What Ron Paul gets right

WASHINGTON — It’s hard to take Congressman Ron Paul, perpetual presidential candidate, seriously. The Texas Republican is a committed libertarian — which means he doesn’t think government should do much of anything.

But his anti-war views and his attacks on military spending are beginning to resonate even among the GOP base, a constituency that prides itself on a muscular patriotism.

Their hawkishness is waning as Americans come to understand, once again, that war is costly.

You wouldn’t think that lesson would have had to be re-learned, but it did. For a decade after 9/11, Americans managed to ignore the costs of our military adventures — the profligate spending as well as the lost and tragically altered lives.
The national denial was greatly assisted by the rise of the highly-skilled, all-volunteer Armed Forces, staffed largely by working-class men and women without many professional options. It was easy for those of us without family members or close friends in combat to forget about the dangers associated with the nation’s aggressive strategy of national defense.

I remember the costs of war whenever I visit my mom in my hard-pressed Alabama hometown, where the textile mills are closing and the timber industry is consolidating and downsizing. It’s a part of America that contributes heavily to the nation’s defense, so my mom’s minister usually offers up a prayer for those who are serving. It’s no abstract ritual: many church members have brothers or daughters or grandchildren in uniform.

In wealthier precincts, though, voters could vigorously support the invasion of Iraq with little in the way of personal cost. As an early opponent of George W. Bush’s ill-advised war against Saddam Hussein, I remember the doctors and lawyers and entrepreneurs who accused me of various forms of disloyalty to God and country. All the while, their sons and daughters were safely ensconced in their pre-wealth careers.

They weren’t concerned with the staggering billions that Bush’s invasion was costing the nation’s treasury, either. The president had refused to raise taxes to pay for Iraq and Afghanistan, a decision that contributed to the illusion of painlessness. (It has also contributed substantially to the deficit.)

Indeed, after jihadists flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Bush encouraged Americans to “enjoy life. . Get down to Disney World,” he said.

That was so much more pleasant than the sacrifices demanded on the home front during World War II, when Americans were given rationing coupons for sugar, coffee and gasoline. So we were happy to do our part as as good Americans — shopping, eating out, vacationing.

But the notion of a war without costs had to come crashing down sooner or later — and now it has. As we struggle with joblessness, foreclosures and a massive federal debt, we remember: some wars are worth the paying and the dying, but none come with steep discounts.

Last month, in a little noticed vote, 28 Republicans, including three who serve on the House Armed Services Committee,   joined House Democrats attempting to force President Barack Obama to draw down troops from Afghanistan even faster than he has pledged. The amendment failed, but its sponsors will likely bring it back in a few months.

Who can blame them? The invasion of Afghanistan was justified to rout the Taliban, which had given shelter to Osama bin Laden and his band of terrorists. But a decade later, with bin Laden buried at sea, there is little reason to continue a costly effort to build democracy in a corrupt, tribal corner of the world.

That’s especially true when Congress is reluctant to extend unemployment benefits to jobless workers or to bail out financially-battered states or to rebuild our decaying bridges and aging railbeds. The cost of Afghanistan — about $8 billion a month — is clearly more than we can afford.

Some arm-chair hawks like Dick Cheney and John Bolton will, of course, continue to insist on waging wars and sending other people’s children to die in them. But most Americans have learned that the bill eventually comes due.

90 comments Add your comment

"What Ron Paul Get's Right...."

June 10th, 2011
9:35 pm

“……..the part where he agrees with me………”

–Cynthia Tucker

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 10th, 2011
10:10 pm

“Obozo is saving us? From what, fiscal responsiblity?”

Post of the day.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 10th, 2011
10:15 pm

CT: Some arm-chair hawks like Dick Cheney and John Bolton will, of course, continue to insist on waging wars and sending other people’s children to die in them.

Some folks are so busy regurgitating the lines they heard on Olberman’s old show that they don’t stop to reflect on such things as their own Idiot Messiah’s military experience.


June 10th, 2011
10:18 pm

0311/0317 -1811/1801 June 10th, 2011 5:04 pm

Re Palin’s e-mails released and Obama’s records not released. The difference is Palin’s e-mails as a public employee paid by taxpayer dollars were released. The Obama papers you question are private records from private institutions. All of his public records have been released.

That is the difference.


June 10th, 2011
10:46 pm

Cynthia this is maybe the best column you have written in months.

Nice to see you lean to the right. I realize it is just on this issue but we welcome the support.

I guess every other generation has to learn the real cost of war. I am from the Viet Nam War and I learned my lesson in 1968-1969.

