Monday, October 29, 2007

The Club for Growth gives the ass-clown a mixed review

The Club for Growth issues white papers on each of the presidential candidates detailing the candidates position on the issues dealing with economic growth such as tax policy, free trade and government spending. They have just issued their report on Ron Paul, the ass-clown.

The report contains (entire report here) much praise for Paul:

Ron Paul’s record on taxes is excellent, epitomized by his rallying cry for phasing out the
IRS.1 A strong believer in the economic benefits of tax cuts, he declared in a 2006 article, “I reject the notion that tax cuts harm the economy. The economy suffers when government takes money from your paycheck that you otherwise spend, save, or invest. Taxes never create prosperity.”2 Over his career, he has backed up his speeches and articles with many pro-growth votes.

[. . .]

Rep. Paul’s strong belief in limited government translated into an impressive list of votes
against increased federal spending.

[. . .]

Rep. Paul’s limited-government philosophy found a particularly useful victim in the country’s entitlement programs. Long in favor of reducing individual dependence on government, Rep. Paul was a vociferous opponent of Medicare Part D, calling it “firmly in keeping with the failed New Deal and Great Society programs of the utopian left.”

[. . .]

. . . Paul’s record on regulation demonstrates a consistent aversion to government intervention in the private sector and an appreciation for the role limited government plays in furthering economic growth.

However Club for Growth also notes that Paul also has serious flaws which, in my opinion, largely negate his positive qualities. They range from some hypocritical votes:

Despite this impressive record, Ron Paul’s history contains some curious indiscretions, including a vote for $232 million for federally mandated election reform (only 1 of 21 Republicans to vote for it)26 and a vote against the line-item veto27—even after it was modified to pass constitutional muster. Paul’s record on pork was outstanding in 2006, voting for all 19 of Jeff Flake’s anti-pork amendments in 2006,28 but his record took a stark turn for the worse in 2007, in which Paul received an embarrassing 29% on the Club for Growth’s RePORK Card, voting for only 12 of the 50 anti-pork amendments.

Some of the outrageous pork projects Paul voted to keep include $231,000 for the San
Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association’s Urban Center; $129,000 for the
“perfect Christmas tree project;” $300,000 for the On Location Entertainment Industry
Craft Technician Training Project in California; $150,000 for the South Carolina
Aquarium; and $500,000 for the National Mule and Packers Museum in California.30
This year, Ron Paul requested more than sixty earmarks “worth tens of millions of dollars
for causes as diverse as rebuilding a Texas theater, funding a local trolley, and helping his
state’s shrimp industry.”

To much more serious issues:

Ron Paul’s opposition to school choice stems from his opposition to the government’s role in education, arguing that federal voucher programs are “little more than another tax funded welfare program establishing an entitlement to a private school education.”69 He consistently voted against voucher programs, including a 1998 school voucher program for D.C. public school students70 and a 2003 bill for a DC voucher program.

[. . .]

But Ron Paul is a purist, too often at the cost of real accomplishments on free trade, school choice, entitlement reform, and tort reform. It is perfectly legitimate, and in fact vital, that think tanks, free-market groups, and individual members of congress develop and propose idealized solutions. But presidents have the responsibility of making progress, and often, Ron Paul opposes progress because, in his mind, the progress is not perfect. In these cases, although for very different reasons, Ron Paul is practically often aligned with the most left-wing Democrats, voting against important, albeit imperfect, pro-growth legislation.

Ron Paul is, undoubtedly, ideologically committed to pro-growth limited government policies. But his insistence on opposing all but the perfect means that under a Ron Paul presidency we might never get a chance to pursue the good too.

The last sums it up. Libertarians are Utopian fantasists who take a "my way or the highway" approach to politics. If an idea moves the country in a good direction, such as toward lower taxes, but does so in a way which is not simon-pure enough for libertarian's rarefied sensibilities they will oppose it as vigorously as they would a tax increase or a regulatory power grab.

In this they are like the Second Amendment purists who oppose state "shall issue" laws because citizens shouldn't need any kind of government permission to carry a firearm, openly or concealed. They would rather be disarmed in the face of criminal violence, or go to jail for carrying illegally, than make a compromise.

The fact is that the American people are not ready for the radical reduction in the size and scope of the federal government which the libertarians support. If they are presented with a choice of the Libertarian Party's view of the nation or the Democrat Party's view of the nation they will side with the Democrats. It took decades of slow growth of government power to get us where we are today and it will take more decades of slow reform to fix the current problems.

And neither the process nor the end result will be what the Libertarian purists hope for.

Of course the Club for Growth is focused on economic issues with defense and foreign policy (other than trade issues) being outside the scope of their interest. So they do not critique Paul's most serious failing The one fault that actually disqualifies him from serious consideration as a presidential candidate. That would be his determination to surrender unconditionally to the enemy in the multi-generational war against Islamofascism which the West is currently engaged in.

This along with his Clintonian tendency to crawl into bed with unsavory characters such as neo-Nazis and 9/11 truthers, as long as they pony up the campaign cash, also argue strongly against taking him seriously as a presidential candidate.