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The We the People act and Sanctity of Life act are abominations, but I would still prefer a candidate who looks consistently to the constitution for support as opposed to the bible. He is religious, as are all of the candidates technically, but he repeatedly criticizes other candidates that flaunt their religion as part of their platform. He criticized Romney on Leno for this, and referenced Sinclair Lewis in regards to Mike Huckabee's holiday ad (remember the "When Fascism comes, it's going to be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross" comment?) I think he's pretty clear on the role of government, with a few grave exceptions. His voting record is pretty indicative of that. I'd vote for Ron Paul over any Democrat, and that's what it really comes down to to me.

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For the RP fans, can you point to concrete promises made by him during this campaign where he vows to veto legislation of a certain character? For example, on his web page, he claims under Debt & Taxes that taxes suck (no brainer) and that spending needs to be cut (not recognized by all candidates, I think, but still hardly a major distinguishing property). But his bottom line is "We need a new method to prioritize our spending. It’s called the Constitution of the United States." Uh, yeah, so does that mean you will veto any appropriations bill that isn't strictly for the courts or national defense? I don't see him saying or really even implying that. What statement has he made declaring that any further "protections" of the environment will be vetoed by him? Where is his declaration that he will veto any national health care plan?

I think his voting record for the last 40 years is pretty indicative that he won't vote for the above measures. He's never voted for a bill of that sort, and he consistently opposes those ideas in debate. I'll provide more documentation if needed, but here's a video to start:

Edited by West
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This is an absurd statement.

Firstly, the physical manifestations of a poorly conceived idea cannot ultimately be defeated unless the underlying idea is defeated by a superior idea. Nazism was officially defeated in WWII. But I can easily show you neo-nazi groups all over the globe who regard Mein Kampf as their Bible and Hitler as their prophet. In America the Nazi ideas still exist, and they manifests themselves in the form of white supremacy groups such as the KKK, and political groups such as the American Nazi Party (remember George Lincoln Rockwell?). Moreover, all religious groups (including Islam) throughout history have suffered serious defeats in battle or war and have managed to survive, because the ideas were not defeated.

The American Nazi Party is hardly a mass movement of Nazis. To say that my statement is absurd because there are still some people, somewhere who believe in Nazism is, well, absurd. There is no mass Nazi movement today, like there was in WWII.

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The American Nazi Party is hardly a mass movement of Nazis. To say that my statement is absurd because there are still some people, somewhere who believe in Nazism is, well, absurd. There is no mass Nazi movement today, like there was in WWII.

The American Nazi Party is a physical manifestation of Nazi ideas. So even though the Nazi party was formally defeated, Nazism still exists and manifests itself in varying forms with different levels of support.

You are saying that the physical manifestation of an idea can have a varying amount of support. But surely you aren't saying that the physical manifestations of an idea can be defeated without addressing the underlying idea. If that is what you are contending, as you were in your original post, you are wrong.

Edited by adrock3215
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I think his voting record for the last 40 years is pretty indicative that he won't vote for the above measures.
I disagree entirely. To get elected, he has to appeal to a much wider constituency. He must conpromise his values, and he will. If he had actually promised to veto such legislation especially during a campain, if he gets up on stage and says on national TV "Read my lips, no appropriation bills other than courts and national defense", then I might believe him. I'm not interested in his historical safe positions in the 14th district, I'm interested in his current honesty and his willingness to commit explicitly, clearly and unambiguously to a program of active vetoing. I have seen no evidence of such a promise, and I don't believe that it would actually result from him being elected. If he magically got elected, I think he would sell out, and the fact that he continues to evade such a direct declaration of his absolute, unrelenting commitment to capitalist principles is telling to me.
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I disagree entirely. To get elected, he has to appeal to a much wider constituency. He must conpromise his values, and he will. If he had actually promised to veto such legislation especially during a campain, if he gets up on stage and says on national TV "Read my lips, no appropriation bills other than courts and national defense", then I might believe him. I'm not interested in his historical safe positions in the 14th district, I'm interested in his current honesty and his willingness to commit explicitly, clearly and unambiguously to a program of active vetoing. I have seen no evidence of such a promise, and I don't believe that it would actually result from him being elected. If he magically got elected, I think he would sell out, and the fact that he continues to evade such a direct declaration of his absolute, unrelenting commitment to capitalist principles is telling to me.

