December 24, 2007

Ron Paul tripped up on "Meet the Press" despite making good points

Anyone else catch Ron Paul on "Meet the Press" yesterday morning? Wow, it wasn't very pretty for a portion of the interview as host Tim Russert made Paul look foolish. I admire a lot of Paul's platform (as I wrote here and here), but the more I've seen of him and his defense of positions, the less impressed I've become.

First, fellow DE blogger Dana Garrett makes an excellent point about Paul's rationale of a "ghost written" document attributed to his campaign. The newsletter in question contained some racially charged material and as noted Paul has stated that the newsletter article in question was done not by him, but by a ghost-writer. Then why, Garrett asks, doesn't Paul reveal the name of the ghost writer? I think it's an excellent question. I'm not accusing Paul of being a liar or racist, but if considering the newsletter bore his name, I'd think a presidential candidate would want to set the record straight at all costs.

But let's examine the interview (all emphases mine):

MR. RUSSERT: Under President Paul, if North Korea invaded South Korea, would we respond?

REP. PAUL: I don't--why should we unless the Congress declared war? I mean, why are we there? Could--South Korea, they're begging and pleading to unify their country, and we get in their way. They want to build bridges and go back and forth. Vietnam, we left under the worst of circumstances. The country is unified. They have become Westernized. We trade with them. Their president comes here. And Korea, we stayed there and look at the mess. I mean, the problem still exists, and it's drained trillion dollars over these last, you know, 50 years. So stop--we can't afford it anymore. We're going bankrupt. All empires end because the countries go bankrupt, and the, and the currency crashes. That's what happening. And we need to come out of this sensibly rather than waiting for a financial crisis.

But Vietnam isn't Korea. Their histories are different. Under Paul's thesis, we (meaning the U.S.) shouldn't make use of military action unless our own territory is attacked. We should not assist an ally, even one under attack by such a ruthless regime as North Korea. I guess my question would then be, if we just yawn as the North Koreas get their way at various locales all over the planet, what will be left to sustain our economy as our democratic trading partners fall? In addition, wouldn't this same thesis have applied to pre-December 7, 1941 regarding assistance to day-later allies Britain and Russia? In addition, there have been overtures about possible reunification of the Koreas; however, the South certainly doesn't want to be ruled by Kim Jong-il and his Stalinist system. Which then brings me to my highlighted text: What mess? That we've helped preserve a thriving democracy against the most oppressive regime on the globe?

MR. RUSSERT: So if Iran invaded Israel, what do we do?

REP. PAUL: Well, they're not going to. That is like saying "Iran is about to invade Mars." I mean, they have nothing. They don't have an army or navy or air force. And Israelis have 300 nuclear weapons. Nobody would touch them. But, no, if, if it were in our national security interests and Congress says, "You know, this is very, very important, we have to declare war." But presidents don't have the authority to go to war.

MR. RUSSERT: Would you cut off all foreign aid to Israel?

REP. PAUL: Absolutely. But remember, the Arabs would get cut off, too, and the Arabs get three times as much aid altogether than Israel. But why, why make Israel so dependent? Why do we--they give up their sovereignty. They can't defend their borders without coming to us. If they want a peace treaty, they have to ask us permission. They can't--we interfere when the Arab leagues make overtures to them. So I would say that we've made them second class citizens. I, I think they would take much better care of themselves. They would have their national sovereignty back, and I think they would be required then to have a stronger economy because they would have to pay their own bills.

This may sound logical on its face, but it ignores an obvious point: We may cease all aid to Israel and its Arab neighbors, but other countries will not, especially in regards to the latter. And Paul says that Iran won't invade Israel, but I think Russert would have phrased it better with the word "attack." If -- when -- Iran is nuclear capable, this threat becomes greater than ever. Keep in mind that Iran, as it's currently governed, is not a rational regime. They, like many of their Arab neighbors, want Israel eradicated. The price of mutual annihilation that would result from an Israeli counter-attack doesn't seem like madness to fanatics that dream of becoming suicide martyrs.

