Qualifications: U.S. representative from Texas. Former Air Force flight surgeon. Qualified to deliver babies.
Unique Ideas: Adopting a non-interventionist foreign policy. Making massive cuts in federal government, including the elimination of the Department of Education. Eliminating the income, capital gains, and death taxes.
With a $15 trillion national debt, high unemployment, a bad economy, and the biggest-spending president in American history in office, we face serious and unprecedented problems in this country. We know we can count on the Democrats to keep making these problems worse.
The question is: Can we count on Republicans to stop them?
The short answer is no. Despite their limited-government rhetoric, the majority of "conservative" Republicans have exhibited neither the intention nor the political will of changing the status quo in Washington. How do we know this? Because no matter which party holds power, the federal government and our national debt grow larger. Before Obama, George W. Bush was the biggest-spending president in American history. Various frontrunners in the 2012 presidential election — Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry — all largely supported Bush's agenda and today offer nothing more than various versions of the same big-government Republicanism.
For politics-as-usual to change in Washington, it only makes sense that such change would come from a candidate some consider to be an unusual politician. As Ron Paul's critics never tire of pointing out, he is not a conventional Republican. They're right. He's a conservative. A real one. Paul's budget plan — the only budget plan with specific cuts, not just rhetorical ones — would save $1 trillion in the first year by eliminating five federal departments and addressing wasteful Pentagon spending, while still protecting Medicare and Social Security and strengthening veterans' benefits. After eliminating the departments of education, energy, commerce, interior, and housing and urban development, Paul's Pentagon cuts would still allow for a military four times the size of China's and greater than what Bush was spending on defense in 2005.
Paul's critics laughably call this "gutting" the military, but that these Pentagon cuts would simply take us back to 2005 numbers is indicative of just how out of control Obama's spending has become. It is also indicative of just how wedded to big government most Republican presidential candidates are that they will not even consider such cuts — even though we spend more on our military now than at any time since World War II and almost as much as every other nation on earth.
Still, said Gingrich of Paul's plan: "It's a non-starter." Not surprisingly, Newt offers no cuts of his own. None of them do. Santorum says he does, but then offers no specifics. The campaign season is when politicians are supposed to lie to us. Imagine what these guys would do in office? None of them offers anything in the way of seriously limiting government to the degree that we desperately need it. It's as if the Tea Party never existed.
Besides the spending cuts, there are other issues of importance to voters. For conservatives, Paul scores an A+ on all of them: Second Amendment protection, pro-life record, right-to-work, pro-business, anti-tax, states' rights, you name it. Paul also believes America should have the strongest national defense on earth — which he believes begins with not trying to constantly police the earth. Right now, our government puts our best and bravest in harm's way on a regular basis for questionable reasons and with no discernible notion of victory. This is not supporting the troops. It's abusing them. Soldiers sign up to protect this country — not every other country — and not while asking their kids and grandkids to foot the bill. Paul believes that if the United States needs to go to war it should be through an official declaration of war as the Constitution demands and our soldiers deserve.
Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen has said that the greatest threat to our national security is our national debt. Ron Paul isn't simply the "best" Republican candidate to tackle our greatest problem — he's the only candidate willing to do so. Heading into 2012, the question for Republican voters is not whether they can afford to vote for Ron Paul — it's whether they can afford not to.