What makes you think that he will compromise his values? What evidence is there to suggest that he will suddenly flip-flop after 40 years of consistency? There's plenty of reason to believe the contrary; he's nicknamed Dr. No for good reason. Lobbyists don't even visit his door anymore. I respect the fact that he does not cave in to pressure groups on any level, nor would he to what the Republican Party has become. That's his whole platform--that fact that he is against the recent takeover by Neo-cons (he's mentioned this numerous times in debate) of the Republican Party, wishing to get back to what he calls the roots. If the only way he could get the nomination is by pandering or compromising his values, then you're right; there's absolutely no chance he'll get the nomination. If I were to bet on the state of things, I'd put my money with that assertion over the notion that he'd suddenly renege on a pristinely consistent record if he "magically got elected".

Edited by West
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What makes you think that he will compromise his values?
I presume that he would not only want to be elected, but to be re-elected. A consistent pattern of vetoing all improper legislation (i.e. virtually if not in fact literally) all legislation would bring the government to a complete halt until the House and Senate got organised and cooked up a system for only passing bills that would survive a veto. Given the level of entitlement that exists in the US, this would piss off almost all of the voters, so I don't see how he could be re-elected (he's probably be impeached and removed from office first). Since it seems utterly implausible that he has in mind to go down in flames, the only reasonable conclusion is that he plans to compromise. In addition, he has a clear opportunity to declare on his web page what would be the most important feature of his candidacy, namely the supposed commitment to vetoing all improper legislation. And yet he doesn't come out honestly and say it. The only sensible conclusion that can be reached is that he does not in fact intent to consistently veto all improper legislation.

I'm not impressed by the fact that his Texas district sympathises with his politics, so his actions in the House are insignificant. If he had voted that way representing New York City or San Francisco, that would get my attention. His shtick works in his district, and not nationally. The best argument for Paul that I could imagine is that he plans to serve one obstructionist term and probably be impeached in a couple of years, but in the meantime no tax increases or spending bills would get passed.

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I presume that he would not only want to be elected, but to be re-elected. A consistent pattern of vetoing all improper legislation (i.e. virtually if not in fact literally) all legislation would bring the government to a complete halt until the House and Senate got organised and cooked up a system for only passing bills that would survive a veto. Given the level of entitlement that exists in the US, this would piss off almost all of the voters, so I don't see how he could be re-elected (he's probably be impeached and removed from office first). Since it seems utterly implausible that he has in mind to go down in flames, the only reasonable conclusion is that he plans to compromise. In addition, he has a clear opportunity to declare on his web page what would be the most important feature of his candidacy, namely the supposed commitment to vetoing all improper legislation. And yet he doesn't come out honestly and say it. The only sensible conclusion that can be reached is that he does not in fact intent to consistently veto all improper legislation.

I'm not impressed by the fact that his Texas district sympathises with his politics, so his actions in the House are insignificant. If he had voted that way representing New York City or San Francisco, that would get my attention. His shtick works in his district, and not nationally. The best argument for Paul that I could imagine is that he plans to serve one obstructionist term and probably be impeached in a couple of years, but in the meantime no tax increases or spending bills would get passed.

If his Texas district wasn't sympathetic to his views, he wouldn't have a political career; I'd imagine he'd just be delivering babies. The reason why he got into politics was in response to Nixon removing us from the gold standard if I remember correctly. Paul was already familiar with von Mises and other Austrian economists who extolled a free market system.

I disagree that he would flip flop, for reasons I've already stated and thought were sufficient, but what if he did only serve one obstructionist term (which will most likely be the case if anything)? Isn't that better than anything the Democrats would do if they were in the office instead? Would this be grounds to vote for him on the basis that he is the lesser evil?

