Friday, December 16, 2011


Despite my earlier quasi-endorsement of Ron Paul, which was really more of a rejection of the rest of the field than an embrace of Paul himself, I have not followed up with any strong pro-Paul statements. The reason why no such statements have been forthcoming is because I would be intellectually dishonest in making them. I think Paul would most likely be a disastrous president. His slavish adherence to libertarian ideals would result in a bizarro Washington where neither party had a president in the White House. Disfunction and gridlock would follow as surely as an E television crew follows the Kardashian sisters.

I appreciate Paul in that his perspective and principles drag the entire discourse in a very healthy direction. He is a force for good, and America needs to pick up some of what he is laying down.

I made the statement to my brother, Job, recently that I would likely vote for Paul in the primary. Job is a Gingrich man, and took issue with that so I will try and explain myself. Despite my considerable following here at the BFZ I am not likely to steer enough voters to the Paul camp to avert the inevitability of a Romney or Gingrich nomination, so I feel safe in voting for and endorsing Ron Paul because I want the eventual nominee to take notice of the forces behind Paul's support.

Gingrich or Romney will most likely secure the nomination, and when they do I will most likely fall into line, but in the primary I am using what little voice I have to point at Paul and say "Listen to what this man is saying. He is making sense, and he's genuine." I am not endorsing all of the man's positions. In fact, of all of the candidates currently vying for the nomination he is the one I disagree with the most. Some of those disagreements would not allow me to vote for him in the general election were he nominated. If the general election were today, and I was forced to pick the nominee from this current miserable field of candidates, I would want Bachman or Santorum, and between those two, probably Bachman.

I'll admit that my decision to vote for Paul is more or less a protest vote. The eventual nominee must be put on notice, and I am firmly persuaded that a stronger than expected showing for Ron Paul would do that.

More than anything I am disheartened that this is the best that conservatism has to offer at this critical juncture in the nation's history. We need Lincoln or Reagan not Gingrich or Romney.
I'm sad about it so I'm voting for Ron Paul.


Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

Truth be told I'm not a Gingrich man.
I'm more of a Paul Ryan man who's forced to order off the kid's menu.

But I must say that I don't think you're doing the requisite research on this one, brother.

Paul has a positively dangerous worldview that is detached from the reality of the threat of islamofascism. He might be a nice gadfly to have in these debates and I will admit there is so much to like about him...but he'd be a president more inclined to prove points than being an executive that invigorated commerce and intimidated enemies.


Did you read my post, Job?


Did you or did you not say that Gingrich's "command of the issues is intense?" You're either a Gingrich man or disingenuous.

I agree that his foreign policy is a mess. I'm no apologist for Ron Paul, and I will not vote for him for president. Like I said it's a protest vote against two front runners who have, at best, a mixed record on the biggest issues of the day. A pinch of Paul would make both Gingrich and Romnney more palatable candidates to me. A pound of Paul would make them unelectable. So my vote is designed to push them in that direction.

Like I said, "I appreciate Paul in that his perspective and principles drag the entire discourse in a very healthy direction. He is a force for good, and America needs to pick up some of what he is laying down."

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

Yes, I read your post. And I guess you endorse Bachmann?

You wouldn't endorse Paul if he were pro-choice. Even if he brought other, valuable views to the debate and dragged the entire campaign dialogue in a positive direction...if Dr. Paul were pro-choice you wouldn't endorse him.

But you can casually dismiss his idiotic and dangerous foreign policy which, if realized, would put millions of American lives under a more sharpened knife. And why? Because you think it'll make Romney less of a moderate or make Gingrich's past less checkered.

If you think Bachmann would make the best president lobby for her. Don't try and play chess with whom you support and don't support.

It's intellectually insulting to those who are engaged and care about the direction of the country.

Not a person on that stage I wouldn't vote for against Obama. I am hoping for a protracted primary season that forces a brokered convention. Jeb or Fred Thompson to the rescue. Gingrich as vice.

john tate said...

When I've chipped away all the cold calculation from my political consideration - I come to the conclusion that I can't vote for Gingrich. I won't vote for him in the primary or the general election, should he earn the nomination. We don't share the same worldview and I'm not convinced he has a fear of God sufficient for the acquisition of wisdom. Ron Paul appears to be the candidate least addled by political affectation and least jaded by political compromise. I think he'd be a wonderful president and I pray God grant us his leadership or the leadership of a like mind.


Job! You would compare abortion, the slavery and holocasut of our generation, the single biggest issue before the American electorate (whether they recognize it as such or not), to the relative dangers of an isolationist foreign policy. Such sophistry is offensive and misguided in the extreme. Fifty million plus lives and growing! Say what you will about Ron Paul, and I'll concede there is much to debate, he is correct on the biggest issues facing our society (as defined by me).

