Every single one of the candidates currently running for the Republican nomination is a walking disaster. But one of them, Texas congressman Ron Paul, seems to be getting a disturbing amount of support from liberals. Mostly that's because his nut-job libertarian views happen to not sound so nutty on a handful of issues. He wants to end the War on Drugs. He is against the death penalty. He would not support a constitutional ban on gay marriage. He was opposed to the War in Iraq and wants to end all American military intervention abroad. All of that sounds pretty good to us left-wing types — downright refreshing coming from a Republican. Some progressives have claimed they'd rather vote for him than for Obama. Even Occupiers have sung his praises.
But if you're a liberal who supports Ron Paul, you either haven't been paying enough attention or you're out of your fucking mind.
Here are 20 reasons why:
1. He wants to repeal the Civil Rights Act. That's the 1964 law that made segregation illegal and outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex or national origin. Paul claims it infringes on people's freedom. If a restaurant or hotel wants to ban African-Americans, he believes they should be allowed to. As he put it in a speech to Congress: "the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty."
2. He's also against the Americans With Disabilities Act. That's the 1990 bill passed by the first President Bush, which followed up the Civil Rights Act by making it illegal to discriminate against someone because of a disability. Paul wants it gone, too.
3. He is against public health care. You know how you think Americans are crazy because they can't do any better on universal health care than the watered down bill Obama got through? Well, President Ron Paul would do much, much worse. He thinks that in an entirely private system, poor people would have all of their needs taken care of by charitable doctors who would be willing to work for free. Ron Paul, by the way, is a medical doctor.
4. He wants to dissolve the public education system. He promises to eliminate the Department of Education entirely and leave the question of whether to offer any public education at all up to local governments. He calls public education "socialist" (which we actually agree with, but he, unlike us, doesn't think that's a good thing) and says, "I preach home schooling and private schooling." According to an interview, "The Department of Education has given us No Child Left Behind, massive unfunded mandates, indoctrination, and in some cases, forced medication of our children with psychotropic drugs. We should get rid of all of that..."
5. He thinks global warming is a hoax. In his words, it's "the greatest hoax, I think, that's been around in many, many years — if not hundreds of years". But that's just the tip of the crazyberg. Ron Paul winning the presidency would be a disaster for the environment. He wants to completely disband the Environmental Protection Agency, abolish environmental regulation, and lift, it seems, just about all the restrictions on drilling for oil. Including in National Parks.
6. He doesn't believe in evolution. When asked about it in 2007, he was pretty clear: "I think it’s a theory. The theory of evolution. And I don’t accept it as a theory."
7. He's against federal safety standards. So that means no federal testing to make sure the products you're sold won't kill you. Or that, say, the airplane you're on won't fall out of the sky. In fact, he's in favour of completely disbanding the Federal Aviation Authority, which does stuff like hire air traffic controllers to make sure planes don't collide in the air. He has argued against the Food and Drug Administration, which makes sure pharmaceuticals are safe to take. ("People weren't dying from bad drugs before we had the FDA," he has said, "I mean, it just didn't happen.") And forget Ralph Nader's successful crusade to enforce the wearing of seat belts. Ron Paul is ideologically opposed to the federal government making sure cars even have seat belts. "I mean, do we need the federal government to tell us whether we buy a safe car?"
8. He is radically pro-life. And vehemently opposed to a woman's right to choose. He signed the "personhood pledge" making the rounds on the current campaign, suggesting that abortion should be legally considered to be the same thing as murder.
9. He wants to do away with all foreign aid. Paul's isolationism sounds good to liberals when he's talking about his refusal to invade other nations. But the United States government, under President Paul, would send no funds to the developing world to help combat AIDS or famines or natural disasters or anything else.
10. He would pull out of the United Nations. He openly claims the United Nations is part of a plot to create one world government. "If we continue down the UN path, America as we know it will cease to exist." And not only does he want to withdraw the U.S. from membership, he wants to evict the United Nations from their headquarters in New York.
11. He's against the minimum wage. Instead of making sure that people are paid at least a minimum amount for their work, he believes companies should be allowed to pay whatever ever they like, with the law of supply and demand determining just how little. Lower wages, he argues, would actually help poor people by creating more jobs.
