Ron Paul – the $5 million dollar man

Ron Paul just won’t go away. The mainstream media had written him off as a fringe candidate, however they have now had to take notice because his fund raising is doing so well, topping $5 million in the last quarter. This is better in fact than some other more prominant republican presidential candidates such as John McCain. And unlike many other candidates the flow of new donations to the Ron Paul cause continue to build momentum. 

It remains unlikely that Ron Paul at the end of the day will be the republican presidential candidate, let alone the US president. However it seems reasonably certain now that he will remain in the race a lot longer than many people figured on. And this means that his message will be presented to a larger audience for a longer period of time. And of course it means the media will be printing the word “libertarian” more often than might have been the case otherwise.

Trivia: Apparently over a quarter of all funds donationed to presidential candidates by employees of the armed services has gone to Ron Paul. More than for any other candidate. Amoung the Republican candidates only (ie excluding Democrat candidates etc) he gets nearly 50% of the donations from armed services employees.

77 thoughts on “Ron Paul – the $5 million dollar man

  1. It’s like he says, “Freedom is popular”.

    RP might not build the momentum to be presidential candidate, but I’m thinking a Fred Thompson/ Ron Paul ticket is something possible and very, very interesting. The Democrats will probably win- but it’s not certain given the public’s quite unimpressed with their performance in Congress. Thompson/ Paul would be a combination so different to Bush/ Cheney that I think it’d restore some people’s faith in the Republicans and indeed in liberty.

  2. Thompson has virtually nothing in common with Paul and is one of the most Hawkish of the pro-war mob, Shem. It’s not going to happen. And from what I’ve read of Thompson (see Reason coverage) there is not much substance to the guy at all.

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  4. I think Ron Paul is a breath of fresh air in the polical system. He speaks honesty and is opposed to the Iraq war as well as the vast increase in government spending under the GWB admistration. I’d love to see him get more air time.

  5. Thompson has virtually nothing in common with Paul and is one of the most Hawkish of the pro-war mob, Shem. It’s not going to happen. And from what I’ve read of Thompson (see Reason coverage) there is not much substance to the guy at all.

    They are both federalist and constitutionalist. They are both in favour of low taxes and free trade. Thompson may support the war, and Paul be against it, but who would you pick as President if we assume the best Paul can get is VP? Giuliani?

  6. Air time!! Given a choice I’d love to see him become US president.

    You can tell Terje likes Ron Paul a lot because he used exclamation marks. That doesn’t happen often 🙂

  7. It astonishes me that empty suits like Thompson or Romney can ride higher in the polls than a person of substance like Ron Paul. To say nothing of the top spot going to a freak of nature like ‘The Creature From 9-11.’

  8. Personality politics is the name of the game. A famous, well-known actor will always poll higher than a man of substance. Romney is wealthy enough and connected enough to get his name out there.

    Going back to my former question to Jason, though. I haven’t been following THAT closely so I don’t know all the candidates as well as I could. But would there be someone that could work well as President to Paul’s VP if it came to that? Assuming one of the top 5 front-runners ends up getting the Republican nomination could Paul be a logical #2 to Thompson, Giuliani, McCain, Romney or Huckabee? Surely Thompson is the only chance Paul has? And even that is on the shaky similarity of him being a constitutionalist. Perhaps Thompson will realise the strategic advantage of being pro-war with an anti-war VP? We can hope.

  9. Yeah – the google interview/video is worth watching, because he actually talks about stuff other than the war for a change (though he covers that too)

  10. It astonishes me that empty suits like Thompson or Romney can ride higher in the polls than a person of substance like Ron Paul.
    A famous, well-known actor will always poll higher than a man of substance.

    It astonishes me that after Reagan people hearing of an actor standing for political office assume that the subject will be some kind of Paris Hilton with balls. I was reticent about Reagan when he stood but had to accept that he deserved a high place among the best American presidents. Some political actors are like the Paris Hilton analogy, they are called Democrats.

    If campaign finance is a qualification for ability to win then Fred has a much better claim than Ron Paul.

    Fred is not “one of the most Hawkish of the pro-war mob” as was alluded to above, true he is not into the fundamentalist libertarian “Peace in our time” mob, but recognizes the fact that the expansion of fundamentalist Islam is a threat to the peace and security of the world.

