Ron Paul's Vice Presidential Choices
by Walter Block and Steve Berger
Recently by Walter Block: Ron Paul and the Self-Hating u2018Libertarians'
Politico has focused on the Vice Presidential sweepstakes, and who are we to demur? Of course, this organization does not mention Congressman Ron Paul as a viable candidate, and, on this, we agree. Dr. Paul will, instead, become President of the United States in 2012, so he will just not be available to be anyone else's Vice President.
However, he will need one of these for himself, and that is the subject of our present deliberations. Who will Ron Paul choose? Who should he choose? In order to make these deliberations easier for the incoming administration, we venture forth with our own opinions on this crucial matter of the day. Accordingly, we list several possibilities, with our comments about each, some of them snarky, attached. So as to not prejudice anyone, we list these choices in alphabetical order.
Michele Bachmann. No one who takes Mises's books to the beach for some light reading can be entirely ruled out of these sweepstakes, and Congressman Bachmann, say what negative you will of her otherwise, qualifies for serious consideration, at least on this one ground. Of course, it is extremely unlikely she has done any such thing. However, merely for mentioning Mises’s name in a positive context, she deserves some kudos, and mention on this list. On other issues, her candidacy is not at all attractive. For example, she is a bloodthirsty warmonger, pretty much of the same ilk as all other candidates for the Republican nomination.
Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana, was early on mentioned as a potential presidential candidate based on his turnaround of state finances in Indiana, his forthright, no-nonsense style of leadership and his frequently voiced opposition to crony capitalism including a June, 2010 Wall Street Journal oped. The State of Indiana was a lonely holdout in the Chrysler bond reorganization and quite vocal in its opposition to Obama’s arbitrary and capricious cramdown of senior bondholders to the benefit of the auto unions. As governor, he also privatized the Indiana state toll road so that should be dear to libertarian hearts. Unfortunately Mitch Daniels' record on Iraq when he was Director of OMB under Bush isn’t compelling.
Doug French. The president of the Mises Institute, and a former banker (and former football player as well). A long shot. He is the "favorite son" of no particular state, having spent time in Nevada (getting his masters degree under the tutelage of Murray N. Rothbard), played college football in Kansas and now residing in Alabama. He would, then, be unlikely to be selected as Vice President by any of the ordinary Republican candidates. However, we are now discussing the choices of Congressman Ron Paul, someone likely to judge a VP candidate on his merits. And, here, there is little question: under a French Presidency, we would have peace abroad and economic tranquility at home. That is to say, Mr. French would faithfully follow the Ron Paul philosophy.
Jim Grant, former Barron's columnist, founder and editor of Grants Interest Rate Observer, author of Money of the Mind, a history of credit booms and busts in the United States, and a frequent guest on Bloomberg and CNBC, is well known for his florid and witty literary style and trenchant criticism of the Federal Reserve and Keynesian economic policies. Jim is an ardent backer of hard money and is admired by legions of investors for his intellectual honesty and wit. He would be a compelling proponent for a return to free market money and for repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial strangulation bill.
Gary Johnson. It is too bad that the former governor of New Mexico as of the time of this writing has not been able to enter into the debates. If he did so, then there would be not one but two libertarians on stage at these important events. On the other hand, we know Ron Paul, and Gary Johnson is no Ron Paul. He is more of a "beltway" or Reason Magazine libertarian than a real one. He is better than the neocons on foreign policy, but does not call for a purely defensive stance for our military. He wants to legalize drugs, but only some of them; he did not pardon any victimless criminals when he could have. He favors the legalization of prostitution, but not based on a matter of rights; merely utilitarianism. He urges reform of the Fed, not abolition. Go down the entire list: he is pretty good on most issues from a libertarian point of view, but doesn't hit the bull's eye on any of them.