MR. RUSSERT: You talked about September 11th in one of the Republican debates back in May, and this is what you said.

REP. PAUL: They don't come here to attack us because we're rich and we're free. They come and they, and they attack us because we're over there.

MR. RUSSERT: "Because we're over there." And then you added this on Tuesday: "But" al-Qaeda has "determination. The determination comes from being provoked." How have we, the United States, provoked al-Qaeda?

REP. PAUL: Well, read what the lead--the ringleader says. Read what Osama bin Laden said. We had, we had a base, you know, in Saudi Arabia that was an affront to their religion, that was blasphemy as far as they were concerned. We were bombing Iraq for 10 years, we were--we've interfered in Iran since 1953. Our CIA's been involved in the overthrow of their governments. We're bought right now in the process of overthrowing that nation. We side more with Israel and Pakistan, and, and they get annoyed with this. How would we react if we were on their land--if they were on our land? We would be very annoyed, and we'd be fighting mad.

While Paul does make some legitimate points about our foreign policy and the CIA, his statement about us being in Saudi Arabia ignores the fact that we were invited to set up the base there. It's not as if we just packed up and moved in there. The implication of this is is that Paul says we ought to give more -- or at least as much -- consideration of what a terrorist mastermind like bin Laden desires than the legitimate government of a sovereign country.

I'm not certain what Paul means by "We side more with Israel and Pakistan"; perhaps he meant "than" in place of "and." Which would make sense, in terms of Paul's belief but also in terms of how it should be. Why should the U.S. be "even" in terms of how it deals with Israel and its Arab neighbors? I don't plan to lay out here just why that should be (since I've articulated it at Colossus numerous times already), but when you have numerous states (and their proxies) absolutely dedicated to the destruction of another state/people, that doesn't exactly warrant "even treatment" in my book.

UPDATE: Sheldon Richman at Liberty & Power was unimpressed with Paul's "MTP" effort.

MR. RUSSERT: And you actually go further. You said this. "Abolish the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency and dismantle every other agency except the Justice and Defense Departments." And then you went on. "If elected president, Paul says he would abolish public schools, welfare, Social Security and farm subsidies."

REP. PAUL: OK, you may have picked that up 20 or 30 years ago, it's not part of my platform. As a matter of fact, I'm the only one that really has an interim program. Technically, a lot of those functions aren't constitutional. But the point is I'm not against the FBI investigation in doing a proper role, but I'm against the FBI spying on people like Martin Luther King. I'm against the CIA fighting secret wars and overthrowing government and interfering...

MR. RUSSERT: Would you abolish them?

REP. PAUL: I would, I would not abolish all their functions, but I--the, the, the...

MR. RUSSERT: What about public schools? Are you still...

REP. PAUL: OK, but let's go, let's go with the CIA. They're, they're involved in, in, in torture. I would abolish that, yes. But I wouldn't abolish their right and our, our requirement to accumulate intelligence for national defense purposes.

There's a significant difference between abolishing the agencies and reforming them. Why not just tell Russert that you would significantly reform the CIA and FBI? I mean, the FBI spying on MLK is an event from forty years ago! Paul definitely doesn't score any points here for his lack of clarity on just what he'd do with two vital American agencies.

MR. RUSSERT: You mentioned September 11th, a former aide of yours, Eric Dondero said this. "When September 11th happened, he just completely changed," talking about you. "One of the first things he said was not how awful the tragedy was, it was, `Now we're going to get big government.'" Was that your reaction?

REP. PAUL: Well, I'm, I'm surprised somebody like that who's a disgruntled former employee who literally was put out. But, yes, thought...

MR. RUSSERT: He said he quit because he disagreed with you.

MR. RUSSERT: What about public schools?

REP. PAUL: That's what I'm trying to...

