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Tag "extremist"

One of the things that really gets under my skin is the popularity of Ron Paul. He seems to be well on his way to being a serious candidate this Spring, he finished a close 3rd in Iowa, and seems to have won over many center-right folks tired of that state of the Republican party, including Andrew Sullivan.

Why would this irk me so much? Because Ron Paul as president could be one of the worst things to happen to America in a long time.

Make no mistake; Ron Paul is an extremist (just like his son).

This is straight from his Wikipedia page:

Paul is a proponent of Austrian School economics; he has authored six books on the subject, and displays pictures of Austrian School economists Friedrich HayekMurray Rothbard, and Ludwig von Mises (as well as of Grover Cleveland)[85] on his office wall. He regularly votes against almost all proposals for new government spending, initiatives, or taxes;[66] he cast two thirds of all the lone negative votes in the House during a 1995–1997 period.[19] He has pledged never to raise taxes[203] and states he has never voted to approve a budget deficit. Paul believes that the country could abolish the individual income tax by scaling back federal spending to its fiscal year 2000 levels;[90][204]financing government operations would be primarily by excise taxes and non-protectionist tariffs. He endorses eliminating most federal government agencies, terming them unnecessary bureaucracies. Paul has a consistent record as an inflation hawk[dead link], having warned of the threat of hyperinflation as far back as 1981.[205] While Paul believes the longterm decrease of the U.S. dollar’s purchasing power by inflation is attributable to its lack of any commodity backing, he does not endorse a “return” to a gold standard – as the U.S. government has established during the past – but instead prefers to eliminate legal tender laws and to remove the sales tax on gold and silver, so that the market may freely decide what type of monetary standard(s) there shall be.[206] He also advocates gradual elimination of the Federal Reserve System.[207]

And Andrew Sullivan even goes to great lengths to qualify his endorsement, by basically disavowing Paul’s entire platform:

Let me immediately say I do not support many of his nuttier policy proposals. I am not a doctrinaire libertarian. Paul’s campaign for greater oversight of the Fed is  great, but abolition of it is utopian and dangerous. A veto of anything but an immediately balanced budget would tip the US and the world into a serious downturn (a process to get there in one or two terms makes much more sense). Cutting taxes as he wants to is also fiscally irresponsible without spending cuts first. He adds deductions to the tax code rather than abolish them. His energy policy would intensify our reliance on carbon, not decrease it. He has no policy for the uninsured. There are times when he is rightly described as a crank. He has had associations in the past that are creepy when not downright ugly.

So why is this guy so popular? Well, first of all, the rest of the GOP field is really that bad. You have the politi-whore that is Mitt Romney, the buffoon Rick Perry, the sluttier politi-whore Newt Gingrich, and several flavors of fire-and-brimstone types, of which Rick Santorum is now the flavor of the month.

Next, you have this emotional response to Paul’s “intellectualism” and “incorruptibility” which is actually pretty silly when you think about it. His “intellectualism” stems from his staunch beliefs in very discredited theories about economics and property rights, as well as his ultra-strict contructionist views of the Constitution that would make even Clarence Thomas blush. And after you understand that his entire political philosophy is predicated on a series of very simple black-and-white rules, it’s not hard to realize that he’s been “incorruptible.” That’s like saying that a robot is incorruptible.

Finally, his foreign policy and stances on Bill of Rights-style issues are refreshing to a lot of conservatives after the wrong turn the GOP made during the Bush years. But make no mistake, this is merely an extension of his extreme views on the Constitution, and no more.

Ron Paul as President would be a disaster. His nickname of “Dr. No” would very quickly be morphed into “Dr. Veto” and the government would effectively shutdown. You thought we had standoffs in 2011? Imagine what 2013 would look like with a Paul Administration.

Scared yet?

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This shouldn’t really come as a surprise to people, since his father is also an extremist, but Rand Paul holds very extreme views about the federal government.  The issue he is being grilled about has nothing to do with him being a racist, but his extreme views of property rights of individuals and the ability of the federal government to regulate.

I think the thing that really turned me off from conservatism (or pure libertarianism) in the past was the ideological purity it required, even when faced with really ridiculous applications of the ideology.  For example, it’s really “sophisticated” to wax poetic about fundamental property rights and federal government overreach when speaking abstractly, but when it comes down to deciding whether de facto segregation in virtually all aspects of life should be banned by the federal government, this shouldn’t be an argument.

Government should be about balance, not about philosophical purity.  If America had been made by purely strict constructionists, there would still be 13 states and I would be speaking French or Spanish.  Pragmatism should have just as much merit as ideology, and when they compete, a decision has to be made.  The different decisions that are made will define a center-right or center-left politician.  Rand Paul is neither of these things.

Kudos to Maddow for exposing this.

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