    Ron Paul believes that the whole issue stems from ‘blowback’ which fails to explain the areas other than attacks on the US that these people are engaged in.

    The reason I say this is that Al Qaeda’s 2ic Ayman al-Zawahri has now called on Muslims to re-occupy the Iberian Peninsula, or to use their term al-Andalus, you see the French, Portuguese, and Spanish, inconsiderate bastards tossed the Muslims out of there in the 15th century.

  11. While I like Ron Paul, that doesn’t mean I’m daft. He’s doesn’t have a chance at being the Republican candidate or even the VP choice. Really, the best thing he’s done is just getting some attention for another view point — a more rational view point than the norm especially for the right wing. That’s a long way, however, from being considered a viable candidate or a prospective VP.

  12. Jim – I have considerable trouble seeing how the invasion of Iraq provided any significant tactical or strategic advantage in the fight against Al Qaeda. And whilst Ron Paul voted against the invasion of Iraq he vote in favour of the relevant funding that was intended for the operation to kill or capture Osama and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. He has not argued against the war on Al Qaeda. He has merely argued against expensive distractions.

  13. While I see your point of view I fail to see the relevance of it in relation to my comment.

    My point was disputing the suggestion that Fred Thompson was an empty suit or just an actor trying to be a politician. There is a great deal more to Fred than that, I realize that ‘Reason” finds him wanting however I am reminded that it is a fundamentalist libertarian magazine, and is unlikely to find anything good in anyone but a purist.

    I disagree with Ron Paul’s ‘blowback’ argument. Blowback exists but is only an exacerbating factor in the radical Islamic ambition of world domination.

    I am not totally against your man, I think a strong showing by him could influence the course of the election for the better, but Fred has a chance to go all the way, and in the process get far more libertarian ideals implemented than Ron ever will.

    While I don’t support Ron Paul I see his candidacy as a positive in the campaign.

  14. I disagree with Ron Paul’s ‘blowback’ argument. Blowback exists but is only an exacerbating factor in the radical Islamic ambition of world domination.

    I agree Jim. In fact, I find Ron Paul pretty good on everything except foreign policy issues.

    His approach is essentially isolationist and dependent on national boundaries.

    The US is the world’s largest economy and military power. It is not feasible for it to remain behind well-guarded walls while trading freely with the rest of the world. It’s a formula for more conflict, not less.

    Also, Paul’s notion that it is none of the US’s business if foreigners slaughter each other is flawed. He would argue the US government has a legitimate interest if someone owns slaves in Michigan, but not a kilometre over the border in Canada. How does that work?

    US foreign policy and military strategy might be flawed, but aspirations of freedom do not stop at boundaries and libertarians need not accept that the fight for liberty stops at national boundaries and can’t be exported militarily at times.

  15. If Canada was engaged in slavery and the US people thought that it warranted a war then President Ron Paul would insist that it was an issue to be decided by Congress and not by him. When Congress decides that a war is necessary it is far more likely that the US people are seriously commited to prosecuting the war through to a conclusive victory. Any war worth engaging in is worth winning and typically that means it will require political staying power. The reversal of support in the Iraq campaign is symptomatic of not having that breadth of commitment tested in advance.

    Here it is in Ron Pauls own words:-

    http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2002/tst101402.htm

  16. Terje;
    I’ll do a deal with you. You get Ron Paul elected, I’ll organize for Canada to introduce slavery and then we can stand back and see what happens.

    Regards, Jim.

  17. It might not have been a formal declaration of war under the Constitution, but Congress certainly approved President Bush’s plan to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam.

    Paul is an isolationist. Jim is right – he’d veto intervention in another country to overthrow slavery. That puts too much emphasis on national sovereignty and not enough on liberty, in my book.

  18. David,

    Slavery is a bit of a strawman example. There are no nations openly endorsing slavery in the world today. Nations like Saudi Arabia that seem less than enthusiastic about stamping it out enjoy US patronage. And nations like China that still alledgedly run labour camps are not going to be invaded under the leadership of any of the presidential candidates on the basis of human rights violations. The political reality is that short of genocide no US President is going to invade another nation of any significance purely on the basis of human rights violations.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  19. Exactly right Perry. Replace slavery with genocide and there’s no straw in the man. Ron Paul would put national sovereignty first.