What is this "more sharpened knife" you speak of? You see the one as a greater threat to life than the other? If so, you're wrong.

I also enjoyed how you accuse me of "playing chess" and then go on to speak of your hope for a brokered convention, and this despite your current support for Gingrich, who has proven himself to be an ideological and moral chameleon. (Don't deny Gingrich either, Brother. Need I release the full transcript of our text conversations. Take a stand and play fair.)

Bachman and Santorum most closely represent me, but I admit of despairing that they could ever gain the nomination. If I'm guilty of anythign in this it is allowing that despair to find expression in a protest vote for Ron Paul. I think that decision is defendable even though it does involve some pragmatic, machiavellian elements which are not from the heart. I base my reasoning on the fact that the primary vote is different in function than the general election. It is a vote to influence rather than an ultimate decision. I will prayerfully consider what I'll do during the general election, but for the primary I'm voting for Paul.

I honestly suspect that the trajectory of things here in the United States is such that anyone who fairly and accurately represents my perspective without shame or obfuscation is altogether unelectable. That is why I refused to abandon Sarah Palin, and I stand by that decision as principled and correct. I'm either going to spend the rest of my days as a voter compromising or irrelevant (as far as election results are concerned not as far as personal righteousness and the eyes of God are concerned). A compromised for Paul is more virtuous (in my opinion) than a compromise vote for either Romney or Gingrich.

This is a debate I am having within myself. I'll be honest about that. My mind is not settled on the question of compromising or embracing irrelevance, but I have decided that a vote for Ron Paul would do the most good in this upcoming primary. My indecision doesn't flow from moral confusion I don't think. It is just a matter of being contextually aware- if we lived under a dictatorship my only recourse for advancing my perspective would be armed revolution, but because we live in a democracy we have access to the politcal process, and change can be effected through debate and elections. I think it unlikely that a candidate will come along who represents me completely so I must choose the one who can do the most good.

I don't know if I will vote for Romney or Gingrich in the general election. I most likely will because either would better champion my perspective than Obama.

...but play fair, Job. For goodness sakes!

Steve said...

I'll be back to comment soon, I hope!

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

Play fair?

I'm not saying it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other but when you say you "endorse" Paul because of the conversation he engenders I just need to point out - that if he engendered that same conversation at the expense of being pro-choice you would have nothing to do with him.

He does engender a good conversation but at the expense of a dangerous foreign policy and nauseating 9/11 conspiracy theories. The makes me want nothing to do with him.

I do like Gingrich. I think he's thoughtful, intelligent, deeply conservative and capable. He is not my first choice. I will vote for him in March most likely, but would still prefer a brokered convention.

Don't get all hot under the collar, brother. I'm pro-life to the core and I know the difference(s) between it and other issues but my point is a good one and if an Iranian-launched nuke were to land in Tel-Aviv it would be on par with abortion in my mind as far as evil is concerned.

And John, would you vote for Romney?

I accept Gingrich's claims of repentance. I think we're Biblically charged to believe it's possible. If Romney's faith gets rubberstamped by you but Gingrich's repentance doesn't then I think you need to reboot your thinking on the subject entirely.

john tate said...

Hey there Job!

I haven't sworn off Romney yet. What do you think? Could you get excited about him?


Job, you gonna learn 'cause I'm gonna learn you good. Yeah, I'm gonna learn you. You gonna learn all about it!


You gonna learn.

steve said...

Gentlemen, a few thoughts:

I'm currently deciding between Romney and Huntsman, who, seeking to avoid the logjam to Mitt's right, has done himself no favors with a branding that undersells his record of consistent conservatism.

I find Josh's reasoning fairly compelling if you start from his premises ("a pinch of Paul" in the nominee). Because Paul will never win the nomination, he's a safe vehicle for protest votes of various sorts (anti-war, anti-Fed, anti-Mitt/Newt, etc.). Because protest votes don't come with annotated reasoning, however, they are both overrated and easy to ignore.

Ultimately I reject Josh's premises, however. This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a miserable collection of candidates. With Cain's departure, all of them (in my opinion) pass a minimum test of general competency (although I could not vote for Paul for a host of reasons, some mentioned by Job).

I truly don't understand the feeling among many Republicans that we're cursed with a bunch of losers, and need Paul Ryan or Chris Christie or Jeb Bush or Fred Thompson to ride in and save us from ourselves. I find Gingrich's temperament alarming and his judgment questionable; nonetheless he could make a serviceable president. Maybe. Beyond Newt, Romney and Huntsman are eminently qualified in the most important areas, and although both of them have in the past taken some positions at odds with my own, I am convinced that each would govern wisely. I have watched almost every debate. These candidates are competent and wise.

