. Since the same type of incident has not occurred again, are we incapable of forgiving a man his mistake that he has apparently learned from?

    This isn’t about whether Ron Paul’s a racist or not. This is about the fact that he ineptly handled a newsletter staff over a period of several years. This year he hired a campaign staff that failed in even the most basic functions of running a campaign, such as organizing state groups, leaders and infrastructure before the primary season was underway, conducting media relations, and keeping in touch with grassroots supporters seeking guidance. It’s understandable if he had to go cheap at the start of his campaign, when he had little money and could only attract the inexperienced, but after the money bombs what did he do to upgrade? Did he replace the 24 year old kid running his ineffective press campaign with someone with more experience who might be able to get through to the major outlets? Did he hire top-notch speechwriters and PR who might be able to help him better express and sell his message? Did he spend a lot of money on quality TV, radio and newspaper spots?

    No…he pretty much stood pat and let his neglected campaign crumble around him, a classic sign of bad leadership, which isn’t all that different from how he ran his newsletter 20 years ago. Why should we assume that his presidential administration would have been any different when his detached and indifferent leadership style hasn’t changed in 20 years?

    Comment by UCrawford — February 15, 2008 @ 2:56 pm
  129. While your on and off, or shall we say extremely guarded and intellectually strictly rationed support- As well as your willingness (as a whole) to be a better venue than Wonkette or RedState for dialogue with RP supporters and other people interested in libertarian and Libertarian issues are not in doubt. You tend to spend an inordinate amount of time bemoaning the trolls in the movement. To be frank y’all do your fair share of playing the self-righteous holier-than-thou right think card when it suits your motives. [clearly marked sarcasm]What do you care what a bunch of tin-foil-hatters and apologists for white supremacists think of you anyway?[/clearly marked sarcasm] — zing, ba da bing.

    As to the candidate, as you bandied out in your quip-article he certainly supports your individualism in principle, I’ve read as much, and seen as much from him in his speeches.

    You’ve been sewing these sour grapes, to be frank, and you do get pageview, pagerank and popularity from your stance wrt RP, probably on par with a fawning supporter, if not more because it’s more in vogue to be anti-Paul.

    To sum up: I guess IMO you should take the good with the bad, and have fun with the grousers and trolls who you’ve stirred up. I suppose that’s what you’re doing, again, have fun with it. Peace.

    Comment by Michael Costello — February 17, 2008 @ 3:17 pm
  130. Dave,

    Good job with the tangling with UCrawford, he really seems to seem to be a good guy, and certainly viciously adept at the Let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good critique of RP.

    I see in general the rhetoric here as excusing (and even advocating degrees of) the better suited professionally laid infrastructure of status-quo tyrrany while standing behind the ethics of the magnificently (though revisionist) mythically well-organized and cosmopolitan founding fathers and others that Libertarians who don’t really plan on ever winning a national election tend to go on about.

    Jab Jab Jab, speaking of, counter-punch is really much better at writing too. Get what ya pay for may be the reason I suppose. You might like it.

    Comment by Michael Costello — February 17, 2008 @ 3:27 pm
  131. Michael,

    Good job with the tangling with UCrawford, he really seems to seem to be a good guy, and certainly viciously adept at the Let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good critique of RP.

    More like the “Let The Competent Be The Enemy Of The Incompetent” critique of Ron Paul. If you think what Paul did in regards to running his presidential campaign was anything more than totally inept, then you haven’t been paying attention to the realities of this election.

    But if you want to make a pro-Ron Paul argument, fine. What examples of good leadership has Paul done that indicate he would make a capable administrator in the executive branch?

    Comment by UCrawford — February 17, 2008 @ 5:16 pm
  132. And, just to be clear, by examples of “leadership” I mean examples where he himself was actually in charge of and effectively led a group of other people to accomplish a significant pro-freedom goal.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 17, 2008 @ 5:30 pm
  133. UC,
    Have you ever seen the movie “Cars”? I’ve got young ones, so I have, but there is an analogy in the movie that I think could apply here. Remember that the hero was courting a high-end sponsor the whole movie, but in the end, realized that sicking w/ the ones who helped you get to where you are, is the honorable thing to do. The same thing applies to RP’s campaign: of course there are better speech writers, mgrs, and so on, but he chose to stick w/ the people who worked their butts off to get him where he is now. That is honorable. He did not shed the lesser people just because he could afford to do so, and this has endeared him to his grassroots support. It’s an integrity thing, I’m sure you’ll understand. Sometimes, the principle is more important than the prize. He may not win this election, but he will send out a powerful message w/ the way he has been. It’s always been about the message. Honesty, integrity, and strength to hold the course. Not much of that left in todays’ day and age. He also demonstrated some incredible courage to do what he has done. He knew that the mainstream would react to him like this and he got far more support than he ever expected. He expected to stand almost completely alone, and did it anyways…and that takes genuine courage, my friend. It has always been the courageous lonely voice that triggers the avalanche.

