Mr. Catholic is proud…

Mr. Catholic is proud… February 24, 2012

of his contraceptive and abortifacient funding. He also stands by every word he said about Satan trying to attack and tempt Americans (which is, of course, perfectly true since Americans are a subset of homo sapiens and that’s who Satan hates), but he also denounces Drudge as “absurd for pointing out he said this, because while he wants to throw red meat to conservative Christians in their own patois, he doesn’t want to have them stand too close to him lest they give him cooties and lose him votes with, you know, normal people.

How very Republican.

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  • The most interesting thing I took away from the linked video is that Santorum, at one point, mentions the harmful effects of contraception for society at large (good for him), but later says he wouldn’t try to ban it (and in fact FUNDS it) because he thinks government should only step in when there are harmful consequences to society! Which one is it, Rick?

    He really needs to get a consistent message one way or the other. When speaking to media, he is proud of his funding of birth control. When he speaks to groups of Republicans, he is against funding it, but it was part of a larger bill that he supported. Again, which one is it?

  • Scott W.

    Ohh man. He just gave us the “I’m personally opposed…” schpeel, didn’t he?

  • Chris

    Santorum is going to fade quickly. After hearing people “boo” when he did the “I’m personally opposed” shtick, it’s pretty clear he’s not fooling enough people to win the nomination.

    • The Deuce

      I don’t think that will be a problem, because Romney and Newt (and Obama) are trying to fool people even more. And while he’s disappointingly given in to peer pressure here, I think his own family history demonstrates what his convictions are on these issues.

      In other words, it’s disappointing that he’s dishonestly presenting himself as pro-contraception when he’s not in order to win votes, but it’s somewhat better than him presenting himself as “personally opposed” to contraception when he’s really not (which is what is usually going on when pro-choicers present themselves as “personally opposed” to abortion).

  • Could someone explain why Santorum, and just about anyone else, is a shmuck when he uses the ‘personally opposed’ line, but when Ron Paul uses it, it’s OK?Other than the obvious fact that he’s Santorum and not Paul.

    • Chris

      Because Santorum declares himself a devout Catholic, then scandalizes the faithful when he validates the “lying for votes” maneuver. Let your “yes” mean “yes” and your “no” mean “no”.

    • ds

      Well, personally I think they’re both schmucks.

    • Michelle

      I don’t like Ron Paul, and would vote for Mickey Mouse before I voted for him, but I think the difference here is that Ron Paul is a libertarian. His Fundamental Ideal is that the government should stay out of people’s business. So, he can be “personally opposed” to something or other and still think that he, as a representative of government, should not involve himself in the matter. Whatever else he is, Paul is consistent (to the point of Crazypants, IMHO, but never mind that right now).

      Rick Santorum, on the other hand, presents himself as a Catholic Public Servant. So much so is that image of the Catholic Public Servant being burnished that I’m surprised he hasn’t yet tried to imply that St. Thomas More would endorse him for President. But then he compartmentalizes his Catholic beliefs whenever they are inconvenient to his political ideology and thirst for power. That is fundamentally inconsistent with his profession as a Catholic Public Servant, and so he cannot get away with the “personally opposed” schtick.

      • What do you think he should do then? Or how should he do it?

        • S. Murphy

          He should do it like Dan Lipinski. Tell his party when they’re wrong.

    • Because Ron Paul has a principled reason for doing it, i.e. he is opposed to federal intervention in areas not called out by the Constitution, whether he personally likes it or not. Santorum has no such principled reason.

      On the issue of life, though, Paul does recognize that the Constitution spells out a duty to step in, which is why he supports a federal amendment to protect the unborn.

      • Do you know he has no principled reason? Do you suppose? Has he said he has none? Do you simply disagree with the reasons he has given? Just curious.

        • Well, from what I can tell, he’ll vote for anything, including funding PP, as long as there are enough other redeeming features (in his opinion) in the legislation to justify it.

          So I’m sure there’s some kind of principle there, but it’s nothing that anyone can figure out or rely upon.

          I don’t want a guy that plays along to get along, and signs or votes for stuff he doesn’t like because “politics is a team sport.” I want someone that will lead, and that I can count upon to do what I thought I was voting for him to do.

          • That has been, in all honesty, one of the big problems with Santorum. That’s fine. That’s politics, and it’s about getting things done. It works the other way as well. That’s how one side will set the other up: Take a legislation (even one that’s good), add some off the wall ‘vote to murder puppies’ amendment or such, and when the other side votes it down, accuse them of being against the good that the legislation was trying to achieve. The system, the way it is, allows that sort of thing.

            I’m not a fan of it. But unless you can personally get the majority of Congress on your side on any given issue, you either don’t vote, vote for something to achieve the greater good, or lose. Santorum has spent much of his time, too much it could be argued, going for what he thought was the greatest good.