Edited by West
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I presume that he would not only want to be elected, but to be re-elected. A consistent pattern of vetoing all improper legislation (i.e. virtually if not in fact literally) all legislation would bring the government to a complete halt until the House and Senate got organised and cooked up a system for only passing bills that would survive a veto. Given the level of entitlement that exists in the US, this would piss off almost all of the voters, so I don't see how he could be re-elected (he's probably be impeached and removed from office first). Since it seems utterly implausible that he has in mind to go down in flames, the only reasonable conclusion is that he plans to compromise. In addition, he has a clear opportunity to declare on his web page what would be the most important feature of his candidacy, namely the supposed commitment to vetoing all improper legislation. And yet he doesn't come out honestly and say it. The only sensible conclusion that can be reached is that he does not in fact intent to consistently veto all improper legislation.

I'm not impressed by the fact that his Texas district sympathises with his politics, so his actions in the House are insignificant. If he had voted that way representing New York City or San Francisco, that would get my attention. His shtick works in his district, and not nationally. The best argument for Paul that I could imagine is that he plans to serve one obstructionist term and probably be impeached in a couple of years, but in the meantime no tax increases or spending bills would get passed.

All of this is speculation, none backed by any evidence on your part.

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Oh it's for these reasons I don't turn on the news stations and flip right to the comics (or opinions) in the newspaper. Is there any source today where we can get news, and just the news?

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All of this is speculation, none backed by any evidence on your part.

You mean the last two hundred years of presidential politics isn't enough for you? Not considering the impact on his own presidency if he actually vetoes by his principles is considering the situation out of context. The veto is a spending of political capital and clout. It is not inexaustible, and as a result it gets used sparingly. This is part of what I was trying to point out to you earlier.

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All of this is speculation, none backed by any evidence on your part.
The point, which you apparently didn't understand, is that there is no credible evidence that Paul would actually act on his supposed "principles". It's just as speculative to claim that he would ever veto an appropriations bill. So then we have the fact that he is a nutjob when it comes to constitutional law, an abortion-fascist, and a pacifist-isolationist. I was looking for some evidence to overturn the resounding negatives of these aspects of his candidacy, something like an actual campaign promise that reflects his supposed principles. The silence is deafening.
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but what if he did only serve one obstructionist term (which will most likely be the case if anything)? Isn't that better than anything the Democrats would do if they were in the office instead? Would this be grounds to vote for him on the basis that he is the lesser evil?
That's a question worth considering seriously. On the one hand, we have the MOS of the mules. On the other hand, we have the virtual suspension of the federal government for 2-4 years (4 if they don't manage to impeach him), along with the threat of him actually forming a coalition with the religious nutters to start us on the slide to a friendly rapprochement between the state and the church. I guess it depends on how bad you think anarchy would be at the federal level. As long as everybody out there likes us and we don't have to worry about attacks.
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The We the People act and Sanctity of Life act are abominations, but I would still prefer a candidate who looks consistently to the constitution for support as opposed to the bible.

But he doesn't look consistently to the Constitution for support. That's the entire point of the We The People Act: to cut out of the Federal Constitution those pesky little features Paul doesn't like. And to do so, not by the prescribed constitutional method set out by Article V, but through a strained interpretation of Article III instead. I already described the We The People Act, the offense it does to the Constitution, and why it is an absolute deal-breaker in the Ron Paul thread.

~Q

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I presume that he would not only want to be elected, but to be re-elected. A consistent pattern of vetoing all improper legislation (i.e. virtually if not in fact literally) all legislation would bring the government to a complete halt until the House and Senate got organised and cooked up a system for only passing bills that would survive a veto. Given the level of entitlement that exists in the US, this would piss off almost all of the voters, so I don't see how he could be re-elected (he's probably be impeached and removed from office first). Since it seems utterly implausible that he has in mind to go down in flames, the only reasonable conclusion is that he plans to compromise.

The veto [...] is not inexaustible, and as a result it gets used sparingly.

According to Wikipedia, Grover Cleveland made pretty liberal use of the presidential veto. It doesn't seem as if the government came to a "complete halt" under his leadership. In fact, after being voted out of office in '88, he was voted back in four years later to become the only president whose two terms were not consecutive. "Cleveland himself insisted that, as President, his greatest accomplishment was blocking others' bad ideas." So far in two terms Bush has used the veto 8 times. Cleveland used 584. FDR used it 635 times over four terms. So it seems to me like Athena's right in that there is no evidence on your part (David, Kendall), as the evidence is to the contrary.

