Friday, January 20, 2012

Ogden on Politics Endorses Ron Paul as Best to Carry Conservative Republican Banner

Ron Paul
For several week, nay months, I've been trying to figure out which Republican to support for President.  They all - well maybe not Mitt Romney - have an attraction for someone like myself who believes in limited government but also believes in personal freedom.  After much consideration, I have come to the conclusion that the polices Texas Congressman Ron Paul advocate most closely match what I believe in.  Paul thus receives the Ogden on Politics endorsement, which along with 3 bucks, will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Let's first dispose of the challengers.

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney was never a serious option. He represents everything wrong with the establishment wing of the GOP, which wing mocks Republican voters who actually believe in the conservative values that they vote on.  Romney is the ultimate elitist running in the age of populism. He doesn't understand working men and women and, what's more, he does not seem to care about them.  He has flip-flopped on a number of social issues.  I have no problem with people's views evolving over time, but Romney changes his views to try to win votes.  He has no core values, except the fervent belief that he should be President.  Romney is the Republican equivalent of Evan Bayh.

Romney's ace in the hole, that he is somehow more electable than the other Republican candidates, is a myth.   When 2/3 of your own party can't stand you and will consider any alternative, no matter how flawed, those people are very likely to stay home or vote for the Democrat or third party in the Fall.
Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich is another option.  I've done enough divorce work to know to take an ex-spouse words with a grain of salt.  While Gingrich clearly has some troubling personal baggage, I do believe in redemption.  Maybe Gingrich has turned a new chapter in his personal life.  I'm far more troubled by Gingrich's professional baggage, such as his lobbying for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or whatever he was doing for them.  Gingrich seems to apply different rules to the conduct of other public officials than what he applies to himself.

Gingrich though is a terrific debater, the best of the bunch.  On the campaign trail he is the intellectual equivalent of Obama and more skilled with presidential camapign joust and parrying than the President.  While, like Romney, Gingrich has flip-flopped on issues, unlike with Romney, you get the sense Gingrich does have a conservative core.    I do like the fact that Gingrich is willing to be reasonable on immigration policy and open-minded on other issues.  But it's hard not to forget his participation in the "man is causing dangerous global warming" television commercial with Nancy Pelosi. 

Rick Santorum
Of the field, Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum, is probably the most likable on a personal level. I do like his commitment to the pro-life cause and that he is willing to live the philosophy regarding the sanctity of human life.  I think fiscally he's fairly solid, though he like virtually every member of Congress has earmark and other issues.  But I don't like Santorum's lack of tolerance when it comes to social issues. I realize the entire Republican field, sans Ron Paul, is against legalizing same sex marriage, Santorum though seems to take that position a step further, with his condemnation of homosexuality.  While it's not my cup of tea, I don't understand how allowing same sex marriage endanger the institution of marriage.  Even though many of us disagree with same sex marriage, we need to be more tolerant of homosexuality.

Rick Perry
Texas Governor Rick Perry was my original favorite.  I saw him as having a stellar record in Texas and someone who could unite the fiscal and social conservatives in the GOP.  But while Perry on paper was a strong candidate, he was a bust on the campaign trial.  Perry's poor performance in the debates killed him, though he at the end, too late, began to improve.  Further, Perry turned me off with his desperate and misguided play to religious conservatives by believing that religiosity equals intolerance.  The last straw for me though was Perry's debate declaration that we should send troops back into Iraq.  Ugh.

That brings me to Texas Congressman Ron Paul.   I didn't reflexively walk in to the Paul camp.  I have concerns. One issue that is hardly mentioned is age.  Ronald Reagan, at 69, is the oldest President ever elected.  Ron Paul is 76, almost as old as Reagan was when he left office.  But times have changed from the 1980s.  People are living longer, but more importantly, they are living healthier lives into their senior years.  Ron Paul is one of the brightest minds on the stage, the only intellectual rival to Gingrich.  I am over my concern about his age.

The biggest concern I had along the way was Paul's involvement with the well-publicized racist newsletters for which economic analysis.  In one of the media interviews I saw, Paul did the right thing.  He apologized and basically confessed he was negligent when it came to reviewing what others were writing in the newsletters.  I like it when people are willing to admit to mistakes.  More importantly though Paul went on to make an extremely compelling case that he is the most sensitive candidate when it comes to issues that disproportionally impact minorities and, in particular, African-Americans.  Paul talked about the failure of the War on Drugs and the high incarceration rates.  Further, Paul understands probably better than anyone that taking away civil liberties to fight crime, ultimately opens the door for the law-abiding to have their rights taken away.

On other issues, I often disagree with Paul.  On foreign policy, I agree with Paul that we shouldn't have gone into Iraq, or at the least not made a long-term project out of it.  But on Afghanistan, I disagree with the Texas congressman. We were right to go into Afghanistan because of the events of 9/11 and terrorism practiced by Al Quada.  I think Paul should be more concerned about terrorism and dangers such as Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.

Ron Paul
While a lot of Republicans talking heads fault Ron Paul for his isolationist policies, which I agree go too far, they are willing to support an interventionist foreign policy that is even more extreme.  We need a GOP nominee who will finally question the need for bases all over the world and the level of defense spending that eats up half of the nation's budget.  As far as the politics of foreign policy, the isolationist wing of the GOP is alive and well and growing larger every day.  Ron Paul though seems to be the only candidate who understand that.

Where I am most in sync with Ron Paul is on economic policy.  I think Ron Paul's focus on the budget deficit is long overdue.  But rather than just pay lip service to addressing the debt, Paul is the only one willing to seriously rethink the bloated role the federal government has assumed in our daily lives.  Cutting that role of government is frankly the only way the cuts necessary to be made can be made.

A Facebook friend faulted pro-life Ron Paul's for not being pro-life enough because he did not think the federal Constitution should be interpreted to ban abortion.  Ron Paul is exactly correct.  Roe v. Wade is an abomination because the constitution is silent as to when life begins and the right to an abortion.  The majority of justices simply invented an fundamental right to abortion based on another made up right, a general "right to privacy" which, by the way, also isn't mentioned in the Constitution.  To twist the language of the federal Constitution to ban abortion would be judicial activism every bit as bad as Roe v. Wade.   Two wrongs do not make a right.  Ron Paul believes not only in the Constitution, but that when that document is silent as to rights, the people, through their elected representatives have a right to decide what the best policy is.

My support of Ron Paul can be summed up as this.  While I often think the policies he advocates go too far, he is at least going in the right direction.  I can't say that for the other candidates.  I can't say that anyone on the Republican stage would actually reduce the size of our federal government or protect our hard-fought liberties like Ron Paul would. That's why Ogden on Politics is glad to endorse Ron Paul for President.  Don't forget to take this opinion along with your $3 for a Starbucks coffee.


Bill Starr said...

I like your conclusion and your analysis!

Mike Kole said...

I'll second what Bill said. A very thorough walk through your considerations. His admission of negligence on the newsletters was also important to me.

I've liked Ron Paul for many years, and will back him for as long as he's in it- hopefully up through capturing the nomination, and then on to the November elections.

Cato said...

Gutsy move, Paul. Glad to see you finally came around, especially after all the Rick Perry bromance you had going a few months ago.

Ron is the only true Conservative in the campaign, and since you're an intellectually honest Conservative, it's no wonder you've come around to Ron's message.

Nice to have you aboard.

Nicolas Martin said...

Excellent choice, Mr. Ogden.