And he's not even very consistent on that point. NARAL Pro-Choice America shows that his voting record on reproductive rights varies wildly from "good, but could improve" (75% in 2005) to "Jerry Falwell would be jealous" (0% in 2003). Currently, he scores 65%. NARAL calls his record "anti-choice." According to Paul, "Pro-life libertarians have a vital task to perform: to persuade the many abortion-supporting libertarians of the contradiction between abortion and individual liberty... A libertarian's support for abortion is not merely a minor misapplication of principle, as if one held an incorrect belief about the Austrian theory of the business cycle. The issue of abortion is fundamental, and therefore an incorrect view of the issue strikes at the very foundations of all beliefs..."
The individual liberty of the woman isn't an issue, I guess. In fact, when it comes to issues of individual liberty, Ron Paul isn't really a fan. He argues that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided because nothing in the Constitution, as he sees it, applies to abortion. But he votes against same sex marriage -- when nothing in the Constitution would go against it.
His stand on health care is similar to Bush's -- if you're not insured, don't get sick. He's supported health savings accounts, but with most people having trouble putting money aside as it is, these accounts are pretty much nothing. He voted to sustain Bush's veto of stem cell legislation.
As I said, Paul -- like most libertarians -- believes that the federal government should do pretty much nothing. His answer to almost every problem is to hand it off to the states. As a result, he scores poorly on environmental issues. The League of Conservation Voters gives him only a 25% voting record. The problem with this "let the states do everything" attitude is that every state doesn't have its own evironment. Pollution generated in one state winds up in the air and water of another. A federal response to environmental issues is the only effective way to handle these problems. Paul lets his ideology take precedence over reality -- a problem our current president has.
I'm not the only concerned with his environmental record. Environmentally, Ron Paul is a nightmare.
Ron Paul may be a Republican, but he's certainly not a Republican for Environmental Protection. That fine organization gave Paul a shameful 17 percent rating on its most recent Congressional Scorecard (warning: PDF). He doesn't fare much better in the eyes of the American Wilderness Coalition or the League of Conservation Voters. Paul's abysmal record on the environment is driven in large measure by his love of sweet, sweet oil: in the 109th Congress alone, he voted to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to shield oil companies from MTBE contamination lawsuits, against increasing gas mileage standards, to allow new offshore drilling, and to stop making oil companies pay royalties to the government for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Par for the course for a man who called the Kyoto accords "bad science, bad economics and bad domestic policy" and "anti-Americanism masquerading as environmentalism."
Yes, he is against the war and the BS "War on Terror," but to be honest with you, that's pretty much the only thing he's got going for him in my book. We're facing what might be the greatest environmental challenge we've ever faced and Ron Paul is not the guy for the job.
I suppose if you were absolutely, positively determined to vote GOP, you could do worse than Ron Paul. But it's an indictment of the current Republican party that you probably couldn't do any better. They all suck and Ron Paul only sucks slightly less than the rest of the field.
What bothers me is that a lot of people on both sides of the aisle are treating him as if he were the second coming. He's not. He's just your average paleoconservative of the Pat Buchanan type. In a field of neocons, this makes him stand out. Other than his stand on the war, his views are virtually identical to any other conservative's. The hero worship for this new saviour of the Republican party is completely unwarranted.
As I said, every time I write about Ron Paul, someone comes along and spams my blog. Knock yourself out. Tell me that I've blasphemed St. Ron. But nothing I've written here is untrue and my opinions on this candidate are unlikely to change. He's lousy on the environment, he's lousy on women's rights, he's lousy on health care, he's lousy on gay rights.
The only issue he isn't lousy on is the war and terrorism. That's not good enough.
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