Posted by: bridget | 12 February 2008

Yes, Virginia, There is an Alternative to John McCain

Virginia votes today; so does this blogger.  (Shes’ a sucker for the franchise.)  Go Dr. Ron Paul!  Tough on immigration, a softie for human life at all stages.  My kind of guy.

Queen of Swords enumerates the reasons to not vote McCain.


  1. Heaven save us from an election between John McCain and Hillary Clinton. Talk about a Humphrey-Nixon redux.

    I’m doing my part; now you produce your miracle.

  2. Theo,

    I had you figured more for a Ayn Rand- style Libertarian.

    I can see where you agree with him on the issues you describe, but I would think that some of his other positions would be deal-breakers.

    Do you have some other posts about Ron Paul that would help me understand your positions? I’ll look under your “politics” tag….but maybe you could point me somewhere else.

  3. It looks like domestically, Paul is the candidate for me. I don’t like his philosophy on foreign policy, not really the Iraq War per se, but in general.

    That being said, I think he would be the best for America.

  4. Ian,

    I’m doing my part, too. :p


    Pretty much, yes. Which positions would be deal-breakers, and, the bigger question – which would make him worse than McCain or Huckabee?

    No other posts. I figured that, as VA votes after Super Tuesday, I would just make this blog an election-free (or election-minimal) zone, and wait to see who was left standing. :)


    I’ll be interested to see how many former Romney supporters move over to Ron Paul.

  5. Ugh. I cannot move over to this guy. When he blatantly states that US foreign policy is to blame for 9-11, he loses me. I cannot support that.

    I still love you though Bridget! ;)

  6. I admire Ron Paul but I voted for Mike Huckabee in Virginia today. There were robo and real calls for Huck, Hillary and Obama to me, at least one of each type for each candidate. No calls of any kind for McCain.

  7. Theo,

    His stance that it is constitutional for State governments to be theocracies is usually not one favored by secular libertarians.

    I figured you as pro-Iraq and he has the “pull out now” position (If I’m wrong about your stance, I apologize for the assumption).

    And, originally, I thought that maybe I was imagining all of his codes for racism and anti-semitism…but when I was drawn by my lovely commenter “Borgey the Wondertoad” to the Prussian Blue and Stormfront websites, I found that they were absolutely CONVINCED that he was rock-solid “one of them”…and not returning the Nazi money plus frequent friendly associations with White Supremicist leaders and the David Duke endosement sort of wrap it up for me. I imagine you have your reasons for not believing he’s a racist…but it seems like any explination stretches credibility too far.

  8. I respectfully dissent. I can’t accept QoS’ reasoning. I agree, of course, that the issues she raises “are not expendable values, to be lightly set aside for the sake of expediency,” but it doesn’t follow from that that they are “dealbreakers.” Dealbreakers are a concept for blind dates and real estate, where you can take it or leave it; they don’t apply in a general election, where one candidate or the other will win. We shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, which is what a lot of the more rabidly anti-McCain folks propose to do: “oh, McCain doesn’t have enough respect for the First Amendment, so let’s stay home and let Hillary or Obama win so they can nominate justices who don’t respect anything in the Constitution, aside from perhaps the Fourth Amendment and most of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Some of the time. When it suits them. We start to get into a realm with an “all the laws but one” feel – I really do wonder if the sheer magnitude of what is at stake has escaped people like Coulter, Rush and Michelle.

    With all due respect, QoS misses the big picture. It isn’t “about the future of the party,” it’s about the future of the country, and to say that “[t]here’s already precious little difference between Washington Democrats and Republicans” is, frankly, in denial of reality. It’s the sort of thinking that saddled Nader voters with Bush; it was wrong on the other side eight years ago, and it’s wrong now.

    I’m not even sure I can go along with the anti-McCain tide for the primary, where the other two candidates are a populist (Paul claims to be a libertarian, but free trade is as close to a sine qua non as libertarianism has) who may in fact be a lunatic, and a popoulist who may in fact be a Dominionist and a misogynist. McCain is hardly the sort that I’d want to back, but alas, he might actually be the best of the bunch this year – both of those remaining in the primary and certainly in the fall.

  9. I really do wonder if the sheer magnitude of what is at stake has escaped people like Coulter, Rush and Michelle.

    I think they would define “what is at stake [here]” differently. You would say it is the next Supreme Court nominiation, which, if played correctly, could get us a conservative Court for the next twenty years; others would say that it is the next ten or fifteen years of the party.