As for Paul, while he may be the candidate "least addled by political affectation and least jaded by political compromise," I don't see those as virtues in any way. He's proven himself unwilling to moderate or compromise even his harshest and most severe views, and that unyielding devotion to the absolute truth of his political worldview would make him (in my opinion) a lousy president.

I will not criticize Gingrich (as John) on the grounds that he fears God insufficiently; I find his conversion to Catholicism and corresponding repentance from his sexual sins believable. But he always gives the impression of a hubristic, over-eager college sophomore, all too ready to tell we bored co-eds how world hunger could be solved if our leaders were just smart enough to get his plan. Put him in the cabinet, but keep his crazy away from the red button.

john tate said...

Hey all -

I have to confess to not giving Huntsman much of a look - I'll rectify that!

I voted for Romney in the Georgia primary back in 2008 and suffered no small rebuke from my brothers. I listened to what they said at the time and second-guessed my vote. I maintain an odd regard for Romney however - he is often a pitch-perfect politician and it's hard not to appreciate how voluble he is on any number of issues. On the downside - I have several good friends here in Massachusetts who had Romney as their governor - these are thoughtful, conservative, engaged men - who won't commend him to the nation and pledge not to vote for him.

Job - I watched the video of Ron Paul on Meet the Press that you posted on your blog (I also watched the news piece about the basement-dwelling bear - New Jersey is such an interesting state). I didn't find anything damning in that exchange. There's a big difference between being duplicitous and being shrewd. I would think you'd be heartened by his actions and explanation in that instance - it's evidence that he's a practical politician after all.


Oh, you Americans! I'm glad I live in the BFZ.

Just an interesting observation- Rick Perry has not been mentioned once in this exchange.


Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

I like Romney and my feelings about him have evolved somewhat since 2008. I like his calm and his seemingly clear-eyed view on foreign policy and energy - but I'm just curious how you can morally negate Newt when Mitt is a practicing part of a church that molests the gospel the way it does.

And as for the video of Paul: Just on the clear basics - He added earmarks to a bill that he voted against. I might give him marks for guerrilla legislation except in addition to thinking it raises an important question about how hard he lobbied against this bill (or at least sought to positively amend it) when he also had so much riding on it - I need to call him to account on using so many earmarks as it is.

It'd be like a pastor in a city railing against vice but using prostitutes and getting drunk because "they're there" and until he successfully rids the city of them (which, hand across his heart, is what he wants) it'd be a shame for them to go to waste.

Has he been re-elected by his district for the past couple of decades because of the money he's brought home or because of the efforts he's made at ending his chances of doing so? (efforts that are obviously feeble and ultimately ineffective)

And that he accused Bush of elation over 9/11 - so that we could invade Iraq...Paul is dead to me over that.

And I like Perry and think his showing in Iowa will be better than people think and Gingrich's will be worse.

john tate said...

I didn't disqualify Newt on moral grounds. Now that you've brought it up - what vow has Romney broken? What crime has he committed? What ethics violation has he been fined for? Romney appears to be largely above reproach in his private life. His theology is woeful and, sadly, he's not a brother.

Concerning Ron Paul - I think a more apt analogy is in order. Suppose a pastor didn't believe in taking a weekly collection or in having a church budget. There being one, he still offered line items that he believed were in accord with what he thought best for the gospel and the furthering of the kingdom. At the church annual meeting - he voted no on the budget as a matter of principle but took solace in the knowledge that he did the best he could in a system that he found less than right or optimal. I see that kind of shrewdness acceptable and perhaps praiseworthy.

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

You said Newt didn't have a "fear of God sufficient for the acquisition of wisdom". If that isn't a disqualification on moral grounds I don't know what you meant by that exactly.

In Newt you have a man who sinned recklessly and shamefully - but has repented. In Mitt you have a man who adheres to a theology that is a complete and malignant lie - and is unrepentent.

Mitt provides the tranquil, soothing veneer of morality and with Newt we've had to see the sausage being made. I can see why you'd prefer one to the other but I adamantly disagree.

And above reproach, sure. I believe he's pro-life - but he hasn't always been so. And I believe he's against gay marriage but he certainly didn't move heaven and earth to stop it in his home state when he was governor.

I think you're shooting from the hip in your dismissal of Newt. Listen to his policies and, of course, hold them in relief to his past. I think you'll find some incongruities but you'll also find a man who is admirably consistent on life, taxes, defense and marriage.

