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A Word…Well Maybe More than a Word…in Defense of Ron Paul

John Powers 25 September 2007 32 Comments

His forthright defense of freedom emboldens us all.

When Alan Keyes was running against Barack Obama for US Senate, a friend of mine from Indianapolis called me to ask if I was supporting Keyes. “No”, I replied, “He is too far out there”. “Too far out there?” my friend said “Barack Obama represents the worst school districts in the United States and campaigns against education reform, all the while sending his own kids to private school, are you sure it is Keyes who is ‘out there’”. It was a good point. Sometime the more radical idea is full of common sense, yet political inertia has convinced us such issues as taxation, education, and foreign policy are best served by the status quo, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

In many cases, Ron Paul comes across as having a much clearer vision of the United States than any of his post-modernist competitors. While Rudy and Fred Thompson want to tweak and improve the federal tax code, (and Democrats want to enlarge it), Ron wants to do away with it, something every American understands around April 14th of every year. The self-serving code is one of the great burdens on the American economy, and merits at least the attention the French and Germans have expressed in a shift from income to consumption taxes. Sensible people can come up with something better than the massive paper chase we use as a tax code.

Ron Paul is also the only candidate to propose that the Government begin noticing that the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause specifically prohibits taking private property unless it is for public use. Regardless of the interpretation of the Supreme Court, Mayor Daley, and pretty much every government entity in the United States, the concept of private property is one of the foundations of our democracy, and has played a key role in making the U.S. economy the powerhouse it has been for the last 230 years. While Barack Obama audaciously proposes nationalizing the Auto Industry, and Hillary Clinton works on yet another corporatist takeover of the Health Industry, 300 Million Americans should give thanks that the Ron Paul defends the Bill of Rights, guaranteeing private enterprise.

Despite some divisive rhetoric, Ron Paul also poses some very legitimate questions on U.S. sovereignty and foreign policy. It is common knowledge that bombing runs were continued over Iraq during the Clinton Administration, and that we have pursued a mercantilist foreign policy for at least three generations now. Yet, both the Democratic and Republican candidates seem shocked to hear that there was a bombing campaign in Iraq in the 1990’s, and only a radical fringe can admit that the U.S. protects commercial interests, (oil especially) with our foreign policy. Facing up to the fact that the U.S. has a big role to play in world trade, and that the U.S. has been aggressively protecting (or attacking, depending on your viewpoint) this trade helps to form a more informed security policy rather than burying our heads in the sand and claiming that we are only in foreign affairs for defensive purposes.

As I am one of the few people to be prosecuted via the Patriot Act, (unknowingly operating a money transfer service without federal license) I will personally applaud any politician who wants to rein in this mucky legislation. Ron Paul has stated “The overwhelming burden must always be placed on government to justify any new encroachment on our liberty” in a rather lonely campaign to protect the basic constitutional rights of the average American. While the Feds are recklessly abusing the intent of the Patriot Act to go after legitimate business that are politically unpopular, Ron Paul challenges the government to prove that it is actually working in our interests before taking on more powers. Rather than hiding behind mindless PR statements, Ron goes to the root of Lord Acton’s axiom of power being all corrupting.

Is Ron Paul consistent in his views? To an impractical point, he is quite consistent. However, valuing consistency over practicality is perhaps better left to dogmatists than politicians. Does a guy committed to a smaller government and individual rights really think that building a fence with Mexico and deporting immigrants is going to protect liberty? When we have a pretty high-spirited list of self described enemies, does Ron Paul really think they would just go away if we pulled out of the Middle East? In my opinion the U.S. is not in such dire straits as that we must take radical actions to save the Democracy. However, it is also my opinion that our democracy is in good enough shape that we should welcome Ron Paul’s positions and take up the campaign to defend the constitution and protect the average American from the ham-handed fist of the State.


John Powers, president of The Chicago Daily Observer.


  • The Kooch said:

    Bravo! Nice to see not everyone at your paper is as thoughtless as Roeser.

    A couple minor points (in regards to this editorial, but major in regards to RP’s run for President): Paul voted for the house bill that included the border fence, but he has repeatedly said it was not the fence he wanted–He wants more border security in the form of border patrols. The fence was just a part of the same bill–and was not objectionable enough for him to say “no”.

