Despite his popularity with many college students and some short-sighted libertarian thinkers, Ron Paul would not have been a good choice for president. I say this in spite of the fact that I agree with his stance on several important issues. In fact, there are several areas in which his voting record is great as far as I am concerned! He has never voted to raise taxes, he has never voted to restrict firearms, and he has never voted for a pay raise for congressmen. He also does not participate in “government junkets,” he returns a portion of his office budget to the treasury every year, and he refuse to participate in the obscenely lucrative congressional pension plan. I can respect those things about him since I tend to have some “libertarian” leanings myself. However, his downfall is his apparent inability to see beyond his own point of view.
Say, for instance, you’re a dedicated conservative working in some fairly liberal environment, like a college or university campus. I’m am sure you will be very familiar with the odd, confused, or even hostile, looks you receive from coworkers who have had every contrary political view point to theirs (if, indeed, they have even heard one) filtered by their like-minded peers. They exist in a safe self-validating bubble consisting of agreeing viewpoints. There will be no room for, or tolerance of, your point of view. No room for compromise…
Being able to see the “big picture” is generally considered a desirable trait, but it can sometimes interfere with being able to recognize the truth. Communism is probably the best example of this phenomenon. Communist leaders can take any fact or event, put their Marxist colored glasses on, and proceed to screw things up. That is one of the reasons the Soviet Union failed. They simply couldn’t grow food or produce quality products because their farming and production methods had to be based on Communist philosophy, which by its very nature inspires no one to standout or excel in their assigned area of responsibility.
I do think, however, that he is an idealist in the worst sense of the word. Ron Paul replies to every question like a robot programmed with a series of patented libertarian answers. He doesn’t seem to let his life’s experiences and the realities of the world in which we live, cause him to think, and therefore help him to shape thoughtful reasonable answers. He lets his philosophy shape his reality.
Life isn’t as simple as many people want to think it is. In choosing a new president, we all, no matter where on the political spectrum we fall, certainly would want somebody with a central guiding philosophy. However, we cannot afford to have somebody in office that is so rigid in his philosophy that intelligent compromise and realistic policy making become impossible. Ron Paul simply does not seem to have the common sense to understand the world we live in.
Do you need some examples?
How about the recent GOP Spanish-language debate held in Coral Gables, FL. Ron Paul, finding himself in the heart of Cuban-American country where Fidel Castro is still hated and ostracized, was loudly booed when he called out for improved relations with Castro’s Cuba. If Castro isn’t such a “bad fellow” and Cuba is such a wonderful place, why are all these Cubans here and why do they hate Castro so? I understand that if you are one of Hollywood’s darlings and a feather-brained secular-progressive liberal like Harry Belafonte, Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, Oliver Stone, Matt Dillon, or Chevy Chase; Castro will roll out the Red Carpet and make you feel very, very welcome. But … what about the thousands of tortured Cubans in his prisons? I think there is something very sick about the compulsion of such stars to pander to tyrants … so long as those tyrants are “progressive” and anti-American.
There is also the fact that during an extremely difficult period when we as a nation are at war with a terrorist community bent on destroying us, when increasing border security is a major concern for many Americans, and when most sensible candidates are discussing the need for some kind of tamper-proof guest worker identification card as a means to help control the borders; Ron Paul’s only answer is an automatic claim that such action can only lead to a national identification card for all Americans, which he absolutely opposes. I simply do not see how one action automatically leads to the other; especially in the light of the outrage over New York’s Governor Spitzer’s plan for issuing drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.
Another fact Ron Paul, and we as Americans, must understand and come to grips with, is that isolationism has never worked. The world is getting way too small for that kind of mentality to be safe. Ron Paul’s comments in the first GOP debate that things that happen in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, or Iraq are those countries problems, and should not concern us, belies a very scary lack of the understanding that we do, in fact, live in a world of mutually inter-dependent economies, and that, simply put, nuclear missiles launched by Iran at Israel will certainly have a direct effect on us.
Lastly, I have a very hard time viewing Ron Paul as the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces. After all, this is the same Ron Paul that, during the first GOP debate, basically apologized to al Qaeda for our having forced those poor misunderstood terrorists to come over and blow up the twin World Trade Center towers, killing thousands of Americans … and many people from other countries as well including Australia, Bermuda, Great Britain, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Germany, Israel, Japan, and Mexico. Is Ron Paul an American apologist? Is he a western apologist? Or does he not understand that some radical Islamic fundamentalists simply hate us and want to kill us because we are not also radical Islamic fundamentalists? Whichever the case maybe, a candidate with that line of reasoning simply cannot be put in charge of the security of our nation and certainly cannot become the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces.