Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ron Paul -- Missing in the Media

Poor Ron Paul, the perennial presidential candidate who gets good returns in some Republican caucuses, but never gets the "serious contender treatment."  He is emblematic of frustration of libertarians in this country. They can't make their voices heard, stagnating at 10% or so of the population.

Sure he deserves some mentions in the news. Maybe he doesn't get it because it's the same story every election. He polls OK in a large field, but he never cracks into a 2-way race. This happened in 1988, 2004, 2008, and now 2012. I don't totally blame the media for dozing off on this rerun candidacy, but it is their job to report. I honestly don't know why they don't report on him. So this post will be entirely speculation--nary a fact in sight.

If Jon Stewart is right, the mainstream media is lazy and sensational. Maybe that explains why they don't cover Ron Paul. When it comes to sensational, he has some out-there ideas (good for sensationalism), but they're the same ones every campaign, so the positions would be old news by now. Besides, a reporter would have to look up positions and think about how they would work or not work. That's too difficult for your average lazy reporter. Also, the vibe from Ron Paul is trouble. If you were to start questioning him on some of his policies, how they would be implemented, and their likely effects, you'd have to worry about being hacked by his tech-savvy cult.

What the US needs

It would be hard as a reporter to say a lot of good things about him because he's far out from the mainstream--against social security, medicare, the income tax. But what he stands for is even stranger--the faith that, with a tiny federal government, everything in this country will be better--no problem getting medical care, no problem reining in renegade businesses, cheats, and polluters, no inflation, no deficits. He believes that the US needs a total makeover.

Most of us would think long and hard before undertaking such an extensive makeover of, say, our house. Ron Paul and his supporters don't show any trepidation about redesigning the entire country, as though it's no big deal... we'll  survive the changes and be better for it, like a 12-mile mountain hike. Sorry, but I'm not one of your young, male, in-shape guys, so I'm not sure that I can survive your makeover of America. Maybe that's why your support stays stubbornly at around 10%--those are the people who feel they'll do better in your brave new world. For the rest of us, it's way too scary, and you're not doing a good job talking us into it.

For those Paul supporters who point to a poll showing strong support or a great caucus showing: yeah, I noticed. I noticed Paul wins when well organized enthusiasts can tip the balance, such as at CPAC, caucuses and online polls. I also noticed how poorly he does in a broader election, like a large-state primary. That makes Paul and his supporters look like marginal true-believers, not contestants in the real race. If he wants a place in the real race, he'll have to win more of the qualifiers, and he hasn't, yet again. I'm not holding my breath, and maybe the lazy media doesn't want to either.

Update 9/25/11 
To all the Ron Paul supporters who are reading this post, these are the most important words in this post: "... think about how [his policies] would work or not work." When I question how his policies would work in the real America,  and don't just accept his utopian vision, I conclude that most would lead to worse situations, not better.

Ron Paul fanatics need to start questioning, and not just accept the utopia. I'm sorry, because I know how beautiful and satisfying utopian dreams are. I really do. But this will not work. Start the hard work of questioning now. If you still conclude that he has the best policy solutions, you'll be better able to explain and defend those policies to others.


ModeratePoli said...

I just saw another online poll where Paulites swooped in. He won it with over 70% support. Hey Paulites, go where you're not the majority and start talking about his policies. He's not going to win preaching to his choir, and the media isn't doing its job, so you should. I know there are enough of you guys out there. Not that it'll change my opinion--Paul's policies are too antiquated to win (I hope!!!!!). But his ideas deserved discussion, so do it.

amom said...

Extremely droll. I didn't even notice the sarcasm at first. Like everything is going so well as it is, who would want to change anything, right?

ModeratePoli said...

Amom, your message is rather short on substance.

Your argument seems to be that there are 2 options: Ron Paul or exactly the same.

You are mistaken. There are many options, and Congress has already taken a first step with the setup of the supercommittee. I hope many other steps will follow. I strongly support change, but not the radical return to the 1800's governance that Ron Paul has in mind.

