With the rise in prominence of long-time Congressman Dr. Ron Paul in this year’s primaries, the leading Spanish newspaper, El País, has finally decided to give him some attention in their election coverage. For weeks, I had noticed that the Spanish daily had simply omitted mentioning Ron Paul, instead reporting on challengers Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, as well as drop-outs Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain. But after Paul nearly tied for first place in Iowa, El País decided to do a little investigation and report on the Texas Congressman.
On January 7 El País published an article on Ron Paul that was at best overly simplistic and at worst, incorrect. It may be that it’s just that difficult for a center-left newspaper in a welfare-state country to grasp a candidate who calls for an extremely limited constitutional government. After all, Spain is a country where both right and left accept socialized medicine, a welfare state, and a central bank.
Nevertheless, the author grasps that Dr. Paul presents a unique challenge to both the establishment left and right in the United States, by opposing both the expensive welfare state as well as the costly warfare state. But he then goes on to offer up totally laughable and untrue reasons for why Ron Paul is an extreme candidate and thus unelectable.
Reason 1 is that all of Ron Paul’s supporters are white, male, and well-off financially. Well right off the bat part of that assertion is totally false, given that so much of Ron Paul’s support comes from students and young people. The last time I checked, most students and young people (myself included) have a lot more debt and lower incomes than the rest of the population. It would be Mitt Romney and Barack Obama that get the support of the big-money folks on Wall Street. In addition, the paper adds that Ron Paul wrote racist newsletters in the 1980s and is against abortion and immigration, thus he will not get support from black people and Hispanics. Again, this is terrible reporting. Ron Paul has said repeatedly that he did not write those newsletters and as a civil libertarian, he is incapable of being a racist. He, unlike statists, looks at people as individuals and not as (color) groups. Further, Paul is not opposed to immigration. He just sees that one legitimate constitutional duty of the federal government is border control, and that it’s a total farce to obsess with “homeland security” when the borders are left wide open. Finally, Paul’s philosophy is strictly pro-life. For some reason El País believes that this is unacceptable to black Americans. Yet as black babies are aborted in much higher proportions then white babies in the U.S., this is all the more reason that Dr. Paul and his pro-life stance should have the support of blacks.
Reason 2 that Ron Paul is unelectable is that he is “isolationist” in foreign policy and wants to eliminate domestic government spending and regulations. Al contrario, Ron Paul is not an isolationist. He just applies the golden rule to foreign policy, meaning he believes in non-interventionism and that wars should be declared by Congress. Then the paper alleges that Ron Paul’s America would have no air traffic controllers and people would be dying on the streets without healthcare. Anyone that has spent anytime dealing with the bureaucracy in Spain (or even the U.S. post office for that matter) knows that free markets do a much better job at regulating and providing servies than does government.
In the end, El País suggests that the Ron Paul campaign won’t gain too much traction or much of a broad following. I suppose their hopes are that the status-quo candidate Mitt Romney will be the nominee and that the Paul movement will quietly die. But I think that is where they err, because Paul supporters aren’t going anywhere. His message is already extremely popular with young people and will only grow as the country faces skyrocketing debt, high unemployment, endless wars, and seizures of liberties. Only the Paulian philosophy towards government will solve these problems, and more and more people around the world are waking up to it.