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Ron Paul: Anti-War candidate? Constitutionalist?
Author: Raine    Date: 01/13/2012 00:00:20

Ron Paul is a candidate that inspires fervent adulation from his dedicated followers. The two most common narratives they repeat is that he is anti-war, and that he is a strict constitutionalist. I propose he is neither. His words & his legislative record prove quite contrary to what his supporters say he represents.

We can begin with the invasion of Afghanistan. One would expect a person who is anti-war to vote against legislation that authorizes a non-war military action against another country. However, Ron Paul voted FOR the invasion of Afghanistan. You can read it all right here. Let me restate this fact: Ron Paul voted in favor of the invasion of Afghanistan. I don't care what his staffers say in hindsight. He voted to invade. That is on his congressional record. He voted to invade Afghanistan. Would you like more proof? This is the Ron Paul vote on the very first Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). It's dated September 14, 2001. Let me make this clear: AMUF is this:
To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.

Whereas, on September 11, 2001, acts of treacherous violence were committed against the United States and its citizens; and

Whereas, such acts render it both necessary and appropriate that the United States exercise its rights to self-defense and to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad; and

Whereas, in light of the threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by these grave acts of violence; and

Whereas, such acts continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States; and

Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled.

Several years later in 2007, Ron Paul voted against a date for the Iraq war pullout. From the NYT, March, 2007.
Two Republicans voted for the measure: Representative Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, a former Marine Corps officer who was wounded in Vietnam, and Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, who called for a withdrawal nearly two years ago.

But the rest of the Republican caucus objected to the legislation on substance and principle. Several lawmakers derided the total of nearly $24 billion in domestic spending 'benefiting spinach growers and shrimp fishermen and peanut storage, among others' that Democrats put into the bill to make it more palatable to its members.
This is the roll call on that vote. You will note, Paul is listed under the Nays. While I understand Paul supporters want to promote the intent of Ron Paul, the reality is that he voted against a date for an Iraq war pullout date. Not very anti-war, in my opinion.

That very same year, he also proposed legislation to essentially pass off the responsibility of Congress to declare war, by giving the Executive branch (then occupied by George W. Bush) the power to essentially create and control private armies:
Marque and Reprisal Act of 2007 - Authorizes and requests the President to issue letters of marque and reprisal to commission privately armed and equipped persons and entities to seize outside of the United States the person and property of Osama bin Laden, of any al Qaeda co-conspirator, and any conspirator with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda who are responsible for the air piratical aggressions against the United States on September 11, 2001, and for any planned similar acts or acts of war against the United States in the future.

States that no letter of marque and reprisal shall be issued without the posting of a security bond in such amount as the President determines sufficient to ensure the letter's execution.
(Source - I bold-faced the information above)

In my opinion there is a difference between being anti-war and being for privatizing war-like activities. The latter, it appears, is what Candidate Ron Paul -- oft cited as an anti-war candidate-- was suggesting.

Now compare the oft-repeated claim that he is anti-war against these votes and proposed legislation. In fact, compare that against this video where a senior campaign advisor says that Ron Paul is not anti-war:

All the while, Ron Paul allows people to misrepresent his record. He has NEVER called out his supporters for misrepresenting his legislative record. He voted to give the Executive office MORE power, voted against withdrawing from Iraq and voted FOR invading Afghanistan. These votes are not exactly anti-war, and - to be very honest - do not fall under the umbrella of small government. Have I mentioned that he did not cast a vote during the final vote on the 2012 NDAA? If he was so anti-war, why didn't he show up to vote?

At this point I hope you see where I am headed. These are not the votes of an anti-war candidate. This is not a record of an anti-war candidate. This man is not pure, and I understand that. Politics in DC is not an easy thing. I do vehementy disagree with his ideology... But he certainly isn't an anti-war candidate. When the time came for him to put his vote where his supposed ideology was, he either went along with the crowd or took the coward's way out and didn't vote at all.

He also is not a strict constitutionalist, despite what his followers would have you believe. I wrote of this earlier. I would put forward that Ron Paul is an opportunist. I don't blame him for that - he is a politician. I don't hate politicians. I like discussing policy positions. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not afraid to say that I am a Democrat and a liberal. I don't object to Ron Paul as a legislator or as a politician, to be honest. I disagree with his policies. This should not come as a surprise from a card-carrying Democrat.

On the subject of "strict constitutionalism", Ron Paul appears to be more than happy to let his supporters believe one idea while he votes in ways that help his political career. He proposed legislation to give the Executive office more military force (with the caveat of privatization) and thus, more power. He's not quite the civil libertarian many claim him to be. One of the most obvious points is that he is anti-choice:
He has introduced legislation that defines life as beginning at conception in the years 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011. However, he believes regulation of medical decisions about maternal or fetal health is "best handled at the state level"
How does allowing for ANY government dictating what a woman can do and achieve with her body square with Ron Paul's version of libertarianism and freedom? Ron Paul introduced this legislation. He appears to want make a woman's choice to have access to reproductive services more difficult. How can one deem life as beginning at contraception and then say it should be left to the states also be for personal liberty? States, in his opinion, can dictate this as a matter of rights granted under the 10th amendment. But is that true? I once again point you to this post regarding the 9th amendment. A strict constitutionalist would understand that this idea of reproductive choice is not a states' rights issue.

I would like for government to ensure that my choice is legal and safe. I don't want to have to go to New York because my home state has decided that I don'tt have the right to choose how I reproduce. I want the federal government to allow for those rights to happen under the Supremacy Clause. I think that this is an important point. I believe that this goes straight to giving women a choice with regard to her own reproduction -- not government. Government should protect rights of choice. It would appear to me that Dr. Paul has conflicting thoughts with his statements. He's actually advocating for government to decide what rights women can have. What he doesn't like to say is that he wants the states to dictate those rights. This is in direct conflict with what the Constitution and standing law has so far deemed otherwise. It appears he doesn't like the United States federal governance to get in the way of his beliefs. Last time I checked-- we are supposed to be the United States of America, one nation, promoting liberty and justice for all. There is a very real reason for implementing the idea of federal law trumping state law. I mentioned the Supremacy Clause for a reason: many people forget about it.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
Want a quicker definition? Any federal law - even a regulation of a federal agency - trumps any conflicting state law. We live in murky times. I'd like to point this out, from the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" The very idea that he would desire to leave such reproductive rights to the states even in the face of the constitution saying otherwise says to me that he does not appear to be a strict constitutionalist -- as many of his supporters claim he is.

If he is really for personal liberty, (as I have heard him proclaim many times) he would not introduce legislation that restricts a women's right of reproductive choice. It is that simple. Liberty for all was not meant to exclude more than 51% of the population of the United States of America.

It's really quite simple: Anti-War Candidates do not vote for war... Libertarians should not introduce legislation giving the executive branch MORE powers, nor limit the rights of women. It seems to me that his supporters don't want to acknowledge this truth -- it doesn't fit their personal narrative for the candidate they want to support. The truth they don't want to face is that he is very much in favor of privatizing wars. He is/was so much in favor of it, he was willing to give a co-equal branch of government more powers to do so.

How is that Anti-war? How do these stances make one a strict constitutionalist? They don't - and he isn't.


(edited by Bobber)

75 comments (Latest Comment: 01/13/2012 23:36:28 by trojanrabbit)
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