    ~ “Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt the one doing it.” ~ Ancient Chinese proverb.

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 7:39 am
  134. And one more thing…
    I think that honesty, integrity, courage, and honor are all very important qualities that every POTUS (or any leader, for that matter) should have. How many other candidates have demonstrated these qualities to the Nth degree that RP has?
    I’d rather follow a leader w/ a pure heart and be a bit green in the leadership role than wait for a experienced leader who is just waiting for me to fall asleep so they can slit my throat. Wouldn’t you?

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 7:58 am
  135. Dave,

    I can understand the appreciation for loyalty, and I can respect that Ron Paul shows it for the people who work for him. But politics, as has been stated often, is not the place for friendship. It’s the place for competence and results, and if the people that you’ve hired just aren’t getting the job done then that’s a sign that they need to go.

    While loyalty is certainly a good thing, a politician’s loyalty is not supposed to lie with the people on his staff. It’s supposed to lie with the people that he represents (the constituents), and as an elected official a politician owes it to the people that he represents to insure that he hires the best possible people to do the jobs he asks them to do…not just people he’s known for awhile and thinks are loyal to him. No president is capable of running the country himself, and the job always involves delegation, and if Ron Paul’s focus is rewarding the people who’ve “stuck with him” by keeping them employed in jobs that they’ve demonstrated little or no capacity to do effectively, then Ron Paul’s not demonstrating himself to be much different than George W. Bush…who made something of an art of keeping and promoting people who were loyal instead of competent. Presidential administrations can be destroyed by the people those presidents hire, and the constituents are the ones who suffer for it.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 7:58 am
  136. Dave,

    I’d rather follow a leader w/ a pure heart and be a bit green in the leadership role than wait for a experienced leader who is just waiting for me to fall asleep so they can slit my throat.

    Let me hit you with an analogy where we’ve got some common ground:

    Say that you’re a motor pool sergeant and you’ve got to appoint somebody to run one of your motor pool teams. You’ve got one specialist who’s kind of caught your eye…the kid’s a subject matter expert, he can perform 40-level tasks on all the vehicles with his eyes closed, he’s never held any leadership responsibilities, he’s not particularly assertive and often keeps to himself but he’s generally well-regarded and respected by others, and you’ve worked with him often enough to get a sense that he’s a decent guy who wants to do the right thing. So you roll the dice and put him in charge of your team.

    A month down the road, it’s not working out so well. The kid’s still a subject matter expert, but being something of an introvert he’s not particularly comfortable teaching his skills to others, so he tends to stick with the people he’s closest to in the motor pool rather than working with new members to improve their skills or giving important work to people he wasn’t close to before he was a team leader…which has caused some to accuse him of playing favorites. He’s not particularly comfortable with giving orders either, meaning that often he’ll try and do tasks by himself that he should be delegating out (which causes his supervisory work to slip because he doesn’t have the time to do it). A few nasty personal arguments between his team members have also popped up and started affecting work in the motor pool and as he’s not particularly confrontational he tends to stay out of those arguments in the hopes that they’ll fix themselves or burn themselves out (but more often they tend to fester and flare up repeatedly). You’ve tried to bring the kid around by counseling him about areas where he needs to improve, but he’s surprisingly stubborn and not very willing to adapt and change out of his zone of comfort so it’s unlikely that his style is going to change either. Overall, you’ve tended to see a decline in the productivity of the motor pool since he took charge and, in short, this kid (who understands more about HUMVEEs than pretty much anyone else in the motor pool) is a disaster once he’s responsible for people’s actions other than his own so you end up having to replace him.