Mitt's trail is much more curvy.

As for Paul, I don't really get your analogy. Was part of the church budget being spent on secular, worldly things and the pastor was hoping to salvage part of the budget?

When in Rome, Dr. Paul?


Job Tate- not a Gingrich man.

steve said...

Job, we've trod this ground before, but let me repeat that there is (or should be) nothing immoral or politically disqualifying about being Mormon. A "tranquil, soothing veneer of morality"? Really? Why make this choice on your personal perception of their morality at all? What qualifies you to do so? What makes you feel it's necessary? Granted, his religion is an incomplete counterfeit. This is relevant to his managerial skill how? This makes him an immoral man how?

For whatever it's worth, I agree completely with John's characterization of Ron Paul's budget tactics. I also agree completely with Job's characterization of Ron Paul's nightmare of a foreign policy. I hope RP wins Iowa, pushing hte party to coalesce behind the winner of NH. RP could be Romney/Huntsman's best friend.

Newt's problem isn't moral, it's temperamental. It seems the only thing he trusts more than the power of (constitutionally limited) government is the unerring brilliance of his fecund mind. I don't trust him, I don't like his attitude, and I don't think he'll match up well against the president.

john tate said...

Job - Gingrich left the protestant faith. Roman Catholics do as much harm to the gospel as the Mormons do.

Steve said...

Can't agree with that.

Rocket Surgeon, Phd said...

I only bring up Romney's faith as a question against John's rationale against Gingrich. He's welcome to dismiss Newt on those grounds, I'm just curious why he wouldn't do the same for Mitt.

But for the sake of sanity I won't rehash my "avatar" argument. And for the sake of punctuation I've decided to vote for Mitt in the general election if necessary.

But lastly, you're right - I'm not qualified to make a moral judgement and perhaps I shouldn't say Mitt is immoral because he's a mormon. But I will say, with some confidence, that Joseph Smith was an immoral and wicked man. Mitt is a sad product of the deceit Smith began.

And his ability to accept such a lie does make me wonder about, at the very least, his gullibility.


The mormon question- Although we live in a secular, pluralistic society that respects and guarantees a persons right to worship as they choose, and although we should zealously defend the free exercise of religion, a person would not be out of bounds in voting against a candidate based on their religious leanings. Prior moral failures, especially if they be serious or repeated, are also worthy of consideration by voters as a disqualifying factor.

I'll make a statement that would have been assumed by the generations that spawned the republic and presided over every election until the modern era, but which today has somehow become wrong thinking- I will only vote for a professing Christian for the office of President. I think Christians make the best presidents. Mitt Romney, as an unapologetic and active Mormon, fails my personal litmus test for consideration. I would do nothing to infringe on his conscience or liberty, but his faith is absolutely fair game when I consider his qualifications for president.

steve said...

Job, agreed re: Joseph Smith and gullibility.

Josh, Christians may make the best presidents (a tautology, as so far ALL presidents have been at least nominal believers), but the professing Christian now in the White House is a poor leader. Your position is akin to pacifism in that the ideal can lead to evil greater than it seeks to prevent.


Steve, that's facile reasoning, and doesn't do justice to my position. I didn't say that being Christian was the ONLY criteria to consider. There are lots of people in my church who are unqualified to be President though they be Christians. Hey, I'm not even qualified. Although a professing believer I would reject Obama on other grounds. For example, in hypothetical race between Romney and Jimmy Carter I would find both candidates unacceptable for different reasons, and I would write in Sarah Palin. Rejecting a candidate because they don't share your faith is perfectly legitimate. People routinely dismiss candidates such as Michelle Bachman for being "too Christian." That makes sense. Bachman, in honestly representing her beliefs, has become disqualified in the minds of large swaths of the elctorate because she does not share their worldview. In a democratic system you should vote for the candidate who best represents your worldview. I hold no malice toward Mitt Romney for being a Mormon, but it is perfectly legitimate for me to decide that I will vote for someone who believes as I believe. Why? Because matters of faith matter and they inform how that person will govern. It either matters or it doesn't. I say it matters.


P.S. When this debate began I commented "I bet I'll get at least a dozen comments off of this one."

john tate said...

I trust that the Lord will place in the white house whomever He will and that that placement will be in the best interest of the Kingdom and not necessarily that of the United States. Knowing that - my heart is light in the consideration of these things. I'm free to vote in the manner most pleasing to the Lord. I'll make my vote a prayer - asking God to give me and my country a godly leader full of righteousness and the fear of the Lord. I am so very grateful for Christ my king and His church!