So, let's give Ron Paul an actual look. First, let's think about character: it's hard to quibble with Paul's character. (Unlike, say, Gingrich (two divorces), or Cain (enough said, he's done)). Paul, before his political career, was a doctor, a graduate of Duke University Medical School, a flight surgeon in the Air Force and Air National Guard, and an obstetrician and gynecologist who delivered 4,000 babies. As a physician, Paul routinely lowered fees or worked for free and refused to accept Medicaid or Medicare payments. He's been married to his wife Carol for 54 years, and has five children. So far so good. He passes the character test with flying colors. (So do Romney, Santorum, Perry and Bachmann, at least as far as I can tell; I don't know enough about Huntsman or Johnson.)
Now, let's look at his positions and see if I can tell what if anything I would disagree with. (I think that was my friend's real point... that I would probably like what I see if I actually bothered to look.) Looking at the Ron Paul 2012 web-site, the first in the list of issues is abortion, and Paul says what I would want any GOP Presidential candidate to say:
As a physician, Ron Paul consistently put his beliefs into practice and saved lives by helping women seek options other than abortion, including adoption. And as President, Ron Paul will continue to fight for the same pro-life solutions he has upheld in Congress, including:Couldn't be any better if I wrote it myself. Check. The next issue is health care. Here's what Paul has to say:
* Immediately saving lives by effectively repealing Roe v. Wade and preventing activist judges from interfering with state decisions on life by removing abortion from federal court jurisdiction through legislation modeled after his “We the People Act.”
* Defining life as beginning at conception by passing a “Sanctity of Life Act.”
The answer to our nation’s health care crisis lies in freedom – not force.Stop. That's good enough for me. Paul has some other interesting ideas on health care too, like giving tax credits to patients who purchase "negative outcomes" insurance as a way of limiting the cost of medical malpractice litigation; and prohibiting the federal government from creating a national database of personal health information. But repealing Obamacare is the sine qua non for a GOP candidate, and he's on board.
As President, Ron Paul will fight to put you back in control of your health care decisions, save you money on medical expenses, and institute reforms that will once again make America’s health care system the standard for other nations to follow.
He will work with Congress to:
* Repeal ObamaCare and end its unconstitutional mandate that all Americans must carry only government-approved health insurance or answer to the IRS.
Jumping to national defense, here's what Paul's website has to say:
As Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Paul will lead the fight to:Some of this sounds reasonable, but it also sounds a bit isolationist. One of the problems with campaign website I've noted is that they often speak in generalities. You have to go elsewhere to put meat on the bones. Would Paul retreat from Iraq, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory like Obama? If so, I'd have to disagree; we need bases and the ability to project force in Iraq to provide a counterweight to Iran. From Afghanistan? I could perhaps agree here; Afghanistan is a different animal, and I don't see a civil society growing there; I also think that our being there unnecessarily exacerbates tensions with Pakistan. Would he continue to aid Israel, our best and only ally in the Middle East? Doesn't sound like it. Would he support an Israeli air strike against Iran to keep it from going nuclear? No. So I might have problems with the Ron Paul foreign policy. But I don't think isolationism -- which has a long history in the Republican Party -- qualifies him as weird. It's a serious position that I might disagree with, but it's not weird.
* Make securing our borders the top national security priority.
* Avoid long and expensive land wars that bankrupt our country by using constitutional means to capture or kill terrorist leaders who helped attack the U.S. and continue to plot further attacks.
* End the nation-building that is draining troop morale, increasing our debt, and sacrificing lives with no end in sight.
* Follow the Constitution by asking Congress to declare war before one is waged.
* Only send our military into conflict with a clear mission and all the tools they need to complete the job – and then bring them home.
* Stop taking money from the middle class and the poor to give to rich dictators through foreign aid.
I'll look at the Ron Paul economic program in a separate post. But for now I'd say he's a Republican who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, repeal Obamacare, and make controlling our borders the top national security priority. That's not bad, and it's certainly not "weird."
I would have some knee-jerk issue with his age -- he's 76 and would be 77 when he takes office. He'd need a young VP candidate. Paul-Rubio, anyone?