    Now, does this mean that the specialist you promoted suddenly became incompetent about the technical aspect of his job once he became a team leader? No. Does this mean that he was a bad guy who intentionally caused problems just to screw up the motor pool? Absolutely not. What it does mean, however, is that the skills that made him an expert on how vehicles work did not translate into the skills necessary for him to be an effective leader of a motor pool team. And so, even though the young specialist likely wanted to do the right thing, when you put him into a position that he was ill-equipped to deal with he made a complete mess of things.

    The thing is, Ron Paul is a very smart guy when it comes to understanding the economics of how things work in government. Given the proper format in which he’s comfortable and has a receptive audience he can explain to you why an interventionist foreign policy is a bad thing, or how empires eventually collapse because the underlying economics fall apart, or why private industry tends to achieve better results than the government. But he’s never really demonstrated an ability to convince others who aren’t already on board to go along and he’s demonstrated on multiple occasions (over a period of years) that he’s not particularly good at hiring the right people to help him accomplish his goals or at intervening when those people start to become a problem. Does this mean that Ron Paul is full of crap about all the stuff he talks about (economics, foreign policy, smaller government)? Absolutely not. But it does mean that he’s demonstrated pretty clearly (with his handling of his staff in both the newsletter scandal and in this presidential primary) that he’s not a good choice to be the guy in charge of bringing these ideas to fruition.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 8:28 am
  137. UC,
    ~”But politics, as has been stated often, is not the place for friendship.”~

    This is where you and I will have to agree to disagree. I think that honesty, integrity, honor and courage have been absent from politics for far too long. These qualities should apply to EVERY aspect of ones life, including ones’ work. Why do think nobody believes politicians anymore, why do you think we have a nation full of apathetic voters?

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 8:29 am
  138. Dave,

    Why do think nobody believes politicians anymore

    Because nobody should trust politicians…at least not without an extremely healthy dose of skepticism. Most of the politicians who get that sort of faith end up being disastrous (e.g. FDR) because power usually corrupts even the best of intentions.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 8:34 am
  139. Too bad there’s not a PLDC for POTUS candidates! That would make a lot of people happy. HA! (But that is where I would send you motor pool guy before giving him his supervisory role, PLDC.)

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 8:37 am
  140. Dave,

    But that is where I would send you motor pool guy before giving him his supervisory role, PLDC

    Sometimes, it’s just not an option (as I can attest having spent much time dealing with the motor pool folk and being responsible for quite a few young leaders).

    Too bad there’s not a PLDC for POTUS candidates

    There is…sort of. Generally, the most effective Presidents have come out of governorships (although not always) where they’re responsible for leading others and working in a partisan atmosphere. Less frequently, they come from the Senate, where they deal with more power, responsibility and coverage than your average Representative. Paul hasn’t done either of those things. That’s mainly why no Representative has been elected directly to the White House since 1880…the HOR isn’t somewhere they develop those skills.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 8:44 am
  141. UC,
    Tell me, would you rather have the guy you described in the Motor Pool, or would you rather have someone who is comfortable issuing orders and is a natural leader, but you have a feeling he’s going to pocket the cash used to buy parts instead of fixing the vehicles? Then, when all the $$ is gone, all he has is excuses. I know who I’d rather have. Don’t ACCEPT the corruption as part of the process. Change it…it doesn’t HAVE to be that way. Honesty really works, if you give it a chance. Fire the crook, and replace him w/ an honest man…it can only get better from there.

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 8:49 am
  142. Dave,

    Tell me, would you rather have the guy you described in the Motor Pool, or would you rather have someone who is comfortable issuing orders and is a natural leader, but you have a feeling he’s going to pocket the cash used to buy parts instead of fixing the vehicles?

    That’s a very good question, and my answer is that I’d rather have the guy who can keep my vehicles running and keep my people doing their jobs effectively. And if that’s the corrupt guy, then that’s who I’ll back and I’ll watch him like a hawk for the time he eventually screws up (which they almost always do). But appointing someone who can’t do the job just because you find him less threatening than the alternatives isn’t a good solution.

    As much as it pains me to say it, McCain is probably the least of all evils here. He’s a shady, war-mongering, authoritarian hawk, but he at least respects free markets and low taxes, he won’t impose socialized medicine on us, and his makeover of his campaign six months ago indicates he’s capable of learning from his mistakes (so there’s a chance he’ll realize what a disaster Iraq is and get us out).