MR. RUSSERT: Are you still for...

REP. PAUL: No, I'm not--I've never, I've never taken the position--is it in my platform? And...

MR. RUSSERT: It was--when you ran for president in 1988, you called for the abolition of public schools.

REP. PAUL: I, I bet that's a misquote. I, I do not recall that. I'd like to know where that came from, because I went...

What Paul rebuts here certainly may be the case; however, the "disgruntled employee" line sounds petty, especially if you watched the interview on TV. (I actually happen to think that Paul's supposed expressed thoughts are not out of line as "one of the first things he said." It's a legitimate concern as a libertarian.) Then, there's a "misquote" about abolishing public schools and a demand to know where it came from. The problem is that Tim Russert isn't in the habit of utilizing specious sources.

Perhaps where Dr. Paul was made to appear most foolish was when Russert asked him about earmarks and term limits:

MR. RUSSERT: When I looked at your record, you talked about big government and how opposed you are to it, but you seem to have a different attitude about your own congressional district. For example, "Congress decided to send billions of dollars to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Guess how Ron Paul voted. `Is bailing out people" that choose--"that chose to live on the coastline a proper function of the federal government?' he asks." And you said no. And yet, this: "Paul's current district, which includes Galveston and reaches into" the "Brazoria County, draws a substantial amount of federal flood insurance payments." For your own congressional district. This is the Houston Chronicle: "Representative Ron Paul has long crusaded against a big central government. But he also" "represented a congressional district that's consistently among the top in Texas in its reliance on dollars from Washington. In the first nine months of the federal government's" fiscal "2006 fiscal year," "it received more than $4 billion." And they report, The Wall Street Journal, 65 earmark-targeted projects, $400 million that you have put into congressional bills for your district, which leads us to the Congressional Quarterly. "The Earmark Dossier of `Dr. No.' There isn't much that" Ron--Dr. "Ron Paul thinks the federal government should do. Apparently, though, earmarks" for his district "are OK. Paul is the sponsor of no fewer than 10 earmarks in the water resources bill," all benefiting his district. The Gulf Intercoastal Waterway: $32 million. The sunken ship you want to be moved from Freeport Harbor. The Bayou Navigation Channel. They talk about $8 million for shrimp fishermen.

REP. PAUL: You, you know...

MR. RUSSERT: Why, why would you load up...

REP. PAUL: You got it completely wrong. I've never voted for an earmark in my life.

MR. RUSSERT: No, but you put them in the bill.

REP. PAUL: I put it in because I represent people who are asking for some of their money back. But it doesn't cut any spending to vote against an earmark. And the Congress has the responsibility to spend the money. Why leave the money in the executive branch and let them spend the money?

MR. RUSSERT: Well, that's like, that's like saying you voted for it before you voted against it.

REP. PAUL: Nah! Come on, Tim. That has nothing to do with that.

MR. RUSSERT: If, if, if you put it in the bill and get the headlight back home...

REP. PAUL: No, I, I make the request. They're not in the bills.

MR. RUSSERT: ...and then you, then you know it's going to pass Congress and so you, you don't refuse the money.

REP. PAUL: Well, no, of course not. It's like taking a tax credit. If you have a tax credit, I'm against the taxes but I take all my tax credits. I want to get...

MR. RUSSERT: But if you were true...

REP. PAUL: ...the money back for the people.

MR. RUSSERT: If you were true to your philosophy, you would say no pork spending in my district.

REP. PAUL: No, no, that's not it. They steal our money, that's like saying that people shouldn't take Social Security money.

MR. RUSSERT: For...

REP. PAUL: I don't advocate that.

MR. RUSSERT: All right, let me ask you this...

REP. PAUL: I'm trying to save the system, make the system work.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask you this...

REP. PAUL: But no, I think you have it all mixed up. Now, you're confused.

MR. RUSSERT: All right. It's all facts.

REP. PAUL: You're confused.