            Paul has, on the other hand, spent most of his years losing, getting almost nothing he proposed past Go. Which is the better? That’s up to folks to decide, and it can typically be done without feeling that those we disagree with are the baddies.

            • Adolfo

              Personally? I am a fan of a Congress that gets little to nothing done.

              • S. Murphy

                Our government was designed to be inefficient, and it works best that way.

    • Kirt Higdon

      First of all, Ron Paul has never used the “personally opposed but” line. Secondly there is a difference between advocating and voting for federal funding of abortifacients and having a difference of opinion on what level of government is most appropriate for taking the necessary steps to either restrict or outlaw abortion altogether. And finally, Ron Paul has both voted for and even introduced legislation at the Federal level to outlaw abortion. It should be noted that prior to Roe v. Wade, legislation with respect to abortion as with respect to most crimes was handled at the state level. In the interests of a proper interpretation of the Constitution, Ron Paul would like to see it handled at the state level once again, but pending that being accomplished, he votes against it at the federal level since that is where he holds office.

  • I’ve wanted to like Santorum but after viewing this video now I couldn’t in good conscience vote for him. He stands by using our tax dollars to fund contraception, even giving money to groups like Planned Parenthood. Why then shouldn’t the government mandate taxpayers more directly fund contraception through their own insurance premiums? And then to say that Michigan will see that he is a man of principles because he stood against auto bailouts. How about following your personal principles that contraception is harmful to society? You don’t have to outlaw them, but the very least, don’t fund their use.

    • That’s probably one of the better criticisms I’ve seen of how he handled his voting record in light of his beliefs.

  • Puck

    Don’t think I agree with you here. A candidate should be able to speak to a religious gathering of folks sharing his faith in a way that the larger society would not necessarily understand. Catholics do understand Satan – but playing that speech on the Drudge Report was portrayed in a way to make him sound like a kook.

  • Jen

    He believes what the Church teaches about contraception and follows it in his own life. No one can attack his credibility or faithfulness in that regard. What he’s saying is that he doesn’t presume he has the right to make contraception illegal or that it ought to be banned outright in the U.S. He’s simply saying he will not do what he’s being accused of by the left, which is to ban contraception and “take away women’s birth control.”

    • Mark Shea

      No. What he’s saying is that he supports forcing you and me to pay for somebody’s contraception. It has nothing to do with “banning” it or making it illegal. It has to do with compelling the taxpayer to support it.

  • By the way, FWIW, I think Santorum is right for criticizing the obvious double standard regarding the coverage of his ‘Satan’ talk. That was clearly filed under ‘uh oh, religious freak believes in Satan, religious freak believes in Satan’, while when Obama gives a talk oozing with Jesus and God and Gospel truth, if it’s mentioned at all, it’s in the positive (even if he uses it to dig at his political opponents). So yeah, he has a right to say it’s absurd, if by that he means it’s absurd that the clearly underlying message behind the ‘uproar’ was ‘you can’t have some kook believing this Satan stuff being our president.’

  • Jen

    By the way, Mark, is it possible maybe you could hate on Santorum a little more? Do you have any idea the courage this man has shown in the last year to run this campaign? Do you know him personally? Do you really know anything at all about him? You judge him so harshly, but the fact is, he’s not running an ego-driven campaign here. He’s not in this for himself or his own glory. And he’s paying a VERY high price personally for stepping out and running. His very name has been turned into the most disgusting, perverted and vicious attack against him by a homosexual zealot freak appropriately named Savage. Santorum has more guts and conviction than a hundred other men, and he deserves better than what he’s getting from you. Just saying.

    • Maiki

      I don’t need to “know him personally” — he is a public figure running a political campaign. What is most relevant to his character is what he says and does as a public figure, first. If he is going to use the “Catholic Politician” card, I don’t care if he is not using contraception and going to mass (those really should be bare minimums for married Catholics) — if he supports funding contraception with my tax dollars and supports preemptive war and torture, he is a bad example of a “Catholic Politician”.

    • Mark Shea

      I don’t judge *him* at all. I judge his words and actions as a citizen called upon to make an assessment of a candidate–which is my responsibility. I think his (selective) pro-life stance is a fine thing and I commend him for it, as far as it goes. But the fact remains that he has voted to support Planned Parenthood and to compel you and me to pay for abortifacients–and he parades that as a feature, not a bug. I’m not interested in banning contraceptives (except abortifacients). I’m interested in not being forced to pay for them. I’m also, by the way, not interested in supporting Santorum’s war zeal or his enthusiasm for torture, which is not courageous at all, but is instead a craven and cowardly capitulation to the ugliest aspects of the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism. He is, insofar as he gins up enthusiasm for this instead of courageously standing against it, a false prophet who is leading souls astray.

      • Be fair, Mark! He doesn’t ALWAYS parade it as a feature. Sometimes, he admits that it’s a bug in an otherwise good bowl of soup.

