Orcinus has accumulated an impressive list of bills supported by Ron Paul. These will probably be defended by his supporters but also demonstrate why there is a low ceiling on Paul’s potential support. As long as he remains the lone Republican who is making sense on some issues such as Iraq he will receive some favorable attention, but this will never translate into a meaningful number of votes.
In reviewing Paul’s record there is some ambiguity as he has reportedly introduced some bills to make a point and then voted against them. This makes any review based upon his voting record alone subject to misinterpretation, but I’ve also noted in previous posts that there are areas where Paul’s philosophy is contrary to supporting freedom as most would use the word.
Paul’s record can be summarized with a few trends. Many of his votes involve his support for the gold standard, abolition of the Federal Reserve and his opposition to virtually every program of the federal government. While this platform will never achieve widespread support, there’s not any real news here. It comes as no surprise, and is consistent with his public statements, to see that Paul opposes environmental laws, anti-trust laws, and agencies such as OSHA.
Paul’s writings, as are the comments of his supporters throughout the blogosphere, are full of conspiracy theories involving the United Nations, Jews, the Trilateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Therefore his votes against membership in the United Nations come as no surprise.
Where Paul betrays his claims to being a libertarian is in his views on separation of church and state and abortion rights. I’ve discussed Paul’s promotion of right wing revisionist history on separation of church and state in several previous posts, along with his opposition to secularism and his claims that the Founding Fathers intended to create a Christian nation. Paul’s support for the federal ban on so-called partial birth abortions also contradicts his usual support for leaving matters to the states. His use of the erroneous term “partial birth abortion” along with his support for legislation to eliminate the legal distinction between a zygote and a fully developed human are particularly surprising considering his training as an Obstetrician.
The other aspect of Paul’s voting record which contradicts his rhetoric is his support for pork to support his own district as described by The Wall Street Journal:
After reporters started asking questions, the Congressman disclosed his requests this year for about $400 million worth of federal funding for no fewer than 65 earmarks. They include such urgent national wartime priorities as an $8 million request for the marketing of wild American shrimp and $2.3 million to fund shrimp-fishing research.
The listing at Orcinus does not include many of these earmarks but does list several of his bills to support the shrimp industry. The list also is intended to show areas where the author disagrees with Paul and therefore does exclude areas where Paul does deserve credit. These include his opposition to the Iraq war (along with extending it to Iran), his opposition to the restrictions on civil liberties and increase in power of the Executive Branch under George Bush, and his opposition to the drug war.