i’ve had a couple of people ask me about ron paul, the unheard of (before the blow-up with guiliani) republican presidential candidate who is suddenly being heard. here is an article about his rise in media attention from salon.com.
i can’t say that i agree with him 100% (e.g., he supports withdrawing the u.s. from the united nations, and slowly, my point of view is changing regarding that and other world bodies), but within this list that i am quoting from the article, he and i have many similar points of view, albeit maybe for different reasons:
He’s the only Republican candidate who wants to end U.S. involvement in Iraq and withdraw the U.S. Navy from the waters off the Iranian coast. He wants America to pull out of the United Nations, NATO, the International Criminal Court, and most international trade agreements. He wants to abolish FEMA, end the federal war on drugs, get rid of the Department of Homeland Security, send the U.S. military to guard the Mexican border, stop federal prosecutions of obscenity, eliminate the IRS, end most foreign aid, overturn the Patriot Act, phase out Social Security, revoke public services for illegal immigrants, repeal No Child Left Behind, and reestablish gold and silver as legal tender.
i’m not even sure i agree with him on iraq and iran, because just withdrawing right now, leaving the two of them, along with other middle eastern countries, to work out their own issues would have disastrous consequences for the world. still, i think much of what he supports is based on pragmatism, based on what he thinks would be best for the country as a whole, and not a piecemeal approach, making promises to individual groups that would not mesh together in working for the whole, which i think most other candidates are doing.
i have two main complaints about paul. first, he doesn’t seem to acknowledge that the u.s. is, for better or worse, a part of the world community. we cannot live in a vacuum where we just do our own thing and let other countries have at it. withdrawal from the united nations, as imperfect as it is in its current form, would serve no real purpose other than to further alienate us from allies and bolster the enmity between our country and our supposed enemies. secondly, in the article i linked to, there were examples of a couple of racist statements made (e.g., “If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be.”) , which he says he didn’t actually say, but still refuses to apologize for. this reminds me of barack obama, when he asked to apologize for a statement he didn’t actually make regarding hilary clinton, would not. i have great admiration for both gentlemen in refusing to back down over being criticized for things they did not say, but this leaves me wondering about where paul stands on racial issues. i would have less respect for him if he pandered to the black/hispanic/other ‘special’ group vote, like many other candidates do, but i am taking note that the comment he ‘didn’t’ say is still quite stereotypical and negative. i don’t think paul is a racist, per se; perhaps his non-comment is based on ignorance and a lack of meaningful interaction with minorities. all i’m saying is that this is something for me to watch out for in him. otherwise, i agree with him on the majority of the issues. i can’t say that i would vote for him, because it probably won’t even get as far as him being a viable candidate, plus i am seriously considering no longer voting at the national level anymore. but, for the moment he’s got my attention, and that of others, and as a lower tier candidate, you can’t do any better than that.