The venerable Ron Paul raised $4 million through a savvy Internet campaign and spent nothing to do so. Which goes to show that nobody who is actually vote-worthy and electable in the Republican sphere has a clue how to gain traction online.
It's my contention that he did this because the presidentially unelectable Ron Paul is no towering figure of gravitas but rather has a keen view of the Constitution that many running for office today don't have. That hearkening back to our nation's roots is what drives his swelling coffers.
Am I right?
Let's take a look at the 11 issues he outlines on his web site:
Debt and Taxes: "Too many politicians and lobbyists are spending America into ruin. We are nine trillion dollars in debt as a nation. Our mounting government debt endangers the financial future of our children and grandchildren. If we don't cut spending now, higher taxes and economic disaster will be in their future - and yours."
Amen brother. An opinion like that is worth every penny of that $4 million.
American Independence and Sovereignty: "So called free trade deals and world governmental organizations like the International Criminal Court (ICC), NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and CAFTA are a threat to our independence as a nation. They transfer power from our government to unelected foreign elites. We must withdraw from any organizations and trade deals that infringe upon the freedom and independence of the United States of America."
I agree with the precept, but I don't think that free trade is wrong. A tariff-free world is fine with me. With that caveat, any encroachment upon our ability to govern ourselves should be stiffarmed vigorously.
War and Foreign Policy: "The war in Iraq was sold to us with false information. The area is more dangerous now than when we entered it. This war has cost more than 3,000 American lives, thousands of seriously wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars. We must have new leadership in the White House to ensure this never happens again."
The number one job of any government official in the US is obvious: the preservation of the US. While it's great to want to adhere to the Constitution in matters of non-interference, the founding fathers did not have to deal with intercontinental weapons. They were doing combat back then that allowed people to ride around on horseback all night warning others of impending invasion. Today, we get fifteen minutes - at most - before the New York City could be erased.
Dr. Paul and I part company here.
I wholeheartedly agree with him on this point: "Under no circumstances should the U.S. again go to war as the result of a resolution that comes from an unelected, foreign body, such as the United Nations."
Life and Liberty (aka, Ron Hates Abortion): "The right of an innocent, unborn child to life is at the heart of the American ideals of liberty. As an OB/GYN doctor, I've delivered over 4,000 babies. That experience has made me an unshakable foe of abortion. In 40 years of medical practice, I never once considered performing an abortion, nor did I ever find abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman."
Abortion is killing a baby; I agree with that, and I think that's mighty hard to disagree with that, although some obviously do. Whether it is "at the heart of the American ideals of liberty," that's up for debate.
What I do think is that the Constitution says nothing about this. I think it's a matter for states to determine (see the 10th amendment). It has no business in presidential politics.
The Second Amendment: "I share our Founders' belief that in a free society each citizen must have the right to keep and bear arms. They ratified the Second Amendment knowing that this right is the guardian of every other right. You have the right to protect your life, liberty, and property. As President, I will continue to guard the liberties stated in the Second Amendment."
I'm hip to that.
Social Security: I'm quoting him in full on this one because he's dead on through the whole thing.
"Our nation's promise to its seniors, once considered a sacred trust, has become little more than a tool for politicians to scare retirees while robbing them of their promised benefits. Today, the Social Security system is broke and broken.
"Those in the system are seeing their benefits dwindle due to higher taxes, increasing inflation, and irresponsible public spending.
"The proposed solutions, ranging from lower benefits to higher taxes to increasing the age of eligibility, are NOT solutions; they are betrayals.
"Imposing any tax on Social Security benefits is unfair and illogical. In Congress, I have introduced the Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act (H.R. 191), which repeals ALL taxes on Social Security benefits, to eliminate political theft of our seniors' income and raise their standard of living.
"Solvency is the key to keeping our promise to our seniors, and I have introduced the Social Security Preservation Act (H.R. 219) to ensure that money paid into the system is only used for Social Security.
"It is fundamentally unfair to give benefits to anyone who has not paid into the system. The Social Security for Americans Only Act (H.R. 190) ends the drain on Social Security caused by illegal aliens seeking the fruits of your labor.
"We must also address the desire of younger workers to save and invest on their own. We should cut payroll taxes and give workers the opportunity to seek better returns in the private market.
"Excessive government spending has created the insolvency crisis in Social Security. We must significantly reduce spending so that our nation can keep its promise to our seniors."
Border Security and Immigration Reform: He nailed this one too.
"The talk must stop. We must secure our borders now. A nation without secure borders is no nation at all. It makes no sense to fight terrorists abroad when our own front door is left unlocked. This is my six point plan:
- Physically secure our borders and coastlines. We must do whatever it takes to control entry into our country before we undertake complicated immigration reform proposals.
- Enforce visa rules. Immigration officials must track visa holders and deport anyone who overstays their visa or otherwise violates U.S. law. This is especially important when we recall that a number of 9/11 terrorists had expired visas.
- No amnesty. Estimates suggest that 10 to 20 million people are in our country illegally. That's a lot of people to reward for breaking our laws.
- No welfare for illegal aliens. Americans have welcomed immigrants who seek opportunity, work hard, and play by the rules. But taxpayers should not pay for illegal immigrants who use hospitals, clinics, schools, roads, and social services.
- End birthright citizenship. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong.
- Pass true immigration reform. The current system is incoherent and unfair. But current reform proposals would allow up to 60 million more immigrants into our country, according to the Heritage Foundation. This is insanity. Legal immigrants from all countries should face the same rules and waiting periods.
Privacy and Personal Liberty: "The biggest threat to your privacy is the government. We must drastically limit the ability of government to collect and store data regarding citizens' personal matters. I sponsored a bill to overturn the Patriot Act and have won some victories, but today the threat to your liberty and privacy is very real. We need leadership at the top that will prevent Washington from centralizing power and private data about our lives."
He wants to, in effect, ban Social Security Numbers, avoid watching for money laundering, limit terrorism monitoring...
Property Rights and Eminent Domain: "We must stop special interests from violating property rights and literally driving families from their homes, farms and ranches. Property rights are the foundation of all rights in a free society. Without the right to own a printing press, for example, freedom of the press becomes meaningless. The next president must get federal agencies out of these schemes to deny property owners their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property."
Couldn't agree more.
Health Freedom: "Americans are justifiably concerned over the government's escalating intervention into their freedom to choose what they eat and how they take care of their health. The government should never have the power to require immunizations or vaccinations."
Um, okay. If some massive outbreak occurs and we all need vaccinations to prevent its spread to spare the rest of us death from your contagion, then I think you get the shot. But anything short of that, I agree - the government has no say in how I manage my health.
Home Schooling: "My commitment to ensuring home schooling remains a practical alternative for American families is unmatched by any Presidential candidate. I will veto any legislation that creates national standards or national testing for home school parents or students."
I'm all for home schooling. Homeschoolers are, on average, remarkably better prepared / educated than public schoolers. I don't think it's because the parents are better teachers, but because of the individual focus and the lack of classroom distraction. Marshalling kids into the public classroom by mandate is absurd. Parents should have every freedom to school their kids where they choose.
That said, why is Ron Paul, Mr. Constitution, making a big deal out of this? Education is a state rights issue and has nothing to do with the federal government. While I agree with his position, as a presidential candidate, it's none of his business.
So there you have it. Those ideas are worth $4 million in a day.
Is that so different than the other candidates?
I'll find out... more later.