The real puzzling part of the massive public support for the Iraq and Afghanistan “wars” is that both wars quickly turned into efforts to build new nations for Muslims. Yet the same people who supported the building of new nations for Muslims were opposed to allowing Muslims to build Mosque in NY, Tenn. and other places.

Why is it OK for American taxpayers to spend 6000 American lives and a Trillion Taxpayer Dollars to build Muslims two new nations but it is not OK for Muslims to build Mosques with their own money? And now part of the same crowd want to go full speed ahead and build the Muslims a new nation in Libya.

Why don’t we build something for Americans? Say repair the interstate highways and repair all the bridges and overpasses? We have been building new highways and bridges in Iraq and Afghanistan for a decade,

And I agree with a lot of you, on Iraq and Afghanistan the only difference between Bush and Obama is the spelling of their names.


June 10th, 2011
11:09 pm

Author states “The Texas Republican is a committed libertarian — which means he doesn’t think government should do much of anything”, This is an incorrect assessment of Ron Paul and Libertarianism. Ron Paul think the Federal government should only do what is legally allowed to do under the Constitution, all other rights and authorities are reserved for the States and the People. The People at the local level knows what is best for their own communities and does it more efficiently.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 10th, 2011
11:12 pm

“The People at the local level know what is best for their own communities and does it more efficiently.”

You have committed blasphemy against the Idiot Messiah.

Good Grief

June 10th, 2011
11:48 pm

“The Texas Republican is a committed libertarian — which means he doesn’t think government should do much of anything.”

I don’t agree with everything Paul says, but I did like it when he said that government was not empowered by the Constitution, but rather was restrained by the Constitution. Whether you agree with that or not, to me it’s obvious that government has far exceeded the bounds placed on it by the framers of the Constitution. It’s not that we Libertarians think that government shouldn’t do much. We understand the importance of government. We just think that government should live within its means as set forth by the Constitution.


June 11th, 2011
12:16 am

Audit & abolish the (private) “Fed” & their collection agency the IRS…support Dr.Ron Paul for POTUS in 2012!


June 11th, 2011
1:32 am

So over these democrats who put party over principle (aka the writer of this article). What was the purpose of that first sentence? Oh yeah, absolutely nothing other than trying to persuade your dozens of readers to not consider Paul in 2012. What a joke this newspaper is. Democrats, such as the one who wrote this, should do NOTHING but PRAISE Dr Paul – hell, he has been fighting for multiple, major issues that you all allegedly supported in Obama in 2008, for over 30 years now. Not to mention, he’s the only U.S. Veteran in this presidential campaign – so give the man some respect, and quit trying to throw dumb little digs in every piece you all write. Every time I see garbage like this, it gets clearer and clearer to me why the MSM is sinking quicker than the Titanic, and alternative press is spreading like wildfire.


June 11th, 2011
2:34 am

It’s not about liberal vs conservative or neo-con vs libertarian-con It’s LIBERTY VS TYRANNY (Ps. The libertarian party only formed because the Republicans lost their minds and some people care more about principles than winning elections- just to say “nananana we won. we got a complete douchebag elected but at least he wasnt a democrat”
As a lifelong libertarian who has always wished the Republicans would go back to their original politics- I have to say I prefer the dems. At least they SAY they want big gov. and then vote that way, all of the damn rinos say they want small government… and then you get ppl like bush. Liberal ideals are VERY HUMANITARIAN. They are more libertarian than they realize. Where the dems get it wrong is they think they can LEGISLATE the evil and negativity out of the world. It’s a fairy tale that won’t come true. When you give a bureaucracy the POWER to direct people’s lives… they’re going to make mistakes… and NEVER CORRECT THEM> at least in a free country, when you try something and it DOESN’T WORK, or an intelligent person comes up and points out to you that what you’re doing DOESN’T WORK, then you just STOP what you’re doing and TRY SOMETHING ELSE! When’s the last time you heard of a law being repealed???????? Do you REALLY think that every law in this country is just SO spectacular that it doesn’t deserve at least some scrutiny???
The point is, not every person knows best how to run their lives. But that doesn’t give us the right to force them to do it our way, via the FORCE of law. Dems- even if you don’t take a look at libertarianism and its principles. or realize that Ron Paul being an honest, not power hungry politician is the best thing for our country, I want to ask you something. When is the last time you tried to personally change a person’s mind about their lives instead of just voting to have someone else do it for you?


June 11th, 2011
2:38 am

@Jilly4Liberty (continuation)

That goes for Republicans as well. And if it doesn’t apply, let it fly, but are u trying to educate your fellow man or are you dumping that on the politicians to handle for u?


June 11th, 2011
3:29 am

So CT, how would you feel if the KKK were attacking Americans and the government told the citizens that we could not afford to arrest or prosecute the people responsible?

