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by William Hughes
Sunday, Apr. 20, 2008 at 11:42 AM
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has taken a lot of hits during his campaign for the White House. What scares folks about this guy? I went to hear him speak, on April 14, 2008, at Goucher College, Towson, MD. Unlike some dubious liberals in the Congress, Rep. Paul voted against the USA Patriot Act. He also wants to end the Iraq War and bring the troops home, now; and to dismantle America’s global empire before it bankrupts the country. Sounds like Ralph Nader to me!
ron_paul.jpg, image/jpeg, 480x496
“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.” - Mark Twain
Towson, MD - He got an enthusiastic standing ovation from the capacity crowd when he walked out onto the Kraushaar auditorium stage, at Goucher College, just north of Baltimore City. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) was the featured speaker at the school’s “President’s Forum Lecture,” on April 14, 2008. First thing he did was to introduce his wife of 51 years, Carol, who was seated in the audience. They have five children and three of them, like himself, are doctors. He said they also have “18 grandchildren” and he knows all of their names, but that “she knows all their birthdays, as well.” Although, it’s clear that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is way ahead of the pack in the Republican Party’s race for the presidency, Rep. Paul said his campaign “isn’t over until we have a convention and a nominee.” That line brought a wild burst of applause from the mostly youthful audience.
Here’s a guy, I thought, who’s comfortable with himself. No pretenses. No prepared speech. No notes. Just up there winging it. He knows what he wants to say and he says it. He reminded me a lot of Jimmy Stewart, the late actor. Incidentally, both Rep. Paul and Stewart were from the same great state--Pennsylvania. As a young man, the Congressman, now 72 years old, had a milk route in his home town of Green Spring, not far from Pittsburgh. One of pro baseball’s legends, a member of the Hall of Fame from the Pittsburgh Pirates, was a customer of his--Honus Wagner. (1) (Do you have any idea what a Honus Wagner baseball card (T206) is worth today? Think megabucks!) Rep. Paul went on to Gettysburg College and then chose medicine as a career. He graduated from Duke University’s School of Medicine. (2)
Rep. Paul said one of the reasons he is running for president is to have the opportunity to discuss with the American people issues that he insists are “vital” to our fading democracy. One of those seminal matters, he underscored, is “individual liberty.” Rep. Paul, unlike pseudo liberals, such as Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), stood up for our rights in the U.S. Congress and voted against the draconian U.S.A. Patriot Act. He also opposed the Bush-Cheney Gang’s formation of the Homeland Security Agency, which he labeled a “gigantic bureaucracy.” He has repeatedly challenged the administration over its unlawful spying on the American people, the gutting of Habeas Corpus, and the emergence of a fear-dominated surveillance state. Rep. Paul, a champion of the U.S. Constitution, said: “Individual liberty has been neglected in this country...The Founders understood this issue and that is what ‘limited government’ is all about.” He believes, too, that “Habeas Corpus,” the ancient Great Writ, via England, now centuries old, “should apply” to the detainees at Gitmo. (3)
On the war, Rep. Paul voted, in Oct., 2002, against the U.S. Congress delegating the power to use military force against Iraq to President George W. Bush. He said that, as soon as the Bush-Cheney Gang took office in Jan., 2001, “and that was long before 9/11,” they were looking to bring about “regime change” in Iraq. He also believes that the “Israeli government and the Neocons want the U.S. to attack Iran.” (3) Take that Sen. Joe Lieberman!
Meanwhile, across the Party aisle, a hawkish Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), a wannabe president, not only strongly endorsed the Iraq War, but she has continue to vote to fund it, including supporting Bush’s badly flawed “Surge” strategy. She argues, like the Neocon V.P., Dick Cheney, that Iran is not only a threat to Israel, but to the U.S., as well. Rep. Paul said: “I voted against the [Iraq] war and right now I vote to bring the troops home...We don’t need these perpetual wars.” (4) He reminded the audience, that according to the economic experts, the price tag for the Iraq conflict could come in at “three to five trillion dollars.”
Now, the latter points sound like something Noam Chomsky, a rabid anti-imperialist, would make. Yet, when Rep. Paul makes them, they’re ignored by most of the Chomskyites. Go figure! With respect to the Neocons, Rep. Paul emphasized: “They claim we have ‘a moral duty’ to spread our goodness around the world. How can you have a ‘moral’ issue and spread it with force, guns and bombs? That cancels out all of your ‘moral’ imperatives.”
As for the widespread American Empire, with its 714 military bases around the globe and locations in 130 countries, Rep. Paul, a/k/a “Dr. No,” is against that, too. (5) He advocates “a noninterventionist foreign policy.” He even supports trade with Castro’s Cuba. What an enlightened idea! Rep. Paul is also deeply fearful that the ongoing Iraq debacle will end just like the blood- stained Vietnam War disaster did, with the U.S. troops leaving that country under “dire circumstances.” Will history repeat itself?
Rep. Paul said the American Empire, particularly its role as a global cop, is costing taxpayers “one trillion dollars a year,[and that] we’re less safe and less secure today.” (6) He urged a new foreign policy where the U.S. will be “friends with [all] people...have diplomatic relations, trade and travel.” Rep. Paul added that it is long past the time for the U.S. “to get out of the Middle East.” (7) He also said that “the U.S. should talk with Iran, like we did with the Soviet Union, during the ‘Cold War.’” (3)
After Rep. Paul’s speech, and during the Q&A period, the President of Goucher, Sanford Ungar, who served as moderator of the event, asked the Congressman this question: “Who do you think is going to be elected president?” After pausing for a moment, Rep. Paul answered: “Obama!” Then, he quickly added, with a broad smile on his face: “But, check him out, closely.” (7)
Rep. Paul is right on at least three of the most important issues of our day: getting out of the war in Iraq and bringing the troops home, now; defending and preserving individual liberty; and bringing an end to the American Empire before it bankrupts our treasury and drags the country into a deep recession. (8) In fact, he sounded a lot like Ralph Nader to me. On many other issues, however, like immigration, to name just one, I disagree with him.
If we would have had a majority of Constitutionalists, like Rep. Paul, in the Congress, to vote against the Iraq War, 4,039 U.S. troops would still be alive today and the hell that is Iraq could have been avoided. In any event, if the slippery Hillary Clinton does end up wresting the Democratic nomination from Sen. Obama, via manipulating the “Super Delegates,” a vibrant Third Party ticket of Nader-Paul and/or Paul-Nader might surface. Who knows? Surely, there are growing numbers in this country who are sick and tired of the Special-Interest-driven antics of the DemRepublicrats.
5. Chalmers Johnson’s “The Sorrows of Empire.”
7. http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011/%24File/rwp_06_011_walt.pdf and http://wrmea.org/
8. http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/50312 and
©2008, William Hughes, All Rights Reserved.
William Hughes is a video and print journalist. His videos can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=liamh2.
Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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