Is Ron Paul Becoming Just Another Politician?

Regardless of whether you agree with Ron Paul, so far his campaign has been refreshing as he has been the rare candidate who promoted his views, regardless of how controversial, as opposed to telling voters what they want to hear. Steve Benen is disappointed by two possible signs that Paul might becoming just like the other politicians. Upon reviewing the reports he cites, the evidence is equivocal but leans against Paul in one case and in the other shows that Paul’s views might be different than anticipated but he has been consistent.

The first charge comes from a report from The Politco regarding a mailing to veterans in South Carolina. To understand this it is necessary to understand the types of actions Paul would often engage in to make a point in Congress. Ron Paul both opposes the Iraq war and believes that, as stated in the Constitution, we should only go to war if war is declared by Congress. Therefore he has made a proposal in Congress to declare war in Iraq with the intent to vote against such a declaration of war. Paul’s mailing states he “Pushed for an official Declaration of War with Iraq.” The problem is that it only states this but not his reasons for the proposal or his opposition to the war, perhaps intending to give the impression that, like every other Republican running, he supports the war:

That it may, just may, have something to do with the fact that South Carolina is a military and retiree-heavy state is reenforced by other flashes of GOP politics-as-usual: a shot of a young Paul in uniform, a picture of Paul with a vet, a Ronald Reagan quote and promises to improve the VA.

The mailing does note Paul’s opposition to going to war against Iran but does obfuscate his position on Iraq. Anyone paying any attention to Paul’s interviews, web site, or debate appearances would know otherwise, but the question remains as to whether Paul is attempting to get people who receive this mailing to vote for him under false pretenses. Whether Paul has decided to conduct his campaign in such a manner will be clearer as he continues to campaign and will be something to watch for.

The second issue is based upon a report from TPM Election Central on a mailing from Paul on immigration which “traffics in nativism every bit as rank as that espoused by the other GOPers.” The mailing even includes a vow to “end birthright citizenship” as mandated in the 14th Amendment.

In this case Paul is being consistent with the views he has always held and I see no evidence that he has altered his view on immigration for political gain. The questions here are probably being raised by liberal bloggers who expected Paul to be better than conventional Republicans in more areas in light of Paul’s views on the war and civil liberties. What many fail to realize is that, unless one uses a big tent definition which becomes almost meaningless, Paul is not a libertarian. While Paul does have some libertarian tendencies, Paul is a right winger through and through. He is, however, influenced by the non-interventionism of the old right as opposed to the neoconservatives. Whenever I note this I inevitably receive comments protesting, arguing that Paul does not claim to be a libertarian. While Paul is running more of a far right than a libertarian campaign this year, many do have the misconception that Paul is a libertarian based upon having been a previous candidate of the Libertarian Party and therefore Paul’s conservatism is worth noting.

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10 Comments

  1. 1
    FreedomDemocrat says:

    Curious, I suppose mailings, which tend to be under the radar, are the only area for Paul to act like “just another politician.” He certainly hasn’t hired a top of the line media firm to do his ads.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    It all makes you wonder what the point is. So Paul picks up a handful of votes by getting people to think he supports the war. He still can’t pick up anywhere near enough votes to be competitive for the Republican nomination by stooping to such tactics but he destroys his reputation for being a principled opponent of the war.

    The Paul supporters are making arguments like the ends justifies the means and that anyone who votes for Paul based upon such mails deserve what they get. I don’t think there is anything Paul could say or do which would affect his cult supporters.

  3. 3
    Eric Dondero says:

    Tsk, tsk Ron. You’ve been reading my Blog again early in the morning, and not giving proper attribution. I broke this story early yesterday, as a continuation of a story I did on this back in August.

    This is par for the course for Ron Paul. He’s been doing this exact same thing here in his Congressional District for years now.

    He used to send me, as his only Veteran on Staff, to ever rinky dink VFW and American Legion in the District, even if it was a 4 hour drive away, and had only 8 guys sitting around the bar, with 10 minutes of VFW business, and 3 hours of beer drinking. (I am both a VFW and American Legion Member, so I can diss my fellow Vets.)

    Further, you should see the taxpayer-funded District mailings he sends out from the Congressional office. All red, white and blue. Photos of Paul surrounded by Vets. F-14 fighter jets. Flags waving in the air. Aircraft Carriers. You’d think Ron Paul was your Military Commander, not your Congressman.

    It’s entirely disengenuous, for Paul is very weak on Military issues: Opposing the War in Iraq, almost opposing even the War in Afghanistan, ect…

    And now finally the major media is catching on. This will not bode well for his Presidential race, but it will sit even worse with his constituents here in CD-14.

    Ron, since you “might” have taken this story off my Blog, it means that I get a free shameless plug:

    Liberal Values readers, I invite you to come visit my Blog from time to time at http://www.libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com At the moment I have an in-depth story on this very issue.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Eric,

    Don’t flatter yourself. You did not break anything. This is based upon reports from The Politico and TPM Election Central. Normally I would have come across them in my RSS reader but yesterday I happened to see a post by Steve Benen, who is credited in the first paragraph, which had already mentioned both.

  5. 5
    Eric Dondero says:

    My original article on this was from August. It’s in my archives at my Blog.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    That still doesn’t mean the story here was taken from your blog.

  7. 7
    Eric Dondero says:

    Ron, chill dude. I’m not accusing you. I’m merely suggesting that sometimes, many of us, including myself, do subliminal plagiarism. We surf so much on political sites, and so fastly, that we don’t know where our ideas for stories comes from.

    Look, I’m guilty of this myself. I am trying to strive for more accreditation on my Blog and my Site.

    But I will say this. I strongly suspect Jonathan Martin at Politico, who broke this story yesterday, may have gotten the idea from my Blog and my article that I originally posted back in August.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    Eric,

    That assumes that I (or Jonathan Martin) even surfed to your site to see your post in the first place. In my case that would be an erroneous assumption. I can’t speak for Jonathan but I doubt it, especially considering a specific emailing from Paul precipitated the story.

  9. 9
    Eric Dondero says:

    Ron, have you seen this? Looks like Ron Paul is down 4 points in the daily tracking poll for SC. Coincidence? Or, you think maybe South Carolinians are turned off by the Ron Paul mailing? There was an article about it in the Charleson newspaper. Surely, there’s a connection there. Cause, Ron Paul is not down like this in any other State.

    Rasmussen Reports- South Carolina GOP Primary

    Mike Huckabee 25% (12%)
    Mitt Romney 18% (21%)
    Fred Thompson 18% (21%)
    Rudy Giuliani 12% (13%)
    John McCain 9% (12%)
    Ron Paul 4% (8%)
    South Carolina Survey of 654 Likely GOP Primary Voters
    Conducted December 3-4, 2007 by Rasmussen Reports

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:

    We’re dealing with such low numbers that it is hard to tell how meaningful this is. If there was newspaper coverage it is possible it hurt.

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