Dismissing Ron Paul By Ivan Eland

Dandelion Salad

By Ivan Eland
Consortium News
February 28, 2008

Editor’s Note: For most of George W. Bush’s presidency, the Washington press corps acted like the submissive subjects of the emperor whose overweening vanity led him to think he was wearing the finest clothes when he actually was prancing about naked.

In Campaign 2008, Rep. Ron Paul played the role of the child who dared state the obvious – and was hushed up by shocked journalists who dismissed him as a kook. In the guest essay, the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland dissents:

As the nation’s major media outlets crown John McCain (George W. Bush on steroids) as the Republican nominee for president, their nearly criminal neglect of Ron Paul’s candidacy in the 2008 presidential campaign is nearly complete.

“Big media” have never deemed Paul a “major candidate,” as their paltry coverage of him shows.

In fact, the media often brand the ardent groundswell of popular support for Ron Paul as an odd curiosity. The problem is that if Ron Paul is a kook—as they imply—then so are the nation’s founders.

His policy prescriptions of more limited government at home and military restraint abroad put him far closer to the spectrum of opinion at the founding than any other candidate in the 2008 race.

The media barons would never dream of implying that the founders were loony tunes. But the country’s current massive government, with its intrusive activism at home and abroad, is so far removed from the founding vision that the modern-day manifestation of such values appears downright weird to today’s press corps.

Most appalling is the media’s emphasis on criticizing Paul’s foreign policy views. The Washington Post, in an op-ed dedicated entirely to undermining Paul’s candidacy, argued that Paul is an “isolationist” who would withdraw from Iraq immediately, wouldn’t defend South Korea if it were attacked by the North, and has attempted to understand why Osama bin Laden attacks the United States.

Yet the nation’s founders were not isolationists, and neither is Paul.
Like the founders, he wants to avoid unneeded and unconscionable military attacks on other countries that pervert the republic at home.

In his usual frank manner, Paul bluntly admits that the United States has failed in Iraq. Alone among all of the Democratic and Republican candidates who ran or are still running in 2008, Paul understands the oft-neglected domestic ill effects of a quixotic and overly broad “war on terror,” including the war in Iraq.

He grasps that the erosion of the Constitution and civil liberties, which make the United States unique among nations, may be the war’s most important negative consequence.

Paul is also unique among the candidates in pointing out that now, rich U.S. allies, such as South Korea, are capable of defending themselves against far poorer foes. South Korea’s economy is about 30 times that of the North and no longer needs a U.S. security guarantee.

With the Soviet Union long relegated to the trash bin of history, no longer must the United States subsidize European defense through retaining the outdated NATO alliance and stationing of U.S. forces in Europe.

Paul is a rare politician who actually acknowledges expert opinion on al Qaeda. That opinion has concluded that bin Laden attacks the United States because of its foreign policy toward the Middle East—that is, the invasion and occupation of Muslim lands, and support for Israel and corrupt, autocratic Arab dictatorships.

Yet contrary to empirical evidence and polls in the Arab/Islamic world, other politicians in both major parties—to buttress their interventionist foreign policy prescriptions—either conveniently ignore al Qaeda’s motives or disingenuously attribute bin Laden’s hostility to his distaste for American culture or political and economic freedom.

In sum, Paul has astutely realized that the republic’s founding principles have never been more relevant to today’s world.

No matter what the outcome of the 2008 election, Paul’s participation in the campaign and its debates has been a huge plus in highlighting the long-forgotten founders’ policies of limited government and military restraint and in advocating their relevancy and renewal in today’s world.

That is why I was proud to accept an invitation to serve as a foreign policy advisor to Paul’s campaign. Like being a Maytag repairman, however, it is a lonely job, because the already savvy Paul doesn’t need much advice.

Ivan Eland is Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute. Dr. Eland has spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. His books include The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, and Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy.


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3 thoughts on “Dismissing Ron Paul By Ivan Eland

  1. I agree as a journalist i am disgusted with their treatment of Dr. Paul. If any other candidate was able to raise a grassroots effort like Paul did we would still be hearing about their money bombs or traveling blimps.

    The good thing is, after their best attempts, the message got out. A lot more people are awake to the corruption in washington and the current actions that are effectively shredding the constitution.


  2. You’re right, Ron Paul is exactly like our founding fathers… he is a white religious male who has racist and imperialistic policies and who’s only concern is for the free-market… sure he’s anti-NAFTA and the like but the game is still the same – acquire property and wealth at a faster rate than your neighbor. Sure… keep that up and continue to see the destructive policies we see today both to the land and it’s people. The capitalist banker’s whip versus the policeman’s truncheon… makes no difference when we are talking about revolutionary change.

    Personally I am glad to see that he was not taken seriously. American libertarianism is a joke. The only thing it supplies liberty to is American business and world capitalism.

    Considering Mr. Paul is anti-abortion, pro-racist borders (Mex Am), and has repeatedly requested that Alaska and other such pristine environments be probed and drilled for oil; I don’t see how anyone thought this guy was a progressive step aside from his view of the war in Iraq, and one good policy amid a gaggle of terrible ones is just not enough for the American people to consider presidential reform.

    People continue to talk about the Obama cult; screw that, these Paulians are the fooled masses.

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