The question that has been popping up, both on facebook and in the media - and then brought to the forefront by comedian Jon Stewart - is "Why does the mainstream media and the GOP insist on ignoring Ron Paul as a serious Presidential contender?" The question becomes especially pertinent when you consider the strong second place showing he made at the straw poll in Iowa last week.
The problem that I have, and that many others seem to share with me, is that Ron Paul has done such a fantastic job of painting himself into an extremely tight corner that even those who agree with Paul on most issues are afraid that the mess we would make getting him out would ultimately be prohibitive. It is true that most conservatives and Tea Party activists are thrilled with his voting record when it comes to fiscal issues. He takes a very strong pro life stance as well, which is refreshing, as that is somewhat less common among libertarians. But his opinions on things like drugs and prostitution still rub the majority of Americans the wrong way. For example, his comments about addiction in the Michael Gerson article below paint addicts as lesser human being who do not deserve help or sympathy. The problem is that in America today, just about everyone has either struggled with addiction himself or has been affected by someone who has.
But the big sticking point is foreign policy. Ron Paul looks at foreign policy in a way that is far too oversimplified. His comments lead you to believe that foreign policy is nothing more than a global game of "Gotcha last," where the United States tags people and then plants bases on their land to prevent them from ever having a turn. Of course those other nations hate us now - it's because we've taken away their autonomy and abused their sovereignty. He doesn't mention the fact that, after two strikes, we made sure that we could keep a military presence in Germany to avoid another World War or a Holocaust. The same goes for Italy and Japan. And Ron Paul also doesn't mention the fact that Italy, Germany and Japan don't seem to hate us all that much, despite the fact that our military presence there has been larger than in other nations and has been there longer.
In the case of Iran, Paul suggests that Iran hates the United States simply because we refuse to just allow them to have nuclear weapon capabilities.
He neglects the fact that Iran has issued statements condemning the United States on a cultural basis for years, and the fact that Iran has quietly been at war with the United States since the early 1980's. Paul says that if Iran did indeed get nuclear weapons, they would be stopped by Pakistan or China, or the fact that they have no air force before they could make a strike on the United States. He ignores the fact that Pakistan, though claiming to cooperate, failed to disclose the location of Osama Bin Laden. He also glosses over the fact that China has made moves in the last several years to overtake the United States as globally dominant, and may not actually have a problem with another nation taking potshots in our direction. But by far the most dangerous assumption is the fact that Iran's lack of air force will keep them from attacking the Continental United States. If you recall, the last time a major attack was executed on U.S. soil, those involved were perfectly content to use our own planes against us. The other issue is that even more than the United States, Iran hates Israel. And many of the nations that Paul claims will "keep Iran's nuclear ambitions contained" stand with Iran in that hatred. A nuclear attack on Israel would most definitely lead to an Israeli response in kind, which could easily be the start of another world war.
His foreign policy, in fact, is most reminiscent of one-time FDR Vice President Henry Wallace - the same Henry Wallace who was demoted from Vice President to Secretary of Commerce because of his extreme reverence for Joseph Stalin.