One thing that many progressive liberals and conservative Republicans (at least those from the neo-conservative establishment wing of the party) have in common is hatred for Ron Paul. For me that means that Dr. Paul must be doing something right.
In the case of “conservatives” (and I use the term lightly as it’s hard to imagine true conservatives being for half the things these less freedom taste great conservatives are for), their dislike of Dr. Paul is understandable. His opposition to military interventionism (and although it’s not talked about as much by them his opposition to the Federal Reserve System) couldn’t be any more different than from what they have foisted on America. They will overlook that he is a far more steadier committed consistent opponent to both spending and unnecessary government compared to other so called conservatives including the creation of the Tea party.
With progressive criticism it’s different. Some of the positions ascribed to Dr. Paul are not in fact his actual positions-abortion for example but hyperbole tossed out by fretting ninnies. I have read that (a recent article on Salon.com for example) that the election of Ron Paul as president would end legal abortion in our time. That is a ridiculous statement but let’s first discuss Dr. Paul’s position. Much of the criticism has also included comparisons to his opponents in the Republican primary but his position is quite a bit different. Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum support a right to life amendment to the constitution that would supersede the states and establish a national ban on abortion cancelling out Roe Vs. Wade. Dr. Paul also supports ending Roe vs Wade but supports abortion being decided at the state level. How would this work? Well, it’s true some states, Oklahoma and Kansas for example would ban it outright. Other states such as California and Massachusetts would not. This would be an issue in regards to competition between states and the more open states may find more people emigrating and consequently more revenue. The more conservative states might find they have less people living there with less revenue coming in.
On Gay Marriage, Dr. Paul has said "I am supportive of all voluntary associations and people can call it whatever they want." While he voted for the Defence of Marriage act which states that states that don’t recognize gay marriage don’t have to recognize gay unions from states that do, he also voted against the marriage amendment which established marriage as only a union between a man and a woman. Again, gay marriage can exist at the state level. He opposes the position taken by every one of the other Republican presidential candidates (except Herman Cain strangely enough-I guess his bigotry only applies to Muslims) that there should be an amendment to the constitution banning gay marriage
Roe vs. Wade was a mistake as are the anti-gay marriage amendments that legislators at the federal level keep trying to get through. The only way these contentious issues will ever be resolved for good is through the constitutional amendment process. However, there is definitely not the will in America on either side to get enough states to ratify an amendment opposing or legalizing abortion. Gay marriage is a little different than abortion as I think the country is gradually shifting away from homophobia and the understanding that gay couples’ lives are their own business. Using the courts to resolve these situations is not democratic and I don’t believe what the founding fathers intended. I agree with Dr. Paul that the states are best to handle this until either side on a controversial social issue gets enough national consensus for a constitutional amendment.
I say this as someone who is pro-choice process-wise that is I think abortion is morally wrong and evil but recognize not everyone shares my views and who would take care of all these unwanted children? A further drag on the system. I am totally supportive of gay marriage as I feel it is none of my business and we do not live in a theorcracy (partly the same thinking as my support for abortion rights although I am personally supportive of gay marriage).
I’ve written before that supporting Ron Paul is about recognizing priorities. I believe in a national health care system (not the wretched bill Obama passed), gun control, and a whole host of other things that might be called progressive issues. However, our current Democratic party (I mean here the majority of legislators and the president himself) have let us down on issues relating to foreign policy, civil rights, corporatism and currency etc.
Our current DEMOCRATIC president has increased US militarism round the world, Ron Paul opposes this and more importantly will oppose any future military actions especially those that are pre-emptive.
Our current DEMOCRATIC president did not close Guantanamo despite campsign promises and torture is still going on, Ron Paul would close Guantanamo immediately and opposes any use of torture by US forces.
Our current DEMOCRATIC president still supplies Israel with more aid than another country and advanced military hardware which they use on the Palestinians, Ron Paul would cut off all American foreign aid to Israel
Our current DEMOCRATIC president refuses to say anything about the ongoing human rights abuses committed by the Israeli government against the Palestinians, Ron Paul has called Gaza a “ghetto”
Our current DEMOCRATIC president presided over the renewal of the Patriot Act and increased wiretapping also continues, Ron Paul would repeal the Patriot Act. He opposes a national ID Card and has a perfect record in this area.
In addition, the 1,000 pound gorilla sitting in the room that no one wishes to discuss that is America’s failed drug policy is another clear cut difference. Ron Paul believes in allowing the states to decriminalize drugs (and prostitution too). Obama is still continuing the Bush policy of leaning on states that attempt to alter their drug policy even for medicinal marijuana.
Drug policy is a good example of how progressives have their head up their ass. Many progressives mock Libertarians as “pot smoking Republicans” and mock their approach to drug policy. This makes no sense to me. If you are a progressive, drug policy legalization/reform should be one of your main issues. It is one of things feeding the privatization of our prisons or vice versa. Prisons run as a business means cells must be filled with non-violent drug offenders a lot of the time.
Going back to my earlier point, it is about priorities, for many liberals abortion and gay marriage are the most important issues and that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. In the 1970’s, The left pushed on abortion as an issue got the supreme court involved and awakened the conservative middle of America who got busy pushing back. To say these social issues are as important as foreign policy or economic issues is not to live in reality. As Ralph Nader has said, “gonad politics” are no way to win elections. Anybody who makes them a priority is an idiot. If you ask a gay person or a woman who has had an abortion if they value these issues over having enough to eat and a non-bankrupt America, I’m sure they would pick the better America.
I’ve respected the fact that in some states the tea party had the will to topple sitting politicians who failed to live up to their orthodoxy. Of course, sometimes you end up with candidates that cannot win elections like the senatorial races in Delaware and Nevada but you have at least showed that hypocrisy can be drive out. I was also proud of the union members in Wisconsin who stood up for the right of teachers and others. These latter people need to get back in control of the Democratic Party.
Progressives have morphed from the people who fought for workers, civil rights, and women’s rights into whiny weaklings concerned about boutique social issues and towing the neo liberal attack other countries to force democracy line as well as kowtowing to Israel....That’s not progressivism. They need to get the right priorities and learn to make alliances. Progressives have the lost the ability to forge a winning consensus in America for exactly that reason.
Progressives are a tight-assed lot. Their demand for perfection on every issue is as absolute as the tea party’s. These type of people will never accomplish anything. I don’t support all of Ron Paul’s domestic positions although I do believe there is a very good argument from the progressive side to be made against the Federal Reserve Board (I will make that the subject of a future posting). However, I know how our government works and many of his ideas would not make it through the senate. The Department of Education, for example, is not going to be shutdown in a Ron Paul administration despite his promises to do so.
On foreign matters and issues regarding currency, trade, etc. It is possible for the president to act unilaterally using the powers of his office and a whole host of executive tools (such as executive orders) as well as the bully pulpit. These are areas where a Ron Paul presidency could really affect positive change.
I’ll end this with two factoids about Ron Paul not commonly reported – He would dissolve the CIA and he opposes the death penalty.