Let’s face it: Ron Paul doesn’t have a lot of new ideas. His foreign policy harkens back to the very first President, George Washington. George Washington, who gave up a dictatorship, given to him by the continental Congress to prosecute the revolutionary war, was crazy. Washington was the original “decider” and gave up all of that power so that a bunch of politicians could meet and draft the Constitution. That same tired old document to which Ron Paul keeps referring in speech after speech. Now, if Washington would have just kept his dictatorship, he could have written the Constitution himself.
Think of all the good Washington could have done with the power he so cavalierly abandoned. He could have taken over Canada. Instead he advised us to avoid making promises to defend other nations in order that the U.S. would remain peaceful and the federal government would remain small. That idea actually was original at the time. I mean, if you think George Washington was crazy, you should have seen his contemporaries in Europe. They made alliances all the time. They made wars all the time too. Probably because the Royal leaders in Europe were all related. You think you have mother-in-law problems. George Washington was wise to figure this out 211 years ago. But that was 211 years ago. Not original in 2007.
Presidents really didn’t start to realize how important it was to have a grand vision and original ideas until Lincoln. Lincoln was not a handsome man and I think he may have been a little jealous of Washington’s dictatorship and his good looks. Whether it was the affects of syphilis or the fact that he was a lawyer, he definitely thought outside the box. He could have done what Dr. Paul does by studying the constitution and the words of those who drafted it. However, he didn’t want to seem unoriginal. It didn’t matter to him that the founders believed secession was a valid, non-violent response to tyranny. It didn’t matter to him that 600,000 Americans had to die in order for his ideas to come to fruition. Lincoln’s originality is unsurpassed. No President since has managed responsibility for so many deaths. In fact, his record may never be surpassed if you stick to Americans killed in war. All of the other forty-two Presidents before and after him haven’t managed to combine for his record. This must be a bitter pill for them.
Wilson was another visionary though he also fell short of Lincoln. Wilson made the world “safe for democracy.” He was one of the first President’s to go to war to make an idea safe. He also made U.S. monetary policy safe for the Federal Reserve by signing the Federal Reserve Act. He made America safe from freedom by signing the income tax. His pice de rsistance was the Treaty of Versailles. Very original idea in foreign affairs. The treaty was so punitive it put things in motion for WWII. The Germans apparently got a bit upset when the French marched into Germany and confiscated goods directly from German factories as a means to collect reparations. Later, in WWII, France was attacked and occupied by Germany. The French Politicians claimed it was because Germans hated them for their wine but Ron Paul calls this sort of thing “blowback." I think he got that word from the CIA and didn’t make it up. Our current President makes up lots of words because he’s smart and original.
By Franklin Delano Roosevelt, we start getting into the unoriginal category. FDR promised he wouldn’t get the U.S. in war but did a lot of things to get the U.S. in a war. He did this covertly. FDR did have some truly original ideas. One was that an economic depression can be reversed by increasing taxes and redistributing that money to people who don’t have jobs. Shifting production from the private sector to government was extremely original. Internment camps not so much. The American Indians probably could tell you this was an old idea.
You need to be careful when choosing who you’ll support. Original ideas are important. Tom Tancredo has some intriguing and original ideas lately as does Barack Obama. Tancredo thinks we should bomb Mecca in a virtual “neener neener neener” — letting the terrorists know who’s really the boss of the world. Now that’s original. At least as far as President’s go. When I was in 5th grade, a boy playing kickball said something like that but he was talking about whose dad could beat up whose and I don’t think Tancredo is the right age to have been there to overhear it. I’ll have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Obama says we should just march into Pakistan and get Osama bin Laden whether Musharraf likes it or not. Again, I don’t remember Obama being at my elementary school. He probably went to a private school where those kinds of conversations didn’t occur. I had to go to public school and they happened all the time, let me tell you.
Bush is pretty original too. I mean, if you accept that he actually has ideas and isn’t remotely controlled through a chip implanted in his brain by Dick Cheney’s physicians, then you have to credit him with some very original ideas. Where Wilson made the world safe for an idea, Bush put a different perspective on it and made war on an idea. Where FDR promised against war and covertly involved the US in a war, Bush promised not to involve us in nation building but then blatantly reversed that stance shortly before his second-term campaign. Not only was it original, it was ballsy. The most original idea Bush has professed is the one about pre-emptive war. It’s hard to say if it’s his idea but I’m certain he’s jealous of Washington because he calls himself the decider. He’s vying for a Lincoln-esque legacy by using up the last of the original ideas.
Ron Paul may sound different then the current crop of Republican candidates, and the current President, but really he’s not very original. In fact, he sounds like Bob Taft who most of us wouldn’t know about but for Ron Paul’s incessant referrals to historical figures.
Ron Paul would turn back the clock on many original ideas put forth by past Presidents. Wilson’s income tax? Gone. The Iraq war and pre-emptive war, the two Bush additions to original Presidential thought gone as well. The department of Education? Homeland Security? Welfare? All Gone. No original idea would be spared from the boring veto pen of a Paul presidency.
Rick Fisk [send him mail] is a 44-year-old software developer and entrepreneur. He is married, has 3 children and resides in Austin, TX.