      • Jen

        I disagree. You do judge him personally, with great snark, sarcasm and flat-out contempt. It drips from your words. I’m not opposed to well-placed sarcasm, but I think your contempt for Santorum has been overboard. Your line above about him supposedly not wanting Christians to stand too close for fear of giving him cooties was totally uncalled for and a baseless personal judgment. You’re entitled to your opinion of the man, however one-dimensional it is, and by all means, don’t vote for him, but lay off the contempt already. Enough. Show some charity.

        • Mark Shea

          My line about his complete double message of “standing by” his comment while denouncing Drudge for reporting them is, in fact, a rational assessment of his public words and deeds. I can see no other rationale for his behavior than that he wants to court Christian conservatives while avoiding being seen as one of them. It isn’t like we haven’t seen this strategy used a million times by GOP candidates.

          • Jen

            No, his point is that the media dug up this speech in order to paint him as a religious kook. It has nothing to do with the campaign or anything Rick has been saying in the last year. It was made an issue by a media that despises him and wants to diminish him by making a big ado about his religious beliefs. He was not wrong to point that out. It doesn’t make him two-faced. I’ve never seen Rick attempt to distance himself from his Christian beliefs. He takes bullets every day from the press because he doesn’t apologize for his beliefs.

            • Mark Shea

              Except that he does apologize for his beliefs. That’s why he has felt it necessary to boast–repeatedly–about voting to force taxpayers to pay for other people’s contraceptives and abortifacients and to support Planned Parenthood. Once again, it’s not a matter of “banning” contraceptives. It’s a matter of forcing the taxpayer to underwrite them. Santorum knows that Americans like their contraceptive candy, not to mention their pre-emptive wars for Empire. So he gives them what they want, despite the teaching of the Church. And if I fail to fall in line with that, it’s not because I think people who loudly advertise themselves as model Catholic politicians should behave like Catholics, but because I “hate” him. I don’t hate him. I just don’t think he should be President and I think he poses a danger to Catholic conscience by ignoring the Church and thereby suggesting to faithful Catholics that opposition to abortion means you can blow off the rest of the Church’s teaching.

    • rakowskidp

      Jen, I have friends who claim that I *must* vote for Santorum because he’s a faithful Catholic who regularly receives the sacraments. That’s wonderful – but he also has a legislative record. He’s voted in favor of funding Title X, speaks favorably of assassinating foreign civilians working in countries with which we’re not at war, and has been an enthusiastic supporter of torture. Am I to ignore these facts because, like me, he goes to Mass and receives the sacraments?

      • Jen

        Your vote is your decision. I’m not defending every move Santorum has made in his life. I’m not suggesting he’s perfect. I’m not crying “Santorum for Pope!” or any such nonsense. I’m not even saying I agree with him all the time. I don’t. I don’t believe he deserves the contempt and judgment he gets from many in the Catholic blogosphere and the press. I honestly believe he is genuine, sincere, and trying his best to wade through muddy political waters with his honor and faith intact, and I believe he is sincerely trying to do his best for our country in a critical hour. I acknowledge that he’s made mistakes. I also believe, more so than with any other political candidate, that he is humble enough to learn from them, re-evaluate, and try to do the right thing. I just think he is sincerely a good man.

        • Mark Shea

          I have no reason to think he’s not a good man. I can’t, as I’ve already said, know his heart. What I know are his fruits, which are dangerously bad in some cases. It”s bad for a Catholic to reject the Church’s teaching on pre-emptive war and bang the drums for yet another stupid war while blowing off Just War teaching. It’s bad for a Catholic to reject the Church’s teaching on torture. It’s bad for a Catholic to state that the cold-blooded murder of civilians is “wonderful”. It’s bad for a Catholic to lecture a poor mother on how her duty to capitalism and corporate profit outweighs her desire to have access to medicine that can save her son’s life. Santorum does all these things, as well as boasting about forcing taxpayers to pay for contraceptive and abortifacients. And because he is a very public Catholic, his positions in defiance of Church teaching are *particularly* scandalous because many Catholics do look to him as a model of what is and is not acceptable for a Catholic to do and say, particularly those Catholics who already believe that opposition to abortion taketh away all sin.

          • Jen

            “It’s bad for a Catholic to lecture a poor mother on how her duty to capitalism and corporate profit outweighs her desire to have access to medicine that can save her son’s life. ”

            You’ll have to link to this one for me.

            • Jen

              I do not hear him “banging the drum” for another war.

              • Chris-KABA

                Um, Iran ring a bell?

          • Jen

            “It’s bad for a Catholic to state that the cold-blooded murder of civilians is “wonderful”.”

            A contextual link for this one would be nice, too.

            • Mark Shea

              Jen: This and all of the other points I make have been copiously discussed on this blog. I can’t re-document them every time. Do a search of my blog.

              • Jen

                Pardon me for not being a daily reader, Dark Lord. I am an unfaithful minion. My own minion midgets keep me from drinking in all the masterful insights I would otherwise enjoy.