ModeratePoli said...

Danny's trash-ridden comment was deleted because he broke a number of rules. It was wrong on many accounts, blind, insulting, etc. Danny, if you check back, too late. I have kids. And it's my country too, but you wouldn't notice. Nice Ron Paul tolerance touch in telling me to leave.

ModeratePoli said...

Danny, it's a bit pathetic to beg to have an argument on my little blog. You broke my rules repeatedly. Why in the world should I think you want to have a respectful discussion? Take it somewhere else.

bpitas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bpitas said...

Ron Paul has repeatedly said that he favors a gradual transition from the more toxic government programs and departments - you make it sound like he wants to do things overnight. The only thing that *really* needs to be done overnight is bringing the troops home. There is no reason to leave them there a moment longer. Shutting down the Fed (or reducing it's scope of control), shrinking the IRS and overhauling the tax code, etc can be done gradually over time, as long as we have a leader in place pushing Congress in the right direction, and telling the people THE TRUTH when Congress tries to pull another fast one. Plus he has said NUMEROUS times that as President, he doesn't have any intention of doing things through Executive Order as past presidents have done, unless it's specifically to UNDO what previous presidents have put in place. That's the kind of Statesmen we need in the WhiteHouse!

ModeratePoli said...

Nothing you've said makes me think better of Ron Paul. I never thought he'd try to rule by edict. But many of his policies just seem misguided and naively optimistic. Take, for instance, getting rid of the EPA. We have the EPA because we have a terrible history of pollution in this country, and companies trying to avoid
responsibility for it. Why should I believe that it's going to be OK for the EPA to go away considering that history?

That's just one area. The pattern repeats with respect to medical care (even medical credentialing), the gold standard, Social Security, etc. I believe these programs happened because they addressed very important needs, and the people have democratically shown they want them.

I'm all for reform, MAJOR reform. Clinton's welfare reform showed that this is possible. But Paul ultimately wants to do away with these programs, and I disagree. I've considered Paul's positions, rejected them, and figured out what I think will work better.

If you want to convince with me, you better address my concerns, or you won't get very far.

Anonymous said...

ModeratePoli, I see politics as a pendulum. Paul, to me, represents a candidate who will help right the course of the federal government.

I know, and he has awknowledged, that his ideas will probably not be fully realized, but he will at least help stem the massive, disgusting and growing number of abuses of power by the feds.

Take the EPA, in principle a good organization, but in practice, I've seen them nearly destroy someone's life merely because this person plowed a field (a common farming practice, which had been done on this specific field for over 80 yrs). This person was immediately treated as a federal felon and had to spend 100s of thousands of dollars he didnt have on his legal defense.

Those abuses of citizens have to stop. Central to Paul's campaign is the belief that the government should serve the people and not the other way around, which, for me at least, is a critical concept

ModeratePoli said...

First, and this is hard to say without it sounding insulting, but you are the sanest Ron Paul supporter I've ever heard. Most of his supporters talk as though he's God and I'm a fool not to see it.

I would like to see government shrink too, and I think it will have to, because Americans don't want to pay the full cost. Many of us will get our wish for smaller government.

Concerning abusive government, there are many ways to handle problems with organizations that wield their power improperly (press exposure, citizen complaint and oversight commissions, etc.) short of elimination. But with Ron Paul, we wouldn't get serious, thoughtful reform because he thinks a lot of these functions are just plain wrong. I don't think he's motivated to improve, just dismantle. That's not what I want.

J. Horne said...

ModeratePoli, thanks for taking the time to respond to comments and for being intellectually honest.

Ron Paul deems the EPA unnecessary because the aim of having a livable earth could be achieved with the strict enforcement of property laws. Thus, one can do what he wants with his land, but if those actions negatively impact someone outside of that land, the landowner is liable for the damages and must immediately cease the damaging action. This would make contamination of water supplies and excessive pollution of the air criminal acts without needing a huge, inefficient gov't bureaucracy.

ModeratePoli said...

