Presidential Ruminations

Now that we're past Christmas and on to 2008, I think it's time to really start thinking about who should be elected as our next chief executive. I usually don't put much into it. After all, the office of President has become grossly over-emphasized for decades. We both expect the President to do the job of Congress and take the blame for their ineptitude, a position I doubt many would ever want.

The most frustrating part of selecting a candidate is that they all seem to be saying the same thing. There's almost no substantive difference of opinion in every single one of the Democratic contenders and most of the Republicans seem to be suffering from groupthink as well. It seems that we're essentially left with a choice between a proponent of massively expanded federal government or someone who isn't sure if he's running for president or pastor.

I used to be a fan of Mitt Romney. He seemed to have the chops to get things in financial order and go about it quickly. Time has revealed, however, that he's willing to say whatever it takes to earn a vote. The endless pandering to a vocal yet insignificant wing of the Republican Party has revealed a flawed character that renders him unfit for consideration for the nation's highest office. I don't doubt that he would still improve the federal government's fiscal picture; I'm worried what else he would attempt to get done in the meantime.

After looking at each candidate, I can only conclude that one man is fit to be President: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. He's the only man with a clear understanding of the appropriate role of the federal government. Not only does he entirely oppose any continued foreign military action without a Constitutionally-required Declaration of War, he also supports ending the vast majority of federal programs and agencies and giving that power back to the states where it belongs. Given the positions of all other candidates, I'm left with the conclusion that he's the only one with even a basic understanding of how federalism was designed to work. More important is that he has integrity, something a lot of others (I'm looking at you, Clinton and Giuliani) seem to lack. His personal life is in order, his public positions match his public and private actions, and he even manages to use less than the allocated budget for his Congressional office.

Sadly, Utah's closed Republican primaries means I won't be able to help send Paul to the general election. Even if he did carry enough delegates, he ruffles enough feathers in his own party to guarantee that they wouldn't let him get out of the convention at all costs. With the large war chest that he's built (he's already broken the records for most money raised in a day and raised online in a day), I'm hopeful that he'll consider a third-party or independent run. America needs men like Ron Paul.

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10 Responses

  1. Bill Fox says:

    I’m afraid you are being a little bit of an idealist. The last time we had a 3rd party candidate, it brought us a Clinton. Although I believe Ron Paul won’t get as many votes as Ross Perot did, I also believe the election can be turned with less votes because it is much tighter. Ron Paul doesn’t have a prayer’s chance in getting elected but he just might become Hillary’s secret weapon.
    My man, Newt Gingrich, is not running. Even though Mitt is no Newt, and I’m not even sure that his ideas are as good as Fred Thompsons, I think Mitt is the best chance I’ve got of at least getting a part of a loaf. I believe there is not a better person running to pare down the budget. Mitt has run something Ron Paul is a Dr. I have yet to meet the Dr. that doesn’t have trouble running his own office.
    Is Mitt pandering? Probably. It is kind like a job interview and you say what the people want to hear. I believe once or if he gets the job, that will change and Mitt’s business nature will come out. This is not between Mitt and Ron Paul, this is between Mitt or Rudy and Hillary or Obama.
    My vote would be that Ron Paul just continue representing the good people of Texas in his district. As his ability to connect with votes nationally will never exceed 10% and with an independent run, we need to get ready to start saying Mrs. President

  2. Jesse says:

    I honestly think that if a third-party run by Ron Paul costs Republicans the presidency, they deserve it for a decade of ignoring their supposed principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility. Republicans gave us No Child Left Behind. Republicans gave us a massive expansion of Medicare with no way to pay for it. Republicans nearly doubled the national debt in the course of two presidential terms. If that’s what national Republicans stand for, maybe we *do* need a Democrat in office. At least we’d have policies of “tax and spend” rather than “borrow and spend”.

  3. Kristi says:

    It’s interesting, if you look back on the last 50 years or so, a republican president in office means more liberal agendas will be passed and vice versa. Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush presidencies have brought us closer to socialism than any of their democratic counterparts. Really, I see little difference in the current candidates regardless of party. Most of them seem pretty bought and paid for by special interests. I’ll vomit the whole time, but maybe I’ll vote for Hillary (I doubt Obama will get the nomination) in the hopes it’ll slow down federal spending like in her husband’s terms.

