The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Ron Paul: An exception to the rule

Mark Poyar | Tuesday, November 6, 2007

There are some things in life that you can always count on: Lindsay Lohan going to jail every few months, hearing “Don’t Stop Believing” at the Backer on Saturday night, the Cubs choking in the playoffs, Notre Dame beating Navy (too soon?), just to name a few. Such occurrences make life worth living; it’s good to know that no matter how much the world changes, some things never will. In much the same way, I used to consider dishonesty, flip-flopping and sliminess as necessary qualities for politicians. That was before I discovered Ron Paul.

One need not look further than the 2008 presidential field to see that Ron Paul is the exception to the rule. Hillary Clinton, the media appointed “front-runner” who will very likely win her party’s nomination, certainly plays the part. As of late 2006, she refused to admit that she made a mistake in voting for the Iraq war in the Senate, instead suggesting that she regretted “the way the president used the authority that Congress gave him,” as though she was shocked that the president would actually use the authority to attack Iraq that she had just handed him. Almost a year later as public opinion for the war waned, she claimed that, “if I knew then what I now know, I would not have voted that way.”

It even sounds vaguely reminiscent of John Kerry’s famous utterance that he voted before the war before he voted against it. Not to mention her statements that she supported the war but didn’t like Bush’s handling of it. It could not be more obvious that she is attempting to “reposition” herself from a war supporter to an “anti-war” candidate in order to win the anti-war vote as if she is a legitimate anti-war candidate.

Barack Obama and Dennis Kucinich seem to be the only two Democratic candidates that actually seem to mean what they are saying. This is why they scare me.

The Republican side is probably even worse. Rudy Guiliani, the (God-forbid) Republican front-runner, seems to have had as many “changes of heart” as he’s had wives. Guiliani recently declared that he no longer supports making it all but impossible to own a gun as he did in New York, but now is “a strong supporter of the second amendment” and “understands that every law-abiding American has an individual right to keep and bear arms that is guaranteed by the Constitution,” according to his website.

This is coming from the man who argued that the Brady Bill didn’t go far enough, supported national gun registration and tried to mandate that all gun-owners have trigger locks in New York, rendering guns all but useless in an emergency. Please.

A few months ago, a 1989 video surfaced on the internet in which Guiliani expressed his support of federally-funded abortions. The Guiliani damage control unit went into overtime and shockingly enough, he declared that he no longer supports such a policy.

Even more shockingly, Guiliani has “seen the light” on all these touchy Republican issues after he decided to run for president, and all of his “changes of heart” have made him a more attractive candidate to the Republican base. Guiliani is the embodiment of all that is wrong in American politics: Self-serving, power-hungry, unprincipled and will say absolutely anything (whether he believes it or not) to get votes.

The actions of Mitt Romney, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, are quite similar. As recently as 2002, Romney claimed that he was “personally pro-life” but “would protect a woman’s right to choose.” Romney has since retreated from his earlier pro-choice stance and claimed in late 2006 that he is actually pro-life.

Luckily for him, he was already in the race for the Republican nomination, a fact I’m sure had nothing to do with his “change of heart.” Romney has also tried to position himself as something of a fiscal conservative, despite the fact that state spending when he took office was $22.7 billion and was $25.7 billion plus $2 billion off budget when he left four years later. And he raised taxes.

It’s sickly amusing to watch candidates try to change their positions in order to attract more votes. That’s why Ron Paul is like a breath of fresh air. As anyone who has ever seen him speak or read any of his works can attest, he is actually a man of character and principle who will never change his views for political expediency.

He is a champion of limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and the non-interventionist foreign policy of the founding fathers. Ron Paul has never voted for a tax increase. Ron Paul has never voted for a bill that the Constitution does not expressly authorize. Ron Paul has never voted for an unbalanced budget. Ron Paul has been the most outspoken opponent of the Iraq war in the House since the very beginning. It is always clear where Ron Paul stands on an issue. What the public sees is what they get, and judging by the record $4 million he raised from over 35,000 individuals online in one day, the public likes what it sees.

Mark Poyar is a junior finance major and vice president of the College Libertarians. Their Web site is http://ndlibertarians.blogspot.com. He can be contacted at mpoyar@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.