                • Mark Shea

                  Nobody said anything about you having to be a daily reader. I’m simply saying that I don’t have time to recapitulate everything I say every time somebody new comes to my blog. If you are interested in knowing about the candidate you are supporting, I’m simply offering what I have already discussed elsewhere on my blog as a source of information.

                  • Jen

                    Clearly my tongue was not planted as firmly-in-cheek as I thought. I was being sarcastic.

      • Chris-KABA

        If going to Mass & receiving the Sacraments is the metric for which politicians to support, then Pelosi, Kerry, Biden & the entire Kennedy clan should also be getting pushed as politicians to vote for….

        • rakowskidp

          Yep… I’ve said this repeatedly, and have been told “but that’s different.” Because dissent from the left is always worse than dissent from the right, apparently.

      • Chris-KABA

        I’m positive that Mr. Santorum is a sincere Catholic, but I frown on the claims that his Catholicism makes him the best Candidate. Santorum is very clearly a Republican first. I believe matters of Catholic Doctrine are more important than matters of GOP doctrine.

    • ds

      Santorum has more guts and conviction than a hundred other men…

      In a country of 300 million, I imagine that’s true.

  • Mercury

    So are people here saying that a “real Catholic” politicians should be trying to ban contraceptives, or just that he should never allow government money to pay for it?

    Because I do not think the government needs to get involved in banning contraceptives any more than they need to ban fornication, masturbation, lying, or bullying. Sin is sin, but we don’t have to ban every sin by law.

    • Mark Shea

      Not ban. Just not fund. Why is it my job to pay for somebody’s contraceptives? Surely you can see the distinction between “outlawing” something and refusing to pay for it? I don’t think liquor should be illegal. But I also don’t think I need to buy you a drink.

  • Tominellay

    …hoist with his own patois…

  • Joannie

    This type of thing is sad to see because one Catholic blog site (Catholic is actually endorsing him as President despite his record. To me this is the same kind of pick and choose “Cafeteria Catholicism” that is quite widespread today. It is ironic that just because he and Newt are “Catholic” that they automatically should get the nomination. My next door neighbor is a liberal and she keeps complaining about how “conservative” Rick is and I have told her at least twice its just an act to get votes. She thinks the Church oppresses woman and that the Anglicans have it right, but she only gets her news and info from MSNBC which is not Catholic friendly (Pat Buchannon was recently fired).

    • Actually, many who support Santorum simply because they think he is the best option of the field. They don’t wish to not vote. They don’t wish to support someone they feel can’t win. Some actually have other problems with the other candidates more than they do Santorum. They may not all think Santorum walks on water, some may feel he is flawed and has made bad choices and pushed bad policies. But they feel he is the best of the lot. And since the Bishops make it clear that such thinking is one option when it comes to voting, that should be good enough for us not to assume the worse about those who may not decide to vote the way I will vote.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        “They don’t wish to support someone they feel can’t win. ”

        Never back a loser, even if you have to compromise yourself, always back the winner. Certainly jibes with my experience.

  • Christina

    The only part of this post worth noting is the first sentence. The rest is perfectly legit. Yes there is a devil and he is attacking us. Duh. Yes, Drudge was “absurd” for posting a freaked out article about it as if this was something unusual. He most certainly has not tried to “distance himself” from this.

    He certainly has some soul-searching to do on the topic of contraception and his voting record…which gives me pause since it’s unclear if that’s sufficient of an evil to avoid voting for him.

  • Ron Paul nailed Santorum in the debates. “Why did you call Santorum a fake?” Paul: “Because he is fake.”

    • Which is why voting for a cement block for president would accomplish more than having Paul win. A policitian who has made an entire career out of saying ‘isn’t everyone ELSE in Washington a bunch of fake idiots’? would be likely to accomplish little other than unifying everyone against him. It would be like the kid who never went out for sports, but instead sat in the bleachers for three years yelling ‘hey, isn’t everyone on the team a bunch of losers!’ suddenly handed the ball and told to get down there and lead those losers to victory. Wouldn’t happen.

      • Jen

        Has Ron Paul ever written a bill to amend the Constitution to recognize the personhood of the child in the womb? He says he would support such an amendment, but has he ever taken steps to bring it about? What has he actually DONE besides complain about every other politician in Washington? (If he’s done great things, please tell me and I’ll hush up.) I absolutely disagree with him that it’d be okay to send the abortion decision back to the states. We cannot settle for having the babies in Iowa protected but the babies in California slaughtered. We can’t legalize child-murder in one state and outlaw it another. That’s insane. No state has the right to do what is morally wrong.

        • ” I absolutely disagree with him that it’d be okay to send the abortion decision back to the states.”

          What? Then why have we been trying to overturn Roe vs. Wade all of these years? Overturning Roe v. Wade would return the abortion decision to the states.