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 8:57 am
  143. UC,
    You seem to know a bit about support. Were you a 92A, or a Warrant Officer w/ a supply co.?

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 8:58 am
  144. Do I like and respect McCain as a politician? Not just no, but hell no. But I think he’s the most competent guy in the race right now and that’s what counts.

    Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go take a shower after saying that…

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 9:00 am
  145. Dave,

    I was a 98C (Signals Intelligence Analyst) with 10 years in. I was stationed in Korea for a year and spent most of my time there dealing with the motor pool (which was run by people like I described…except that the motor pool sergeant was the incompetent one, not the team leaders). That motor pool was so badly run that at one point I actually had to strip down my own exhaust system on a HUMVEE (which I was absolutely not qualified to do). They finally replaced the incompetent motor pool sergeant with somebody who was like you described (effective, but corrupt) and it actually improved things for everyone else in the unit (we could actually field all of our vehicles). And eventually he got fired when he got caught doing something shady, but since the next guy after him took over a unit that wasn’t in complete disarray and knew his job it all worked out.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 9:06 am
  146. If the American People were in a position to supervise the Presidency as well as a motor pool, I’d agree. But we are losing the ability to govern our government. McCain just help author and pass an article that limits what we can say about an incumbent 90 before an election for that seat. (I wrote my Senator about that one for her voting aye on it) If we are losing our ability to even criticize our govt, how will we be able to punish him when we do catch him w/ his hand in the cookie jar? Peloski has removed impeachment from the table when it was most desperately needed. We are no longer the supervisors, we are just the spectators.

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 9:08 am
  147. Dave,

    If the American People were in a position to supervise the Presidency as well as a motor pool, I’d agree.

    That’s what the press and bloggers are for. If two journalists working in a world without the Internet could catch Richard Nixon and get him booted from office, I don’t think John McCain stands much of a chance. Besides, the best bet for keeping a president in check is to make sure that you’re electing good Congressmen and Senators for your district. That’s where the balance comes in. Right now it’s bad because we’ve just got a terrible Congress. But that’ll eventually change if it stays as bad as it has under Bush.

    McCain just help author and pass an article that limits what we can say about an incumbent 90 before an election for that seat.

    That’s why we have a court system and a Supreme Court. And McCain-Feingold’s being taken apart by that.

    Peloski has removed impeachment from the table when it was most desperately needed.

    She’s botching the leadership job enough right now that I think she’ll be out of that spot sooner rather than later if the Dems lose the presidential election. I agree with you, though, she’s absolutely pathetic.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 9:25 am
  148. UC,
    As I’m sure you’re quite aware, the major media outlets are all owned by only 5 companies, as opposed to hundreds during the Nixon Administration. If those 5 are bought and paid for (highly likely), then where is our supervision? Blogs? Not likely…how many people, in respect to the entire population, really do that? We have to be able to rely upon the watchdogs…they are no good to us when someone tosses them a bone and says to look the other way. And it’s far easier to toss 5 bones as opposed to hundreds. Follow me?
    As far as the Supreme Court…how many attempts to grab power did they stop when GW started assuming more powers unto himself? They aren’t effective if they just sit there.

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 10:06 am
  149. Dave,

    As I’m sure you’re quite aware, the major media outlets are all owned by only 5 companies, as opposed to hundreds during the Nixon Administration. If those 5 are bought and paid for (highly likely), then where is our supervision?

    Nobody owns the bloggers, those five press companies are in competition with each other and if they all did act as a mouthpiece for the government (which is extremely unlikely) then it would only be a matter of time before alternative news sources arose to give consumers a viewpoint they’re interested in. Most people can actually recognize blatant propaganda after awhile and I don’t accept the idea that media opinion controls everything that people do.

    As far as the Supreme Court…how many attempts to grab power did they stop when GW started assuming more powers unto himself?

    They shot down his ability to strip detainees of their human rights and his desire to hold them indefinitely without trial. The court system has gone after his wiretapping, his destruction of public records, and his attempts to claim unchecked executive power. The courts do quite a lot to act against Bush.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 10:24 am
  150. UC,
    They may be in competition w/ each other, but they are all in business to make money. Therefore, they are easier to bribe. IMO, you’ve overestimated the cognitive abilities of the average American. They are sheep. Most want to be led, and if you’re charismatic enough, they will follow you too. The box in the living room has taken the place of common sense in most homes, and I’m not one to stand around and wait for miracles.