No problem with that, right?

Security is security. People have a problem with cutting police and firefighters, but libs love to call for the cutting of defense spending (just like Ron Paul).

Look in the Constitution and it states that one of the most important jobs of the federal government is to provide for the common defence (first sentence in the preamble).

I looked hard but did not see abortion, food stamps, welfare, etc. listed anywhere.

Sam Bryan

June 11th, 2011
4:04 am

Cynthia, I think you are confused in your terms. It’s quite easy to take Ron Paul very seriously, especially because it’s so obvious that he seriously believes what he says to be true. Perhaps what you meant to say was “it’s hard for me to AGREE with Ron Paul.”

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 11th, 2011
6:44 am

President Bush on home ownership (this explains a lot about how we got into the housing and financial meltdowns):

“We have to remember that there are millions of people…who believe that home ownership is out of reach. They may be paying monthly rents that could cover a mortgage payment. They may scrape to save, but a downpayment is still out of reach. They are locked out by rigid restrictions or by a home-buying system just…too difficult or too frightening. And that is not right.

One of the great successes of the United States in this century has been the partnership forged by the National Government and the private sector to steadily expand the dream of home ownership to all Americans. In 1934, President Roosevelt created the Federal Housing Administration and made home ownership available to millions of Americans who couldn’t afford it before that.

Our economic strategy includes a commitment to work to provide decent, safe, affordable homes to all Americans and to do it with an alliance of the public and private sector.”

There you have it.

Except the speaker was Bill Clinton.

Joel Edge

June 11th, 2011
6:56 am

While you’re trying to portray American soldiers as poor individuals with no options but the military, would you also explain why most of the military consistently vote Republican. Could be there are people who enter this “highly-skilled, all-volunteer Armed Forces” with the belief that this country is worth defending and not because they are “without many professional options”. I have been in and out of the military for over 22 years since 1976. I’m sick and tired of the condescension and backhanded insults that constantly come from the liberal media as it relates to military service.


June 11th, 2011
6:58 am

Where did the Paul backers come from, I thought you were all voting for Cain?


June 11th, 2011
7:00 am

A 72 year old man dosen’t have a chance in the job market, unless you want the job of prez. What a country!

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 11th, 2011
7:33 am

What Ron Paul gets right
3:55 pm June 10, 2011, by ctucker

This, immediately following your post on Christians and Ayn Rand, where you implied it was impossible for real Christians to draw from Objectivism?

Sorry, Cynthia, but according to your logic, it’s in for a dime, in for a dollar. You don’t get to agree with Rand on anything unless you agree with everything, right?



June 11th, 2011
7:54 am

“…extend unemployment benefits…”. Employers pay the benefits that Tucker champions: not Congress.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 11th, 2011
8:24 am

At the end of the day, people who work for a living AND pay income taxes are paying for those 99-week vacations so many Democrats are on.

Obama 2012

June 11th, 2011
8:29 am

Ron Paul is a retard. You guys just can’t find a suitable candidate. Dumbya? McCAN’T? PAINlin? The Morman? DUMP? Fig Newton? WOW… and I thought you guys were “patriotic”.

Gator Joe

June 11th, 2011
8:47 am

The problem with Ron Paul is that when you vote for, or support, him you’re getting the sum of his ideas not just the few reasonable ones he has. What is most appealing about him, for the Conservatives, the Right-Wing, and the Tea Party, is that he is white and he has an “R” behind his name. His shortcommings for those same people is that he is intelligent and can speak coherently.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 11th, 2011
8:58 am

Gator Joe: Racist.


June 11th, 2011
9:50 am

The 911 War has gone on long enough. Soon, as the years pass, the combatants will forget what started the 911 War and keep fighting anyway, like the hundert year war.

ANd that’s just plain dumber.

Schrodinger's cat

June 11th, 2011
11:59 am

Obama 2012 – “The Morman” ?…

Schrodinger's cat

June 11th, 2011
12:14 pm

Gator Joe..really?


June 11th, 2011
1:52 pm


June 11th, 2011
2:17 pm

Lets look at this objectivly for a second. What program/department that the Federal gov’t has been a part of is successful right now? Healthcare? Nope, rampant inflation and decreasing quality. Education? Thats a joke. Social Security? Who here that is under the age of 50 thinks they will see a dime of that? And the big one, the Economy? A reported 9.1% unemployment (and that’s just the people that are still actively looking for Jobs it is closer to twice that).