12. He is a gun nut. Our eyebrows are already raised by anyone who claims that having firearms is a "God-given right", like Ron Paul does. But he doesn't stop there. He wants to repeal the legislation that requires a background check when you buy a new gun — you know, to make sure you're not, say, a fugitive from justice, a violent offender, or currently stalking someone. Back when there actually was a ban an assault weapons, he was, of course, against the ban. And now that there isn't, he wants to make sure Obama doesn't get the chance to bring a new one in.
13. He believes we're waging a war against Christmas. In his words, he claims that "the elitist, secular Left" are waging an "ongoing war against religion" to "transform America into a completely secular nation, a nation that is legally and culturally biased against Christianity." And as if that wasn't crazy enough, he adds, "Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war."
14. He wants to get rid of income tax. He is against taxation in general, of course, which most liberals would disagree pretty strongly with. Especially when it comes to the income tax. It's generally recognized as the most direct way to make sure that poor folk don't have to give up more of their earnings than rich folk do. But Paul wants to get rid of it entirely.
15. He voted to build a fence along the border with Mexico. In fact, he's pretty radical when it comes to the whole question of undocumented immigration. He has backed off on the fence issue (because, he says, it might be used to keep Americans in) but he has also argued that Emergency Room doctors shouldn't have to treat immigrants without documentation. And that he wants to end birthright citizenship, which says you're an American citizen if you were born in America, whether or not your parents were citizens themselves.
16. He's against the Occupational Health and Safety Act. That's the law that gives Americans the right to a safe workplace, and makes sure an employer doesn't force employees to work in a dangerous or unhealthy environment. That, Paul figures, is unconstitutional. It limits the employer's freedom to put workers in harm's way.
17. He wants to U.S. to seize control of the Panama Canal. Paul's isolationism doesn't seem to apply to the Panama Canal. The United States signed a treaty back in the 1970s gradually ceding control of the canal to the government of Panama. But Paul wants to overturn that. Because if the U.S doesn't seize control of it, he claims some hostile regime might seize control of it instead.
18. He thinks interstate highways are unconstitutional. You're probably getting the impression by now that Ron Paul thinks that pretty much everything the federal government does is unconstitutional. That's because Ron Paul thinks that pretty much everything the federal government does is unconstitutional. He has even argued against interstate highways, saying Eisenhower knew he was bending the law when he built them. Paul figures they're a violation of states' rights.
19. He seems pretty homophobic to us. Paul actually gets a lot of credit for being the one Republican candidate who isn't homophobic, mostly because he says that the federal government has no business telling people what to do in their private lives and he's come out against a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage. But it's really not that clear where he stands. His reason for being against the ban is that he believes marriage laws should be left up to individual states or to the church. When some states began to pass laws legalizing same-sex marriage, he fought to make sure other states wouldn't have to recognize those marriages as legal. He's also for don't-ask-don't-tell and has voted to de-fund any organization which "presents male or female homosexuality as an acceptable alternative life style or which suggest that it can be an acceptable life style". As for his own personal attitude toward the gay community? Well, an ex-staffer who defended Paul against charges of homophobia did so by claiming he only knew of two times Paul did something homophobic: the time he swatted away a gay man's hand rather than have to shake it, and the time he refused to go to the washroom at the same time as a gay guy.
20. And he seems pretty racist too. Paul has been haunted by accusations of racism pretty much the whole campaign long. And with good reason. He used to publish newsletters, under his own name, which said unbelievably racist things. Things like, "I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal." And, "If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be." For years, he refused opportunities to distance himself from those comments and those newsletters. Now, finally, he has, saying that they were written by other people, without his knowledge, and that he doesn't share those views. But that's not the only thing that makes us worried. More recently, he complained about the Transportation Security Administration hiring visible minorities to do airport screenings. Again, in his own words: "We quadrupled the TSA, you know, and hired more people who look more suspicious to me than most Americans who are getting checked... Most of them are, well, you know, they just don’t look very American to me."
So, yeah, as liberals, we wouldn't exactly have high hopes for the Paul Administration.