As a volunteer for Dr. Rand Paul, who recently suspended his presidential campaign to focus on his campaign for re-election to the United States Senate, I, like many other of his supporters, are wondering what if anything to do with our vote now. The following are some of my personal observations as I survey the presidential race.
I do not want to dwell too much on Donald Trump’s personality, which I think leaves a lot to be desired. We already know how Trump called Senator Cruz a pussy. Before that, he called Rand Paul a “brain dead spoiled brat” and Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, a “bimbo.” I despise such talk as not appropriate for junior high, let alone to a presidential race. Had my children ever talked like that I would have washed their mouths out with soap. But such boorish antics seem to be a large part of his appeal and his supporters appear to love such talk as being “not politically correct.”
Nor will I dwell on the fact that, despite his now extensive criticism of Hillary Clinton, he was until recently one of her biggest fans, insisting that she was a “terrific Secretary of State” and would make a great president. During one of the debates he said he donated 100,000 dollars to the Clinton Foundation because he wanted her to attend his wedding, but he never quite explained WHY he wanted her at his wedding. Trump’s supporters dismiss this, insisting that it is simply the cost of doing business in America, despite the fact that the Koch Brothers have managed to be successful, despite not donating to those on the left, and George Soros has been successful without donating to those on the right. Not to mention that Mr. Trump’s business success has stemmed largely from his abuse of eminent domain.
— Michael Reagan (@ReaganWorld) August 8, 2015
When Hugh Hewitt asked Trump whether he supports reauthorization of the Patriot Act, he said “I think that would be fine. As far as I’m concerned, that would be fine.” Trump also said, “I support legislation which allows the NSA to hold the bulk metadata.” These are positions which violate the fourth amendment protections of the constitution. On 60 Minutes Scott Pelley asked Trump about healthcare, he responded: “the government’s gonna pay for it.” That may be a position that appeals to many Americans, but it ought not to appeal to those who support limited government nor who understand the powers delegated to the federal government in the constitution. Trump has also expressed support for Common Core.
One issue at least that Trump has not seemed to volte-face on is trade, but he seems unaware just how disastrous his call for a 45 percent tariff on imports from China would be to the American economy. One might expect more from a Wharton Business School graduate. And trade is not the only thing Mr. Trump seems uninformed about, but in one debate, he clearly had no idea of what the nuclear triad is, and then his spokesperson made matters worse by explaining that the problem with the nuclear triad is that we do not use it.
For those who reject the left-right paradigm, it is clear from the above that Mr. Trump leans away from ideas of liberty and the free market. In fact, as Ron Paul has stated, he is a dangerous authoritarian. Many do not realize just how much Trump and Bernie Sanders have in common. They are both national socialists and Ryan Cooper has argued that Trump has skidded into outright fascism.
Senator Bernie Sanders may have gained some support from those interested in liberty due to his aversion to corporate welfare, the drug war, and the fact that he is less of a war hawk than Secretary Clinton. But Sanders is much more of a hawk than many people realize. And when it comes to an understanding of basic economics and an appreciation of the free market, he is clearly lacking. As Ron Paul says, Senator Sanders “does not believe in private property, voluntary exchange, individual responsibility, supply, and demand, or even the proper definition of the word “right.”
Like Trump, Sanders is oblivious to the national security threat posed by the national debt. In twenty-five years in Congress, Ron Paul never once voted to raise the debt ceiling, in twenty years in the Senate Bernie Sanders voted to raise it every single year. And now Sanders is proposing many more new entitlements. You could cut defense spending entirely and tax all earnings over a million dollars at one hundred percent for a decade and still not pay for all of Senator Sander’s promises.
Raphael “Ted” Cruz
As far as Senator Cruz, we will not get into here the question of his eligibility. Let us assume for the sake of argument that Cruz was eligible to serve as president? Would he be a good choice for a liberty minded person? In the interest of full disclosure, I will confess that I once thought that Senator Cruz would make a good ally in the Senate for President Paul. I did so on the basis that the two of them are close friends and have had nice things to say about each other.
I must say though that Cruz’s vote on NSA spying made me seriously rethink that. Some supporters have tried to explain away his vote for the so-called Freedom Act by saying that it is an improvement over the Patriot Act, but when the USA Freedom Act was voted on, the Patriot Act had already been repealed. As Congressman Justin Amash said about his bill that he originally sponsored:
“H.R. 2048 gives our intelligence agencies, for the first time, statutory authority to collect Americans’ data in bulk. In light of the Second Circuit’s opinion that the NSA has been collecting our information in bulk without statutory authority for all this time, it would be a devastating misstep for Congress to pass a bill that codifies that bulk collection and likely ensures no future court will ever again be positioned to rule against the government for over-collecting on statutory grounds.”
