Would Conservatives Support Obama Over Ron Paul?
A lot of conservative commentators, many of whom I have a great deal of respect for, have also said that they’d consider supporting Obama over Ron Paul including Phil Klein who makes a case for his position at the Washington Examiner that I, quite frankly, find baffling.
During his decades in Congress, Paul has voted against a lot of bad legislation and sponsored other bills that had no chance of passage. But he hasn’t been able to see his ideas enacted. Despite what he says on the campaign trail, a President Paul wouldn’t be able to cut $1 trillion from the budget in his first year in office, because Congress would never allow it. It’s true that he’d veto a lot of bad stuff. The problem is, though vetoing everything would have been an effective strategy to limit the growth of government 100 years ago, these days, shrinking government requires the passage of actual legislation to scale back entitlements. As a member of the House, Paul opposed Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget because it didn’t go far enough. But there’s no chance that more sweeping reforms would ever get to his desk as president.
On the flip side, if Obama were reelected, he would be in a lot weaker position politically than he was in 2009. Even if Republicans don’t retake the Senate, Obama wouldn’t have a filibuster-proof majority, as he did for much of his first year in office. Also, the president’s party typically loses a lot of seats in the sixth year of a presidency, so Republicans would, historically speaking, be in a position to gain more seats in 2014, making Obama a lame duck. On a net basis, Paul would still be better than Obama on the spending front, but my point is that the gap between the two of them would narrow when you consider what they’d actually be able to accomplish. Especially, because it’s hard to see Paul being able to make much needed long-term reforms.
Klein goes on too point out that Paul would no doubt shrink the regulatory regime that Obama has inflated, and that he would support the repeal of Obamacare, but then points again to the imbroglio over Paul’s newsletters as evidence of his lacking the necessary executive competence to be President:
Paul’s political experience has been limited to serving in Congress – he’s never been in an executive position. When he wasn’t in Congress, he ran a newsletter business you may have heard something about. His defenders argue that though those newsletters printed racist material for a number of years under his name, he never wrote or read the newsletters, and doesn’t know who authored any of the racist content. This charitable interpretation suggests a massive amount of disorganization in a small enterprise Paul ran, which had just 11 employees. Managing the presidency is, shall we say, a bit more daunting of a task.
This is fair criticism, I think, but I just don’t see how it could lead anyone interested in limiting government to vote for Obama over Ron Paul.
Suppose that Paul would be an incompetent executive (though I think Paul’s organized, effective, energetic campaign speaks more loudly about his competence than his newsletter business). Better an incompetent proponent of limited government than then competent government expansionist we have in Barack Obama, no?
Conservatives saying they’d vote for Obama over Ron Paul sounds suspiciously like conservatives threatening to have sour grapes. Personally, I’m not impressed or inspired by any of the GOP candidates for president, but I’d vote for any one of them over Obama.Tags: Barack Obama, election 2012, ron paul