Should Ron Paul be President?
by Paul Bonneau
We’ve recently seen that familiar progression back into the good old political swing of things, with the advent of the latest silly season. This time around we even have some internecine strife between prospective bearers of the “nutcase” (libertarian) standard, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson. This article is not one of those; it applies equally well to a President Johnson. Do we really want either Ron Paul or Gary Johnson as President? (I will speak only about Paul for the balance of this article, and you can just mentally insert “or Johnson” as you read on. The following applies to both, and to any other prospective libertarian standard-bearer as well.)
Don’t get me wrong. I think Ron Paul would make an excellent President, perhaps the best one ever. He of course has some faults - which have been put on display in the internecine squabbling - but that is not much of a concern, because every human has faults. If we must have a President at all, he’s about the best who one reasonably could hope for. “He’s not libertarian enough,” is not an argument that impresses me very much.
Despite this point, there is a much larger problem: it’s not 1921 this time around!
From the article:
Instead of “fiscal stimulus,” Harding cut the government's budget nearly in half between 1920 and 1922. The rest of Harding's approach was equally laissez-faire. Tax rates were slashed for all income groups. The national debt was reduced by one-third. The Federal Reserve's activity, moreover, was hardly noticeable.
(n.b.: Wood’s verbiage is a bit misleading here, as Harding assumed the Presidency on March 4, 1921)
Now, let’s be realistic, folks. It was not just Harding who did these things. Consider the 65th Congress, the 66th Congress (during the last two years of the Wilson regime), and the 67th Congress (during the first two years of the Harding administration). In the 65th, Wilson had a 6-seat majority in the Senate and a 4-seat majority (if you count minor leftist parties) in the House. By the 66th we see that Wilson has lost his majorities, and the R’s have a 2-seat majority in the Senate and a 48-seat majority in the House. And by that time the R’s were apparently already putting on the brakes; for example Wilson’s bid to advance American imperialism was rejected by the Senate when they turned down entry into the League of Nations.
But you ain’t seen nothing yet! In the 67th Congress, the R’s increased their majority margin to an astounding 22 seats in the Senate and 171 seats in the House! This is on top of Harding’s 60% to 34% landslide victory, the largest ever seen in America to that point. If ever there was a mandate, Harding and the Old Right had it. And if ever there was a rejection, Wilson and his Democrats received it.
That’s how the federal budget was cut in half. That’s how tax rates were slashed. That’s how the national debt, not just deficit, was reduced by one-third. That’s why the Federal Reserve, Wilson’s child, behaved in a reserved manner!
Folks, it’s not 1921 any more. Congress is not filled with “isolationist” Old Right, small government Republicans. It is filled with big-government neocon R’s and socialist D’s. America is not filled with hardy, self-sufficient citizens, but has a huge burden of parasites supported by a welfare state. The states are not small government entities, but vastly overextended and as corrupt as the federal government.
Ron Paul can’t do it on his own. Sorry. Every veto he makes will be overridden. And even if he manages to make a little headway, he will simply be assassinated. Could he depend on the Tea Party? Don’t make me laugh.
But there is an even worse problem. This economy will crash, and crash hard, either in the current regime or the next. If it hangs on until the next, and then crashes during a Ron Paul administration, can you think of a better PR coup to hand to the ruling class? “We tried the free market, and it didn’t work!” Do you really want the greatest free market advocate ever at the helm when our economy dies?
Imagine the Titanic, with the huge iceberg dead ahead and no way to avoid hitting it. A small boat races up alongside, and a voice sounding suspiciously like Ron Paul calls up to the bridge, “I see you are in trouble. I’m willing to take over as captain of the Titanic!” How much sense does that make?
Keep in mind that, not only will the economy crash, but it will be the policy of President Paul that it should crash. He is always saying the correction should happen and we shouldn’t get in its way (which is economically a true statement). But people will blame him for their empty bellies and lost homes and jobs, because he will say it is necessary and he wants it to happen.
Now, that would be OK if he could actually follow through and pull a “Harding”, getting the economy going again in a year. But he can’t! There will be no robust recovery to repair his reputation (and that of the free market). It’s not possible.
A Ron Paul presidency, sadly enough, will enable the following dictatorship - or at least, make it significantly more likely.
No, what we really need, is for the worst possible statist to be in charge, so that statism gets the blame when the crash comes. Ron Paul should still be in the House, still obviously powerless, saying “I told you so.” Ron Paul, or Gary Johnson if Paul is too old, should be president in 2016, not 2012, coming into office the same way Harding did, with a lot of support, to pick up the pieces. Although even then, I suspect a repeat of Harding’s performance is not possible. But at least then a libertarian president will be able to let numerous state secessions happen. We sure don’t want a Lincoln clone in office, in 2016.
One minor point - what if the crash happens tomorrow, rather than in the 2012 Administration?
That appears better than the previous grim scenario I painted. Then a libertarian President in 2012 might have a better time of it. But it is still not so good. People tend to get confused with timing, particularly with the Ministry of Propaganda obfuscating, as they will be doing. And Paul would still be alone, unable to do anything except maybe get himself assassinated.
No, this country has to hit bottom first, and we don’t want a libertarian anywhere near the presidency when that happens, and for some time thereafter. We want the thing to progress in a way that allows us eventually to become free. A Paul presidency in 2012 ain’t it.
If there is one silver lining to this mess, it is that the chances of Ron Paul becoming President in 2012 are almost nonexistent. We really need someone like Rudi Giuliani instead.