  10. Simon,

    Ron Paul’ connections are more Christian reconstructionist than Donimionist.

    Dominionists want to make the current government a Theocracy.

    The Christian Reconstructionists want to shrink the federal government to the point of zero power internal in the US, and have “The Church” fill the power vacuum, and take over individual state governments one-by-one, with the federal government limited in it’s ability to intervene on behalf of individual citizens.

    Dominionists define “biblical law” as the ten commandments generally…Christian Reconstructionists (like ardent Ron Paul supporter Gary North) view “Bibilical law” to include all of the laws of the Old Testiment as well.

    Although Amandson has backed away from some of the OT penalties and said stuff like he doesn’t think stoning homosexuals is “necessary”

    I’d like to point out too, that Ron Paul has never publicly embraced either Dominionism nor Christian Reconstructionism. But his policy opinions are exactly the ideal beginning they are looking for for their agenda…hence the rabidly entheusiatic backing.

  11. Teresa – I didn’t mean to imply Paul was a dominionist, I meant to point out that if you aren’t going to vote for McCain, you’re stuck with a choice between the populist Ron Paul, who’s a loony, and the populist Mike Huckabee, “who may in fact be a Dominionist and a misogynist.” It was Huckabee I was calling a dominionist, and I think in his case the shoe fits. The more important point is that with three candidates left in the primary, there’s McCain and two populists, which makes McCain an easy (if unpalatable) choice.

  12. Simon,

    Oops, sorry. Thanks for clearing that up.

    I’d say that Huckabee is definatly a Dominionist, since he wants to change the constitution to make it “Biblical”. I see what you mean.

    As for Ron Paul being loony, that’s my opinion. The things he says a bout the constitution make me think that he has it confused with the Articles of Confederation. :-)

  13. I still love you too, Tammi. :) You know I’m a crazy libertarian.

  14. Old Atlantic,

    Sadly, Huck didn’t win. I was surprised that McCain did so well, considering that his presence in this part of VA was minimal. (Huck spoke in Lynchburg a few days before the primaries. Ron Paul blimps covered the Charlottesville area. Perhaps this is McCain ignoring us rural folks in favour of the Beltway crowd.)

    Thanks for stopping in. :)

  15. Teresa,

    The first eight Amendments to the Constitution are only binding against the federal government. At the time of their ratification, many states actually had state-sanctioned religion.

    When the Fourteenth Amendment was adopteed, it was originally intended to ensure that African-Americans were not denied legal protection in former slave states. Starting in the 1920s, I believe, it came to be interpreted to mean that the Bill of Rights is binding upon the states.

    So, if you are going to take an originalist view of the Constitution, Ron Paul is correct. While my non-theist soul hates to admit it, and I know how difficult it is for Christians to understand how disengaged atheists and agnostics can feel, I do not think that the Constitution ought to be a perfect reflection of my own, personal morality. Arguably, post-XIV, it does not allow states to endorse their own religions, although it can be argued either way. At any rate, I do not think that Dr. Paul’s statement is inaccurate nor misguided; for those who dislike that state of affairs, it is a call to amend the Constitution.

  16. Finally, quick question: what do you mean by “code for racism”?

    “States’s rights” has been a code for both racism and freedom. Liberals love states’ rights when Republicans are in power and Californians want to legalise medicinal marijuana. Libertarians and federalists like it as a matter of principle. Perhaps 40 years ago, it coded for “get the feds out of our segregated schools,” but today it codes for “let us live our lives how we want to, without interference from Washington”.

  17. Teresa, no worries. With regard to the Bill of Rights and its being binding vel non on states, I had a post here last year that alluded to my position; as Theo notes, the first eight amendments, by their own terms, only govern the federal government, but the Supreme Court has treated the bill of rights as indicia of which liberties are most fundamental and are therefore protected against state infringement as a subset of the substantive due process doctrine. Thus, what we’ve ended up with is what’s known as “selective” incorporation: some of the rights in the first eight amendments are enforcable against the states under prevailing doctrine. Some are not.