          By the way, Ron Paul authored the “We the People” act and the “Sanctity of Life” act. If those acts had been enacted (AND THEY COULD HAVE BEEN, because he proposed them initially during a time when the GOP had control of the Congress, Senate, and Presidency), then Roe vs. Wade could have been overturned immediately.

          As Dr. Paul says, you’ll have to ask the rest of the GOP why it wasn’t enacted.

          Dr. Paul does support a federal amendment to define life as beginning at conception. I am not sure if he was the author of that proposed amendment. You are right that it is not acceptable in the long-term, to simply return the abortion issue to the states, but in the short-term, barring divine intervention, it’s all that CAN be done, and MANY babies would be saved.

          • Jen

            I should have been more clear. Yes, Roe must be undone. My point was that it is NOT okay to have dozens of different laws regarding the child in the womb in different states. She’s a person here, not a person there, etc. This is not something about which every state can be free to disagree and do things their own way. The child in the womb is a human being, a person, a citizen of the country with the right to live and be born, whatever state they happen to exist in.

            I’m glad to hear of the acts Paul worked to pass. Good for him.

        • That is Paul’s biggest role. Don’t get me wrong, I like the fellow. I admire, to a point, his consistency of message and living. He is what he is…to a point. Even The Paul can slink down to ‘politics as usual’, and this has happened without the media turning the bright lights and vetting on him. Right now, most of the MSM, when it mentions him at all, tends to chuckle at the fact that he spends most of his time trashing the GOP. If he were to become the candidate, that would change. As McCain found out in 2008.

          To me, Paul is like those two old guys in the balcony on The Muppets. Never on stage himself, he sends zinger after zinger at everyone who’s down there trying. And it’s easy to do, criticize the team when you’re safe in the bleachers. But it’s another to be on the field, in charge, to lead, to make things happen. Right now, Paul is mostly the great NOT. He wouldn’t do this, that, he would end this and that, he would stop this and that. But to lead is to do more than say what you wouldn’t do, and thus far, he’s had trouble giving much more than ‘I’d stop what everyone has done because that’s why everything is screwed up’ as plan.

          • Tominellay

            Ron Paul speaks often in the House of Representatives, and he takes brilliant stands on many issues. It’s also true that he votes alone on many issues. The point is that he’s not just been carping from the balcony; but the temptation for other congressmen and senators to “take one for the party” has been too great.

            • Well, yeah he is. Sure he can make his points very well. I watched the debate this week (forget the day). He unpacked his concerns about plunging into another war in a way that was brilliant, and to me, the best I’ve ever heard him argue. He took the chance to answer the concern three different times, each time focusing on a separate issue: The morality, the Constitutionality, and finally the economic concerns.

              Again, I like Paul. But he is what he is. It takes more than I want out of a leader to say ‘everyone else is wrong and I’m right.’ To say ‘I’m the best’ is one thing. To assert time and again that ‘I’m the only’ is quite another.

              The first name that comes to mind, beyond Paul, when I think of someone who basically suggests everyone else in the entire institution is the problem and I’m not, is Martin Luther. And, beyond his libertarianism, therein lies my biggest problem with him.

              • Except Martin Luther was mostly wrong, and Paul is mostly right. Everyone, even the “fakes”, knows we need more fiscal restraint, and has known it for the last 10 years, if not longer, but who actually has the strength to do it? If you look at the Constitution, and read the State Ratifying Conventions, etc. it’s pretty easy to see that Paul is right on the original intent of the federal government. Now, others may not care about that, and want to make the federal government into something else. That’s fine, but things have been going pretty steadily downhill for the last 25 years or so, and I’m putting my chips on someone that has shown the principle and the ideas that could make things go in a different direction.

                Would it be absolutely the right direction? Well, there’s no way to know for sure, but when you’re headed downhill fast, I know I don’t want more of the same.

                • Well at least we got that settled! Paul, the man who’s almost always right! Heh.

                  Anyway, one of the problems with the ‘original intent’ of the Constitution is the very grim reality that, no sooner was the ink dry on the document, that the ‘Founding Fathers’ quickly divided over just what this new paper was supposed to mean, including – but not limited to – state’s rights vs. the Federal Government.

                  Saying ‘I hold to the *Real* intent of the Original Constitution is like Protestant Evangelicals who say our church is how the early church *really* looked.

                  You’re right though. Everyone agrees what the problem is; they disagree on how to solve it. Paul’s ideal would work great (assuming you want his libertarian ends), as long as everyone else in Washington agreed. But if they didn’t, and they dug in, then Paul would be faced with the politician’s dilemma: do nothing, or start compromising (or persuade people to see it your way, something he has, thus far, been unable to do in most cases).

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                I now know all I could ever want to know about how Dave G interprets particular cues, thanks to this thread.

                I know nothing new about Dr Paul himself, however. And that’s a shame.

