Texas Congressman Ron Paul runs

Published 7:34 am Monday, August 13, 2007

By By Tray Smith
Texas Congressman Ron Paul is no stranger to running for President. He was the Libertarian Party's nominee in 1988 and received the half of 1 percent of the popular vote that goes along with it. Twenty years later, he is vying to be the Republican nominee after having spent the last 10 years in the U.S. Congress. But Paul, who admits he has grim chances at winning the Republican nomination, will not be sitting in the Oval Office in January of 2009. He just might, however, be able to influence the person who is. Indeed, the Congressman has long emphasized not his participation in the contest, but the ideas he brings to the table. Those ideas have earned him support among political activists on the net roots and grassroots levels that have surprised many pundits and earned him an entrance into the political debate.
Paul intrigues voters who are interested in his unique blend of social conservatism, non-interventionism and libertarianism. He first gained notoriety after confronting former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani during the May 15th Republican Presidential debate. In the interchange, Giuliani heatedly responded to Paul's assertion that American foreign policy before 9/11 may have provoked the terrorist attacks. But Paul did not back down. He maintains that active military engagement in the Middle East has fostered resentment against us, the war in Iraq has made us less safe and international police actions are detrimental to America's security. While Paul does not seek America's retreat from the world scene, he does want to withdraw from the W.T.O, N.A.T.O. and the U.N. His ideology of non-interventionism emphasis engagement with the world, but not dominion over it. That is a great contrast with the current administration's view that basically agrees with neoconservatives like Charles Krauthammer that we, as the world's only remaining superpower, have the right to establish international policy and invite other countries to join us in its implementation.
On the home front, Paul wants to reduce the number of government responsibilities to only those listed in the Constitution. That could result in as much as a 50 percent reduction in federal spending. In the past, he has called for abolishing the IRS and the federal income tax. He would eliminate the federal reserve and reduce our large federal deficit, which is largely financed by China and Japan. He also wants to reduce the amount of regulation in the health care industry.
Despite his support for free markets, Paul has not yet joined the Wall Street Journal's editorial board in supporting an open boarder policy. Quite to the contrary, his platform calls for doing whatever it takes to physically secure our boarder, enforcing visa rules, resisting calls for amnesty and the end of birth right citizenship
Paul has consistently opposed the increased regulation of political speech. His libertarianism led him to vote against the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act, and he opposes expansions in Presidential power. Paul, a former gynecologist responsible for delivering more than 4,000 babies, opposes abortion on the grounds that it is human life. He, however, voted against the same-sex marriage amendment, suggesting he is not in lock step agreement with the social conservative movement. Indeed, Paul is arguably more concerned about the size of government than moral values. That is not necessarily a bad thing, though it may earn him disdain within the religious right.
It is not necessarily the things Paul says, but the fact that he, a candidate for President, is saying them, that elicits so much interest. While everyone will likely be able to find several areas with Paul where they disagree, everyone ought to be able to also find a point of agreement. It is that quirkiness in his beliefs and his positions, that most certainly make him an unlikely President, that make him such a good candidate. Paul's interesting, thought-provoking and original ideology deserves to be recognized and listened to. Rather or not he has a chance of winning, he does have a chance of engineering a change in the way we, especially within the Republican Party, view America's role in the world and the government's role in America. Most importantly, he has given a voice to conservatives who do not view America's military as a global police force
In order to gain momentum, a movement must have both popular sympathy and capable leadership. Republicans who reject the notion of President Bush's hyper-active foreign policy, big-government conservatism and values-driven agenda have found Ron Paul as their capable leader. He has most certainly enhanced the debate.
That is the bottom line.
Tray Smith is a sophomore at ECHS and former intern in the Riley administration. He can be reached for comment at tsmith_90@hotmail.com.

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