    And I think Paul has not done such a good job getting people to see his “practical side”. So I understand your criticism in that regard, but he does know the difference between idealism and what is reasonable. For instance, he has always said the Federal Reserve should be shut down–ideally. But he doesn’t plan on doing that at all. Instead, he plans on creating an alternate currency (backed by precious metals), which will COMPETE with the Fed’s fiat currency. Most people would start out only using the new currency for savings (no inflation, no taxes–no loss of wealth!). But his idealistic goal of throwing out the money masters might come true over time (especially with the US Dollar plunging the way it is right now). Let the market destroy those that bent it to their will……..

    And even though Paul has actually studied the situation in Iraq and believes we can leave fairly quickly, it’s important to remember that he spent time in the military and respects the military and the need to defend the country.

    Did you know that Paul has received more donations from current military members than any of the other Republican candidates?


    –The Kooch (Indianapolis)

  • Steve Landon said:

    John, thank you for your reasoned response to the whole Tom Roeser firestorm. In response to your last rhetorical statement regarding the border fence and middle east policy – I think Dr. Paul senses that we have no choice.

    By this I mean that the money we spend each year on our foreign policy and the burden we place on our nations policies due to illegal immigrants will bankrupt us if we don’t choose a different course of action.

    I believe Dr. Paul has stated before that he believes in deporting illegal immigrants, but I also believe he has said that first we must secure our borders. Just because you disagree with step two doesn’t mean we should drag our feet on step one! I do not believe that even Dr. Paul believes in his heart of hearts that the end result will be mass deportations. Its just not practical – but first we must secure the borders to make sure that the problem does not worsen.

    In regards to the Tom Roeser situation – please understand that while many Ron Paul supporters are replying quite angrily after being personally insulted – not all of us will take the bait. You are seeing a small subset of the tens of thousands of Ron Paul supporters. In any group THIS LARGE you will always have a segment of the population who has a harder time biting their tongue.

  • Robert Mayer said:

    Thank you for the well-informed rebuttal to Mr. Roeser’s nonsensical rant.

  • Mike said:


  • A.B. Dada said:

    Excellent counterpoint to the previous article which I felt lacked logic or evidence for why Paul shouldn’t be supported.

    I Google’d you, Mr. Powers, and found nothing about your intercourse with the terrible Patriot act — how about a link to the details?

  • Chris said:

    Let me get this straight- you are comparing Dr. Paul and his followers to Hitler and the German citizens of the 1930s?

    Give me a break.

    I think the establishment is running scared.

  • dan said:

    One angle I have not seen get any thought in any analysis is: what happens to the Congress and partisan politics should Dr. Paul be elected and hold the veto pen at the ready?

    My personal belief is that not much that the establishment fears or considers impractical in his positions will come to fruition. In the end he will direct the executive according to the will of Congress.

    What falls out of this is the fact that his veto would force the two parties to cooperate in order to get their pork and satisfy the status quo.

    Will we get out of Iraq? Yes. But that will happen under Clinton/Obama anyways, which make no mistake is who the next president will be if Dr. Paul is not the Republican nominee.

    At least with Dr. Paul we will end the war on our terms (returning to obeying the Constitution and non-interventionist policies espoused by the founders.) The Democrats will do something half-way that will undoubtedly endanger our troops needlessly, just as the first Clinton did in Somalia and Eastern Europe.

  • Missy Parlan said:

    Thank you, John Powers, for the thoughtful, well written follow up of the Roeser piece.

  • Rick Fisk said:

    “Yes. But that will happen under Clinton/Obama anyways,”

    Dan, that will absolutely not happen under either Hillary or Obama.

    The only two Democrats running who would actually bring troops home from Iraq are Gravel and Kucinich and Kucinich actually voted against the war unlike Hillary or Obama.

  • Dustin said:

    Questions for America:

    Why do we have a constitution creating a limited goverment governed when nearly all goverment action taken in the last 20 years is not even mentioned in the constitution.

    Why is it impossible to find a liberal who is against taxes and welfare when the history of the term itself implies a free market?

    Why is it impossible to find a republican who is against the Federal Reserve, when it was the first Republican who started the party to fight against its creation.

