A Close Look at Ron Paul
Everybody knows that almost all politicians are corrupt and liars. Our pork barrel spending is out of control. The 2008 defense appropriations bill provides for over three billion dollars in pork. Jack Murtha's secured 48 earmarks which account for 150.5 million. In the year 2007 alone, there has been over 13.2 billion dollars worth of wasteful spending, down from over 29 billion in 2006.
Jack Murtha is hardly the only example. The Republicans campaigned in 1994 on a platform of ending wasteful spending. Instead of living up to their promises, they made earmarks an art form. When George Bush entered office, he didn't cut spending. On the contrary, federal expenditures skyrocketed.
Even though the people have made their voices heard regarding government spending, our politicians still squander our money on worthless projects, such as Alaska's infamous "Bridge to Nowhere". This incredibly inane project required almost 400 million dollars in federal funds in order to construct a huge bridge connecting Ketchikan to its airport- a fine idea, perhaps, but worth 400 million? This kind of wasteful spending is not only typical of Washington, not only expected, but near universally regarded as essential to remain in Congress.
Except Ron Paul, right? The last true constitutionalist, the one man in government willing to fight against pork. He is often called Doctor No on the House floor because his predilection to vote "no" on most bills, often being the only one to do so. He has based an entire Presidential campaign on the desire of the American people to end the wasteful spending our politicians love. In an era where politicians seems more driven by lobbyists and polls than principle, it is refreshing to see that there is one politician willing to stand up for up he believes in and keep his promises, right?
Whatever Paul's problems on foreign policy, we can at least admire, and hope the rest of our politicians emulate, his stand on spending, correct? He would never ask for eight million dollars to market wild shrimp, or three million to test shrimp for antibiotics. He would never consider requesting two million to renovate a historic theater. The idea that he would even consider requesting 400 million dollars worth of federal funds is laughable. Ron Paul is a man with principles. We need people like him, and should vote out those who want our hard earned money to market shrimp, don't we?
Except that shrimp-loving Congressman is none other than... Ron Paul. He gains considerable publicity railing against pork- but when it comes time to divvy it up, he takes his fair share. In fact, guess who leads the Houston area in pork requests? None other than Doctor No. Ron Paul, far fighting wasteful spending, actually embraces it. (Here is a list of Paul's spending requests).
But Ron Paul claims never to vote for anything not expressly allowed by the Constitution. So how can he get away with voting for wasteful spending bills? He doesn't. Pork bills are some of the more easily passed bills, since there is a great deal of quid pro quo in these things- "I'll send money to your district if you send some to mine". So Ron Paul, after making sure that he has gotten his own spending in, votes against the bill, which passes by a wide margin anyway. Then Paul can go home and tell his acolytes that he is a lone wolf fighting wasteful spending.
Paul has built his entire campaign around his opposition to federal spending. Every page in the Issues section of his campaign website mentions his refusal to vote for unconstitutional bills. Much of his support comes from people fed up with our governments tendency to spend money at a relentless pace. What favorable press Paul has managed to get is based on this issue. And it is all a lie.
It would require (to borrow a phrase from Hillary Clinton) a wilful suspension of disbelief to think that any of our Presidential candidates will drastically slash pork barrel spending. But at least they are more or less honest about their spending plans. They do not lie about their records, at least to the extent that Paul does. It appears that Ron Paul is not the principled man it once appeared he was.
We know that Dr. Paul would be disastrous on national security. A little research reveals that he is, if not a full fledged conspiracy theorist, at least sympathetic to their causes. He has appeared on 9/11 conspiracy theorist Alex Jones's radio show- but once but three times. But many were prepared to forgive these positions in the hope that Paul would reign in government spending. Since it seems that he can't even be counted on for that self appointed task, it would seem that there are no remaining reasons to support him. Ron Paul is not only a nut, he is a liar and a fraud.