    The thing is, I agree with home about most things. It’s just that he doesn’t think liberty elsewhere in the world is any of his business. I consider liberty transcends national boundaries.

  20. Presidents pressure Congress to shirk their duty to declare war as required under the Constitution because not declaring war allows subversion of the traditional rules of international law and greater power/flexibility to the Executive.

    This is how the Bush Administration has been able to explicitly oust the Geneva Conventions (see, e.g. the Military Commissions Act) in its post September 11 ‘wars’.

    Whatever you think about Paul’s response to hypothetical human rights abuses, he’s pointing out a simple fact: all the armed conflicts the US has engaged in since WWII have been contrary to the express provisions of the US Constitution. There has been no formal declaration of war since WWII. That makes them suspect, because the means of going to war is just as important as the war itself.

    It’s a very simple method of interpretation. Just do what the Constitution says.

  21. Abiding by the Constitution is one thing. In fact, US involvement in the Korean War was in accordance with a UN mandate. If the Geneva Convention applies (and it’s not in the constitution), so does that.

    The bigger issue though is whether Ron Paul would veto a constitutional declaration of war based on his aversion to “foreign entanglements”. I believe he would.

  22. As for the Geneva Conventions, there is a provision in the Military Commissions Act that explicitly prevents detainees from relying upon the Conventions. This is able to be done because the Iraq ‘war’ isn’t a war but a military operation, i.e. it’s less than a formal war, so the normal rules of military engagement — the laws of war — don’t apply. That’s the argument by the Bush administration lawyers anyway.

    It might not have been a formal declaration of war under the Constitution, but Congress certainly approved President Bush’s plan to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam.

    Congress only approved of the war in the sense that they gave the President discretion to decide whether war was needed. I agree the resolution authorises the usage of military force. But Paul’s point is that Congress shouldn’t be able to shirk it’s constitutional responsibility by avoiding a clear and unambiguous, ‘A state of war is hereby declared to exist against the government of Iraq”.

  23. It’s just that he doesn’t think liberty elsewhere in the world is any of his business. I consider liberty transcends national boundaries.

    Liberty does transcend national boundaries but the responsibility to defend the liberty of non-citizens outside of national boundaries is not part of the mandate of government. The entire philosophy of “limited government” is predicated on the notion that in order to be accountable and effective and efficient then government should be confined to specific tasks. If you extend the mandate of government to looking after the liberties of foreigners in far flung lands way beyond your national borders then you in essence invite unlimited government. If you say that it should do these good deeds simply because it is has the powers to do these good deeds then you create the impetus for endlessly expanding the power of government. And then why not also extend that power to do good deeds at home?

    You protect liberties by institutionally limiting the mandate of government. Not by calling for the mandate of governments to transcend all boundaries. National borders are artificial but so are all institutional constraints on government.

    Ron Pauls position is quite reasonable. The Iraq war was a war of agression that did nothing to serve the US national interest. Further more it was not decleared constitutionally. So he opposes it on procedural grounds and on pragmatic grounds. In short he defends institutional constraints on the powers of executive branch and he argues for the US national interest.

    There are of course times when humanitarian missions and the national interest coincide. For instance when Australia sent troops to stabilise East Timor it was in no small part because of our national interest.

    If you set aside what you call isolationism (and I call a limited mandate) and you set aside the national interest then all you are left with is adventurism. Government without boundaries is government without limit.

  24. If you extend the mandate of government to looking after the liberties of foreigners in far flung lands way beyond your national borders then you in essence invite unlimited government.

    Thus slavery and genocide are not our business so long as they are not within our borders?

    If we accept limited government intervention within our borders, and we do, we can accept limited government intervention outside them. The cause of liberty is far superior to national boundaries.

  25. If national borders are not the limiting factor then what is? What institutional limit is there to the good works that our government decides to do abroad? Is it the role of the Australian government to save lives by providing food, shelter and housing where ever it is needed in the world?

