by Joe Shea
August 12, 2011
A MIND OF HS OWN
BRADENTON, Fla., Aug. 12, 2011 -- You really have to wonder why Ron Paul can't win the Republican nomination. Consider this: He's the only candidate who tells the truth. He's the only candidate who truly believes in something. (Update, 12AM ET Sunday) He's the only candidate you can trust to do what he promises to do. And he finished very close to winner Michele Baschmann in the Iowa Straw Poll Saturday.
I'm afraid you can't even say that for my favorite, President Barack Obama. While Mr. Obama is a great talker and visionary, he will always take the plain-Jane, watered-down variety of any legislation he promotes.
He backed down on the hard points of health care, of the debt ceiling bill, took the weakest path towards alternative energy (wind and solar, which can't be widely implemented), and has never answered a fundamental question: Will he or won't he pull us out of Iraq and Afghanistan? He also failed to take swift, decisive action to uphold the Constitutional bar to challenging the credit of the United States, as at least two credit rating agencies have now done.
Ron Paul, by contrast, even when he's jeered by a room full of GOP ideologues, does not back down. He says Iran is a nation we have to learn to live with, and even have to accommodate its nuclear ambitions. He says we used lies and subterfuge to get into Iraq and almost everyone admits he's right - but won't quit fighting there.
The two-hour Ames, Ia., GOP presidential debate was probably won - in an amazing turn of events - by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (who took $4 million from Rupert Murdoch for a book advance and helped Murdoch get his American citizenship so he could own multiple news outlets in major U.S. markets, and who delivered divorce papers to his wife's bedside when she was hospitalized for cancer), a man who knows how to spin his record as no other candidate can. Gingrich's campaign was dead in the water until the Fox debate put him back near the top of contenders.
Ron Paul, who like the others had his claque of loud supporters in the auditorium at Iowa State University, was once again booed, hissed and figuratively spat upon by hundreds of Republicans present when he threatened to do what Eisenhower and Nixon did - end wars that our country should not be in and cannot afford to fight. He noted, to a fresh round of boos, that we didn't bomb Russia back to the Stone Age when they built nuclear weapons - or hCina, either.
Beyond that, in the war between the states and the federal government, he left little doubt that he sided with the states and their right to devise whatever health plans they want, as he also would let them decriminalize whatever they want to, and to restore whatever pre-EPA regulatory regime there was, and boot out most of the Federal bureaucracy.
Frankly, I don't want everything that Ron Paul wants, but there is one thing he's got that I do want in a President: the strength and courage to speak his own mind, to take a difficult stand in front of a hostile audience, and to implement a belief in the power of peace, prosperity and the real American Way to heal some of the warring this world endures.
As a foe of Murdoch, I was startled to find myself staring in open admiration at Fox News for their temerity in detaining all of the present candidates for two solid hours of difficult, dicey and well-formed questions. Softballs were hard to come by, and the team of Bret Baird and Chris Wallace seemed to have no favorites and pulled no punches.
It was just what a good debate should be, and it gave the voters of Iowa a real chance to understand what each candidate represents.
I don't think the Republican voters of Iowa at Saturday's straw poll will have the figurative testicles to send Ron Paul back into the race with their blessing, but you never know. Some Republicans have been very brave.
AR Correspondent Joe Shea is based in Bradenton, Fla., and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.