    You seem pretty current on political affairs. But your link only leads to outdated posts. It seems we share a lot opinions on many matters. But differ only on a few. Do you have any recent work?

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 10:41 am
  151. Dave,

    You seem pretty current on political affairs. But your link only leads to outdated posts. It seems we share a lot opinions on many matters. But differ only on a few. Do you have any recent work?

    Only what I write here for the most part. My job just got too hectic for me to keep up with my own site and this one. I may pick it up again in the future but probably not anytime soon.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 11:08 am
  152. And is your job here, as a columnist?

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 11:20 am
  153. Dave,

    Nope, I work in finance. Blogging’s just something I do in my spare time.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 11:34 am
  154. Nice…but I still cannot bring myself to vote for McCain. Knowing what I know of the candidates, I still have to vote w/ my conscience: Ron Paul. Who knows, w/ so much grassroots support, he very well may have sleeper delegates in the convention, if they are allowed to vote their own mind (brokered convention), that just might make a difference. W/ the Giants winning the Superbowl, you never know what may happen.

    I do know this: RP has been elected to congress 10 times, therefore, he appeals to many. He is very smart, there is an off-chance that he may have taken all this into account when planning his strategy (wishful thinking here). But he has had the balls to call the GOP out on its’ losing its’ way w/ the neocons. Somebody needed to do that. He reminds me of a humble, old uncle that reprimands the youngsters for not having any manners or ethics. He’s full of answers, and they come from his years of observing the political game. To just blatantly disregard them is to do so at ones’ own risk. At some time or another, all bills become due. When are we going to pay back our debts?

    “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” ~ Unknown (by me, anyways)

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 12:37 pm
  155. Dave,

    but I still cannot bring myself to vote for McCain.

    Completely understandable.

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 12:48 pm
  156. UC

    There has always been one thing that has bothered me in your reasoning of why you are not voting for Ron Paul. You have basically given us as a reason of why you will not vote for him because of his mismanagement/selection of people and you are looking for someone who will be competent in this area when they are President.

    My problem is that you have also said that he has absolutely no chance of winning. If he has no chance of winning why does it matter who he would put into different positions once he was President. Nobody will ever know who he would put into these positions because as you have said he has no chance of winning.

    My bigger concern is we need to continue pushing him because of the ideas he is pushing. Those will continue after his run for President is over. The difference will be the degree by which they are followed by the media and other politicians. If Paul does poorly, by extension the ideas he is pushing will be seen as losing ideas as well. The more votes and the better he does the better light that these ideas will be seen in. Giving up on him now will be seen as giving up on the ideas behind his campaign as well, at least in the eyes of the media and political wonks.

    Comment by TerryP — February 18, 2008 @ 2:10 pm
  157. UC,
    Just out of curiosity, would you have voted for George Washington, John Adams, or Thomas Jefferson?

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 2:21 pm
  158. Dave,

    My problem is that you have also said that he has absolutely no chance of winning. If he has no chance of winning why does it matter who he would put into different positions once he was President. Nobody will ever know who he would put into these positions because as you have said he has no chance of winning.

    Because I won’t vote for someone I consider to be a poor candidate for the office just to register a protest vote, unless they’re pretty much the ideal candidate on every issue. I strongly disagree with Ron Paul about immigration (and even more strongly disagree with his rationale for voting that way), so I’d prefer that my protest vote not go in support of someone interested in further restricting immigration.

    Just out of curiosity, would you have voted for George Washington, John Adams, or Thomas Jefferson?

    Jefferson…although that would, of course, be contingent upon him being in vehement opposition to slavery today :)

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 2:36 pm
  159. Hey now UC,
    That first quote belongs to TerryP, not I. But good answer on the one I did pose to you….lol.

    Comment by Dave — February 18, 2008 @ 2:51 pm
  160. Whoops…sorry about that, to both you and TerryP :)

    Comment by UCrawford — February 18, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

Comments RSS

Subscribe without commenting

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by: WordPress • Template by: Eric • Banner #1, #3, #4 by Stephen Macklin • Banner #2 by Mark RaynerXML