Jack Hunter, the Ron Paul 2012 campaign blogger, responds to Jeffrey Lord’s Tuesday column. With a reply by Mr. Lord.
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And “radical” is certainly the operative word. The supposedly “kooky” Paul believes we should only wage wars of national defense — not irrational offense. Paul supported military action against Afghanistan after 9/11 because there was a clear link between Al-Qaeda and that country. Paul opposed the Iraq War because he believed that country had nothing to do with 9/11 and did not possess WMDs.
Was Paul right about Iraq? Admitted Buckley as early as in 2004 “If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war.” Lord’s former boss Jack Kemp wrote in 2002 that based on the evidence he had seen, there wasn’t “a compelling case for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.”
Lord is right about one thing — Paul’s campaign is about reeducation. It’s about reminding Republicans still confused after Bush what real conservatism is. Have Paul and some of his admirers criticized their fellow conservatives? Yes, but typically only to the degree that those figures continue to value partisanship over conservative principle. Early National Review was defined in large part by constant intellectual spats, in which some of conservatism’s most important figures (Frank Meyer vs. Russell Kirk, for instance) argued over the true definition of that term.
Reflection, reexamination — and yes, reeducation — have long been integral to the health of the conservative movement. Concerning Paul and “real” conservatism, the question today should be this: Is today’s Tea Party-influenced GOP more conservative than Bush’s GOP? And if we can agree that it is, is today’s GOP now closer to Paul’s philosophy or Bush’s?
That Paul still upsets many by asking hard questions,
attacking sacred cows and challenging convention is understandable.
But in doing so, it is also undeniable that Ron Paul continues to
make the Republican Party more conservative.
— Jack Hunter
Ron Paul’s blogger-in-chief Jack Hunter, aka “the Southern Avenger,” seems to begin his history always at very interesting spots.
He asks if I ever considered George W. Bush a “neo-liberal.” Just as I’ve met Ron Paul, I’ve met George W. Bush. Both are good and decent men. But alas, my boss was Ronald Reagan. So alas for both men, yes indeed I do consider them to have liberal tendencies. For Ron Paul it’s his addiction to leftist foreign policy, for George W. Bush it’s his acceptance of statist philosophy on exactly issues like Medicare Plan D, No Child Left Behind, etc. There is a difference, as I have written many a time, between a “Reaganite” and a “Bushie.” This is apparently a news flash for Mr. Hunter. Mr. Bush and Mr. Paul are simply liberal on different sides of the policy coin — one, Bush, domestically, the other, Paul, on the foreign policy side. In Paul’s case his mantra is the same as non-interventionist left-winger George McGovern’s in 1972: “Come Home America.”
It is always a very good thing to realize, as Ronald Reagan used to say, that the Republican Party is a political movement and not a social club. And political movements must have two things to both survive and move forward: core principles and ideas. Congressman Paul deserves credit for moving the current discussion forward. Yes indeed, there is little doubt that 2012 Republican presidential candidates are in some fashion adopting Ron Paul’s ideas even if not attributing them when doing so. In the writing world this is called plagiarism, in the political world this is the way history unfolds. The New Deal agenda of Franklin Roosevelt, for example, moved the country in a direction first laid out in a substantive fashion by the populists of the late 1800s. One could charge plagiarism, but in point of fact no American living life in November of 1932 seemed to have cared who thought of FDR’s ideas first. C’est la vie in politics generally.
Particularly amusing is Mr. Hunter’s insistence that Ron Paul is “reminding Republicans still confused after Bush what real conservatism is.” Actually, it seems Ron Paul apparently uses this sentiment as shtick. Why would I say that? In 1988 Ron Paul ran for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination. His opponent: Russell Means, the famous Indian rights activist. Mr. Means wrote in his memoirs that Paul insisted “Reagan wasn’t really a conservative and didn’t represent conservative Republicans.” Means was so in sync with Ron Paul that he agreed, adding that Reagan was a “Mussolini fascist.” Newsflash: Ron Paul believes Ronald Reagan was a fascist? Tell us more, Mr. Hunter!
The interesting thing about the Ron Paul-Russell Means connection is that it perfectly illustrates Mr. Hunter’s hypocrisy on issues of self-determination. In this video Mr. Hunter makes his usual impassioned case for why Abraham Lincoln was a tyrant. He even says Lincoln’s idea of saving the Union was genocide. The problem, of course, is that Russell Means applies this same principle to all the ancestors of Ron Paul and Jack Hunter who showed up on the shores of North America and proceeded, from Hunter’s view, to commit “genocide” so Mr. Hunter could live the good life in South Carolina or Washington, D.C., neither of which belonged to Hunter’s ancestors. So Hunter’s idea of the valiant Confederacy is, gently put, a phony. The only difference between Lincoln and Hunter is that Hunter would sanction “genocide” to save South Carolina and the Confederacy for Southern whites. The pleas of Indians for self-determination are no big deal. And, of course, he seems to have no problem with the fact that the Confederate Constitution completely eliminated 100% of civil liberties for its own citizens of a certain color.
The reason no one thinks conservatives George Will or Ann Coulter are anti-Semitic when they discuss “neoconservatives” is that neither Will nor Coulter have a reputation for anti-Semitism, although because the latter criticizes liberal Jews for accepting pandering from Democrats, liberal Democrats have so charged, hilariously.
The central problem here is in foreign policy. Simplified more than a bit, it’s the oldest of human questions: Do you let the bully regulate your behavior — or do you do what you choose, act like a free man — and take on the bully? Ron Paul repeatedly tries to convey that the Founding Fathers were “non-interventionists” and therefore conservative. The problem is that this is historically not so. To a Father they chose to take on the bully.
General George Washington authorized an attack across the American border on Quebec in 1775. John Adams conducted the Quasi-War against France, authorized by Congress in July of 1798. Thomas Jefferson sent the Marines to Tripoli to fight the Barbary pirates. James Madison, father of the Constitution Paul cites so frequently, invaded Canada. James Monroe drew a line around, literally, half the planet Earth and declared it an American protectorate. Ron Paul says that he is asking if American foreign policy hasn’t over the decades put Americans in greater danger and made Americans more vulnerable to attack. In every single one of the above examples the answer to Paul’s question is a resounding yes.
If Paul was right about Iraq, the Founding Fathers — the men Paul identifies as conservatives — were wrong about their actions invading and attacking other countries as well. Per Ron Paul’s logic, had we not antagonized the British, the French, the Barbary pirates, the Canadians and all of the Western Hemisphere, Americans would not have died and we could have saved a bunch of money.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
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