And it is not just on the surveillance state where Senator Cruz falls short. In September of last year, Congress rejected a Continuing Resolution that would have exploded the deficit by $400 billion dollars. Senator Paul voted against it while Senator Cruz voted for it. Then we have the now infamous Audit the Fed vote for which Senator Cruz failed to show. Showing up for work has been a consistent problem for Senator Cruz. In 2015, according to GovTrack.US, Senator Cruz missed eighty, or 24 percent of his votes, while Senator Paul only missed twenty, or six per cent of votes during that same period.
In many ways, Senator Rubio is like Senator Cruz on steroids. While Cruz missed an unbelievable eighty votes in 2015, Rubio makes him look like a dedicated public servant, by comparison, having missed 120, or 35 percent of his votes, during that same period.
Rubio has seemingly never met a war he does not like and wants increased governmentsurveillance of Americans. It is no wonder that Dr. Paul has insisted that Senator Rubio and Secretary Clinton are actually one and the same person. His campaign slogan could not make that any more obvious not be any more ominous. Apparently, part of Rubio’s “new American century includes keeping the same failed policies of the last century in regards to Cuba.
Like Cruz, Rubio would increase the deficit. He also voted for the Continuing Resolution last September and last March Rubio he proposed a bill that would increase both military spending and the deficit while Dr. Paul introduced a bill that would increase military spending by the same amount, but would reduce spending in other areas, making it budget-neutral. His political embrace of debt matches his approach to his own personal finances. While Cruz spent more on his Senate office than all but three other senators, that pales in comparison to Rubio’s personal profligacy. By contrast to both of them, Dr. Paul has returned $1.8 million in unused money from his Senate office to the taxpayers.
In some ways, Dr. Carson fits the slot that Donald Trump pretends to fill, without all the boorish antics: An outsider who is not part of the political establishment. Unfortunately, many of Dr. Carson’s policy positions also mirror Trump’s Big Government proposals.
As a medical doctor, one might expect he would better understand that healthcare is not a proper function of government. But, unlike Dr. Paul, who wants to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with nothing, Dr. Carson wants to implement price controls for health insurance, a proposal that is in many ways to the left of Barack Obama’s health care law. He also wants to “remove from the insurance companies the responsibility for catastrophic health-care coverage, making it a government responsibility.”
Dr. Carson’s respect for liberty and understanding of the constitution are suspect in many other ways. For example, in March of 2013 when asked on Glenn Beck’s show, whether people should be allowed to own “semi-automatic weapons,” he replied: “It depends on where you live.” He has also said there should be no philosophical or “religious exemptions for vaccinations,” and that the federal minimum wage should be increased.
Governor Kasich supports the deployment of U.S. ground troops as part of an international effort to defeat Islamic State group militants. Like Mr. Trump and Senator Cruz, Governor Kasich supports the Common Core academic standards that Dr. Paul disdains. While he said during Common Core academic standards that Dr. Paul disdains.
While he said during Saturday’s Republican Presidential Debate that he hasn’t tried to ‘trump’ the legislature, he bypassed his state’s legislature to expand Medicaid through Obamacare. He was also a defender of John Boehner, and while Dr. Paul made Right To Life and defunding Planned Parenthood the centerpiece of his campaign, Governor Kasich thinks we focus too much on abortion.
Having eliminated all of the above candidates then, where does that leave us? Some supporters of Gary Johnson have spun Ron Paul’s advice to skip the GOP primary entirely as an endorsement of the Libertarian Party, but nowhere in the interview did he mention Johnson by name, and in recent years, the LP has nominated some folks for president who have also embraced Big Government. According to USGovernmentSpending.com, total spending in New Mexico increased 75 percent under Governor Johnson while debt increased 153 percent. Johnson also supported drone attacks in Afghanistan and Yemen favors socialist “fatherhood” programs, agricultural stewardship grants, and rural health services and opposes human rights for the pre-born.
So where does that leave us? Personally, I am not going to worry too much about the presidential race. I will almost certainly write Rand in the primary and will look at all the candidates on the ballot in November and decide whether to choose one of them or write Rand in there as well. But I will be putting most of my focus on his re-election to the Senate and on local races and issues. While things look pretty bleak for the Liberty Movement at the moment when viewed through the prism of the presidential race, I have long though that any improvement was more likely to percolate from the bottom up.