Paul has voiced admiration for Cleveland's consistency and use of the veto (no source, remember hearing him say it). When asked about environmentalism and health care he appeals to the free market, explains why that is right, and references presidential vetoes as a tool for keeping it that way (

). As West has already pointed out, he's been consistent in his record for the past 40 years. I don't see how this is not "credible evidence that Paul would actually act on his supposed 'principles.'" He's done everything short of stating explicitly, "I will veto this bill," or "I will veto that bill." Why is it logical to assume that that, somehow, is the giveaway that he'll suddenly flip when he's president? Especially given West's debate link, where the candidates are asked point blank, "Would you promise that you will oppose and veto any effort to raise taxes as long as you're president?" He says yes, of course, and then takes it further by pointing out that making a promise is easy and that the spending needs to be cut as well. For the other candidates, making the promise is their accomplishment. For Paul, the promise is given, he already assumes it to be his duty--his accomplishment is in identifying what needs to be done to maintain that promise, which is the opposite of evasion. I'm lead to believe he hasn't stated that he'll veto particular bills simply because he hasn't been asked.

Is it typical for candidates to state explicitly what bills they will veto when in office? (Genuine question, I don't know.) If not, why do you need it from Paul, but no other candidate? If someone as thoroughly consistent as Paul can be assumed to flip-flop once in office, what basis is there to believe that any candidate will try to do any of the things they're campaigning on? Why should we believe that Hillary actually intends to socialize medicine, or that McCain actually intends on keeping us in the war? DarkWaters argues that Paul will be bad because of his principles, and DavidOdden argues that he's bad because there's no reason to believe he'll act on them!

Also, things like socialized medicine etc., Kendall pointed out earlier to be legislative matters, outside of executive control. He asks, "What will it mean for this candidate to 'respect personal property and free-market economics' in an executive role exactly?" You tell us! If this is as simple as the case is, how is it that democratic candidates can base their entire platforms on issues related to these? And if things like socialized medicine are entirely outside of executive jurisdiction, why fear voting Democrat at all?

Edited by cilphex
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So it seems to me like Athena's right in that there is no evidence on your part (David, Kendall), as the evidence is to the contrary.

Well, that's not quite right cilphex. 2 of fortysome hardly proves a trend. The fact is there is plenty of evidence that the veto is used sparingly if you look at all the presidential records. I'm sure what you meant to say is that there is plenty of evidence for my claim, and also evidence to show that there are also a few exceptions. To then claim that RP is going to be a veto-loving president is still a reach unless you can show what it is about his context that would mimic the context of the exceptions.

Numbers have grown in modern presidencies, and so have overturn rates.

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The problem with discussing what Ron Paul would do as president is necessarily very speculative, because there's no way he can win. Therefore, one has to assume one or both of the following:

  • that he will change some of his positions to get elected, or
  • that voters will like his positions, when they hear the details.

Reading between the lines, I think DavidOdden and Kendall are assuming the former. Given what we know about what voters think, that appears to be the more reasonable assumption. If we don't assume that, then neither can we assume that RP can win. His win is only possible in a certain context.

Many voters like the idea of getting government out of their lives; but, if one scratches past this surface position, and start talking about getting rid of Social Security, privatizing schools, moving health-care toward a fully-private market, not going after Microsoft and the like for ant-trust violations, that is when one will find that Americans do want many of the things that government does.

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DarkWaters argues that Paul will be bad because of his principles, and DavidOdden argues that he's bad because there's no reason to believe he'll act on them!

You dropped the important contexts. Please note that my argument is that he will oppose taking necessary actions to defend the United States against Islamic terrorism on principle (which I still believe). On the other hand, DavidOdden is discussing how Ron Paul will act with respect to domestic policy. We are both discussing two mutually exclusive sets of principles.

According to Wikipedia, Grover Cleveland made pretty liberal use of the presidential veto. It doesn't seem as if the government came to a "complete halt" under his leadership.

What was President Cleveland vetoing? What bills did he not veto? How many bills did he not veto? Obviously, it makes a huge difference if he was vetoing basic appropriations bills or if he was just vetoing legislation to prevent unnecessary government expansion. It is difficult to assess if it should be expected that the government would have been predicted to be halted considering President Cleveland's frequent use of the veto until we answer these questions.