  26. David, I think the neo-cons have got it wrong. They are trying to appeal to EVERYBODY. They have low taxes, but they couple that with obscene military and welfare spending. They really can not go on like this forever. Sooner or later their entire budget will be interest payments on their massive debt. I think it is a bad idea to write off Ron Paul because he doesn’t support the War in Iraq (in fact, I think he’s more pissed off about the way the war was actually waged, ie., undeclared, possibly unconstitutional).

    Sure you may not like his stance on foreign policy, but when have you ever seen a more libertarian candidate (recently)? When have you seen another candidate that you KNEW was not all talk (recently)? I would certainly not make the mistake of putting my vote behind another disgusting neoconservative if I were an American voter. Surely the mismanagement of funds, the cronyism, the lying and the constant ever increasing debt are bigger issues than waging war on half the world (which is pretty much what you’re suggesting if you want to “liberate” everyone).

  27. “If national borders are not the limiting factor then what is? What institutional limit is there to the good works that our government decides to do abroad? Is it the role of the Australian government to save lives by providing food, shelter and housing where ever it is needed in the world?”

    No, but that shouldn’t be the role of government here either.

    I’m a little conflicted on this, in theory I agree with David & Jim the protection of liberty shouldn’t be limited by national boundaries.

    In practice I’m sceptical about both the objectives and effectiveness of intervention.

  28. In theory I think government should clean my house and make my bed for me. In practice I think government is best when it operates within tight institutional constraints and remains accountable for a limited set of criteria. When governments are allowed to pursue lofty ideals such as global liberation they inevitably lose accountability. Especially when foreign policy muddies political debate about domestic policy.

    To be sure there are times when foreign military intervention might do some good at a very low cost. The Powell doctrine comes to mind. However when adventurism becomes the norm, or when it is executed with such dismal effect then reasserting some institutional constraints is no bad thing. Some might call it discipline.

  29. If national borders are not the limiting factor then what is? What institutional limit is there to the good works that our government decides to do abroad? Is it the role of the Australian government to save lives by providing food, shelter and housing where ever it is needed in the world?

    Slavery and genocide are not the same as lack of food, shelter and housing. That argument is trite.

    What institutional limits are there on government “good works” within Australia? We have no constitutionally guaranteed rights, no bill of rights, no strict separation of judicial, legislative and executive power. Even in America, which has these, institutional limits are less important than cultural and electoral factors.

    I have no problem with Ron Paul’s insistence that wars be formally approved by Congress, but that’s not really the point. It is also not relevant to Australia. My problem is that he opposes “foreign entanglements” per se.

    I could not imagine doing nothing about slavery or genocide in another country on the grounds that if we gave our government the power to intervene, they might misuse it. FFS.

  30. This is one of the troubles of having a Presidential system of government- the best way for a President to make a mark on history is to engage in a successful war. The early history of the US, as in President Polk and the Mexican War, shows this. And what else was the President for, if not to decide foreign policy? There is some law-making capacity, but Congress is supposed to be the main lawmaking body. I think Ron Paul has identified a weakness that needs to be fixed. Governments should not interfere with their neighbours, but individuals can get together and help all they want.

  31. Please God no! Ron Paul is the Mike Gravel of the Republican (or Libertarian should I say) Party. He’d be as disastrous as Clinton would be. I want neither.

  32. I have to agree with David (to an extent). Wars should be fought if they are justifiable morally and you have a net benefit in participating. So Afghanistan was justified. Iraq failed no. 2 for Australia. This may have changed if the effort was more multilateral and the post invasion policy was thought through better (tales of operating markets for goods and services shut down by the US military abound).

    The “entanglements” Jefferson spoke of had little to do with such a philosophy, and involved entalngling alliances between families of nobles in Europe. They probably never had a net benefit to the nation involved, save for the number feifdoms of the winning warlord.

    The implication to me is that we should be more regionally focused. There is plenty of terrorism, piracy, nuclear aggression and territorial apsiration for Australia to deal with feasibly before being involved in the Middle East.

  33. Why do you say that incognito ?

    Is there a government program, department or agency that Ron Paul plan’s to establish that you disapprove of ?

