"Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly." – G. K. Chesterton

Posts tagged ‘Ron Paul’

A Tale of Two Presidential Candidates

So the Iowa Caucuses have come and gone.  Mitt Romney has cruised to victory by the whomping total of eight votes, while Ron Paul sank to third place.  Coming in second was Rick Santorum, who I haven’t written about and actually know very little about.  If he manages to win some primaries, I may have to start paying attention to him.  Ron Paul is a loony, as I’ve pointed out before, so I imagine Romney will win.  Then again I’ve predicted victories for both Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich during this election cycle, and you can see how well those turned out.  Perhaps I’d do better to stay out of the prediction game.

Instead I’ll focus on a curious instance of hypocricy involving Mr. Paul and Mr. Romney.  It’s no secret that Paul published a string of racist newsletters during the 80’s and 90’s and that he’s know claiming that he had no relationship to them, even thought they have his name in large type across the top, even though he owned the company that published them, even though he puts his signature on this piece of paper:

Most people agree that it was atrocious for Ron Paul to write and do these things, and that the excuses he’s served up to justify it are rather thin.

Now let’s look at Mitt Romney.  He also has a long history of association with a racist organization, namely the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, hereinafter the LDS Church.  While everyone knows that this organization once promotoed polygamy and that they wear funny underwear, fewer people are aware of their racist history.  First they banned blacks from the priesthood until 1978 and only changed that policy when it became clear they’d lose their tax-exempt status if they didn’t.  Second, their leaders have a history of saying things like this:

The reason that one would lose his blessings by marrying a Negro is due to the restriction placed upon them. “No person having the least particle of Negro blood can hold the Priesthood” (Brigham Young). It does not matter if they are one-sixth Negro or one-hundred and sixth, the curse of no Priesthood is the same. … The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence. At least in the cases of the Lamanites and the Negro we have the definite word of the Lord Himself that he placed a dark skin upon them as a curse — as a punishment and as a sign to all others. He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of extension of the curse. – Apostle Mark Peterson

I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the Negro is after. He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. He isn’t just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn’t that he just desires to go to the same theater as the white people. From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the Negro seeks absorption with the white race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. That is his objective and we must face it. We must not allow our feelings to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for Negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have.  – Apostle Mark Peterson

Negroes … are merely the unfortunate group that has been selected by professional Communist agitators to be used as the primary source of cannon fodder. Not one in a thousand Americans — black or white — really understands the full implications of today’s civil rights agitation. The planning, direction, and leadership come from the Communists, and most of those are white men who fully intend to destroy America by spilling Negro blood, rather than their own.  – LDS President Ezra Taft Benson

Yet while everyone agrees that it was wrong for Paul to hobnot with racists, not everyone agrees that it was wrong for Romeny to do so.  In fact, the majority opinion among the chattering classes seems to be that even mentioning Romney’s Mormonism is a type of bigotry.

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Ron Paul

In the past week I’ve written posts about Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.  Now it’s time to write about someone who I truly thought I’d never see again.  That someone is Ron Paul.

In 2008, Ron Paul ran for President.  He drummed up a lot of fanatical support among certain young people, who were convinced that he had a good shot a victory.  Instead he flopped miserably in the Republican primaries.  Then his followers switched to believing that he’d run as an independent.  He didn’t do so.  Then there was a hair-brained scheme to take over the Republican Convention and get him nominated.  That didn’t work either.  So by the end of the 2008 campaign, it looked as if Ron Paul’s campaign had been an utter disaster and a complete waste of time and money.  While he would surely hold onto his Texas House seat, I and most others expected that we’d see no more of him at the national level.

I guess the joke’s on us.  Ron Paul is back and surging in the polls.  A couple polls have shown him at or near the top of the Republican field in Iowa, with caucuses just twelve days away.  National polls show him third in the Republican field.  So now it’s time to look at what Ron Paul truly stands for.

His platform seems to be made up of two halves.  One half is courageous positions where he stands up for truth, fairness, freedom, and limited government in ways that no other candidate would consider doing.  The other half is sheer madness, causing one to wonder whether he’s not only insane but violently insane.