  4. Reach Upward says:

    Kristi notes an interesting phenomenon, which some have coined as, “Only Nixon can go to China.” Strangely enough, on big issues, ‘liberal’ presidents sometimes deliver conservative policy while ‘conservative’ presidents sometimes deliver liberal policy.

    But it doesn’t work that way with judges. Liberal presidents reliably deliver liberal judges, while conservative presidents sometimes succeed in delivering conservative judges. (Conservative presidents have mixed results in this area.) Judges have a longer term affect on our personal lives than do executives. But if you want conservative judges, a conservative executive is your best bet.

    Liberal administrations undeniably produce far more liberal regulation (not directly legislated stuff) that affect our daily lives than do conservative administrations. So, while Kristi’s observation holds water, it really only reveals the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot more to consider than a few big news issues.

    The GOP currently stands for trying to socialize at a somewhat slower rate than the Democratic Party. But I’m not sure that a loss in November will tell the GOP that it needs to become more conservative. Rather, the party is likely to look across the aisle and think that they need to steal votes away from the Democrats. The GOP may deserve to lose, but arguably, so do the Democrats. Jesse seems to be suggesting that it’s a shame that both major parties can’t lose. That would be fun, but it’s not going to happen.

    While I’m not happy with the GOP, I have to seriously consider whether it would be a good thing to have another eight Clinton years.

  5. Bill Fox says:

    To all. I wouldn’t mind the Republicans losing if there were not a potential of having another 3 Supremes chosen during this protest time. If you like Breyer, Ginsburg, Stevens, and Souter (yes I know Souter was chosen by a Republican) then you will love a Ron Paul 3rd party independent run because the only thing a Ron Paul vote will buy you is 3 more of the above. Yes Republicans have screwed up but this is not the time or the place to punish them. When was the last time you saw a Supreme Court decision overturned. Do you want Gay Mariage to be the law of the land, Do you not enjoy the thought of losing property rights, and even as liberal as Romney is in the Gun arena, he will never appoint a Ginsberg. Yes this is all about judges. An Independent run by a Ron Paul will accomplish nothing but to allow Hillary or Obama to pick the next 3 judges. Be careful of your protest vote, but at least be aware of the consequences and think Perot or Nader. As far as the budget do you really think there is anyone out there better than Romney on budgeting. The only reason the Dems did better the last time around on the budget, under the slickster, was Newt . ( you do remmber the government getting shut down under Newt don’t you) Pelosi and Hairless are not a Newt as was the case with Hastert and the Good Republican Dr. (sorry name excapes me) in the Senate You want to fix the budget have Newtlike individuals in charge of the House and Senate with a Romney or Guliani as the executive.The alternative is Pelosi and Reed with an Obama or Hillary. The “it can’t get any worst sindrome” does not cut it. I will bet anyone a serious milkshake that Paul won’t carry 10% as a republican or an independent. If he takes 5% we will have Hillary or Obama and you can’t possibly think there is no difference in the real choices at hand

  6. Bill Fox says:

    Yes, I am a father in law, yes I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but no I don’t have a fragile ego and I don’t need or want debate to be shut off just because I voiced a strong opinion. For you that don’t know me, strong opinions or silence is all I know and I promise not to shrink under the covers or run to my mom because your views run contrary. BTW the win tonight by the Jim Nabors look and sound alike, does not bode well for the republicans

  7. Jesse says:

    Nah, it was just me being sick with whatever bug it is that Glen and Lorene brought with them. (Not all sharing is caring, guys. ;))

    I can totally appreciate the reasons you give for picking Mitt. I don’t doubt that he would do a good job getting our financial house in order. That said, I do have a problem with the way he’s been running for office. It seems that he’s all too willing to say what is convenient to satisfy the questions at hand and spends far too much time talking about points of religious doctrine and far too little time presenting plans for what he’s going to do for the country. There’s a difference between framing your existing viewpoint for an audience and changing the viewpoint for the audience. I feel like Mitt has done the latter.

    That’s one reason why Ron Paul is so appealing. He doesn’t have personal demons and his message has been astoundingly consistent over 22 years of public service. Add on some great ideas on true federalism and, despite any opinions on viability, he’s a shoo-in.