  34. David – if neighbouring countries were engaged in genocide or slavery I would also want our government to act, assuming we could be effective. However I’d much prefer a mechanism by which our parliament (or congress in the USA) makes this decision as a proxy for the people rather than the executive wing alone.
    The point is not that governments should never initiate war, it is that war is a serious endeavour that governments must not be allowed to enter into lightly. And in so far as it is possible it is a decision that should be made by the people and not by a few individuals alone (in cabinet or the whitehouse).

    On the issue of whether Ron Paul would veto a war to stop genocide or slavery if Congress supported it and it was popular this is in my view unlikely. However the fact that he would be harder to motivate in favour of non defensive wars is in my view a positive. And the fact that he would make congress take a stand is also a positive.

  35. Iraq failed no. 2 for Australia. This may have changed if the effort was more multilateral and the post invasion policy was thought through better (tales of operating markets for goods and services shut down by the US military abound).

    The benefit to Australia was reinforcing the US alliance. Whether it was a net benefit is moot.

    For the US, the benefit was the opportunity to implant capitalism and democracy in the Middle East. It may have succeeded too but for the block-headed approach of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. It may yet succeed, although the cost will be disproportionate.

  36. I just read this article at lunch. Not sure whether I fully agree, but it made me think about determining the net benefit of military action on pragmatic grounds.
    http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2007-spring/forward-strategy-for-failure.asp
    I don’t see how it would be easy to guage the net benefit of military action because of unforseeable future, (a bit like the fault of socialist economic planning). Two well known examples (mentioned in the article) where future consequences were not predicted:
    1. the US backing jihadist forces from Afghanistanin in the fight against the Soviets.
    2. In the 1930s, Britain disregarded Hitler’s stated ambitions and agreed to a “land for peace” deal.

    I think Ron Paul’s pretty good especially in terms of politicians, but I’m inclined to agree with points made by David, Jim and Mark.

  37. Mark is right. Every nation should be primarily regionally focused. That’s where most of the threats lie. But the US has troops in every major theatre of the world. This is the insanity (now the conventional wisdom) that Ron Paul is fighting against.

  38. Every nation should be primarily regionally focused. That’s where most of the threats lie.

    That might apply to a minor country like Australia but it’s not true for major countries like the US, China, Russia and India. Their region is the world.

    For example, the USSR was a neighbour of the US by virtue of its proximity to Alaska, but its significance was attributable to the ability to launch ICBMs from Kazakhstan.

    Saddam Hussein’s ‘region’ grew considerably when he obtained Scud missiles from North Korea. Iran’s will expand enormously if it gets nukes.

  39. Incognito;
    Its great to see you over here, especially as you are in agreement with me. If you go through the site you will find that we cover a lot of different areas.

    The reason that you will see a pro-Paul bias here is that in Australia we have no equivalent of fiscally conservative socially tolerant Republican style politicians and as such only the libertarian Liberty and Democracy Party support the concept of small government, therefore there is a tendency to think more highly of radical libertarians like Ron Paul.

    Tim R;
    I saw somewhere that the US backing for the jihadist forces from Afghanistanin in the fight against the Soviets was mainly administered via Pakistan, and was part of the ‘Cold War’ efforts to stifle Soviet expansionism, but as you say the consequences were not predicted.

    On the other hand the Munich Agreement of 1938 was widely seen as a disaster and a surrender by everyone with the exception of Neville Chamberlain and his supporters and was widely disparaged with the cynical reference to “Peace in our time”, the cry of Chamberlain as he waved the agreement around. Hence my reference to it in reference to Ron Paul’s belief that the whole thing stems from ‘blow back’.

  40. JIM,
    I thought lots of people thought that Munich was a great idea, at the time. ‘Peace in our time’ was popular to the people who remembered WW1. It was only when Hitler took all of Checkoslovakia that people felt conned.
    As for the rest- Governments should stay out of foreign entanglements, because they cannot predict what the consequences might be. Individuals could gang together (Libertarians Sans Frontiers?) to help out in countries that seem to need it.

  41. this youtube video in which Ron Paul gives his views on the civil war and ending slavery

    He has a point about the civil war and slavery, but on abolition of the CIA Paul says: “You’d be a lot safer because you’d be less likely to be attacked by terrorists”.