    Why are old always so willing to send the young to fight the battles they no longer can and the biggest cowards who have never fired a gun are always beating the loudest war drums.

    Why is a conservative commentator so afaird of change in America that a person who speak his same ideas, just more strongly and passionately and to the logical ends of the ideas, that person is a Kook or on the radical fringe.

    Does anyone know?

  • John Powers said:


    Paraphrasing Bill Clinton, “I never had intercourse with that Patriot Act.”


  • Henry Bahl said:

    This is half-harted at best. Ron Paul says we cannot have open boarders AND a welfare state. He does not feel a fence is necessary in a true free market.

  • Bob Shipp said:

    Thank you for a reasoned and rational discussion of Dr. Paul and his policies! There is so much vindictive and ad hominim insult sent toward Congressman Paul that reading your article is a real breath of fresh air.

    Thank you!

  • Bill Baar said:

    Ron Paul thinks the United States is the biggest threat to world peace.

    It’s going to be a Foreign Policy election. That’s all that counts.

    Paul fails miserably on that score.

  • Fabio said:

    Ron Paul is the most sensible politician I`ve ever listened to.

    As we do not have any politician even close in Germany, I support him from here, blogging and telling every American I meet about him, because I even prefer supporting someone I can`t even vote than to vote the lesser of many evils.

    By the way: no only we do not have the right politicians, we in Europe do not even have the constitutions a man like Dr. Paul would consider worth fighting for.

    So please, Americans, lead Liberty back to glory and you`ll see how much sympathy you`ll get in the world – as it used to be not so long ago.

  • peat saker said:

    Reflect on how difficult it is these days to find a way to speak in any public forum against the headlong rush to regional war, for the sole purpose of advancing Israeli manifest destiny and their Likudnik strategic objectives to menace Iran and Syria. The media, and both parties are run by a clique that will not brook any public criticism that can be squashed. Here thosands of peaceful but enthusiastic people gathered in Chicago, and I was there, and Roese calls us Nazis and children depending on the paragraph you cite. Not a word. Then the preceding radio show, Bruce Dumont of Beyond the beltway, channels the Iranian president, tell us what he really wants, and what he may do if we don’t bomb him. This is borderline paranoid schizophrenic stuff when you do commit violence because of what you say he thinks.

  • Jim said:

    Thomas Jefferson (a founding father) sent the Marines to Tripoli to “Protect” business interests, isn’t that why ships fly the flag of their countries. Japan thought Oil important enough to attack the United States in 1941. I do not understand why going to war over keeping the flow of World Oil supply is somehow a sin or something to hide. We as the worlds biggest user of oil have to protect the Oil market to keep the flow and the worlds economy running consistently.

    The above facts do not make the sending of troops to protect our national and the worlds economy immoral in fact it is the Federal governments job to protect our national interests. The whole idea behind Western civilization has been the spread of trade and goods and services.

  • greenwaverob said:

    Did I read this correctly? How were you able to write about Dr. Paul without including the words “wacko”, “nutjob”, or “fringe”? Also, where are your cheapshots at his supporters? Didn’t they teach you anything in journalism school?

    Hope for America! Vote Ron Paul!

  • Steve Landon said:

    Jim: I think the problem lies not in our going to protect interests, but rather the occupation of other countries soil. Also, if we were supposedly going into Iraq to protect our flow of oil, why did they have to lie about it? Why couldn’t the case be made to the American public the reasons why its necessary?

    Also, it is true that we went to Tripoli to weed out the Barbary coast pirates back in the days of Jefferson – but we went in for clear public purpose (not under false pretense) did the job and got out. (read more at http://www.pccua.edu/keough/Thomas%20Jefferson%20and%20the%20Barbary%20Pirates.htm)

  • Mr. Saker said:

    Dear Jim. It may have escaped your attention but

    1) The states in the Middle East have to sell the oil for it to be of any use to them. They are most willing to sell it. Beyond preventing a war, which would cause a real disruption, there is no compelling national interest regarding the nature of the regimes in those oil sheikdoms.

    2) Israel has not a drop of oil. On the basis of this, we should throw Israel under the bus immediately. Saudi Arabia, will pump oil for us until the cant get another drop, and so would Iraq and Iran, no matter who runs the shop. Regional war, the neocon goal, is completely at odds with a dependable oil supply. There is NO evidence we can build western style Jeffersonian democracy in Iran or Iraq, and as Dr. Paul says, the best result we can achieve is to mind our own business and set a good example.