    As far as control of the Senate and House, I believe that’s not as much of an issue as you portend it to be. Democrats have control of both houses and still can’t get their own agenda accomplished because of the “blue dogs”. I’m also suspecting an incumbent bloodbath in the upcoming election with Congress’ approval ratings dipping into the teens. Reid and Pelosi might not survive to keep leadership positions anyway. Plenty of Democrats are disgusted with the both of them and they could race serious primary challenges in their next elections; it’s doubtful that either of them will manage to even keep their majority leader status in the interim. At this point, it’s anyone’s game.

  8. Bradley Ross says:

    I’ve heard a lot about Ron Paul. I understand why his supporters are zealous. But Paul represents a step too far in a good direction. Supporting him policies would cause immense short term pain and I don’t think that is wise.

    After watching Paul on Meet the Press (transcript), there is no way I could support him.

    I was troubled by his weaseling on earmarks (he puts them in, knowing they will pass, and then votes against the bill “on principle”), his use/abuse of Reagan (boasts he was an early supporter of Reagan, without simultaneously noting that he thinks Reagan was a “dramatic failure”), his refusal to own his words where he smeared Huckabee as a fascist, his vilification of Abraham Lincoln.

    They are all in the transcript and video. Note that these aren’t hit and run accusations. They came from the sit down interview with Paul where he had full opportunity to respond. His responses were problematic in many instances.

  9. Jesse says:

    On earmarks, I thought his remarks on tax credits were appropriate. For instance, has anyone opposed to the tax cuts in our state decided to instead pay that money back to the state? If not, does that mean their stand against the cuts are meaningless hypocrisy? I’d like to think not.

    Regarding Reagan, it seems consistent to me. Ron Paul does embody the popular image of Reagan as created by his fans, though he does remain highly critical (and rightly so) of the poor execution of said principles. After all, Reagan expanded the debt at a rate only exceeded by our current executive and was involved in numerous foreign policy bumbles.

    Abraham Lincoln is still a controversial figure in history. Moving us off of the gold standard, instituting the first income tax (which at the time was highly un-Constitutional), suspending habeas corpus and having the net effect being a change from “the United States are” to “the United States is” are reason enough for a limited-government type to not be a fan. Was he doing only what was necessary during a time of emergency? That’s still a matter of debate. Abe Lincoln is no more immune to these valid criticisms as any other president, living or dead. I don’t see that Paul’s valid criticism of Lincoln should be a reason for voting against him or a reason to be troubled by his views.

    I won’t defend Paul on the Huckabee comments. He should have owned them because the insinuation was clear. I can understand that on national television, you probably don’t want to be in that place and might look for an exit and that disappoints me. I see it as more of a bad decision than a sign of flawed character. Even the best of us make mistakes.

    (On a personal level, I think Paul’s original comments were spot-on. Huckabee reminds me too much of those who are so obsessed with abortion and gay marriage that they split from the Constitution Party because it’s “too liberal”. Those people are terrifying threats to liberty and their vocal minority needs to know how un-American they really are.)

  10. Bill Fox says:

    It still gets back to the populace is not ready for Ron Paul Thought. My bet still stands that he will never get more than 10%. In fact I believe that Newt could get more votes as a writein candidate than Ron Paul. That’s not a problem unless he goes independent. Yes he still will still get less than 10% (what is the purpose of running) but he will hand the 3 court judge picks to either Hillary or Obama. I don’t believe you can say that judges picked by Mitt, Rudy,Fred, or John will be just as bad as judges picked by Hillary or Obama (can’t spell his 1st name). Judges picked by the latter will be detrimental to the 1st & 2nd ammendments and also to property rights. This too me overshadows politics and personalities. As much as I would hate to see the jim Nabors look alike or Ron Paul (you and I are light years apart on the global war on terror) be president, I believe any damage done would be temporary.( Heck we made it past Carter) the courts on the other hand will last a long time and set presidence that will last beyond our lifetimes (well at least mine) The long and the short of it is that those who chose to work outside of the 2 part system chose at least on a National basis to make themselves irrelevant and would be better served to continue working within

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