Throughout the Republican primary process, Ron Paul has been identified as being different than the other candidates, particularly on foreign policy. His libertarian philosophy differentiates him on civil liberties and social issues too, but most Republicans who do not support him feel that his foreign policy views make him the most different.
Sean Hannity, the conservative radio talk show host, has said numerous times that he can’t support Ron Paul because of his views on foreign policy. But Hannity has pointed out several times in this election cycle that he agrees with Paul on economic issues.
It is hard to believe that Hannity agrees with Paul on economic issues. If that were the case, how could Hannity support any of the other Republican candidates? How could he have been an apologist for George W. Bush for 8 years?
Hannity was mildly critical of Bush for some of his legislation and his spending, but nothing compared to his words for Obama. If Obama had presided over the Medicare prescription drug law that Bush supported and signed into law, then Hannity would have gone nuts. He would have been calling it socialized medicine.
Ron Paul is not just different than Bush when it comes to fiscal policy; he is virtually the opposite. Paul is not just different than the other remaining Republican candidates; they have completely conflicting goals, even on economic issues.
In one of the previous debates, Rick Santorum did a good job of exposing Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich for their support of health insurance mandates. He accused them both of wanting top-down government-run healthcare. He was right. The problem is that Santorum supported the Medicare prescription drug program that increased unfunded liabilities by trillions of dollars. Santorum also did a number of things that Ron Paul completely opposed such as voting to raise the national debt and supporting the “No Child Left Behind” legislation that further centralized government education.
There was another time in a past debate where Santorum said that Ron Paul could carry out his agenda in regards to foreign policy, but would not be able to carry through on his economic policies because he would have to go through Congress. He was partially right on this. He was actually making a good case for the anti-war left to support Ron Paul.
It is true that Ron Paul could carry out his foreign policy views easier. As president, he could simply order the troops home and stop the wars. On fiscal issues, things would not be as easy. However, he could veto all spending bills that came to his desk, particularly if they did not cut at least a trillion dollars out of the budget in the first year as he has proposed. Also, if Paul were elected, then there would obviously have been a major shift in the attitudes of the American people and Congress would feel more compelled to actually cut spending.
The ironic thing about Santorum’s statement is that he actually made a good case against himself and the other two candidates for fiscal conservatives. Santorum was basically admitting that he would have trouble cutting spending and following through on some of his rhetoric of smaller government. But Santorum has continually advocated going to war in Iran. This would vastly expand the budget. Since Congress has basically shirked its duty to declare wars, Santorum could easily follow through with his agenda to bomb Iran, but he would admittedly have trouble getting Congress to cut spending. So spending would vastly increase if Santorum were elected. The same would probably hold true for Gingrich and Romney.
Ron Paul is the only candidate amongst the four who actually wants smaller government. He has offered specific proposals to cut one trillion dollars in his first year in office. The only other candidate who was actively proposing to eliminate any departments was Rick Perry and he dropped out of the race. While Perry’s proposal would barely have made a dent in the federal budget, at least he was offering something specific. The three remaining candidates besides Paul are not offering any significant spending cuts that are specific.
In 1994, Newt Gingrich talked about eliminating the Department of Education. This, of course, did not get done. He does not actively talk about this any more. You can safely assume that he does not want to eliminate this department. If someone wants more war and more military spending and yet cannot even advocate the elimination of the Department of Education, then you can be fairly certain that that person has no intention of cutting government spending.
Everyone is right that Ron Paul is different when it comes to his views on foreign policy. However, he is also different when it comes to economic issues. In fact, he is not just different from the other candidates on economic issues; he is virtually the opposite. The other candidates are far closer to Obama on economic issues than they are to Ron Paul. Their rhetoric means nothing.