When considering this evidence, we should also recognize that President Cleveland served under a very different time in American history. He was in office before FDR's massive overhauls, before the Federal Reserve and before the income tax. I imagine that today, the President is faced with legislation that package funding for a lot of decent functions of government with funding for a lot of illegitimate functions of government in a single bill. Thus, to use a veto in such a case might delay reasonable functions of government from getting through. Of course, the real problem is that these items should not be packaged together.

I remember reading that President Cleveland was a firm believer in a gold standard, so it makes sense that Ron Paul would admire him.

Edited by DarkWaters
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According to Wikipedia, Grover Cleveland made pretty liberal use of the presidential veto.
Cleveland was president in a vastly different era, as you may know. The federal government was much less of a presence in those days. There is also a massive differenec between leing a liberal about vetoing some bills, and being rigorously principles and absolute in vetoing all appropriations bills that aren't strictly for the federal courts or national defense.

You guys seem to be confused about the two main questions. One is whether the American people would actually care, the other is whether he would do it. Historical comparisons to Cleveland and Roosevelt are really inappropriate for judging contemporary American politics. Rather than dropping the context of actual America 2008 and retaining only "much use of veto power" as the guiding principle for your judgments, you should look at the cold, hard facts of American voters now. The unprecedented level of dependency and profound feeling of entitlement that exists in America, the fuzzy sense of community and caring and the systematic denigration of the individual that pervades the culture.

I don't see how this is not "credible evidence that Paul would actually act on his supposed 'principles.'"
Because, again, you can't drop context and retain just one abstract observation of behavior. I think there is credible evidence that he will continue to vote the way he done in the context of being representative for the 14th district of Texas: he has found that his position is tenable with the voters, and he has been re-elected successfully. That context is simply not applicable to being elected and re-elected to the presidency of the US. In order to be elected he must be dishonest about his position, he must avoid saying what exactly he will by his supposed principles do. That level of dishonesty is itself a good reason to not elect him (though it applies to other candidates in considerable measure). Then we are faced with West's option of him being a 1-term or half-term president who actually will do what his principles should lead him to, or he will compromise because in fact his principle is "whatever it will take to get me elected", not "this is what is morally right, I could not possibly compromise that value".

My interest was simply verifying that I hadn't missed some important evidence. In fact, Paul has not clearly come out with a promise to do the one thing that presidents can do to stop the improper spread of the government. I do believe that it would be harder to get a federal health care system passed into law with Paul as president than with Clinton, but it's also clear that we would suffer more from foreign terrorist attacks under Paul than under Giuliani, and more frightening is the very long term damage he could do to SCOTUS (though Huckabee is far and away the worst in that respect).

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Alright, I get you all now (I hope). The American people would never elect Paul based on his current stances, so for him to be elected he would have to change some of his positions, thus eliminating any claim to conviction or principle he might have. For the sake of simplicity, let's just say that he'd hold onto his foreign policy stances because those are pretty crucial to his platform, but would, if he did, compromise on domestic issues because he would have to. Thus DarkWaters' and DavidOdden's points are taken. Right?

Alright. Anyway, since he hasn't changed any positions and it doesn't look like there's any reason to believe he will, given that the primaries have already started and he doesn't seem to be panicking to increase his appeal and is only reinforcing what he's been saying all along, I don't think you can equate the potential with the actual and say "because this is what Paul would have to do to be elected, the fact that he's running is tantamount to him betraying his supposed principles, thus proving that he can not be trusted to maintain them once in office." I realize that's not you're entire argument, DavidOdden, for why Paul's 'principles' can't be trusted in office--the other part being that the role of president is very different from that of congressman--but that still strikes me as... not right. It's like you're saying that what Paul would have to do to become elected, which he isn't doing, is indicative of his betrayal of his principles, without mentioning that most of the rest of the candidates are already doing it (saying what they need to to get elected). How is this potential an argument against Paul, especially when compared to the actual phoniness of the other candidates? Is there something I'm misunderstanding?