                It reminds me of how the philosophy professors at my state university would dismiss Aristotle, but would not actually engage him one whit. Philosophy apparently jumps from Plato to DeCartes, touching a toe briefly in St Anselm’s proof of God (the whole, we can only imagine a thing like God because God really exists, just like unicorns are just horses with horns) I guess to demonstrate how stupid catholic philosophers were.

                I can only hope you’ll influence people to really see who Paul is for themselves, like I set out to find out why they were scared of Aristotle.

                • Ah yes, the famous ‘there can only be one reason they aren’t behind Paul…they just haven’t seen the light.’ Because clearly anyone who’s actually listened to Paul and read his articles and yet has found him wanting must be like one of them not smart type of fancy state university professors. Uh huh. Solid rebuttal that.

          • Chris-KABA

            If Paul was a talking head like Levin, Rush or “Mini-Me Limbaugh”, then you’d have something. However, he IS on the stage himself, unlike Newt RomTorum.

            Your incorrect characterization of Paul is one of the reasons so many seem to “have a problem” with him.

            Many of the solutions he’s suggested are easily accessible on his site.

            • No, he’s been content accomplishing very little in his decades in congress, while preaching to the rest of the government how wrong everyone [else] is. That’s my point. He seems content with that, and to a point, that’s fine. I’m OK with the cranky fellow who’s there to give everyone something to think about. But when it comes to leadership, it takes more than that, especially from someone who has been in Washington telling everyone else in Washington that it’s all their fault.

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                Mother Theresa said we aren’t called to be successful, we are called to be holy.

                You keep talking about voting for a guy who can win! and yearning for a guy who can get things done! and a guy who’s upbeat about the status quo!

                Without addressing who is or isnt any of those things, are you sure those are the correct criteria? If so, why?

                • OK, let’s assume that this is truly the Holy Paul we are speaking about. Let’s assume that the man balances walking on water with feeding the multitudes with loaves and fishes. Let’s take Paul as the Sir Galahad, riding forth to the quest, seizing the Grail and making all right with the world. Let’s assume his ideas are flawless, perfect, and would truly usher in an age without hunger or want, where the lion would lie down with the lamb and swords would be beaten into plowshares.

                  OK, we’ve got the premise. But the fact is Paul, no matter how superior in thought and living, is not the fourth member of the Holy Trinity. He’s mortal. To achieve these perfect ends, he would have to actually do it. Make it happen. Somehow, some way, he would need to achieve results for humanity to benefit.

                  Now, what you’ve done is the classic ‘proof texting’ of a famous quote. I’d wager in your daily dealings that if you know someone who can’t untighten a bolt, but who is a righteous and holy man, you wouldn’t go ahead and let him work on your car. If there’s a woman who is the same, who should be canonized in this very life, but can’t add three numbers correctly, you probably wouldn’t let her manage your finances. The doctor who has no skill to save patients, with a body count exceeding a serial killer’s, but who is a righteous and just man probably would not be praiseworthy in most cases.

                  To vote for someone with no demonstrable evidence of accomplishing anything is to turn one’s back on the results. It takes more than that to rationalize voting for someone, at least IMHO. What’s struck me in all this is how few attempts there have been to say ‘Oh yeah! Paul could too be effective, and here’s how!’ Mostly what I’ve gotten is ‘Hey, he’s always right, it’s everyone else’s fault he can’t do anything, and besides, nobody cares anyway since he’s, you know, always right about everything!’ To me, that speaks louder than anything.

      • If Ron Paul actually WAS elected, you better believe that the other politicians would work with him, because that would be the biggest sea change in American politics since…well, I’m not sure when…the 1840’s?

        • What would change then from the fact that he’s been unable to get almost anything passed for the last two decades.

          • No one knows the exact shape a Paul presidency would take in regards to working with the Senate and Congress. At the very least, spending would be reduced. If Paul managed to win the Presidency, though, that would be a startling statement, to which all politicians on both sides of the aisle would have to take notice, and adjust their positions towards his, at least to some extent.

            • You are right, nobody really knows. That includes knowing that spending would be reduced. It might go up. Paul might not be able to do anything. Paul might end up, once he realized what it is to lead a group of people with diverse agendas, he has to give in. In short, once he had to come down from the balcony and get on the stage with the rest of the crew, we would see just what would happen, and nobody really knows – though so far, Paul’s record can only suggest that the most likely thing to happen would be, for the most part, nothing.

              • Tominellay

                Well, I’d like a president who would bring our troops home, who’d overturn previous executive orders, who’d veto unconstitutional legislation, and who’d nominate strict constructionists to the U.S. Supreme Court. We’re likely to get those things with Ron Paul. If “nothing” happens after that, though, it’d still be four years of progress.

