by Bob Eschliman
This past May, during a GOP debate in South Carolina, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was asked about his stated position on criminalizing drug use:
Q: You say that the federal government should stay out of people’s personal habits, including marijuana, cocaine, even heroin.
A: It’s an issue of protecting liberty across the board. If you have the inconsistency, then you’re really not defending liberty. We want freedom [including] when it comes to our personal habits.
And, yes, he’s completely for de-criminalizing the non-pharmaceutical abuse of heroine, arguing that if it were not illegal, no one would abuse it. While that’s probably a deal-breaker for a lot of Republican caucus/primary voters, it clearly hasn’t hurt his popularity with his committed supporters.
But, let’s take a key point he made and it apply it to other pieces of his rhetoric: “If you have… inconsistency, then you’re really not defending liberty.” In other words, politicians who are inconsistent in their words and actions are not going to defend liberty.
One of Rep. Paul’s first campaign commercials this time around touted his military record. Yes, he wore the uniform — he was a gynecologist in the Air Force — and he has routinely talked about “keeping our promises to our military veterans,” but what is his record on matters of military and national security?
Actually, the Congressman’s recently released budget plan would cut $200 billion in defense spending — a proposal co-championed by Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Barney Frank, hardly a stalwart of conservatism. Meanwhile, he said he would like to redirect our military assets in Afghanistan to protecting our southern border with Mexico.
Paul’s own past rhetoric would seem to belie the need for military on the border, in his own words. When campaigning for President the first time in 1988 (as a Libertarian, not a Republican), he championed an open borders policy and said he would eliminate the Border Patrol — which he said was unconstitutional — if elected.
Granted, he may have “seen the light” on the importance of border security. Then again, maybe he hasn’t. Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, who served with Rep. Paul in Congress for a decade, seems to think the latter is far more likely, based on an Op-Ed the former presidential candidate wrote for WorldNetDaily a few days after the aforementioned South Carolina GOP Debate.
According to Paul, deporting illegal immigrants would be “incompatible with human rights.” That is an off argument for any true libertarian to make, since the protection of true human rights begins with the U.S. Constitution and our ability to enforce the rule of law…
The truth is that we do not need to deport all illegal aliens to make them go home. If we simply prevent employers from hiring illegal aliens by using E-Verify and step up interior enforcement as Arizona, Oklahoma and other states have done, most illegal aliens will go home on their own. Paul comes out against both these policies… He absurdly calls the idea of fining employers for hiring illegal aliens ‘involuntary servitude.’
Pretty much a hit-piece by a guy who has an axe to grind against the guy who threatens the “establishment,” right? Not so fast. Even Roy Beck, founder of the anti-illegal immigration group NumbersUSA, was unimpressed with what Rep. Paul had to say in his own book.
Beck’s organization downgraded Paul to an “F” grade for his positions on amnesty and illegal immigration. The only other presidential candidate to get the same grade from the group was the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Barack Obama.
Quoting directly from Rep. Paul’s book:
“Neither the determination or the ability [for mass-deportations] exists. Besides, if each case is looked at separately, we would find ourselves splitting up families and deporting some who have lived here for decades, if not their entire life, and who never lived for any length of time in Mexico. This would hardly be a Good Samaritan approach to the problem. It would be incompatible with human rights.”
That came from page 153 in the book. He then went on a few pages later — page 156, to be exact — to champion, as Beck put it, “amnesty with an asterisk”:
“Maybe a ‘green card’ with an asterisk should be issued… It could be argued that [this system] may well allow some immigrants who come here illegally a beneficial status without automatic citizenship or tax-supported benefits — a much better option than deportation.”
Yet, just one page earlier, he wrote the following:
“(The United States should) not grant automatic citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born in the United States, deliberately or accidentally.”
OK, so that’s just one issue. Surely, he hasn’t shown signs of inconsistency on others, right?
Sadly you would be very wrong. If there’s one thing Rep. Paul has been consistent about, it’s his inconsistency on issues of greatest concern for conservatives. For instance, we have his introduction of 95 discretionary spending “earmarks” — pork for his constituents — for fiscal years 2010 and 2011, while publically decrying government spending and voting against the very earmarks he added to bills.
Then, we have his declared support for traditional marriage, while he simultaneously voted against an amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. So, when he had a chance to further clarify his position in front of an otherwise receptive audience, he said:
I think this argument about what is marriage and who can get married and to whom, in a fre society, is totally irrelevant. I think the government — national or state — should stay out of it. If someone wants to call themselves married, fine.
That’s hardly a conservative viewpoint. It would seem Rep. Paul is implying there is some “wall of separation” at play. His being a well-versed scholar of the U.S. Constitution considered, one can only assume he certainly knows there isn’t any separation clause keeping religion and government exclusive from one another.
But, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that under Paul’s philosophy, a liberal-leaning church would be free to marry gays, lesbians, and even polygamists.
Well, at least Rep Paul — a medical doctor — is consistent on his pro-life message. Surely that’s the most important factor, especially for social conservatives, right?
If that’s the case, please explain his latest campaign commercial, which supposedly touts his adamant support for the pro-life position. You know, the one where he openly admits to abandoning a living, breathing, but unwanted child “in a bucket” following a late-term abortion, without even a hint of remorse.
So, that leaves us with just one question: Would the real Ron Paul please stand up? We’d really like to get to know him, so we can vet him properly for the Republican presidential nomination.
Bob Eschliman is Publisher of the Clarinda-Herald Journal. He is an Iowa journalist who has been covering politics and government for more than a decade. He is the founder of the Ben Franklin Journalism blog, which promotes citizen journalism.