MR. RUSSERT: This is The Wall Street Journal. You load up the bills with special projects...

REP. PAUL: I--no, no, no. No, you don't.

MR. RUSSERT: You do. You do. You deny that you have, you have...

REP. PAUL: How many of them ever got passed? But the whole point is, we have a right and an...

MR. RUSSERT: They pass. You vote against them, but you take the money.

REP. PAUL: You don't quite understand.

MR. RUSSERT: OK.

To me, there's nothing more damaging than a candidate that does precisely what their professed philosophy denounces. Here we have Paul inserting earmarks into bills, but then he votes against them all the while with the knowledge that the bills will pass. His reasoning, such that it is, is just a poor excuse which basically says "The money is going to get spent anyway, so I might as well get a portion for my district."

MR. RUSSERT: Let me ask this. Term limits. You ran on term limits. "I think we should have term limits for our elected leaders." You've been in Congress 18 years.

REP. PAUL: But I never ran on voluntary term limits. There's a big difference. I didn't sign a pledge for a voluntary term limit. Matter of fact, some of the best people that I worked with, who were the most principled, came in on voluntary term limits. Some of them broke their promises, and some didn't, and they were very good people. So some of the good people left. And it's true, I, I didn't run on that, Tim, you're wrong on that. I support term limits. You know, I, I, and I voted all--we had 16 votes one time on term limits, and I voted yes for them.

MR. RUSSERT: Yeah.

REP. PAUL: But voluntary term limits is a lot different than compulsory term limits. It's good to have a turnover, but that isn't the solution either. It's the philosophy of government that counts. It's only...

MR. RUSSERT: But if you believe in the philosophy of term limits, why wouldn't you voluntarily...

REP. PAUL: Well, it's, it's one of those, it's one of those things that's not on--I mean, you don't see that out I'm campaigning on that. I mean, I don't think it's--I don't think it's the solution. Philosophy is the solution. What the role of government ought to be, so if you have a turnover and the same people come in and they believe in big government, nothing good is going to come of it.

Ugh. Just reread that last "answer" above. I don't know which is worse, this excuse of an answer, or the one regarding earmarks.

To be sure, Dr. Paul, in my opinion, scored big points with his replies about immigration, interpretation of the 14th Amendment, the Drug War, bringing American troops home, and the purpose of the Civil War. I encourage everyone to read them or, better yet, watch the interview. Reasonable people can debate the policy differences I've questioned in this post, but the sad thing is that Paul let those explanations, and the ones noted in this paragraph, get overshadowed by Russert exposing his hypocrisy on earmarks and term limits. These were devastating, in my view. It might not appear so in print (the transcript); this is why I encourage you to watch the interview.

Posted by Hube at December 24, 2007 09:39 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Hube:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years- enjoyed reading your blog for another year!

AJ

Posted by: AJ Lynch at December 24, 2007 10:45 AM

"Under Paul's thesis, we (meaning the U.S.) shouldn't make use of military action unless our own territory is attacked. We should not assist an ally, even one under attack by such a ruthless regime as North Korea. I guess my question would then be, if we just yawn as the North Koreas get their way at various locales all over the planet, what will be left to sustain our economy as our democratic trading partners fall?" -Hube

I thought that the domino theory had been discounted. My counter-question would be, what would be left to sustain North Korea's economy as they wasted all of their resources fighting our democratic trading partners? Besides, I don't think the US should have allies. Trading partners, yes. But, why should we promise to engage in war over a future act of aggression. It is this form of tangling alliances that led to WWI. What happens if two of our allies (like the Kurds and Turks) go to war with each other? Should we fight on both sides? This is why I oppose having any allies.

"We may cease all aid to Israel and its Arab neighbors, but other countries will not, especially in regards to the latter." -Hube

But especially in regards to the former.

