The Paul Problem

Club for Growth’s President Pat Toomey has a pretty good bit that strikes some chords with me on Ron Paul:

“Ron Paul’s record contains some very laudable components,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “On taxes, regulation, and political speech, his record is superb. His spending record is impressive, though Paul has recently embraced pork-barrel projects in direct contradiction to his vociferous opposition to unconstitutional appropriations by the federal government.”

Unfortunately, his stubborn idealism often takes Ron Paul further away from achieving the limited-government, pro-growth philosophy he advocates. This is certainly the case with school choice, free trade, tort reform, and entitlement reform, in which he votes against vital free trade agreements, competitive school choice initiatives, and tort reform proposals.

“While we give Ron Paul credit for his philosophical ideals, politicians have the responsibility of making progress, and often, Ron Paul votes against making progress because, in his mind, the progress is not perfect,” Mr. Toomey continued. “In these cases, although for very different reasons, Ron Paul is practically often aligned with the most left-wing Democrats, voting against important, albeit imperfect, pro-growth legislation. Ron Paul is, undoubtedly, ideologically committed to pro-growth limited-government policies, but his insistence on opposing all but the perfect means that under a Ron Paul presidency we might never get a chance to pursue the good too.”

Pat Toomey is the man the Pennsylvania GOP threw under the bus to save Arlen Specter (the wisdom of which I question almost every day). Pat understands politics is not a game of principle, but a horse trading game, the key being always making sure you’re getting a better horse than you had before. Ron Paul is holding out for the winning thoroughbred, which though admirable, isn’t likely to help much when you’re riding a mule.

UPDATE: War on Guns has a different take on it:

I guess if you allow the Club for Growth to be the arbiter of what is “good,” they might have a point. But if “good” is defined as allowing government to assume undelegated powers just because they’re doing your bidding, it should be obvious to all what a dangerous and destructive path that is. How much more evidence–aside from the sorry mess we’re in now–do we need?

Given the Club for Growth praised Ron Paul’s impressive record in many areas, I didn’t really take their report to be a huge ding against him.  As I said, I admire Ron Paul’s dedication to his principles and the constitution, but the politicians people keep voting to send to Washington have created a political culture where people like Paul are marginalized.  I’m an advocate of working within that system the voters in this country have given us, to move to a more classical liberal order, but that’s not to say I like having to do things that way.

11 thoughts on “The Paul Problem”

  1. One thing I dont’ like about that article is where he says that “politicians have the responsibility of making progress…” It’s thier responsibility to uphold that radical document we all hold dearly, the Constitution. That’s why we are in such a crazy quagmire in DC, they think they are there to keep fixing what aint broke, till it is broke. Ron Paul has great ideas on domestic problems, and for the first two debates he was the only one who mentioned the Constitution. I really like what he has to say, and the fact that a lot of the scumbags in DC DONT like him is endorsement enough for me.

  2. I agree, in an ideal world, politicians would be loyal to their oath, but they aren’t. People don’t really hold them accountable to that either.

    So it becomes, do we stick to our ideals, and not get anywhere, or jump into the political process and try to move it in a direction we like, even if we don’t like some of the compromises we have to make? I’m an advocate of the latter.

  3. I agree that I want politicians to work for thier paychecks, and it’s very important to work in the system, but I think that holding politicians responsible is where we need to move. I plan on voting my conscious in the primaries and then voting for reality in the general election. The apeal of Ron Paul is he seems like the real deal, not afraid to ruffle some feathers and call a turd a turd, I like that kind of guy. He is what we need, only about 20 years too late.

  4. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a good chance I might vote for Paul if Fred gets pushed out of the running. I have my differences with him on foreign policy, and on strategy for getting back to a constitutional republic, but I don’t have that much of a beef with his overall vision, and there’s just no way I’m voting for Rudy or Mitt the Shit in the primary. No way.

  5. I voted for Pat Toomey in the GOP primary. I thought he was great, and I hope he runs for governor.

    Call me a weirdo, or maybe even a little dangerous, but I like politicians with personality, flair, and a certain je ne sais quoi. This is why I still have a fondness for Jim Trafficant, despite the fact he’s in a federal prison. It’s why I like Charlie Rangel and Barney Frank. I might not vote for them, but I like that they’re around.

    I like the fact that Ron Paul is around. He has the je ne sais quoi. What’s not to like about a guy that votes “NO” 90% of the time? The guy’s been saying the same stuff for the last 20 years, and I have to give him credit for sticking to his guns. Will he get elected? Probably not, but I like having him around. He brings life to the party.

  6. I will give you that Paul’s foreign policy does scare me a bit…ok, more than a bit, and that’s the only thing stoping me from strapping on my Ron Paul 2008 T-Shirt and marching around the PRNJ with a sign, handing out fliers and sticking bumper stickers on everything. Up until the Des Moines Register’s debate he was the only one who was even remotely on my list of possibles. I will give it to ol’ Freddie boy, he gave me a little pitter patter in my heart when he said he wasn’t giving hand shows…that was a great moment in American Politics.

  7. “Didn’t Jesus ride a mule into Jerusalem?

    just sayin…”

    Yeah, and he never got elected to a political office.

  8. I think the first sentence in this CNN article hilarious:

    “GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul is raking in millions of dollars even as he remains one of the candidates with the least face time in mainstream media.”

    Let me translate for you:

    “GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul is raking in millions of dollars even as we try our best to make sure we give him absolutely no coverage.”

  9. So it becomes, do we stick to our ideals, and not get anywhere, or jump into the political process and try to move it in a direction we like, even if we don’t like some of the compromises we have to make? I’m an advocate of the latter.

    NO SHIT! So where does the ideals part come in?

    Oh, I see. Nowhere. That is NO WHERE, not now here.

  10. Your ideals are a guide. They tell you whether your trade gets you closer to them, or farther away. Ideals are important, but they are a guide, not a process.

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