I wish I could stop talking about Ron Paul. I really do. But I found that, over the course of the campaign, he has said a few things in debate that really concern me - and not on foreign policy issues this time. Rather, he has made some comments that speak to a grave and dangerous misunderstanding of the very Constitution he holds up as his dogma.
In the following video, from 17:30-20:50, Ron Paul discusses his stance on abortion.
He's right on about needing to get government out of medical care, and about the fact that care for a pregnant woman involves two patients. Where he goes off the rails is his claim that abortion should be a states' rights issue.
Why is that a problem? He speaks repeatedly of what is and isn't Constitutional, but if he truly believes that an unborn child is a person (and he claims that he does) making abortion a states' rights issue is unConstitutional. According to the Fourteenth Amendment, all persons are entitled to equal protection under the law. If the unborn child is, in fact, a "person," allowing states the opportunity to rescind that equal protection at will is a violation of the Constitution - one that Ron Paul vocally supports.
This reminds me a bit of my main problem with Newt Gingrich. He called himself a "Theodore Roosevelt Republican" and a "Realpolitik Wilsonian." If he doesn't understand the implications of those statements as a historian, that's pretty scary. If he does understand the implications, that's almost worse. The saving grace in Gingrich's case may be that he understands the voting public as much as he understands history - it is possible that he made those statements knowing that the average voter - even the average conservative - does not know the depth of damage done by Roosevelt and Wilson. They know about the National Park Service and San Juan Hill, and they know that Wilson tried to keep us out of World War I. Banking on that response from most voters, Gingrich's comments become less damning.
As for Ron Paul: if, as the Constitutional scholar and defender that he claims to be, he does not understand the blatant Constitutional violation his stance on this issue betrays, then we have a problem. If he does understand that it is a violation and holds the position anyway, perhaps we have a bigger one. It begs the question: what other positions might he be taking that either ignore or misrepresent the Constitution?