"While Paul does make some legitimate points about our foreign policy and the CIA, his statement about us being in Saudi Arabia ignores the fact that we were invited to set up the base there. It's not as if we just packed up and moved in there. The implication of this is is that Paul says we ought to give more -- or at least as much -- consideration of what a terrorist mastermind like bin Laden desires than the legitimate government of a sovereign country." -Hube

Yet, Iraq was as legitimate a nation and Saddam as legitimate a leader as Saudia Arabia and its King -Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. The US has never paid attantion to either sovereignty or legitimacy, but just because a dictator invites us to put a military base in their country does not obligate us to do so.

"There's a significant difference between abolishing the agencies and reforming them. Why not just tell Russert that you would significantly reform the CIA and FBI? I mean, the FBI spying on MLK is an event from forty years ago! Paul definitely doesn't score any points here for his lack of clarity on just what he'd do with two vital American agencies." -Hube

Yes. This was unclear. He would move the CIA under the DoD - so that it is subject to Congressional oversight, and I don't know about the FBI. But I wonder why we even need an FBI. There are really only three Federal crimes (or these are the only three that are in the Constitution), piracy (terrorism), conterfeiting, and treason. I think that the Secret Service and DoD ought to deal with these issues. Every other 'Federal' crime is an affront to the Rights of the People through their agents, the States, to deal with criminal behavior of its citizens.

"To me, there's nothing more damaging than a candidate that does precisely what their professed philosophy denounces. Here we have Paul inserting earmarks into bills, but then he votes against them all the while with the knowledge that the bills will pass. His reasoning, such that it is, is just a poor excuse which basically says "The money is going to get spent anyway, so I might as well get a portion for my district." -Hube

Earmarks do not increase spending. Earmarks direct the executive on how the money must be spent. Without earmarks, the money would be spent at the discreation of the executive. This gives the executive the power to spend the bills primarily in his supporters favor. Earmarks protect Congressman from executive bias and wrath. Earmarks do nothing to increase or decrease spending. It is the unConstitutional bills which do that, and the fact that the Executive signs these bills into law.

As far as term-limits are concerned. If a Congressman thought that term-limits were important, then he has a duty to remain in Congress until term-limits pass. If term-limits are voluntary, then we will end up with a Congress filled with Congressman who don't favor term limits. Same thing with spending, if you want Paul to voluntarily not include earmarks, the executive will cut him out of the spending. Then only Congressman why really like the system of spending and earmarks will remain in Congress. Paul must use earmarks and vote against the spending to fulfill his ethical duty. Paul must remain in Congress and fight for term-limits to fulfill his ethical duty.

Posted by: rhys at December 24, 2007 11:02 AM

Thanks for the comments, rhys. My thoughts:

I thought that the domino theory had been discounted. My counter-question would be, what would be left to sustain North Korea's economy as they wasted all of their resources fighting our democratic trading partners?

You'll notice I said "North Koreas" meaning any other despotic regime(s) that'd take advantage of the US's isolationism.

But especially in regards to the former.

Russia and China offer significant aid to Israel? Europe?

The US has never paid attantion to either sovereignty or legitimacy, but just because a dictator invites us to put a military base in their country does not obligate us to do so.

"Never paid attention" is just hyperbole. "At times" would be more accurate. Nevertheless, your contention is that bin Laden's gripe is legit b/c the Saudi government invited us to establish a base there. OK.

Earmarks do not increase spending. Earmarks direct the executive on how the money must be spent.

I'm sorry, but this is a lame justification. You mean to say that then the legislature cannot direct the executive to spend the money more wisely? Or return it to the public at large in the form of a tax rebate, say?

As far as term-limits are concerned. If a Congressman thought that term-limits were important, then he has a duty to remain in Congress until term-limits pass.

For a candidate that says "it's all about philosophy," Paul sure doesn't abide by it when it comes to the philosophy of term limits (or earmarks) now, does he?

Posted by: Hube at December 24, 2007 11:16 AM

Hube:

Nice catch. I had missed the interview because I was travelling.

