You've probably overheard or observed various progressives and anti-war idealists praising Ron Paul for his foreign policy record while virtually ignoring his awful record on an array of other issues.
Last year, Glenn Greenwald wrote a virtual love letter to Ron Paul and, towards the end, he off-handedly mentioned Paul's "odious" positions on other issues. He wrote a sentence or two covering his ass following a lengthy dissertation about Paul's greatness.
But what exactly are those other positions?
First, Ron Paul has consistently been the most conservative member of Congress, based on his voting record. And that's not just this year or last year alone. He has the most conservative voting record in Congress since 1937. Think of the most conservative wingnut you can come up with. Ron Paul is to that guy's right. Michele Bachmann, Steve King, Louie Gohmert -- Ron Paul has them beat by a gazillion miles. Again, the most conservative since 1937. There have been more than 3,000 members of Congress in that time.
As everyone knows, he's a disciple of fiction writer Ayn Rand. Among other things, Paul's libertarianism is manifested in his desire to eliminate many cabinet level departments including the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Internal Revenue Service. Yeah, it's okay to risk a significant loss of government services, and the millions of American lives effected, in order to stop drone attacks.
On the Rand note, Paul is opposed to tax increases and government spending. In fact, he wants to roll back federal spending levels to 2000 numbers. This would practically destroy the slow economic recovery and potentially slide us into another depression.
Ron Paul also interprets the 2nd Amendment to mean an unfettered right to bear arms.
Of course all of his talk about personal liberty comes to an abrupt halt on the issue of abortion. Paul is staunchly pro-life and supports the criminalization of abortion -- calling for the arrest of abortion doctors, presumably for murder.
Paul is quoted on his website: "There has to be a criminal penalty for the person that’s committing that crime. And I think that is the abortionist."
For a self-proclaimed Constitutionalist, Paul doesn't support privacy rights and the 14th Amendment.
And Paul would leave these laws up to the states. We all know how fair state-level crime and punishment can be, especially in death penalty states.
Speaking of which, Ron Paul supports states' rights. As we all know, the issue of unrestricted states' rights was settled 150 years ago when 650,000 were killed when southern states refused to free their slaves.
While Ron Paul is often praised for his non-interventionism and his position on civil liberties, he voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists in 2001. This legislation gave the Bush administration unprecedented war powers following 9/11.
Ron Paul voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, authorizing hundreds of miles of new border fences. Despite being lauded as a civil liberties hero, he supported the Defense of Marriage Act. He also co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Act, which beefed up DOMA and stopped judges from overturning the rule. He's against universal healthcare.
He thinks global warming is a hoax and doesn't support any regulation of industry to prevent pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
And finally, he has a long record of obvious racism. He voted against affirmative action, opposed the Civil Rights Act, opposed the renewal of the Voting Rights Act, and distributed racist newsletters.
Yes, Ron Paul's libertarianism leads him to some positive ideas on foreign policy and civil liberties. But this very same ideology also leads him to a wide variety of utterly horrific positions spanning nearly the entire spectrum of public policy -- positions that would cause significant harm, damage and destruction to the economy, to women, to minorities and to nearly everything progressives value.
If you fancy yourself a progressive and support this guy, you're out of your mind. If indefinite detention and predator drones are high, if not exclusive, priorities for you, then vote for Ron Paul. Just think about what you're trading away.