  • Brian A. said:

    Thank you for a fair look at Ron Paul. Despite idealistic campaigning (painting the vision), if you read and listen to his policy speeches, he is an incrementalist in practice. But without the vision, we’ll continue the trend of the status-quo Republican party establishment.

  • Angela Thornton said:

    John wrote: “When we have a pretty high-spirited list of self described enemies, does Ron Paul really think they would just go away if we pulled out of the Middle East?”

    He has said that no, he doesn’t.

    You people that think Obama or Hillary are going to end war aren’t paying attention. She envisions troops there for at least 10 years, or at least her first term, depending on which statement you produce. Obama wants to invade Pakistan, and add 100,000 more ground troops. If you want to stop the draft before it starts, Ron Paul is the only viable candidate.

  • Jim R said:

    HOORAY for RON PAUL and for the Chicago Daily Observer for

    it’s attempt at fairness in the media which, today, is so rare.

  • Jim said:

    Steve and Mr Saker

    The war in Iraq is a continuation of the Gulf war!!! Iraq surrendered unconditionally and did not live up to their surrender! Read the UN resolutions all 19, Read the Congressional resolution that gave the President the power to use his judgment AFTER going to the UN One Last Time. Osama Bin Laden used the fact that Iraq was thumbing their noses at us and we were doing nothing as one reason to attack us remember the term “Paper Tiger” ? What do you think he meant? Iraq invaded it’s neighbor for the oil fields they would have been in position of over 1/3 of all the worlds oil. So it is you who should read your history

  • Stuart said:

    Mr. Powers, your analysis of Ron Paul defies all reasonable logic. Nazis? Man, the mainstream is grasping at straws!

  • Lisa said:

    Well-reasoned counterpoint to Tom Roeser’s near-slanderous rant of a week ago. Ron Paul does not seem radical to the average citizen who grew up believing in the limited power of government, freedom for individuals, mutual respect in foreign policy and the importance of financial solvency. That these, the founding principles of our nation, are considered in any way “off the wall” is truly frightening. As John Powers observes, Ron Paul’s message resonates. And watch out, naysayers, because he’s catching fire!

  • The Observer said:

    The Observer should give you a raise.

  • Daniel said:

    A well written article in all aspects :)

  • L Hickey said:

    The stated reason for the war- Jim, at the time, was non existant WMD. Not a continuation of the Gulf War. The evidence for them was chosen ,cherry picked from the discard pile, and is a disgrace. We were taken to war on a lie. Read your history Jim. It’s not that long ago. We never would have gone into Iraq if it were not for this lie.

  • John Powers said:


    It gets to be a logic game after a while…Saddam thought he had WMD, and he had plenty of nuclear fissible material. Most of the intelligence services also thought he did.

    So if we think that he thinks that he has something the he does have but is not quite sure how to use are we better off assuming the positive? Obversion? Contrapostive?

    If I remember my logic class the US followed the contranegative proposition, but I do not expect our government to be consulting Digital Circuits 303 to form foreign policy.

  • LH said:

    Who says intelegence services thought he did. Curveball? whom the Germans said was unreliable. I have not gotten anything but empty words on the “evidence” they though they had. Faked uranium documents? Aluminum tubes that everybody at the time declared were not suitable for centrifuges. Haul out the drop dead evidence for war and let me see it. There is none. It’s all empty assertions. Know who Hussein Kamel was? Bush’s defecting son-in-law. Bush was using him as the drop dead evidence where was WMD, but Kamel said Saddam got rid of all such shortly after the 91 Gulf War. Bush lied or he did not know the meaning of Has or Know or any such words he used in assertions that “We Know Saddam Has WMD”. Saddam had NO fissile material. Ask the inspectors who Saddam did not throw out, but had to leave when we started the pre bombing invasion. Now all the dead ender bush types say is that they were secretly shipped off to Syria. NO evidence. Why the heck would Syria want Saddams outdated wmd? SO the neocons could have an excuse to plaster them, or maybe invade? It’s absurd. Get your facts straight.

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