Ron Paul has certainly received the attention of disaffected Americans in his run for the presidency. Many young people and previously apathetic citizens have been drawn to the Ron Paul revolution because of his unique message as compared to the other candidates. But there are still some non-voters out there that refuse to participate in politics. They ask, "Why should I trust him?"
It is certainly a legitimate question to ask why we should trust another politician. What makes Ron Paul different from any other candidate today or in the past? Candidates say one thing and then they do something completely different once in office.
While we cannot accurately say what every person will do, we can certainly make good predictions based on the information we have. Anything is possible. George W. Bush could turn libertarian tomorrow or Osama Bin Laden could convert to Christianity, but we can reasonably predict that these things won't happen.
There are two primary reasons why we can reasonably predict that Ron Paul's policies in office would be similar to what he preaches. The first reason is his past record. He has been in Congress for ten terms and we can see how he has voted. He has consistently voted to uphold the principles that he advocates.
When there is a vote in the House of Representatives that reads something like 420-1, we can take a good guess that he was the one "no" vote. That is how he got the nickname Dr. No. He does not vote in favor of any legislation that is not specifically authorized in the Constitution. Since most bills passed in Congress are unconstitutional, Ron Paul often has to vote no.
Ron Paul's voting record alone makes him a unique politician. George W. Bush campaigned in 2000 for no nation building and cutting taxes. Ronald Reagan campaigned in 1980 and 1984 to get the government out of our lives. Even under Reagan, the federal budget grew approximately two-thirds bigger. Ronald Reagan continued to preach less government throughout his presidency, but his policies rarely reflected his rhetoric.
But we can look at the records of Bush and Reagan when they were governors. It should not be any great surprise that they embraced big government once in office as president. They both expanded the budgets in their respective states and failed to make significant cuts in government programs. And this is aside from the fact that even some of their rhetoric was far from libertarian, such as their enthusiasm for the war on drugs.
The second reason to trust Ron Paul to do what he says is because he offers us specifics. It is easy for Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani to say they will cut taxes, but does that just mean more deficits? Aside from Ron Paul, none of the candidates have been able to point out specific areas where they will cut spending.
Ron Paul says we need to leave Iraq and stop policing the world. Dismantling the U.S. empire would immediately cut hundreds of billions of dollars out of the budget. He also says we can get rid of the Department of Education and the Department of Energy, among others. We can also stop farm subsidies and handing out foreign aid. These are all specific measures to reduce spending which could actually produce real tax cuts.
John McCain will talk about stopping pork-barrel spending (which in his terms makes up less than 1% of the total budget) and other candidates will talk about stopping wasteful spending. But they are short on specifics. This means they have no specific plans to cut the size and scope of government. There is no such thing as a free lunch. In order to cut taxes without increasing deficits or inflating, you have to cut the budget. The only candidate who offers specific programs and departments to cut is Ron Paul.
It could be argued that Newt Gingrich and the Republican Congress offered specific proposals in 1994 with their Contract with America. But most of the items were modest proposals that did little to shrink government. And again, many of the Republican Congressmen (like Gingrich) that were part of this already had a track record of big government.
Many Democrats (hopefully former Democrats) have recognized that they can trust Ron Paul. He speaks firmly and with conviction about ending the war. From the Democratic candidates (possibly excepting Kucinich and Gravel), you hear wishy-washy statements about the need to keep a presence in Iraq with no promises to end the war immediately.
By looking at Ron Paul's record and by hearing his specific proposals, you can be reasonably sure that he will do what he says. His message is consistent and unyielding and it just so happens that his message of freedom is the correct one.
December 18, 2007