I never said RP would make a good president. He is not a very attractive candidate. But his ideas (in broad strokes) are a nice counterbalance to the Republicrats. These ideas must be presented to the American people. Maybe, just maybe, his positions will influence the Left and Right to return to the center (and the constitution).

RP is right about one thing though. Going of on military adventures without a declaration of war is ALWAYS a mistake. Look at Korea. We are stuck with what, 40k troops there? Look at VietNam. That one ended well, eh? And now Iraq. The spineless vultures in the Senate will eventually turn on and eat any president that goes without a declaration.

Posted by: Alan Coffey at December 24, 2007 12:55 PM

Alan: I cannot disagree. As I noted, I've written favorably about Paul previously, and I find many of core ideas well worth utilizing by the GOP, hell, both parties.

Posted by: Hube at December 24, 2007 02:16 PM

"I guess my question would then be, if we just yawn as the North Koreas get their way at various locales all over the planet, what will be left to sustain our economy as our democratic trading partners fall?"

There is the consideration of humanitarian interventions, even military ones in some situations. When genocide is occurring and we have the wherewithal to stop it, we should.

Posted by: Dana Garrett at December 24, 2007 08:18 PM

"Besides, I don't think the US should have allies. Trading partners, yes. But, why should we promise to engage in war over a future act of aggression."

Never? Even when a relatively powerful nation is picking on a neighboring innocent one for the clear purpose of finding a provocation to invade, occupy and expropriate it? If our becoming an ally of the innocent nation can act as a deterrent, what could possibly be wrong w/ that?

Posted by: Dana Garrett at December 24, 2007 08:22 PM

I was daily happy with Pauls' performance. I thinkhe especially, and candidates in genereal, should refuse to answer journalists questions as most journalists are tendentious mendacious idiots who are actuallt partisan and part of the (Clinton) campaign.

I think he should especially restate any questions about what some supporter said or did, or about what "he would do" about some issue, like state elementary schools, that are not something decidedatthe Presidential level.

I live in DC with the national journalist market. They are my customers. They go to my gym. There is nothing there that requires respect.

Posted by: Bruce at December 26, 2007 05:54 AM

With the threat of pork pie being taken away, it does tend to scare the status quo politicos and their pundits so, it would only seem in character for another "fair and balanced" media forum to try and trip Dr. Paul up.
It's nothing new.

Posted by: Jimmy at December 26, 2007 10:13 AM

IOW Jimmy, "ask hard questions," right? C'mahn.

Posted by: Hube at December 26, 2007 10:14 AM

Does anyone know why Ron Paul was given a 1/2 hour for every other candidate's full hour on MTP?

Given that Russert spent 80% of the time trying to trip Paul up with lengthy quotes and claims from 20 years ago, it is quite troublesome.

Russert didn't even give the man a simple opening question to say why he is running for president or any of the type background that we have gotten with the massive attention given other candidates in the media generally.

This was not one of Paul's better appearances, but he is admittedly not adept at churning out glib 30-second blurb sound bite answers to a barrage of negative gotcha questions.

Posted by: Tyler Nixon at December 26, 2007 06:16 PM

I didn't know Paul was shorted on the time. You make valid points, Tyler. Still, he has to be prepared for such questions. Also, have you noticed today how the MSM is all over him about his Civil War response?

Posted by: Hube at December 26, 2007 07:21 PM

Tim Russert harped on statements from Dr. Paul's 1988 Libertarian campaign. Given that the rules are stacked against third party candidates, the main purpose of a Libertarian candidacy is to educate the public about liberty. This educational function is inherently different than running a viable campaign as a member of a major party. That's why Dr. Paul's current platform is subtly different than the 1988 platform, and that's why Tim Russert was able to play gotcha with Dr. Paul.

I wish that Tim Russert had given Dr. Paul a chance to present his current positions rather than harping on educational finepoints from 1988. And I wish that Tim had given Dr. Paul as much time as he gave the other candidates.