Gas and food prices are spiking all over the country and whats our incredibly wise leaderships plan to fix all this? More spending and borrowing/printing more money. And Paul is the candidate you can’t take seriously. This country has really gone to crap. Paul is this countries only chance to avoid a complete collapse and the media either completly ignores him (like in 08) or discredits him by saying he has no chance or some other BS.

martin the calvinist

June 11th, 2011
2:21 pm

it’s hard to take you seriously Cynthia because of your blind faith in government to solve all the worlds woes. Though I agree waging war for the past decade has been grossly expensive, waging war on poverty, giving federal employees, elected and non elected huge retirement plans, giving people medical insurance and food help with no cost to them, paying out more than is taking in to give “common” folk retirement and medical insurance has played a huge role in what we face in deficit spending is playing a bigger role than you will ever admit. Please just admit you believe in wealth redistribution, because that is your stance. You find that principle in the Communist Manifesto.


June 11th, 2011
2:24 pm

…or discredits him by saying he has no chance or some other BS.

Polling at 8% is not just “saying” he has no chance, sport.

Polling at 8% “means” he has no chance.


June 11th, 2011
2:43 pm


June 11th, 2011
3:21 pm

Cynthia, this is an excellent article.

The heart of the article immediately takes away from the subject “What Ron Paul gets right” and even past the opening paragraph regarding taking him seriously. It causes me to pause – as I often do – when articles like this one is written with so much clarity regarding the cost of war, both financial and more importantly, the human sacrifice.

Ron Paul is (very) right about some things, but the electorate is who doesn’t take him seriously. He never gets more single-digits in the vote count when he runs. Yet, he runs, and runs and runs. While so many champion his views as an end all too all political stances, few (or certainly not enough) show up t vote for him.

Reading some of the comments, it’s illusionary at best, the description of those who so often, and so quickly, lash out the messenger (you) and fails to process the message (your profound thoughts). So some of us still question your and my patriotism, your and my dissent against endless war, your and my right to call it as it is, and your and my right to not want to be a perpetual sucker. It always Hillary’s and Obama’s fault, although they weren’t the ones who made a literal fool out of most of us.

I wonder how many of your critics have family members who have paid the ultimate sacrifice with the loss of a beloved son or daughter. I hope these same people are just as willing and eager to pony up “more” than their fairs hare to cover the financial cost. After all, the bill collector is coming to a mailbox with your name on it too.

Keep on articulating the truth as is Cynthia.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 11th, 2011
3:22 pm

Do you agree with Cheney?


June 11th, 2011
3:32 pm

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 11th, 2011
3:36 pm

The folks who applied the shellacking last November think deficits matter.


June 11th, 2011
5:48 pm

All you Ron Paul supporters who bristle at the thought that because he is liberterian and supports your one demensional view of the constitution he should be revered. The man knows he will never be president, but, he also knows that you and yours will keep supporting him and sending your hard earned money while not understanding he has no chance. Even his own party would oppose him if he got lucky enough(which he wont) become president. Instead of being a spoiled child, look at the viable possiblites and choose. If you decide to sit out 2012 then you are at fault for electing the president you dont want. In my mind, fence sitters are people who want the I TOLD YOU SO OPTION.Make a choice dont blow smoke.

"information becomes a distraction ... " -- BHO

June 11th, 2011
5:57 pm

Ron Paul is the Godfather and spark that lit The Tea Party. CT will never understand.

Sarah Palin and the other wannabes have corrupted his message.

No foreign wars, no federal reserve, individual liberty, states rights and limited constitutional government.

Dr/Rep Paul is wrong about a few topics – example abortion, but he’s a hell of a lot better for our nation than Obama could ever dream about.

Audit the FED !!

"information becomes a distraction ... " -- BHO

June 11th, 2011
6:06 pm

OMG – the sky is gray and it looks like it might rain in Cobb county. PLEASE RAIN !!!

BTW – I’d vote for Weiner b4 I vote for Palin.

Sincerely – Tea Party member b4 is was trendy…. They used to laugh and mock us. They still mock us but they ain’t laughing anymore.

Attack us more please… We are gaining strength with every report on the debt and economy….

B Cosby

June 11th, 2011
7:15 pm

Tucker would rather go after someone like Ron Paul while overlooking the elephant in the room. One of her liberal democratic brothern has discraced the magical party of her always wrong Obama, and she does not have the courage to address this issue. Andrew Weiner has shown the true colors of the democratic party by trying to lie his way out of a problem, then trying to come clean. But where is Tucker and the other libs on this issue? Their heads are buried in the sand, going after someone and trying to deflect attention to an innocent part. Tucker you a true POS. And who really cares aboun you poor mama’s hard-pressed Alabama town. Did the bank close and now they can’t cash the welfare checks? Maybe Barry can bail them out with more entitlements, god forbid they actually go out and look for more work.