    He links this to the CIA’s supposed sponsorship of the assassination of the Iranian leader in 1953.

    He reminds me of discussions about original sin – no matter how good you are, you are always bad. I’m still waiting to hear him acknowledge something is worth fighting for.

  42. David, I’m pretty sure he’d admit that Hitler had to be stopped- even if it meant American intervention.

    I think the best wars are rebellions where citizens actually choose to fight against the dictators themselves. This isn’t always possible, but it’s definitely the most “pure” war.

  43. Ron Paul delivers babies without his hands. He simply reads them the Bill of Rights and they crawl out in anticipation of freedom.

  44. Shem,

    Given that in WWII Germany and Italy declared war on the USA before the USA declared war on Germany and Italy it would not really be correct to characterise Americas involvement as an intervention. Of course Ron Paul would have no issue declaring war on a nation that had declared war on the USA.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  45. Wrong word. I mean America stepping into the war and sending troops to Europe when it did. Yes Germany had declared war on the USA in name, but as far as I know there were no German attacks on US soil. So the US stepping into the war was still kind of like a teacher stepping in to protect a kid that’s being bullied.

  46. In that article Paul says,“The real isolationists are those who impose sanctions and embargoes on countries and peoples across the globe because they disagree with the internal and foreign policies of their leaders.

    In other words he not only opposes military intervention but also non-military measures including sanctions and embargoes. Talk and trade are the only options he accepts. Kim Jong Il and Mugabe would love it.

    As I said above, I like some of his views but I suspect he’d sit by even if another country engaged in slavery or genocide.

    In fairness, most libertarians lose their objectivity and ‘libertarian-ness’ on at least one issue. National sovereignty is a weird issue to lose it on though.

  47. Yes Germany had declared war on the USA in name, but as far as I know there were no German attacks on US soil.

    Stop sleeping through history classes Shem. Prior to the declaration of war Germany sank hundreds of US ships, killing many US sailors, in attacks on convoys supplying Great Britain. The US was not acting as an ally either; it was merely delivering stuff the British had purchased.

  48. David, for someone so concerned about the welfare of people under the jack boot of authoritarians, you think the best way to help them is to starve them and isolate them from international influence and outlets. Where did you learn this, the United Nations School of How Best to Keep a Dictator in Power?

    Sanctions have never once worked, and will never work, unless the goal is to impoverish the populace and make them too weak to oppose their government.

  49. I’m not much in favour of sanctions and embargoes myself. Like the post WWI reparations imposed on Germany (ie high taxes) they destroy prosperity. And generally you get less democracy and less political freedom when a nations people are not well off. When a nations economy declines then dictatorial leaders generally end up more repressive and squeeze the people harder. And in some instance it may even promote national solidarity behind the leader that it is designed to punish.

    The fact that Kim Jong Il and Mugabe would prefer to be without sanctions and embargos does not mean that sanctions and embargos are on balance a good thing. And I don’t think the sanctions against Iraq after the first gulf war were a good thing either. Clearly they did not prevent a subsequent conflict with Iraq.

    Perhaps you might cite some examples where you think sanctions and embargos had a positive impact (I’m not suggesting that you can’t, merely that it might be interesting to review a few).

  50. There is a difference between the efficacy of sanctions and their use ‘in-principle’. My point was that Ron Paul is opposed in principle, not for practical reasons.

    I acknowledge sanctions don’t have a good track record, but I strongly dispute the “not once” comment by Brendan.

    North Korea is negotiating now due to the US succeeding in cutting off funds from a Hong Kong bank. I understand Libya also changed its approach in part because of sanctions.

    In hindsight, we now know that sanctions neutralised Saddam Hussein’ threats to his neighbours too. Scud missiles not destroyed by bombing were neutralised by his inability to service them. His WMD program (nukes, gas) was similarly neutralised. If he hadn’t thrown out the UN weapons inspectors, he might still be alive and running the country.

    Overall I still prefer a well-targeted cruise missile to sanctions in most cases. And I strongly disagree with Ron Paul that doing nothing is libertarian.