Ron Paul's vision of how environmental protection can work is perhaps his weakest argument. If all we have are the courts, here are some likely results:

No federal inspectors, so industries can dump easily on the sly.

Little money for health research, so it's hard to know what pollutants are hurting us.

When people are injured, there are huge, expensive hurdles to finding what caused it and proving it.

If caught, industries can claim many things: they didn't do it, it's impossible to sort out the effects from the exposure they don't admit causing from all the other exposures, the losses of use of public resources (clean air, clean water) don't have a high enough price tag unless someone is actually killed or disabled.

Industries may find it cost effective to pay damages rather than clean up. (Or are you saying this wouldn't be allowed?)

Wildlife and wild environments don't have standing in court, so dumping poisons in unpopulated areas or the oceans is economically sensible.

This is how I see environment protection (not) working under Paul's scenario. It can be even worse with air pollution and food-borne pathogens, where it's much harder to identify the source. This is why I'd like to stick with the EPA and reform it.

Also, doesn't Paul's vision just move regulation into the courts, not generally known for consistent or speedy results?

@Joshua, thank you for participating in the discussion. Please take some time to think through the questions I've brought up.

Anonymous said...

First, Dr. Paul advocates for the constitution so I wouldn't say he is changing everything. He wants limited government but understands that a full libertarian society will not happen in the US. He's on record saying that he would keep medicare, although it would (and needs to be changed). I assume that similar strategies would be applied to other areas. Its revolutionary to want Americans to keep what they earn? Why should my tax money go to support a drug addict against my will?

I can't agree with your argument on principle though. I think it is wrong to try to stifle or belittle the excitement that people have for Paul. I would guarantee Paul supporters know more about their candidate than those supporting Romney or Perry (Parry for Colbert) or Obama before he was elected. Its discounting their ideas as less important than yours (maybe true in your opinion).

Finally, it seems that you think people will purposefully hurt others/environment/companies, but why? If I were a business owner, I would want any transaction to be mutually beneficial. I would want to provide a quality good, at a fair price, with fair pay for employees. I would dispose of waste in the proper manner, with or without the EPA. Because its the right thing to do. And I think most Americans (actually people) are good and want to do good. Furthermore, I don't think it is my place to say what others can do/who they can marry/what they want to do with their body. For better or worse, thats the way I see the world.

ModeratePoli said...

@Anon 3:29

1. I didn't say Ron Paul would change everything, but it would be a strawman argument even if I had.

2. He hasn't put his hopes/plans for Medicare on his website for all to check. This isn't good planning because we know that he is opposed to Medicare as a federal program on principle, and he shouldn't count on trust if he wants new supporters.

3. I can't stifle anyone's excitement. However, I can and will ask questions and point out weaknesses. If that counts as belittling, then you may not be strong enough for normal campaign rough-and-tumble. I'm not sure what your complaint is--not everyone agrees with Ron Paul?

4. Within the past 2 years, several miners died because the miner owner didn't keep safety equipment up to code. That owner's conscience didn't extend to safety equipment. You might be a good owner, but many wouldn't be. I don't believe the country would be a utopia without regulation, and I have many cases from recent history as evidence.

Please read my comment on 9/26 for more explanation. I'm still waiting for a Paul supporter to answer these concerns.

Stinky McGee said...

These miners also died under the watch of federal regulation. So it is a very poor example to use to criticize Mr. Paul's principles.

What evidence do you have that lives were saved due to federal regulations in the mining industry?

And where does the owner's duty end to provide safety in the workplace? Should any of the risk be assumed by the employee?

ModeratePoli said...

@ McGee,

1. Don't use that name again. It's against my rules. This is your only additional warning.

2. I should make you do your own research, but here's how mining deaths have declined, much of it under legislation and regulation: MSHA, conservative blogger.

3. Did complying with the regulations kill the miners, or not complying, which was the choice of the mine operator?

4. Next time, you bring some data to back up your argument, not just some assertion. That's what I do, and that's what I expect.