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Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich removed themselves from any serious consideration yesterday.
Within days of their officially entering the presidential fray, two Republican Oval Office aspirants may have torpedoed what little chance they might have had with disastrous answers on Sunday morning television.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul began his interview with Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace by properly, if not entirely effectively, explaining that the “General Welfare” clause of the Constitution can’t mean what liberals want it to mean by pointing out that if the government had the power to do anything it deemed necessary, the rest of the Constitution, including the 9th and 10th Amendments would not have needed to be written. It was the sort of talk that endears the crusty congressman to Tea Party activists and others who are aware that those who wrote the Constitution had particular timeless principles in mind.
But the questioning soon turned to Ron Paul’s comments a couple of days earlier about the Navy SEAL raid to get Osama bin Laden being “unnecessary.” Chris Wallace pressed Paul on the latter’s apparent objection to the U.S. not telling Pakistani officials about the raid in advance:
WALLACE: Well, I know. But I’m asking you — do you think if we have told the Pakistanis, that they wouldn’t — they would have kept our secret?
PAUL: Well, go by history. Did they help us arrest about 15 other vicious criminals and deliver them — the people responsible for the bombing in 1993? They had helped capture them and bring them to us. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, they helped us capture him.
Paul added: “You know, why are we having trouble with the government? Why are we stirring up a civil war in Pakistan? It’s because we’ve been bombing them.”
It’s this sort of foreign policy lunacy which makes the Congressman unfit to be president — regardless of your view of, for example, whether there should be American troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Paul’s answer is both stupid and dangerous, and he will be beaten mercilessly with it in every debate. If there end up being five Republican candidates (including Paul) in the Iowa caucuses or South Carolina primary, Paul will probably come in sixth. It’s too bad, because his use of the Constitution as a touchstone for answers regarding domestic policy are refreshingly clear, consistent, and correct.
But between Paul’s criticism of our killing Osama bin Laden (the way we did, anyway) and his public support of the legalization of all drugs (which I agree with, but which I acknowledge is not — or not yet — good politics, at least in a GOP primary), Ron Paul is a political dead man walking when it comes to the race for the presidency.
Even worse — much worse — than Ron Paul’s now-expected foreign policy lunacy was former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s appearance on Meet the Press.
When asked by host David Gregory whether Republicans should move, as Paul Ryan’s proposed FY2012 budget does, to change Medicare into a program that gives “premium support,” Gingrich offered this answer: “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering. I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate. I think we need a national conversation to get to a better Medicare system with more choices for seniors.”
MR. GREGORY: But not what Paul Ryan is suggesting, which is completely changing Medicare.
REP. GINGRICH: I, I think that, I think, I think that that is too big a jump. I think what you want to have is a system where people voluntarily migrate to better outcomes, better solutions, better options, not one where you suddenly impose upon the — I don’t want to — I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.
Excuse me, Newt? I thought you were supposed to be the conservative’s conservative, the big-ideas guy, the intellectual heft in the debate. And now you’re offering transparent triangulation because you’re scared that senior citizens won’t vote for you if you’re for “radical change”? (For more on what’s really “radical,” I recommend this piece in the Weekly Standard.)
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
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