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
December 29, 2011

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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:

  • Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad is 13.40 percent progressive
  • Corporate Subsidies 31.18 percent
  • Education, Humanities, & the Arts 13.19 percent
  • Environment 11.35 percent
  • Fair Taxation 9.01 percent
  • Government Checks on Corporate Power 15.16 percent
  • Health Care 12.62 percent
  • Housing 6.10 percent
  • Labor Rights 13.51 percent
  • Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful 15.88 percent

    Even on the issues he's supposed to be good on, his record is mediocre:

  • Human Rights & Civil Liberties 33.66 percent progressive
  • Justice for All: Civil and Criminal 30.71 percent
  • War & Peace 47.92 percent

    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:

  • Would abolish the income tax
  • Would place the U.S. on the gold standard
  • Would allow citizens to engage in trade using gold and silver instead of currency
  • Would arbitrarily cut government regulations and believes that regulations only hurt businesses
  • Would eliminate the taxation of foreign income
  • Is a global warming denier
  • Says that Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are unconstitutional
  • Would eliminate antitrust laws
  • Would eliminate the federal minimum wage
  • Would eliminate the Davis-Bacon Act and the Copeland Act
  • Would eliminate the estate and gift taxes
  • Would tax all earners at a 10 percent rate
  • Would eliminate tax credits to individuals who are not corporations
  • Would eliminate the elderly tax credit, child care credit and earned income credit
  • Voted to make it easier to decertify unions
  • Opposes Federal Deposit Insurance
  • Would revert government spending to 2004 levels and freeze it there
  • Opposes raising the debt ceiling for any reason
  • Would allow people to opt out of Social Security
  • Says that widespread bankruptcy is the stimulus the country needs
  • Opposed the auto industry bailouts
  • Favors tort reform
  • Opposes the regulation of tobacco
  • Would protect the 'privacy' of online sexual predators and child pornographers on public wi-fi networks
  • Would prevent federal courts from protecting citizens who have their rights denied
  • Opposed the Motor Voter law
  • Would allow states to ban gay marriage
  • Sponsored the Marriage Protection Act
  • Would repeal affirmative action
  • Would limit the scope of Brown v. Board of Education
  • Says that emergency rooms should be able to turn away undocumented immigrants
  • Opposes the Americans With Disabilities Act
  • Voted anti-choice more than 90 times as a member of Congress
  • Voted to eliminate all international family planning funds
  • Voted for the Stupak amendment banning abortion coverage by private health insurance companies
  • Voted in favor of fetal personhood laws
  • Would eliminate all funding for Planned Parenthood
  • Would ban flag burning
  • Would weaken regulation of dietary supplements
  • Supports a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research
  • Opposes subsidies for prescription drugs for seniors
  • Opposes mandatory vaccinations
  • Would expand offshore oil drilling
  • Would increase mining on federal lands
  • Would weaken the Clean Air Act
  • Would repeal the Soil and Water Conservation Act
  • Would weaken the Federal Water Pollution Control Act
  • Would eliminate departments of Energy, Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Labor
  • Would eliminate the Environmental Protection agency
  • Would eliminate FEMA
  • Would eliminate the Federal Reserve
  • Would eliminate the Occupational Health and Safety Administration
  • Would eliminate AmeriCorps
  • Would eliminate spending to combat AIDS overseas
  • Would eliminate gas taxes
  • Opposes the census gathering demographic data on Americans
  • Opposed the dismantling of U.S. nuclear missile silos
  • Wanted to withdraw the U.S. from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
  • Wants to claim the Panama Canal as sovereign U.S. territory
  • Opposes the International Criminal Court
  • Would withdraw the U.S. from the U.N.
  • Supports the electoral college and believes that the U.S. is not a democracy
  • Believes that we have no right to health care
  • Would eliminate birthright citizenship
  • Believes that law enforcement can't help people, only armed citizens can prevent violence
  • Would allow the legal sale of unpasteurized milk
  • Believes that groups of people don't have rights, only individuals do
  • Believes that government cannot redistribute wealth in any way
  • Believes in the concept of 'jury nullification', the idea that a jury can judge not only the facts in a case but the justness of the law itself
  • Believes that social welfare should be in the hands of individuals only, not government

    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.

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