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There are two important conversations going on about Ron Paul right now. The first is whether or not racist comments that came from old issues of the Ron Paul Report show that Paul is or was racist (they do). The other conversation is about whether or not progressives should support Paul because of his stances on the war, civil liberties and economic issues. The second conversation is much more important. Whether or not Paul is a racist (and I believe he is, as well as a bigot of various other types), that's not nearly as important as his stances on a myriad of other issues. Obviously, racism should automatically disqualify a candidate from serving in any office, much less president, but if he were elected, his views on race would have little impact on policy, outside of potential Supreme Court nominations. He didn't like the Civil Rights Act and opposes hate crimes legislation, but, as president, his alleged bigotry would not have a major impact on legislation, since most laws related to these issues pass with veto-proof majorities.
Anyone considering Paul as a candidate should certainly take into account his views on race, gender and the LGBT community -- all of which are atrocious -- but they should also take into account the vast array of other issues in which he is not only incredibly wrong, but where his policy prescriptions would make things worse. Some Occupy Wall Street supporters are Paul supporters, but Paul is very clearly aligned with the 1 percent. He says some things that sound good, but his voting record on issues related to corporations and the rest of us is bad. For instance, his lifetime voting record on:
Even on the issues he's supposed to be good on, his record is mediocre:
Yes, even on war and foreign policy, Paul still votes the wrong way more than half the time. He does have a better record than most Republicans on these issues, but even the most conservative of Democrats do better than Paul on almost every issue. Everyone's most hated retiring Democrat, Ben Nelson votes more progressively than Paul on every one of these issues, usually by a factor of three or more. For instance, on health care, Nelson beats paul 55.02 to 12.62 percent -- and remember that Nelson was one of the people who killed the public option. On making government work for everyone, not just the rich, Nelson beats Paul 58.59 to 15.88 percent. Progressives rightfully hate Nelson, but Nelson is way, way better than Paul.
To get a full handle on how bad Paul's record and positions are, here is a quick rundown of his most offensive positions, those that would be the most damaging to the country. Ron Paul:
Anyone that still thinks that a progressive vote for Paul is a legitimate vote under any circumstances doesn't know what the word progressive means. Anyone that thinks that Paul "understands the Constitution" and defends it either hasn't read the Constitution or doesn't know how to read.