Some progressive Democrats share a modest admiration for Ron Paul, a U.S. congressman from Texas and perennial darkhorse contender for the Republican presidential nomination.
Maybe it's because he is one of the few GOP politicians that opposes the Iraq War and questions the United States' far-reaching, costly military presence around the globe. Maybe it's because he isn't afraid to speak his mind, even when it runs contrary to conventional wisdom. Maybe it's just because he's an underdog, and many Americans like to see longshots come from behind and win.
Whatever the reason, that begrudging love affair (like affair?) with the cantankerous obstetrician from Lake Jackson might finally have come to an end after a series of unusual remarks that Paul made during Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
When Paul was asked a question about abolishing the federal minimum wage for workers, the congressman said he supported the idea, explaining “it would help the poor people who need jobs.”
The congressman added, “We’re against mandates so why should we have it? (Abolishing) it would be very beneficial. Mandates, that what the whole society is about, what we do all the time. That’s what government is about: mandate, mandate, mandate. We talk so much about the Obama (health insurance) mandate which is so important, but what about Medicare? Isn’t that a mandate? Everything we do is mandate. So, this is why you have to look at this, the cause of liberty. We don’t need the government running our lives.”
Apparently Paul believes a nation of serfs is preferable to high unemployment. Regardless, it's too bad that the Politico reporter who asked the question didn't follow up with a query about whether mandates like child labor laws, workplace safety standards and the 40-hour work week also should be eliminated.
And then there was this paranoid response to a question about whether Paul supports the construction of a fence on the U.S. border with Mexico to help stop the influx of undocumented immigrants.
Calling the fence “a penalty against the American people, too,” Paul added, “In economic turmoil, the people want to leave with their capital and there’s capital controls and there’s people controls. Every time you think about the fence, think about the fences being used against us, keeping us in.”
Trust us, Mr. Paul, I don't think anyone will try to stop you from making a run for the border. We hear Puerto Vallarta is especially beautiful at this time of the year.
Given that Paul is the father of Rand Paul, the U.S. senator from Kentucky, maybe the fact the he believes this blather isn't so far-fetched. It was the younger Paul who, during his campaign last year, told The Louisville Courier-Journal's editorial board that he disliked parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Rand Paul said a restaurant or other private business with no government funding should be allowed to discriminate. “In a free society, we will tolerate boorish people who have abhorrent behavior,” he said. (Shades of Chris Finney!)
Also, Rand Paul's ophthalmology practice in Bowling Green has accepted large amounts in Medicare and Medicaid payments for patients, although he opposes both programs. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree: His father, Ron, has called Medicare and Social Security “unconstitutional.”
During the past few months, Ron Paul's supporters have complained the mainstream media ignores him in favor of more establishment GOP candidates, even though Paul does well in many polls. Now that the bright light of media scrutiny is shining on him, though, Paul might be having second thoughts.