                • I’d like those things, too. Whether or not Paul could pull it off is another question. Again, we know what Santorum, Gingrich, Romney, and even Obama are capable of, and not. Like them or not, we’ve seen what they can, and will, do. With Paul, we know what he’s capable of saying under certain circumstances. We know almost nothing he proposed ever came close to seeing the light of day. That’s about it. I’m not libertarian, but yeah, I’d like some of those things solved. Though at the expense of some of his ideals is a question I have. But again, I doubt, based on his actual record, if he could turn around and be that team leader that one must be when one is elected to be leader of the team. I could be wrong, but that would have to be speculation on my part.

          • Chris-KABA

            It’s absurd to claim that Paul would “get nothing done” based on the fact that he hasn’t been able to get the resot of the government to agree to actually pay attention to Constitutional limits.

            Personally, I’d love to see a President who “got nothing done”. Imagine what America could do with 4 years of not having more govermnent micromanagement & theft shoved down their throats.

            In any case, “what would change”?

            Well, let’s see. What tools does a President have that a single member of Congress doesn’t???

            – The bully pulpit comes to mind.
            – The C-in-C role comes to mind.
            – The ability to revisit & remove hundreds of executive orders comes to mind.
            – The ability to veto things comes to mind. (Which combined with the bully pulpit would certainly make it harder for Congress to keep spending like a drunken sailor with a box full of stolen credit cards….)

            Those are a few things off the top of my head…

            • Actually it’s not absurd at all to imagine that a congressman who has served for decades, and yet has been able to push almost nothing of his own through congress, might run into the same problem as a president.

              Plus, I don’t subscribe to the ‘imagine if our government did nothing for four years’ tripe. It’s a slogan with little substance or grounding in reality. Sort of like ‘just let the Free Market solve the problems.’

              As for the list, that’s what I’ve said. He talks a good game, and lets us know what he would stop, end, remove, and cut. But actually leading takes a little on the ‘here’s what I will do.’ In an ideal world? Sure. But in the real world, sometimes a leader has to move forward and not just cut back what everyone else has done.

              • Hezekiah Garrett

                Let’s be clear.

                A prime example of his time-wasters is precisely his attempts to actually move forward legislation that would move the ball in the exact direction ‘pro-lifers’ claim we need to go, by effectively reversing Roe V Wade.

                And even with a republican majority in both houses, and a republican executive, it went nowhere.

                And you are criticising Dr No! for this, rather than rethinking how smart it might be to conflate ‘pro-life’ and ‘GOP’?

                You hold it against HIM as a black mark that the rest of the GOP couldnt be convinced to just remove the issue from the court?


                • That could be because they disagree with his plans. Some actually feel that his ideas would set back the pro-life cause. Now we can disagree, sure. And I’m not saying each and every time he says or proposes something he’s wrong. I’m saying his overall approach, his basic ‘I’m always right and everyone is always screwed up’ approach is not the attitude that will make for effective leadership.
                  I’m also saying that what you point out is exactly the point. His ideals are not always agreed upon. They are a different approach. But so far, he has been unable to get others on board. If his ideas are all correct. If I take Paul’s supporters’ notions that this guy is as close to inspired as a politician can get, it’s only worth anything at all if the politician in question can get people on board.
                  So far, Paul’s setting himself above the rest of congress has not helped him in this endeavor. There’s little to suggest, listening to him and watching his reaction to others, that this would change if he were elected president.

      • Contrary to popular belief, saying NO to all the unconstitutional nonsense and cronyism in Washington IS doing something.

        I would prefer my neighbor that quietly respects my rights to a neighbor that “does something” by playing loud music and trashing my property.

        Besides, Santorum is fake because he claims to be more like Paul (small government, standing up to Washington nonsense) when in reality he is a huge Washington insider.

        • Of course saying no is doing something. Just like demolishing a building or cutting down a tree is doing something. But there’s also building buildings and planting trees, which can also be seen as doing something.

          As for the ‘leave me alone’ model of libertarianism. To a point there is something there to counter the extreme of government intrusion on every level of life. But on the other end, it can run into the extreme of ‘I am too an island unto myself in the sea of humanity’ which is not a traditional take on a nation’s responsibility to uphold certain moral principles.

          • Tominellay

            …and there’s the disagreement!
            You equate saying “no” to demolishing a building or cutting down a tree, as though votes against unconstitutional spending and federal overreach are destructive. Ron Paul is not a statist, and federal programs are not the answers to our problems.

            • First, again, we have to get down to the assumption that Paul is simply always right about everything, and everyone else is simply wrong about everything. Try leading in a situation with that attitude.

              Second, Paul’s libertarianism is a deeply held philosophy not shared by many others. He is right sometimes, sure. By default he makes good points. Since nobody is ever perfect, and no institution is ever flawless, one can always point out problems and be sure to hit close to the mark once in a while.

              But it takes more than just pointing out problems and advancing your own philosophical ideals as the infallible solution. Believe it or not, there could be problems that arise with his ideas as well.

              Plus, when you are always saying what you would stop doing, it can be easy to fail to have a positive plan. I’ve watched in interviews, and on debates, as various individuals have tried to press him beyond his stump speeches, and I notice he seldom has anything to say beyond what he always says.

