Daily Kos is very definitely not the place you'd expect to see a lot of fulminating praise for right-wing conservatives. Yet the diaries are full of people who can't find enough nice things to say about Rep. Ron Paul, whose smiling face is at this moment being beamed to America from the site of the Republican debate in New Hampshire--after which, we may be sure, we will see yet another round of diaries brimming with joy about Paul's sweet words against the Iraq war. You, dear reader, may even be considering writing one or more such diaries yourself.
Before you do, fellow Democrat, please understand just one thing: Your affection for Paul is far from mutual. Through his words, his actions, and his votes in Congress, he has made one thing abundantly clear over the decades: Ron Paul hates you. By building him up, by supporting him, by taking him seriously, you are not driving a wedge into the heart of the Republican Party--you are only giving him a helping hand along the road to his goal of destroying just about everything you stand for.
THE RON PAUL EXPERIENCE - A Diary Series
Let's have a look at some of the many, many issues on which Ron Paul places himself squarely in opposition to me and, presumably, you:
Abortion: Ron Paul's "libertarianism" famously does not extend to the right of a woman to control her body. In February he introduced H.R. 1094, "[t]o provide that human life shall be deemed to exist from conception." He voted against overriding Bush's veto of the stem cell bill.
The Environment: Ron Paul may be a Republican, but he's certainly not a Republican for Environmental Protection. That fine organization gave Paul a shameful 17 percent rating on its most recent Congressional Scorecard (warning: PDF). He doesn't fare much better in the eyes of the American Wilderness Coalition or the League of Conservation Voters. Paul's abysmal record on the environment is driven in large measure by his love of sweet, sweet oil: in the 109th Congress alone, he voted to voted allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to shield oil companies from MTBE contamination lawsuits, against increasing gas mileage standards, to allow new offshore drilling, and to stop making oil companies pay royalties to the government for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Par for the course for a man who called the Kyoto accords "bad science, bad economics and bad domestic policy" and "anti-Americanism masquerading as environmentalism."
Immigration: Paul marches in lock-step with the xenophobic right wing on immigration, calling last month's compromise immigration bill "a compromise of our laws, a compromise of our sovereignty, and a compromise of the Second Amendment." Yet even the hardcore nativists in the immigration debate have been hesitant to support repealing birthright citizenship as enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment, as Paul has done. His proposed Constitutional amendment, introduced as H. J. Res 46 on April 28, 2005, reads: "Any person born after the date of the ratification of this article to a mother and father, neither of whom is a citizen of the United States nor a person who owes permanent allegiance to the United States, shall not be a citizen of the United States or of any State solely by reason of birth in the United States." Only four other Representatives, all Republicans, were willing to cosponsor this proposed amendment.
Civil Rights: Paul doesn't much care for ensuring your right to vote. Like when he voted with just 32 other members of Congress against reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Or when he voted for the bogus "Federal Election Integrity Act" voter suppression bill.
But at least Ron Paul knows who's responsible for racism in America: you are. "By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality," he writes, "the advocates of so-called 'diversity' actually perpetuate racism. Their intense focus on race is inherently racist, because it views individuals only as members of racial groups." So now you know. (Apparently, saying that "[i]f you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be" is not racist, as long as it's said with a proper appreciation for free-market economics.)
Gay Rights: Paul's rigid, uncompromising libertarianism leads him to take a number of positions that liberals find objectionable or even reprehensible but which should not in themselves be taken as ipso facto evidence of bigotry. His reflexive opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for example, is consistent with libertarian positions on federalism and the right of the individual to be free from government "coercion," even if that means limiting the ability of minorities to seek employment and housing free from discrimination.
Still, libertarian orthodoxy can't fully explain Paul's hostility to gay rights, and indeed to gay people in general. The Libertarian Party, which nominated Paul as its presidential candidate in 1988, has strongly opposed the so-called Defense of Marriage Act from the beginning; Paul supports it. While he opposed the "Federal Marriage Amendment" that would have outlawed gay marriage everywhere, he actually cosponsored the odious "Marriage Protection Act," which would nonsensically bar federal courts from considering challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, which is a federal law. "The definition of marriage--a union between a man and a woman--can be found in any dictionary," he writes condescendingly. Despite Paul's disingenuous claims that he is a "strict constitutionalist," most legal scholars agree that the so-called Marriage Protection Act would be unconstitutional.