You might say, "If he's not going to compromise, then he must know he's not going to win, so why is he running for president?" I would reply, "There's always the chance!" You might continue: "No, there isn't the chance, and that proves Paul's and your stupidity, which is yet another reason not to vote for him!" I would reply, "Okay!"

If an Objectivist had been running in this election from the start, knowing that their stances on issues would give them only the slimmest chance of being elected, would that imply that that candidate intended on being dishonest during his campaign, thus rendering him non-Objectivist? Is it literally impossible for an Objectivist to run for president in this political atmosphere? (Not get elected, but run.) Have we come to such a point where running for the presidency requires either dishonesty or incompetence? And if so, how can that be an argument against one candidate and not equally the rest?

When considering [Cleveland's vetoes], we should also recognize that President Cleveland served under a very different time in American history.

Yeah, you do make good points DarkWaters, which I should have considered more thoroughly before using that point as evidence. I did just want to show that historically, it hasn't always been the case that vetoes are used "sparingly." (I did not mean to say that there was plenty of evidence for your claim, Kendall.) Certainly over the long haul they have been used minimally. But is that because it was actually not in good sense to use them, or because the presidents simply accepted what was put in front of them? The types of bills vetoed also matters, but oh, the time it would take! In the future I will have to make sure my points do not have the potential to turn into open-ended questions. I'm not convinced, though, that it's necessarily impossible to run a successful presidential term today which uses a good deal of veto powers for (at least mostly) rational ends.

Many voters like the idea of getting government out of their lives; but, if one scratches past this surface position, and start talking about getting rid of Social Security, privatizing schools, moving health-care toward a fully-private market, not going after Microsoft and the like for ant-trust violations, that is when one will find that Americans do want many of the things that government does.

Yes, this is very true. So I don't see either of the points you identified actually happening. He simply won't be elected.

Edited by cilphex
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How is this potential an argument against Paul, especially when compared to the actual phoniness of the other candidates?
You've gotta distinguish symbolic voting from outcome-directed voting. If you want to make a symbolic statement, you ought to vote for me, since I would be a fine president. However, I don't think I will win. If you recognise that Paul has a better chance of getting elected than me or the hell-snowball, but no real likelihood of getting elected, and still vote for him, you're throwing your vote away for the purposes of making a symbolic gesture, and you recognise (or should) that it doesn't matter to you whether Tweedledum or Tweedledee is elected (Clinton v. McCain?). In that case, I would simply argue against throwing away your vote. If, contrary to fact, we assume that Paul could actually win, but we also assume that he will knuckle under on vetoing appropriations bills, then the choice comes down to the active initiatory powers of the president, especially the power to name SCOTUS judges, appoint the AG, and be commander-in-chief.

About 10 years ago, I would not have thought that foreign threats would matter much, since no country would be so crazy as to try to invade the US. Al Qaida has since convinced me that the nature of the threat has changed, and that the days of obvious nation-on-nation warfare are waning. Paul does not seem to grasp this, so I'm worried that he'd only pay attention to North Korea dropping the bomb on us, and not to Islamist interests in Iran and Pakistan waging war by proxy against us.

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Ron Paul supporters harass Sean Hannity

There is a video on Youtube of a parade of hooligans supporting Ron Paul antagonistically following Sean Hannity on the street while creating a ruckus. The emotionalist collegiate fanaticism I witness on college campuses in support of Ron Paul really reminds me of the similar mindless fanaticism I witnessed in support of Ralph Nader eight years ago. Suppporting Ron Paul is evidently the rebellious political thing to do nowadays.

Mitt Romney bashes Ron Paul

Incidentally, I was really amused by Mitt Romney's suggestion that Ron Paul needs to stopping reading Ahmadinejad's press releases! This exchange transpired at the recent Republican Presidential debate, you can view a video here. I think that this video is particularly telling in showing how out of touch Ron Paul is with reality. Ron Paul is comparing the recent confrontational between a U.S. destroyer and the Iranian speedboats with the Gulf of Tonkin incident, is discussing how the CIA wants to overthrow the Iranian regime and how "everyone" is so ready to go to war with Iran. Befuddled, moderator Brit Hume eventually interrupts Ron Paul, asking who he is responding to since all of the other Republican candidates were for a passive response to the recent incident.

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