              When asked just what he would say when he ‘talks with’ these various world leaders, he’s been more or less at a loss beyond, again, the points of his speeches. Believe it or not, just saying ‘we’ll talk’ is not a plan. Despite what he says, the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis were not resolved ‘because we talked with therm.’ That’s almost a laughable oversimplification. Yet when asked time and again, that’s more or less all he can say. Because, once again, his non-interventionist ideals are, to him, the solution. He’s spent so long in his self-made bubble that I think he really believes all he would have to do is stand up and say “OK, we’re going to cut here, here, here, and here; we’re going to hand everything over to the states the way the Founding Fathers really wanted it, and we’ll just reach out and let everyone know we’re OK, they’re OK and it will all work out.’ That’s not grounded in reality.

              That’s like the parishioners who sit in the pews and tell the minister ‘Just get up there and call sin, sin. Tell those sinners they’re sinning, kick some righteous butt, and everything will be fine.” Is there anything about this advice that’s against the Faith? Not necessarily. But try it some time, and find out just how disastrous the outcome would be, since while there’s nothing wrong with it per se, there is a whole lot more that isn’t being taken into account. And that is, to me, the story of Paul’s entire platform.

  • antigon

    Dear Mr. G:

    If I may, it does not seem unfair to say your chief criticism of Mr. Paul is that his philosophical & political consistency has been such as to prevent getting any substantial bills passed in Congress; & that this problem would continue to plague him were he elected president.

    Two points come to mind. One is that: were, per impossibile, Paul actually to become president, he would as commander-in-chief have legitimate authority to act unilaterally as regards the dismantling of what he sees as our morally and financially destructive deployment of troops throughout the world. As this end would be a major reason he was elected, doesn’t that alone essentially render your criticism mute?

    The other is: given the overwhelming resistance of substantial interests to Paul becoming president, were he actually to achieve it in the teeth of such, one may suspect a profound impression on Congressional members more malleable than Mr. Paul; & that this might accordingly prove stimulus to cooperation heretofore lacking between his views & theirs.

    A third point may be even more telling. Does it not strike you as odd that no major politician save Paul is willing even seriously to address, much less wrestle, with what are after all rather serious foreign policy questions facing the country? Or that this distinction ses especially vivid in what seems fair to note a rather obvious & sustained effort to prevent such a discussion?

    Not being a libertarian myself much, it has nonetheless crossed the mind that the Empire’s new clothes have rather more a threadbare than silky quality. And thus what’s so strange isn’t that Paul denies the fleshly folds are satin, but that in effect *only*Paul does. And that thus what you criticize is actually the reason only he finds the means to address these central questions.

    That the others made all those compromises, necessary & laudable or not, now seems to mean they – virtually all of them mind you – can only see, or pretend to see, what just isn’t there, no?em

    • Good points all. I realize that, if he became president, things could turn around. But to believe that, I would have to ignore his past. That’s like hiring someone who has never been able to accomplish anything in a particular job with the belief that, once he’s in charge, things will be different. Usually isn’t done in the work place, but you never know.

      I would disagree that he’s the only one who takes things like foreign policy seriously. He’s the one who has the most radical solutions for both foreign and domestic policy, and since we’re clearly in a downward spiral in both areas, it’s easy to see why the one with the most radical solutions might appear as the only one who takes things seriously.

      But again, that goes back to what he would do as president. Would he continue on his ‘my way or the highway’ approach, being a purist even if it meant getting nothing done (in which case, who cares about his plans anyway)? Or would he then have to get in and start compromising, which is what he blasts everyone else for doing, and what his followers seem to despise in the other candidates as well?

  • antigon

    Dear Mr. G:

    As above suggested, in the realm of foreign policy, Paul’s acting on his life-long positions – which some might characterize as radical only in that, in comparison with other prominent politicians, they are serious – would mean quite the opposite of getting nothing done.

    As to domestic policy, the alternatives you suggest between compromise & nullity are doubtless true: but apart from the political shift such a stunning event as his election would inspire, Paul has proposed reasonable compromises that chafe his principles, such as Social Security & elsewhere. Beyond legitimate political struggle, however, he would still have a great amount of strength regarding crucial matters as indefinite detainment & comparable developments, and would as president pretty much unilaterally be able to impose his support of Western legal tradition against the more recent hostilities to it.

    As to the valid point that concluded your first paragraph above, that perhaps depends on how grave the crisis is, as I think you are suggesting. But I expect there are likely many examples of companies getting nowhere with experienced men unable to think beyond what once succeeded, but that ultimately survived once they recognized their only hope was a leader with a less traditional background, but possessed of wisdom.

    Still, as noted, while arguably worthy, these do seem discussions of an impossible hypothetical. Nonetheless, that many central questions are being addressed that would otherwise be ignored because of and really only because of Paul, does strike many as a good reason to vote for him, and to keep the discussion alive.