  51. http://www.ontheissues.org/Ron_Paul.htm

    Found this site that lists US pres candidates’ statements and their voting record, and then categorizes them. Fred Thompson was “hardcore conservative”. Ron Paul, “moderate libertarian”.
    It’s got sections for “Ron Paul on homeland security” and “Ron Paul on war and peace”.

  52. David,

    You cite Iraq and North Korea sanctions as working, but my point was that they KEEP DICTATORS IN POWER, not neutralise threats to their neighbours. You still have not cited an example where sanctions ended tyranny.

  53. Tim;
    Generally these sites which rate candidates according to indexes and scores tend to be only a useful guide and should not be taken too seriously. I tend to use the Republican Liberty Caucus which again is a guide.

    To give you an idea of where things go wrong, the most libertarian members in 2005 (the latest they have) are: –
    Name, Party Pers%|Econ%|Comb% = Class
    John Ensign, Republican p: 85 e:100 c: 92.5 = Libertarian
    Trent Lott, Republican p: 84 e:100 c: 92.1 = Libertarian
    Jon Kyl, Republican p: 80 e:100 c: 90.0 = Libertarian
    Ron Paul comes in at 31st p: 83 e: 80 c: 81.7 = Libertarian well behind Sam Brownback.

    Fred Thompson left the Senate in 2002 with a score of 78.6 (average for term) which is not bad for a guy who started with low scores and improved.

    Where this goes pear shaped is that the cutoff point is too low for the libertarian category at 75%, and averages are used which gives results like the following: –
    John Shadegg, Republican p: 53 e:100 c: 76.3 = Libertarian
    Gordon Smith, Republican p: 72 e: 80 c: 76.1 = Libertarian

    These two are clearly right wingers.

  54. In comment 66 delete Gordon Smith and insert Rick Santorum p: 63 e: 90 c: 76.4, a hell of a storm was coming and I did a quick cut and paste to get offline and stuffed up.

    Brendan;
    Sanctions do not keep dictators in power, they may stay in power in spite of them. David’s point on North Korea is valid as far as the nuclear threat is concerned, which for the moment is the primary issue.

    Ron Paul’s idea that a nuclear North Korea is not a probloem especially when they have launch vehicles capable of reaching America is xerophthalmic short sighted lunacy,

    Xerophthalmia; (quote John Singelton) Stiffening of the eyeballs. A particular problem with politicians. Prevents them from seeing any truth, anything long term, and anything not in their own personal interest.

  55. Jim,

    What do you mean by “[dictators] stay in power in spite of [sanctions]”?

    Isn’t North Korea coming to the negotiating table because the US is offering massive aid? Is it not possible that this aid will be used to pay off the army to keep the commies in power? They aren’t even willing to give up their nuclear materials. Negotiating on nukes with NK will simply legitimise nukes as a diplomatic bargaining chip. I don’t want war and I don’t think sanctions are the answer either. Better to have NK as part of the international community of trading nations. Vietnam never went this nuts after it went fully commie in 1975, partially because the US began trading with them again 15 years ago.

    The US’s reluctance to recognize North Korea and South Korea failing to sign a peace treaty have encouraged the nut jobs in the North to go nuke because no one is talking to them or trading with them except the commie Chinese. Do we really want China to have the ear of the North Korean government exclusively?

    Better to just ignore them, buy whatever they’ve got to sell and sell them soft drink and music videos. It may be too late for a laissez faire diplomatic stance, the North Koreans have been cornered into an ever deepening paranoia. A military confrontation may be inevitable, but I would fear the conventional artillery, it would be a scary war indeed.

  56. It makes absolutely no sense to say that our government has an obligation to help people in other countries. DavidL — if you want to help foreigners then do it with your own money and stop stealing my money to pay for your crusades.

    On a moral level, if you do want to help foreigners there are a thousand better ways that invading Iraq.

    It is a pointless (and untrue) insult to say that Ron Paul (or the general libertarian position of peace & trade) is isolationist. The libertarian position calls for free voluntary flow of goods, services, money, capital, people etc between countries.

    It makes less than no sense for libertarians to get behind perhaps the biggest policy mistake of the last 30 years (Iraq war) and somehow start pretending that government violence works. It doesn’t.