Posted by: Craig Porterfield at December 27, 2007 11:00 AM

Hube,

Amazing chop-job! I encourage everyone to go to Youtube and type in "Ron Paul meet the press" and actually watch the interview. It's nothing like this "transcript" makes it seem.

-David

Posted by: David Armor at December 27, 2007 11:18 AM

Hey Dave -- maybe you oughta do something like READ my post. It actually indicates -- at least twice -- that I did watch it. And watching it makes it seem worse than the transcript. So, by all means, everyone go watch it!

Posted by: Hube at December 27, 2007 12:02 PM

You called the links that you yourself posted above ‘questionable’ and denied my post for it, so I removed them.
This blog is very clearly biased, if not part of a smear campaign. Dana Garrett - certainly Dana's 'point' - [see your above link] is only the first proof. Putting words in Paul's mouth for quoting statistics can make ANY politician guilty of any stance. You can twist numbers, as Penn Jillette & Teller show via Fox's own paid Frank Luntz: [www . youtube . com/watch?v=If9EWDB_zK4]If it is the case that Any of us support the Gold Standard, you have a counterexample, (proving her theory false: I support the gold standard. Therefore her point is null. Simple logic: if P then Q - Its in the first hour of any class on logic.)

You mention Korea as if that's a healed-over wound (which still shows it’s a wound, not to mention one yet to heal.)

As to the question of Israel & Arab nations, what is the difference between invade & attack? If you invaded America, I guarantee you ANY American would take that as an attack, plain and simple. There’s No need to get political about it - you yourself even call Dr. Paul’s point valid about our foreign policy & other agencies. - Not that you ever say anything positive, other than glossing over that point. Then you carefully craft your sentence to have, on one hand, the "consideration of a terrorist mastermind" versus "the legitimate government of a sovereign country." Regardless of the 2 referents to your 2 choices, anyone would choose the latter just because of egregious verbage. Why not then cease couching your terms on uneven ground and ask what you were going to ask without the bias?

Tell me Mr. Rhodey, do you deny the Lakota Sioux Nation's sovereignty as 'Legitimate'? Be careful; the sword you're swinging so precariously is double-edged.

Even your side-comments are mere insults, as http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/45878.html proves, though it begins with claiming Paul talks "too much about the constitution and too little about liberty and justice." Lest we become impassioned, let us reason with Marcus Tullius Cicero: 'Orators are most vehement when their cause is weak.' Let us reason then. Look up the definition of Freedom – upon and for which the Constitution was written - and compare that to ‘liberty’. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. Anyone guaranteed their freedoms will have true justice. I’ll take freedom over permission Any day. …So your main point, by acknowledging such links, is that the constitution, to which our leaders and armed services swear an oath of fealty stronger than to any other save God Alone (literally putting our lives on the line for your freedom)... this is flawed?

Tell me, please, with what would you replace it - an oath to a North American Union?!? WHOMEVER YOU CHOOSE TO VOTE FOR, VOTE FOR AMERICA - REFUSE TO VOTE FOR *ANYONE* WILLING TO ALLOW A NORTH AMERICAN UNION ...if you are indeed loyal to America. We swore oaths to America, not a new-fangled conglomerate willing to rob cheat and steal us of our freedom in the name of conformity to a union.

Of course Dr. Paul would not comment on more recent violations that certain agencies commit, as people like you would accuse him of bringing to light something that, in the supposed 'interest of national security' should remain unknown. It makes more sense to talk about neither recent nor ancient wrongs, but issues still relevant to our everyday life - relevant enough that right now as I type this they are erecting a monument to Dr. King on the mall.

You admit that his points 'may be the case' and jab in wherever possible that it sounds petty...if the shoe fits, maybe the government should wear it.
Speaking of petty - the issues you raise: The Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, a sunken ship in Freeport Harbor, the Bayou Navigation Channel - What, these sound to you like they are local town issues?? Of course they are federal level issues!