In the first category are his positions on the Iraq War (the only ‘Pub to vote against it in 2003), torture (completely opposed), indefinite detention without parole (opposed), the War on Drugs (seemingly willing to scale it back significantly), and corporate subsidies (ready to eliminate all of them).  These positions are commendable, and we’re not likely to see any serious candidate advancing them any time soon.

In the second category are many troubling things.  For example, Ron Paul is the only member of Congress to oppose the Civil Rights Act.  He has taken other positions that hint at racism, such as being the lone vote against a Medal of Honor for Rosa Parks.  This is in line with the notorious series of racist newsletters that he put his name on in the 80’s and 90’s, then defended, then decided that he had no association with.  Next comes his paranoid ranting about Mexico, including bogus claims that the US and Mexican governments are seeking to merge the two nations and build a “NAFTA Superhighway” and so forth.  All of this is pure baloney, but Paul sticks to it like a leech.  Lastly but not least is his economic policies, which center around abolishing the Federal Reserve and recreating the gold standard.  While I proudly hate economics, I’m smart enough to know that such a move would be suicidal to our way of life.

So that’s Ron Paul in a nutshell: fifty percent brave and truthful, fifty percent off his rocker.  A typical supporter will focus on the first half of what the man says while ignoring the second half.  But ignoring the second half would be foolish.  We cannot ignore malignant, violent insanity just because the person in question has a few positions that we like.  So much for Ron Paul.

Presidential Politics

After many election cycles as a political junky of sorts, I find my attention drifting farther and farther away from national politics.  Why?  Partly because my faith is Jesus Christ has opened the door to many more important things to be interested in.  Partly because in the current situation there seems to be little hope that either major party will accomplish anything worthwhile.  And partly because it’s just lost its entertainment value.  When I was younger, the political process was interrupted by moment of surreality, as our elected leaders did things so bizarre and ridiculous that people struggled to find any decent way of responding.  But now the surrealism is flowing non-stop.  There’s no longer any grounded realism for the surrealism to be contrasted to.

Let me focus for a second on presidential politics.  For most of American history, folks ran for President if and only if they wanted to be President.  There simply wasn’t any other reason to toss your hat into the ring.  Over the past generation we’ve seen the rise of “second-tier candidates”.  These guys (and they’re always guys) list themselves as contenders for the nomination of the major parties while knowing perfectly well that they have no chance of winning.  They do it to get attention for their pet causes.  This makes sense, given  the enormous amount of media attention that gets directed at the presidential race.  By joining the race, one gets to appear at debates and get mentioned in some of the coverage.  It’s a relatively low-cost way to get publicity.  That’s what fuels the campaigns of ‘single-digit midgets’ like Pat Buchanan, Tom Tancredo, Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel.

The last decade has seen the rise of a third type of candidate: the joke candidate.  The joke candidate has no interest in becoming President or in advancing a political agenda.  Instead, he or she runs only to boost his or her own ego, and thus engages in outlandish behavior just for the heck of it.  The watershed moment for joke candidates was the 2003 recall election for the governorship of California.  Many joke candidates ran: Arrianna Huffington, Gary Coleman, and Larry Flynt, just to name three.  One joke candidate won: Arnold Schwarzenegger.  There can be little doubt that having this incompetent buffoon in office for seven years contributed to the financial disaster that hit California during his second term.  But there can be less doubt that the whole experience boosted his ego, and that he enjoyed behaving like a small, spoiled child while running the biggest state government in the country.

Joke candidates didn’t really hit the presidential race en masse until the currect campaign cycle.  Thus far, four different joke candidates–Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michelle Bachmann, and Herman Cain, having reached first or second in the polls in the race of the Republican nomination.  More startling still is the fact that the last man on that list is still first in the polls, with the primaries starting in two and a half months.  Now my personal prediction is that Mitt Romeny will eke out a victory in the primaries.  However, anyone looking at the current situation would have to acknowledge an outside possibility that Cain will win, or that some other joker will manage to come out on top.  And if I were an intelligent Republican, that possibility would not make me happy.

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