    I think that substantive due process is seriously flawed, but so far as it applies to the application of the bill of rights against the states, I think the court’s mostly gotten the right answer based on the wrong concept. In my view – shared to some extent by Justice Black and Professor Amar – the original understanding of the privileges or immunities clause of the fourteenth amendment incorporates the bill of rights against the states “jot for jot” – if you have a right against the federal government, you have it against the states. Thus, at least as an original matter (setting stare decisis aside for now), I would overrule the cases refusing to apply the Seventh Amendment or the grand jury clause of the Fifth Amendment against the states. The establishment clause poses more of a problem; as Justice Thomas has pointed out (see his opinions in Elk Grove School District v. Asshole and Cutter), the provision is best understood as a structural provision that might resist incorporation. Nevertheless, it isn’t clear to me as a matter of originalism that this is so, and without a clear warrant in the text or original meaning, I’m reluctant to depart from a half-century of precedent that assumes that the establishment clause was incorporated against the states.

  18. Simon,

    Interesting, i’ve been working my way through a collection of public and private writings on the debate surrounding the constitution during the time when it was being considered for ratification.

    The anti-Federalists argued, among other things, that the constitution gave WAY too much power over the states. The Federalists (Madison comes to mind) argued largely that this was necessary in order to protect citizens from depredations by the states (think of the causes of Shay’s rebellion).

    So it doesn’t seem out of line to say that the idea that the constitution gives the Federal government the power to defend individuals against state power…

    …in other words, it is not purely an invention of interpretation by the Supreme Court.

  19. Theo,

    I was thinking more along the lines of Ron Pauls’ approach to talking about “multiculturalism” and the assumptions that the country should be largely made up of white, european descended Christians…a la John Gobson’s “we need more white babies”…the referances to a demographic crisis…that sort of thing.

    There are others, but I’m beat from teaching Kung Fu right now, and can’t think of them.

    But there is a slew of stuff over at Lew Rockwell that Ron Paul has written. The Ron Paul threads at Stormfront have a lot of good examples of people saying “See? This thing he stands for proves he’s one of us.”

    But if that weren’t enough there’s also the fact that he just spends a lot of time in the company of White Supremicists.

    I realize that is “guilt by association tactics”…but if one speech at a KKK lades luncheon about birth control is enough to convict Margaret Sanger…I should think that palling around with them publicly on numerous occasions would at least raise some eyebrows :-)

    Of course, we all weigh evidence differently in our opinion-making…but I’m down on Hillary for the source of some of her money, so Ron Paul not dumping the Nazi money and not rejecting their endorsements is fair game as well, at least for my own personal opinion-making.

  20. Simon,

    oops. sorry, I see that you and I actually agree I don’t believe the States should be able to violate ANY of the rights guaranteed in the constitution.

    It was a lot more clear to me after the second time reading it.

    Seems to me that “States rights” should not be able to violate human rights, and individuals should be able to have recourse to the Federal Government if that becomes the case.

    That’s not the impression I get of Ron Paul’s view of the constitution.

    As I mentioned, tired. :-)

  21. Teresa,

    If you have any links, send them along; if they get caught in moderation, send a non-linked comment and I’ll fish it out of the spam filter.

    I do think this is a sensible refutation of charges of racism, neo-Nazi activity, and the like.

    Problems arise when immigrants refuse to assimilate and show little interest in becoming American citizens. 100 years ago, immigrants arrived in America after dangerous journeys fully prepared to embrace their new country. In most cases, returning home was not an option. Most led very hard lives, took pride in American citizenship, and asked for nothing but the opportunity to work. Today, however, some immigrants travel between countries frequently, enjoying the benefits of America but showing no desire to become Americans. Some even display hostility toward America and our ideals, joining the chorus of voices demanding that the United States become a multicultural society that rejects our own history. It is this cultural conflict that soon must be addressed, and the president’s amnesty proposal simply turns a blind eye to the problem.

    There are Mexicans who have protested in the streets against our policies, have burned the American flag, and have hung it upside-down. There is something incredibly asinine about moving to a country for a better life and then complaining about it – IMO, that is the “America is an ATM and I’m going to take as much as I can out of it, without thinking about where this wealth comes from” mentality.

  22. Theo,

    I understand your position with this, and frustration with it, and a tendency to take it personally as an American. Generally, I don’t think that being anti-multicultural is a slam-dunk that someone has fascist tendancies. It is normal to see dissatisfaction and frustration of minorities as an attack on the majority.