You then so much as call him hypocritical without even letting him explain - simply saying "OK" ...if you were truly "OK" with it, why then do you continue the interview when he himself said your facts were wrong? Maybe because they are wrong and you just can't back them up?

Vote for anyone who acknowledges that philosophy is what’s truly important; the heart of the matter is not looking at one's words, but their platform, their actions. You yourself even admit he 'scored big points' on immigration, 14th Amendment interpretation, Drug War, bringing American troops home, or the Civil War's true purpose. You claim hypocrisy on earmarks and term limits, but he never once campaigned to have voluntary term limits; only enforced term limits. So it is, in point of fact, not hypocritical at all. Again, he told Russert that he was wrong about his supposed earmark 'stats'. (see my Frank Luntz link above.) You say the legislature cannot direct the executive to spend money more wisely. Lest you forget who has which power and responsibility, Dr. Paul never actually increased spending - the Executive did that with his signature.

You should be careful in your accusations - some of us who have sworn an oath to place our lives on the line for your freedoms take it personal when you slander and libel one of our own.

re: Shirley Vandever:
Marcus Tullius Cicero actually said:
"In a republic this rule ought to be observed: that the majority should not have the predominant power."
He also said:
"Laws should be interpreted in a liberal sense so that their intention may be preserved."
This was also interpreted as: "To know the laws is not to memorize their letter but to grasp their full force and meaning."
My favorite from Cicero:
"Any man is liable to err; only a fool persists in error."
Still more applicable now:
"The budget should be balanced. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered, and assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome become bankrupt."

We are ourselves on the brink of bankruptcy. Some claim we need a revolution. Why not follow the example of our very own founding fathers'? The constitution - trampled on lately by our ‘leaders’ outlines very clearly how to proceed to escape tyranny, but we ignore not only her words, but the words of her creators (our Founding Fathers, not a religious reference, though Cicero too in God): "Just as the soul fills the body, so God fills the world. Just as the soul bears the body, so God endures the world. Just as the soul sees but is not seen, so God sees but is not seen, Just as the soul feeds the body, so God gives food to the world.")

What to take from MT Cicero? Do you persist in voting for whomever the 5 men who own mass media tell you to elect, or should you take the time to figure out what candidates REALLY vote in congress? Do you research & learn if they actually vote for more taxes, or do choose the candidate who votes against them? -
Do you vote for someone who votes against your issues, or for your issues? The reason we are in such a political mess is because people don’t care enough to do anything and then cite that they ‘know it will never change.’

Of Course Not! Not while you do nothing! “You must be the change you seek in the world.” – Ghandi.

Posted by: Anonymous Serviceman at December 27, 2007 05:09 PM

FYI, Mr. Anonymous -- it isn't up to me about questionable content. It is those who manage our server. It happens to me as well and I myself have to reword comments. I'm sorry about that.

I knew even mildly criticizing Paul would bring some overly sensitive folks out of the woodwork; even my previous -- and current! -- defense(s) of him don't suffice in assuaging people like you. That's not my problem, it's yours. And please don't try to rationalize his HYPOCRISY -- especially since the good doctor himself said it is all about "philosophy" -- regarding term limits and earmarks.

Posted by: Hube at December 27, 2007 06:37 PM

No one is perfect, including Dr. Paul. However, Dr. Paul is by far the strongest advocate for freedom and small government in Congress. It is okay to criticize him for earmarks and term limits, but keep in mind the following:

1. Dr. Paul is selfless. He doesn't even accept his own congressional pension.

2. Despite the earmarks, Dr. Paul routinely faces opponents who campaign against him precisely because he votes *against* the earmarks.

3. Dr. Paul has never campaigned on *voluntary* or unilateral term limits.

God bless.

Posted by: Craig Porterfield at December 28, 2007 04:35 PM