I Have A Dream

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Minuteman, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    <TABLE height=100 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD><!-- BREAK: CONTENT BEGINS --><!-- CONTENT AREA BEGINS --><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD><!-- Story layout begins -->If Ron Paul were elected president...
    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD>By John Tompkins
    The Facts </TD><TD align=left width=150></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Published January 20, 2008

    It’s Jan. 20, 2009, and Ron Paul is on the stage of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, right hand skyward as he is sworn in as the next president of the United States.

    Though the scenario is far-fetched, considering Paul has yet to finish better than fourth in any Republican contest so far,(until Nevada!) many wonder what it would be like for a strict constitutionalist like the Lake Jackson congressman to take the oath to “protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Paul has been campaigning for more than a year trying to secure the Republican nomination for president. With a core group of mostly young, college-aged students, his campaign raised more than $20 million in the last quarter.

    Standing outside a New England church on the night of the New Hampshire primary as they waited for their candidate, a few of his supporters discussed what kind of presidency they would expect if Paul occupied the Oval Office.

    “There would be a lot more freedom and a lot more choice,” said Roger Abiague, a health administration student from Newark, N.J.

    Paul, a Republican with libertarian views, has run his campaign on a message of a hollowed-out federal government that would reduce spending, eliminate the federal income tax and pull itself out of foreign engagements.

    The most significant effect Paul would have nationwide would be in granting more control to the states, said Tom Griffith, a student from Portsmouth, N.H. States such as pro-choice, pro-gay marriage Massachusetts would not be forced to have the same model of government as Bible-belt states such as Kansas, he said.

    “You would find dramatically different states,” said Sam Peret of Bedford, N.H., who stood alongside Griffith outside the Concord church.

    “I don’t see anything necessarily wrong with that,” Griffith added.

    Analysts, however, disagree with supporters about how a Paul presidency would look. Though Paul would be able to bring some changes as president, if he held to the ideals he has maintained as a congressman, it could result in a Congress that operates largely without him, in effect ostracizing the president, said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University.

    “He is a man of very well thought out and fixed ideals,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. “He simply could not govern.”

    (so it takes a scatter brained, immoral, vaccilating opportunist to govern in the US today. Sounds right to me)

    The immediate effect

    If he were to take office, Paul said he likely first would change the things he could with executive branch powers such as eliminating sanctions and cutting budgets for some federal agencies.

    After that, he would have a sit-down with members of Congress.

    “I would meet with congressional leaders and discuss with them what I’ve been thinking about,” he said. “We’re actually going to practice what we’ve been advocating.”

    It would be important to instill a new attitude in Washington through which spending would not increase, Paul said.

    “The one thing I cannot accept is to spend more in a deficit,” he said.

    One of the initial things he would do is work with officials at the Pentagon and find the best way to pull troops from the Iraq War without endangering them, he said.

    “We need to get our troops home,” he said. “We want to end this war.”

    On the campaign trail, Paul has said bringing troops home would mean more taxpayer money the country could spend domestically. It also would typify the foreign policy Paul would practice as president in which the United States would not be involved in nation-building.

    Though he said he has not called for the abolishment of the CIA, Paul said he would want to reduce the spy agency’s meddling in the governments of other sovereign nations.

    “It just gets us into trouble,” he said.

    The agency still would have value for gathering intelligence, Paul said, but he would try to bring an end to several of its other practices, including the operation of secret prisons and questionable interrogation tactics used on terrorist suspects.

    “There are some things that aren’t very American,” he said of those covert operations.

    Paul also would immediately want to end economic sanctions the United States has against other countries such as Cuba, which he said would be a financial bonus for the country because there would be increased business for domestic food producers.

    “That era has passed where we felt we had to punish Castro,” he said, referring to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

    Longer-term goals

    Paul long has advocated drastic change to federal programs that have been in existence for more than 50 years. He said he understands changing programs like Social Security, ending the federal income tax system and bringing back the gold standard would take a bit longer.

    “You just can’t turn the spigots off,” he said.

    Over time, he would like to get rid of the federal income tax, which brings about $1 trillion in revenue to the federal government every year, he said. That is about one-third of the country’s total revenue in 2007, according to the Government Accountability Office.

    The country could operate without the income tax by relying more on other forms of revenue, such as excise taxes, tariffs and user fees, he said.

    “Those would still be used,” he said.

    Getting rid of the federal income tax could not be done without a drastic cut in government spending, he said. Paul has advocated abolishing a lot of federal agencies, including the IRS and the Department of Education.

    Paul also has advocated ending the Federal Reserve in exchange for free and unfettered markets. He said as president, he would work to reduce the Fed’s influence by allowing competing currencies such as gold and silver, which is legal under the Constitution.

    “It would put a lot more pressure on the Federal Reserve to protect the value of the dollar,” he said.

    A gridlock?

    While Paul’s positions resonate with supporters, it is not likely he could accomplish goals such as ending the Federal Reserve and pulling troops from foreign locations, political analysts say.

    Paul’s inflexibility likely would create a gridlock with Congress, especially if Democrats maintain their majority, said Richard Murray, University of Houston political science professor.

    “With the Democrats you would think there would be a lot of stalemate,” he said. “Congress would not slash the military or pull them back. They certainly wouldn’t junk the entire tax system.”

    The United States has become too involved throughout the globe in the last half century to start pulling out completely, even if Paul is right about those relationships causing some harm for the country, Jillson said.

    “You simply could not draw that back without a very great deal of discussion,” he said. “The world does need a global leader. He would have to come to recognize that.”

    One area where Paul could be effective would be ending the Iraq War, Jillson said, but he would have to do it cautiously, not rapidly.

    As for economic policy, Paul’s stance that the federal government is not responsible to save people from a poor economy would get a cold reception from Congress and the public, Jillson said.

    “There are a lot of people in this country who are exposed and hurting,” he said. “He would have to grow as a politician.”

    Both Jillson and Murray said if Paul were too radical from his seat at the Oval Office desk, he could face being ostracized by Congress.

    “Congress would, to an extent, operate without him,” Jillson said. “He would easily be overridden by a two-thirds majority of both houses. He might be kind of lonely.”

    If Paul remained uncompromising in office as he has in his years serving Congress, the Senate and the House likely would consider impeachment proceedings, Murray said.

    (couldn't have a President that sticks to uncompromising ideals, like the Constitution)

    “It would be a real possibility with the Paul presidency,” he said.

    Waking up

    Paul’s supporters recognize it is unlikely their candidate will take the oath as the leader of the free world one year from now. They also believe, however, that the ideas he espouses are the right course for a better, stronger America as it moves further into the 21st century.

    “It’s not really about him,” said supporter Zachariah Wiedeman, a Chicago college student who campaigned for Paul in South Carolina. “The message is what unites us.”

    The night of the New Hampshire primary, one word was repeated several times during Paul’s rally at a Concord hotel — beginning.

    “This is not the end, this is the beginning,” said Paul’s campaign chair, Kent Snyder.

    While the crowds cheered on that night, Paul’s wife, Carol, said though her husband might not win, more candidates would campaign on his ideals in the future.

    “There will be more,” she said.

    John Tompkins is senior reporter for The Facts. Contact him at (979) 237-0149.




    Facts senior reporter John Tompkins and chief photographer Dan Dalstra spent five days in New Hampshire and South Carolina examining the Ron Paul presidential campaign and its grassroots support. This is the last in a series of reports from their time on the campaign trail.
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