Andrew Napolitano. The Judge has a print and electronic record a mile long. And, he keeps hitting home runs; no Gary Johnson, he. Judge Napolitano is a charismatic, telegenic presence who is always willing to stand up to the Fox News neo-nuts clamor for war-mongering and Wall Street bailouts. With a Paul/Napolitano ticket, the Republicans would finally have a team that has read, understood, and would honor the original intent of the Constitution. This includes reducing the power of the imperial presidency, engaging in wars for only self-defense purposes, not imperialism, ensuring that Congress declares them, freeing up the economy and promoting personal liberty and responsibility. In any one-on-one debate, Napolitano would overwhelm Biden.
Rand Paul. There have been father and son presidents in the past. The Adamses and the Bushes come to mind. Well, let's forget the latter duo, please. There has never been a father son pair running for President and Vice President at the same time, however. Well, there is thus a case for breaking that particular pattern. A Paul-Paul Republican ticket would be unique, and attract global attention on that ground alone. It would certainly lay to rest any fears about Ron Paul's age; should he, God forbid, perish in office, there would be another Paul immediately ready to step into the breach. (Not that this is a reasonable fear: the present authors bet that Dr. Ron Paul could beat any of his competitors for the Republican nomination in any reasonable test of strength or endurance. A former track runner, Congressman Paul could run rings around any of them. However, we make a concession here: if there were a pie-eating contest, our money would be on Newt Gingrich). One more reason for a Rand Paul Vice Presidential run: think of how that would upset the Republican hierarchy!
Lew Rockwell. A former advisor to Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell would make an excellent running mate for the Congressman from Texas. Lew is knowledgeable, and passionate about a peaceful foreign policy, economic freedom, and personal liberty. Thus, he fully mirrors the Ron Paul philosophy. There is, however, one drawback to Mr. Rockwell as Vice President, and it is a serious one. If he went off to Washington D.C. in this capacity, who would run LewRockwell.Com? The present authors look with dismay at the prospect of this blog being run by anyone else. Anyone else. Nevertheless, if there were a button we could push that would install Lew as VP, we would blister our thumbs pushing that button.
Tom Sowell. If taking high elective office were a matter of promoting personal liberties and economics freedom, Professor Sowell would be our man. Not only has he made the libertarian case as far as economics and personal rights are concerned, he has been widely, and unfairly criticized for doing do. "Oreo cookie" is only a relatively polite manner in which he has been castigated. However, there is a lacuna in the Sowell c.v.: foreign policy. He is a war hawk, and thus does not deserve space on any Paul ticket. However, his contributions have been so important and insightful in economics and personal freedom, that he deserves an honorable mention on this list.
Jon Stewart. The acclaimed host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, he recently excoriated the mainstream media for ignoring Ron Paul's success in the August Iowa straw poll, and Ron has been a frequent and well-received guest on his show. Jon is America's preeminent political satirist, and his shows and publications reveal a striking independence of political thought. To those who claim how can we recommend a comedian for high office, we would respond better a comedian than an actor, bodybuilder, attorney, deranged neo-nut or community organizer who never held a "real" job. His sense of humor and satire would quickly pierce through the absurdity of the welfare/warfare state and crony capitalism. Further, what better mode of defusing international tensions than having Jon give a monologue at a G7 meeting? Imagine how much damage we would have been spared if only HL Mencken had been put in high office. Since Mr. Stewart is a big government liberal, he is not a serious candidate for running mate for Congressman Paul. However, his hilarious attack on the mainstream media for ignoring Dr. Paul after the Ames Straw poll merits him mention on this list.
John Stossel. Say what you will about this man, he is no Jon Stewart when it comes to political philosophy. Stossel is the equal of Stewart as far as performing brilliantly on television, but unlike the latter he is a staunch libertarian (well, a bit too much tied in to the Cato-Reason crowd). For years Stossel has been a one-man-band undermining the nanny state's interferences with consumer welfare. Of course he has not been elected to political office. But that should not be an insuperable barrier for a man with strong libertarian beliefs. Who would the libertarian rather trust with the reins of the state apparatus? John Stossel, or Rick Perry/ Mitt Romney? We rest our case.
Dr. Block [send him mail] is a professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of Defending the Undefendable and Labor Economics From A Free Market Perspective. His latest book is The Privatization of Roads and Highways.