You also will not find Paul listed among the 124 co-sponsors of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2007, which would repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring gays and lesbians from serving in the military. Maybe he's worried that they'll take their "gay agenda" to far-flung corners of the world. He also doesn't want gay people adopting children while they're not serving in the military, either.
On a personal level, we have this 1993 quote wherein Paul equates homosexuality with "sexual deviance." And let's not forget his wink-wink characterization of Hillary Clinton as "a far leftist with very close female friends".
Church-State Separation: From keeping "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to co-sponsoring the school prayer amendment to keeping the Ten Commandments on a courthouse lawn, this "strict constitutionalist" isn't a big fan of the Constitutionally-mandated separation of church and state. "Religious morality will always inform the voting choices of Americans of all faiths," he writes. "...The collectivist left" --that's you!-- "is threatened by strong religious institutions, because it wants an ever-growing federal government to serve as the unchallenged authority in our society.... So the real motivation behind the insistence on a separation of church and state is not based on respect for the First amendment, but rather on a desire to diminish the influence of religious conservatives at the ballot box."
And just in case the dirty liberals in the federal court system might take it into their heads to enforce the Establishment Clause, Mr. Strict Constitutionalist introduced a bill to bar the federal courts from hearing any such cases. No wonder James Dobson's Family Research Council gave Paul a 75 percent rating on their 2005 scorecard.
International Relations: Like crackpot paleoconservatives everywhere, Paul wants us out of the United Nations, which is just a bunch of un-American non-Americans out to destroy America. Darfur is also filled with non-Americans, so you certainly won't find Ron Paul lifting a finger to stop the genocide, or even acknowledge that genocide is taking place. I guess that's why he's one of only four members of Congress to receive an "F" rating on Darfur from the Genocide Intervention Network.
Peace and Military Issues: With all the hooting and hollering about Paul's opposition to the Iraq war, it sure seems like he should have been able to get better than 58 percent from PeacePAC, doesn't it? Even Joe Lieberman managed to get 63 percent. (Still, it beats the 45 percent Paul got from them in the previous Congress.) He did a little better from Peace Action, managing 67 percent--easily the top score for a Republican, but a below-average score for Democrats. (Still, it beats the 40 percent he got from them in 2004.)
And while Paul may oppose the Iraq war, he doesn't seem to have much use for the men and women who have to fight it. Paul received an "F" rating from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. It's not easy to get an F from the IAVA; Paul shares this distinction with only six other members of the House.
Taxes: Do we even need to go into this one? If you audaciously believe that we need a progressive system of taxation in this country, here's what Ron Paul thinks of you:
- "[W]e have exactly the kind of steeply progressive tax system championed by Karl Marx. One might expect the left to be happy with such an arrangement. At its core, however, the collectivist left in this country simply doesn’t believe in tax cuts. Deep down, they believe all wealth belongs to the state, which should redistribute it via tax and welfare policies to achieve some mythical 'social justice.'... The class war tactic highlights what the left does best: divide Americans into groups. Collectivists see all issues of wealth and taxation as a zero-sum game played between competing groups. If one group gets a tax break, other groups must be rallied against it- even if such a cut would ultimately benefit them.... Upward mobility is possible only in a free-market capitalist system, whereas collectivism dooms the poor to remain exactly where they are."
- "Collectivist politicians forget that the American dream of becoming wealthy is alive and well. They seek to encourage resentment of the wealthy, when in truth most Americans admire successful people. They forget that upward mobility, the chance to start from humble beginnings and achieve wealth and position, is virtually impossible in high-tax socialist societies. Most of all, however, the pro-tax politicians forget that your money belongs to you. As a society, we should not forget their dishonesty when we go to the polls."
Screw this; this diary's way too long already. Worker rights: Voted to defund OSHA's ergonomics rules. Voted against increasing mine safety standards. Hates unions. Campaign finance reform: Opposes. Social Security and Medicare: Repeats the Republicans' lies about the programs' solvency. Consumer protection: Voted for the bankruptcy bill. Voted to make it harder to file class-action lawsuits. Universal health care: don't make me laugh. Privatizing everything: the Internets are not large enough to hold all the citations.
"But he's against the war!" Yes, he is. So is Pat Buchanan. So is David Duke. If either of them were on the stage in New Hampshire today, full of sweet words about the war, would you be as quick to praise their "independence," to gush about how well of course I wouldn't vote for him myself but he sure is awesome anyway? Do you truly require nothing from a political candidate other than that he oppose the war?
Think about it.