Once again, summaries (paraphrases, not exact quotes) of Ron Paul’s answers from tonight’s debate.
Introduce yourself briefly.
I’m a Congressman from Texas in my 10th term; I’m the champion of the Constitution.
How soon should we leave Iraq?
The sooner we leave, the better; it was a mistake to go in and it’s a mistake to stay; if you get the diagnosis wrong you should change the treatment. We’re not making progress; there were no weapons of mass destruction; we went in under a UN resolution and not because we were threatened; we’re more threatened by staying than by leaving.
You voted for the bill calling for a 700-mile fence between the U.S. and Mexico. Do we need a similar fence for Canada?
No, and anyway the fence was the least of my reasons for voting for that bill. Border security and enforcing the law are important. I’m against amnesty. If you subsidise something, you get more of it. We subsidise illegal immigration with amnesty, birthright citizenship, and publicly-fund education and health care. We do need immigrant workers, but if we had a genuine free market they wouldn’t be the scapegoat.
If you think English should not be the official language, raise your hand.
Paul didn’t. [I’d like to ask Paul where in the Constitution it says we should have an official language. – RTL]
As a former Libertarian candidate, how do you view issues of church and state?
The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law. We shouldn’t have laws made at the Federal level; leave it to local people, local officials, the state level. We don’t have perfect knowledge and shouldn’t have some central authority in Washington telling us all what to do and imposing a one-size-fits-all solution on everybody and ruining things for the whole country, as in Roe v. Wade.
In 2005 President Bush signed an energy bill giving tax breaks and subsidies to oil companies; at a time when they’re making record profits is this appropriate?
The profits as such aren’t the issue; they would be fine if they were earned in the free market. I object to their receiving subsidies and R&D money. But any discussion of energy policy has to deal with foreign policy; we’re fighting in the Middle East, we overthrew Mossadegh in Iran, because we succumb to the temptation to protect the interest of the oil industry.
Should the military’s policy on gays be changed?
I think the current policy is a decent one. The real problem is that we see people as groups instead of individuals. We don’t have rights as gays or women or minorities; we receive our rights from our Creator as individuals. If homosexual behaviour in the military is disruptive it should be dealt with; but if heterosexual behaviour in the military is disruptive it should be dealt with too. Apply the same standards to everybody.
If you think gays should be able to serve openly in the military, raise your hand.
Paul didn’t. [Why doesn’t this contradict what he just said above? – RTL]
Would you pardon Scooter Libby?
No. [Candidates were asked to stick to one-word answers. This didn’t stop Giuliani from blathering on forever. – RTL]
My brother died in Iraq. What can you tell me?
We’ve been doing this for four years and it’s not working. We’re losing 100 men and women a month, over 1000 a year. If we want the Iraqis to take up the responsibility, we need to give them an incentive. We should stop patrolling the streets; that’s a job for the police, not for the army. Yes, we should promote our goodness overseas, but through setting an example and encouraging emulation, not through the barrel of a gun and through armed force as the neocons believe. Woodrow Wilson also told us we could promote democracy that way; we’ve seen that it doesn’t work.
What is today’s most pressing moral issue?
The recent acceptance of the promotion of preemptive war. In the past we declared war in defense of our liberty or to aid someone. We’ve now rejected the just war theory of Christianity; and tonight we even hear candidates who are not even willing to rule out a preemptive nuclear strike against a country that has done us no harm. We should defend our liberties and rights, but not try to change the world by armed force, by starting wars.
What has the Republican administration done most wrong?
Bush ran on a platform of a humble foreign policy, no nation-building, not policing the world. Instead we’re spending a trillion dollars a year to maintain the power of our empire around the world. We need that money for education and medical care here.
How can the GOP reach out to disaffected moderate Republicans?
(Almost everyone got to answer this question, but not Paul.)
P.S. Having grumped earlier about Jon Stewart’s dissing of Ron Paul, I owe Stewart a nod for his excellent interview with Paul last night.