Detroit News October 06, 2007
Currently the first story returned searching Ron Paul at http://news.yahoo.com I intend to write Manny and kindly debate a few statements presented here.
I took liberty to break up the ONE huge run-on paragraph (as it appears online) into real paragraphs for readability.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Lack of practical principles will stall Ron Paul's progress
Dr. Ron Paul is a presidential candidate of absolutes -- sort of.
The Texas congressman is described as principled (to a fault sometimes, his colleagues and admirers say) and a staunch constitutionalist. Unlike most of his associates in politics who've mastered the art of babbling their way around questions, you can ask him what he thinks on an issue and he'll usually answer it directly.
That was the impression I got after the Republican, but Libertarian-leaning, presidential candidate stopped by The News' editorial board for a visit. There was little fanfare surrounding his arrival. He came quietly with his national campaign manager and a few other local folks, but they sat quietly by.
There were no glossy brochures, and he didn't sport any gimmicky buttons extolling the virtues of President Paul. He wore a muted blue blazer with a white shirt and grayish blue tie. His congressional member lapel pin was the only accoutrement that set him apart from any one else who might have been wandering through The News lobby that day.
He stopped by on his way to a Republican function on Mackinac Island, the only candidate to do so. Perhaps that's because he has to work harder than most. He's been pegged as a third-party candidate, even though he's not.
Whatever the label, one is starting to stick: formidable fundraiser.
Paul has raised a reported $5 million in the last three months, with the majority of it coming from his Internet army. Everett Shannon of Burtchville has reached into the piggybank for Paul, according to the "recent donor" feature that scrolls names across Paul's presidential Web site.
When questioned as to what all the grassroots interest and Internet-driven donations mean for his campaign, Paul smiled and said: "It means we'll stay in this race, and I guess we'll have to hire a few more people."
He seems almost annoyed by that necessity, but nobody running for president is without ego. Paul's got it too, but he's more grounded than most of his competitors.
Little middle ground
"It doesn't matter how many people are in this race for president," he says about what sets him apart from other Republicans. "They're all for the war."
Paul is not. He'd withdrawal troops from Iraq today. Just pull them out because he says that's how we got in. It's a message that resonates with college liberals, independents and others who are disenfranchised from candidates on both sides of the majority party aisle.
But it's not entirely realistic. Sure it might be possible, but even the top Democratic Party candidates aren't willing to commit to leaving Iraq. Try getting that idea through Congress.
Similarly, he'd run into obstacles in his free-market crusade for health care. He rightly says the first dollar spent into health care should come from the consumer and that the government should get out of the business. Three cheers for that idea, but the trend is moving dangerously in the opposite direction.
He supports secure borders, stronger property rights, the enforcement of existing immigration laws and lower taxes. Hard to argue with those notions either, but he doesn't have much guidance for how he'd make things happen if elected president.
And though he talks often about small government, his nearly 20 years in office have endeared him to those controls, too.
When asked who would determine citizenship if birthright citizenship were abolished, as he proposes, he said government could figure it out. That's a frightening suggestion that would be about as legitimate as having a group of monkeys throw darts at birth certificates at the state fair.
Every candidate has an issue or two that trips them up and perhaps this is Paul's. It's a fringe subject, but it's symptomatic of what ails his campaign, in my mind. Idealism doesn't always mesh with realism, and Paul had a hard time explaining how he'd put his platform into practice.
That's a serious issue. If Ron Paul is to be considered a legitimate contender during the next few months, he'll need to get beyond principle and put some action into his plan.
Manny Lopez is a Detroit News editorial writer whose online column is published Sunday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (313) 222-2299. Read more columns by Manny Lopez at detnews.com/lopez.