  57. #69 It makes absolutely no sense …On a moral level … It is a pointless (and untrue) insult … It makes less than no sense

    And your authority on ‘sense’ is ….?

    #68 Isn’t North Korea coming to the negotiating table because the US is offering massive aid?

    No, aid is just the sweetener to save face. They are coming to the negotiating table because the US shut down their source of foreign exchange (in Macao, not Hong Kong as I said earlier).

    Better to just ignore them, buy whatever they’ve got to sell and sell them soft drink and music videos.

    You’ll have to convince the UN. North Korea has been subject to UN sanctions since it first invaded the South.

    But if sanctions keep dictators in power Brendan, how do you explain Mugabe? He replaced a government that was subject to sanctions (Ian Smith’s).

  58. Here is the sequence of events, taken from knowledgenews.net:

    1999 – U.S. president Bill Clinton eases decades-old economic sanctions against North Korea after Pyongyang pledges a moratorium on long-range missile tests. Relations between North and South Korea begin to improve under South Korea’s new “Sunshine Policy.”

    2000 – President Clinton tells Congress that North Korea may be “seeking to develop or acquire the capability to enrich uranium.” Pyongyang publicly threatens to restart its nuclear program, citing delays in delivery of the promised light-water nuclear power plants.

    2001 – George W. Bush becomes U.S. president, and Washington moves further away from Pyongyang. North Korea restarts long-range missile tests. Then comes 9/11.

    2002 – President Bush describes North Korea as part of an “axis of evil” (along with Iraq and Iran), while the CIA says it’s been operating a secret uranium enrichment program, probably since the mid-1990s. Pyongyang admits to the program. It then alternates between defending its “right” to have nukes and offering to end its weapons programs in exchange for aid and a nonaggression pact. South Korea, Japan, and the United States cut off oil shipments.

    2003 – North Korea says it will withdraw from the NPT, turns off the monitoring equipment at the Yongbyon facility, and expels IAEA inspectors. Talks on the standoff begin in Beijing. At the table: the United States, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and North Korea. The talks lead to more talks.

    2004 – Two more rounds of six-nation talks come and go. North Korea says the United States is “not interested in making the dialogue fruitful.”

    2005 – At a fourth round of six-nation talks, an apparent breakthrough comes. The United States promises not to invade and to respect North Korea’s sovereignty. North Korea says it will dismantle its nuclear programs. The next day, Pyongyang recants, saying it won’t give up anything until it gets a civilian nuclear reactor.

    2006 – Defying warnings from the international community, North Korea conducts a series of missile tests on July 4 and 5, including a test of a long-range Taepodong-2 ballistic missile. Three months later, on October 9, North Korea conducts its first-ever nuclear weapons test.

    2007 – North Korea agrees to detail all of its nuclear programs and to disable its main nuclear facilities at Yongbyon by the end of this year, with oversight from a U.S.-led team. In exchange for its nuclear stand-down, North Korea stands to receive a million tons of heavy fuel oil, plus a promise from Washington to “begin the process” of delisting it as a state sponsor of terrorism. Leaders of the two Koreas agreed to pursue a peace treaty — more than 50 years after a cease-fire effectively ended the Korean War.

  59. In the last debate Ron Paul indicated thathe would only support the eventual nominee if that nominee will carry out Ron Pauls agenda, launching into a diatribe that only a Democrat could love.

    I encountered a comment recently Paul does seem to be a simple-minded fellow – at best naive and at worst stupid or arrogantly contrarian, to which I replied I think you are right, I have been thinking idiosyncratic and bloody minded.

    His performance the other night has not changed my mind.

  60. An interesting list of observations about past opinion polls:-

    “In early 1975, Carter was polling at 1% (he went on to win the Presidency).

    “In early 1987, Dukakis was polling at 1% (he went on to win the Democratic nomination).

    “In early 1991, Clinton was at 2% (he went on to win the Presidency).

    “In the spring of 1999, John McCain was polling at 3% (he went on to win the NH primary).

    “In early 2003, Joe Lieberman was leading the field for the Democratic presidential nomination (he failed to win any primary).”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/014005.html

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