    However, it may be that part of the “better life” that the Mexicans were looking for is the ability to complain about stuff they don’t like, and the expectation that people here will listen to them.


    Tell you what, over the next few days, I’ll put something together on my blog and let you comment on it if you’d like.

    I’ll have less time than I’ve had the last couple of weeks because my husband is returing from a 2-week long business trip today, and I expect to be busy hanging out with him and catching up, but I expect I can get it done within the week.

    I’ll post a notification in the comments when I have it ready.

  23. Theo,

    One more comment about your quote above. My father-in-law, a VERY conservative Republican and patriotic American once shook his head when he heard someone say something like that…and went on to tell the story about how his great grandfather spoke five different languages, because he was a businessman in southern Minnesota, and he had businesses in five different towns.

    Each town was comprised of an individual ethnic group, with it’s own languages and customs, etc. If a person didn’t speak the language and “pass” as “one of them”, they didn’t have a snowballs chance in Texas of doing business.

    It also brings to mind an interview I once heard of a New Orleans Zaideco singer who told of the hue-and-cry that arose when the “French” children were forced to learn English.

    This is a guy whos family had been in Louisiana since before it was part of the US…and NONE of his family spoke English, and he wouldn’t have learned it if he wasn’t forced to. They figured that America had immigrated to THEM. :-)

  24. Teresa, well, the Constitution does and always did give the federal government some power to defend individuals from state power, it’s just that the number of powers withheld from the states in the original Constitution was very, very small. In the abstract, the background assumption when analyzing state power is that unless the federal constitution specifically says the states can’t do something, a state either does have that power (subject to the terms of its own constitution), or at very least, that the people of that state could give the state that power if they so chose (again, presumably by modifying the terms of the state constitution). For sake of simplicity of I’m ignoring preemption and so forth, but that’s the basic picture.

    The number of things that “the constitution gives the Federal government the power to defend individuals against state power” expanded hugely with the Civil War and post-Civil War amendments, of course. But even now, I don’t entirely agree with you that “‘States rights’ should not be able to violate human rights, and individuals should be able to have recourse to the Federal Government if that becomes the case.” As a normative matter, of course I agree that states shouldn’t violate human rights. But recourse to the federal government is limited. Congress has some power to restrain states, of course (if all else fails, coercion works, see South Dakota v. Dole), but the federal courts can’t enforce human rights. They aren’t given that power. They have the power to set aside legislative enactments or executive action that run contrary to the dictates of the constitution as the paramount law – that’s Marbury‘s central point – and thus to enforce Constitutional rights. But Constitutional rights aren’t necessarily coextensive with natural rights. Think of free speech, for example: you might have a natural human right to free speech. You certainly don’t have a constitutional right to free speech, though; what the first amendment guarantees is that government can’t generally interfere with free speech. I realize that’s a distinction without a difference in the instant context, but hopefully it illustrates the point (viz. that the remedy for state or federal violation of human rights is the democratic process, unless We the People have chosen to protect and remove that human right from the democratic process by putting it in the federal Constitution).

  25. Theo,

    I think I see what you are saying:

    The federal government can’t interfere with your free speech.

    State governments CAN interfere so far as their individual State constitutions allow,

    And a private individual/corporation/entity can do whatever is in their power to prevent speech short of breaking the law (a corporation can fire you for saying something they don’t like, but they can’t send Johnny and Guido to break your legs).

    Some of the way’s I’m interpreting your argument has to do with exposure to other Objectivist influenced libertarians, so forgive (and correct) me if I assume too much.

    I know that you have read Madison, so I’ll just ask how you address his argument (through his letters) with Jefferson over the role of the Federal government.

    I mentioned Shay’s rebellion before, because it was rather prominant in their argument. Shays happened because the monetary policy of the state was a gigantic swindle to redistribute wealth from the small farmers to the currency speculators. Madison’s position was that the Federal government had to have the power to prevent such abuses because the security and interest of all of the states relied on such events not occuring in the future…and in the federal government all parties had the representation to protect their interests.

    This was certainly was a big principle in the civil war and the civil rights movement…but it was not invented during this time.

    The weakness in the philosophy of letting each state manage such affairs was shown before the civil war when we had emerging states voting whether to be “slave or free”, and there were both political and armed invasions from surrounding states attempting to influence the political outcomes. This included night-time raids, and murders…
    …something Madison predicted would escalate to bring our country down if allowed to happen, and which Lincoln believed would be the eventual outcome of such activity.

