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Every four years, we hear our presidential candidates talk about the need for change. Most of them refer to themselves as candidates for change, even if they've spent a lifetime inside the Beltway. You rarely hear a candidate say 'I want to be the candidate for the status quo !'. Such a candidate wouldn't get many votes. The closest they get to that is to call themselves the candidate of experience. Sometimes, candidates want to take us back to the past, like Republican Reagan impersonators, or Democrats longing for the 90's. On the Democratic side, Obama, Edwards, and Hillary are all trying to be the 'change' candidate. Being viewed by america as the candidate who will bring change is almost always an attractive position in which to reside, because one thing americans can agree on, regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum, is that the status quo is messed up. That's certainly true now, as the President, Congress, Democrats, and Republicans all have low approval ratings.
With all these candidates who supposedly represent change running for office year after year, a logical question to ask is 'why don't things ever change ?'. The answer is - because none of these politicians really represents much of a change at all. When Democrats are elected, government gets bigger, more intrusive, and we go deeper in debt. On the other hand, when Republicans are elected...government gets bigger, more intrusive, and we go deeper in debt. The differences between the two parties are only in what areas are emphasized in the bigger, more intrusive, and ever more expensive government. It reminds me of the Ghostbusters movie, where Gozer asks the Ghostbusters to choose the method of their own destruction. Whichever method is chosen, destruction is the end result.
But this year, there is a candidate running for president who really does represent change, and he's right in one of the major political parties, not in one of the fringe third parties where the true reform candidates are usually found. His name is Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas (though he's really a Libertarian).
Democrats like Paul because he's against the Iraq war. Republicans like Paul because he's for limited constitutional government. Independents like him for one or both reasons. Libertarians like him because he's one of them. Ron Paul was the Libertarian candidate for president in 1988. The general voting public didn't notice him back then. I doubt if one american in a hundred could name the last Libertarian candidate for president (it was Michael Badnarik, also from Texas), much less the one from 1988. People are noticing Ron Paul now, especially on the internet, and his campaign is raising lots of money. The problem is, nobody is voting for him, at least according to the polls. His poll numbers are between 3-6%, and Fox News intends to leave Ron Paul out of their upcoming debates, because his poll numbers are too low (Fox is also leaving out Duncan Hunter). So, I'm wondering, do we really want things to change, or do we just pay lip service to the notion, as we keep voting for the status quo over and over ? They say you get the government you deserve. Maybe we do.
On the Change-O-Meter, Ron Paul is off the scale compared to the rest of the pols running for president (I'm exclusing Dennis Kucinich on purpose). Here are Ron Paul's stances on issues:
On foreign policy - Not only would Ron Paul immediately pull all the soldiers out of Iraq. He'd pull them all out of Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and anywhere that isn't part of the United States as well. Paul's foreign policy position is non-interventionist, unless the USA is directly threatened. No more United States of America as world policeman. Even though I disagree with this position of Paul's, it should be enormously attractive to many US citizens, who don't like that we mess about in foreign countries and wish we'd just take care of our own here at home.
On debt and taxes - Paul would dramatically slash the size of government, give people back their tax dollars, and eliminate the Federal Reserve (watch out Ron. The last two who tried to abolish the Federal Reserve were John F Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. Look what happened to them). One thing Paul points out in this area is that if we cut the size of the federal government in half, it would be roughly the size it was just ten short years ago. Think about that for a minute. It's pretty shocking that the size of the government doubled in just over ten years. It isn't just some anomaly under Bush either. It's been happening all along, and expect it to continue and get worse with the future Social Security/Medicare unfunded liabilities.
On illegal immigration - Secure borders immediately. No amnesty. No welfare for illegals. No rewards for breaking the laws of the USA. End birthright citizenship for illegals.
On free trade and world government bodies - Ron Paul says, "So called free trade deals and world governmental organizations like the International Criminal Court (ICC), NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and CAFTA are a threat to our independence as a nation. They transfer power from our government to unelected foreign elites".
On education - Ron Paul says, "The federal government does not own our children. Yet we act as if it does by letting it decide when, how, and what our children will learn. We have turned their futures over to lobbyists and bureaucrats...I want to abolish the unconstitutional, wasteful Department of Education and return its functions to the states. By removing the federal subsidies that inflate costs, schools can be funded by local taxes, and parents and teachers can directly decide how best to allocate the resources. To help parents with the costs of schooling, I have introduced H.R. 1056, the Family Education Freedom Act, in Congress. This bill would allow parents a tax credit of up to $5,000 (adjustable after 2007 for inflation) per student per year for the cost of attendance at an elementary and/or secondary school. This includes private, parochial, religious, and home schools".
On health care - Ron Paul says, "The federal government decided long ago that it knew how to manage your health care better than you and replaced personal responsibility and accountability with a system that puts corporate interests first. Our free market health care system that was once the envy of the world became a federally-managed disaster. It is time to take back our health care. This is why I support:
- Making all medical expenses tax deductible.
- Eliminating federal regulations that discourage small businesses from providing coverage.
- Giving doctors the freedom to collectively negotiate with insurance companies and drive down the cost of medical care.
- Making every American eligible for a Health Savings Account (HSA), and removing the requirement that individuals must obtain a high-deductible insurance policy before opening an HSA.
- Reform licensure requirements so that pharmacists and nurses can perform some basic functions to increase access to care and lower costs.
I can go on and on with this stuff, but I don't want this to get too long. Check out Ron Paul's website at the link above. Ron Paul's positions are based on the US Constitutition. Kind of ironic that they should be so far out of the mainstream in several areas then, isn't it ?
If you really want change, this is the guy.