Rep. Ron Paul opposes many things I am for. He is opposed to civil rights laws. He is anti-labor. He wants to destroy the social safety net. He opposes legislation to protect health, safety and the environment. Under ordinary circumstances, I would regard him as a dangerous radical extremist.
But he is one of the few prominent political figures to oppose the perpetual war policy supported by both the Democratic and Republican parties. He is one of the few to stand up for basic civil liberties. He is among the few to stand up to the oppose the Wall Street bailouts.
So there is a dilemma. Ron Paul wants to repeal the New Deal. But the Bush administration, the Obama administration and most of the current Republican candidates are willing to repeal the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and rights of due process that go back to Magna Carta.
I think the Constitution is more important than the New Deal. So long as the Constitution endures, it will be possible in the fullness of time to reconstitute the New Deal and the civil rights laws.
But that doesn’t resolve the dilemma. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Senator Bernie Sanders and other political figures that are just as clear-eyed about war and civil liberties as Ron Paul. Why aren’t they as prominent as Ron Paul? In my opinion, it is because Ron Paul’s anti-liberal backers give him a stronger base of support than liberals would give to an anti-Obama liberal Democrat. Some liberals are willing to make common cause with Ron Paul supporters, but I don’t think many long-time Ron Paul supporters, or maybe any, who are willing to make common cause with liberals.
I don’t think I would vote for Ron Paul in the extremely unlikely event that he was nominated, and the equally unlikely event that the outcome in New York state was not a foregone conclusion. But I am glad Ron Paul is in the race. Even though I don’t agree with some of the things he believes in, I admire his grit and his willingness to speak the truth as he sees it. He raises issues that need to be raised.
Click on Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters for documentation on why Ron Paul’s old newsletters from the late 1980s and early 1990s were so inflammatory.
Click on Ron Paul’s Shaggy Defense and “Old News” for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ take-down of Ron Paul’s defense of his newsletters.
Click on Grappling With Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters for Conor Friedersdorf’s commentary in The Atlantic on the significance of the newsletters.
Click on Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies for Glenn Greenwald’s argument as to why Ron Paul’s views are no worse, from a liberal standpoint, that Barack Obama’s actions, and video links to Ron Paul’s statements about war and civil liberties.
Click on Why Ron Paul Challenges Liberals for Matt Stoller’s analysis of Ron Paul’s political views about the connection between the Federal Reserve System and the ability of government to finance wars.