    The democratice process within a state is all well and good for those within a state, as long as it’s sovereign borders are respected by it’s neighbors.

    Neither Madison nor Lincoln thought that would happen, and indeed the failure of the Articles of Confederation ran largely along those lines…and the first constitutional crisis (the civil war) was as well.

    It seems more stable to have the democratic remedy act at both the local and federal level, but the final resolution happen at the federal level.

  26. Teresa,

    However, it may be that part of the “better life” that the Mexicans were looking for is the ability to complain about stuff they don’t like, and the expectation that people here will listen to them.

    Somewhat facetious reply. After all, they came HERE and then complain about HERE. The “stuff they don’t like” is “America.” So it’s totally b.s. to go to America and then… complain about how America is not more like Mexico. Especially when there illegally, or when an anchor baby.

    I mean, yes, there is a Constitutional right, but it’s totally immoral and really just shows that these people have zero use for America except to treat it as an ATM. Most non-Mexican immigrants, from every country, really LOVE America. I mean, love it. They love the freedom. They love the flag. They fly the American flag in front of their homes. They are proud to be here. Fact is, you can’t lie, cheat, steal, and beg your way into this country and then trash it. Not okay.

  27. This is a guy whos family had been in Louisiana since before it was part of the US…and NONE of his family spoke English, and he wouldn’t have learned it if he wasn’t forced to. They figured that America had immigrated to THEM. :-)

    Fantastic for him. Bloody awesome.

    It has zero relation to people who come into this country, though. Here, I discuss the statistics involving illegal immigrants and how badly they fare. I think it puts things in perspective.

    I lived in a border town for a year. It is eye-opening. Los Angeles, by the way, is suffering horribly because of the onslaught. If you are fortunate enough to not live near it, awesome for you – but the costs (economic, social, and criminal) of this tide of illegal immigrants is huge.

  28. Now, onto the Constitution:

    Art. I, Sec. 8 gives powers to Congress. That which is not given to Congress is left to the states.

    Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 1 states, “The Congress have the Power To… pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States….”

    I think that a lot of the things you mention would fall under the “general Welfare” category. If not, there are things about calling forth the militia to suppress insurrection.

  29. Theobromophile,

    “I think that a lot of the things you mention would fall under the “general Welfare” category.”

    Hmmm…well, that’s just the point I was working around to.

    I seem to be proceeding from false assumptions due to previous arguments with libertarians who claim that the “general welfare catagory” doesn’t really count for anything (just some nice-sounding words, I guess), and the federal government can only do things that they are specifically ennumerated to be allowed under the constitution.

    In fact, you’re the first conservative person who identifies as Libertarian whose ever brought it up volunarily, much less thought it meant anything regarding Federal power. That is so cool and shiney! However, it also tells me that I’m mis-reading you, which would make further discussion silly, frustrating and unproductive at this time.

    Hmmm… OK, I’m going to lurk a little longer until I get a better feel for your foundation.

    I am still trying to pull together the links that lead me to conclude that a Ron Paul presidency is being pushed by Nazis. For some reason, it is taking me forever to pull up old posts on my blog…so it’s tedious. I’ll let you know.

  30. The “general welfare” category is not superfluous, IMHO; I don’t think that the Framers just put words into the document with the intention that they lack any meaning.

    I do not think that “general Welfare” means the welfare state that we have now, or anything Congress decides is fun or entertaining. It could rationally mean that the Constititution is not a suicide pact; that the Congress may put down rebellions; that Congress can act to avoid some unemerated threat to our well-being that simply cannot be addressed on a state level. For the last part, I cannot help but think that things like highways, electric powerlines, and control over multi-state rivers would fall under “general Welfare.” Those things would be a complete disaster if we tried to run all of them exclusively on a state level – there is “stuff” that the federal government does better than state governments. Not much, but some of it – generally those things that are inherently federal in nature.

  31. Theo,

    Then we agree at the base of it…we just have some disagreement on where to draw the line.

    I think for some people it is easier to draw the line at the point where there is no room for any grey, because they are afraid that if they give one bit of ground, they’ve already opened the door to lose it all. So they have to explain away the words “general welfare”.

    ‘course, what’s the point of having a deliberative government if you’re only going to deal in black and white?


    It’s a constant back-and-forth argument…as was intended.

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