October 26, 2007
Ron Paul Reality Check
Can Passionate Ron Paul Supporters Face Some Ugly Facts?
By Joel S. Hirschhorn
As self-professed champion of the Constitution presidential candidate Ron Paul has missed a monumental opportunity to educate Americans about the criminal behavior of Congress in violating their oath of office. Even more important, he has not taken advantage of his 15 minutes of fame to promote the nation's first-time use of what the Founders gave us in the Constitution in case the public lost confidence in the federal government - the Article V convention option.
Paul clearly recognizes the many failures of the federal government. Maybe as a member of Congress he just does not have the courage to confess that he too has been part of a long-standing refusal by Congress to obey Article V of the Constitution. Why don't passionate Paul supporters see his lack of integrity, guts and consistency?
Support for using the Article V convention option should be a litmus test for any presidential candidate, which is reasonable considering that Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt supported it.
First, let's be clear that Paul has no problem in seeing the need for constitutional amendments. For example, he has been a proponent of an amendment that would not allow children born in the USA from illegal parents to become citizens. Second, he has maintained throughout his career his love and respect for our Constitution. Third, he has carefully refused to publicly state his views on the provision in Article V of the Constitution for the use of a convention of state delegates to make proposed amendments as the alternative to Congress proposing amendments (the only procedure used for 220 years). Fourth, he has made no attempt to pass any law that would modify, clarify or expand the single requirement now in Article V for a convention. How can a champion of the Constitution remain so silent on Congress' refusal to honor over 500 applications from all 50 states for a convention that more than satisfies the one and only requirement in Article V?
Anyone who studies the history of attempts to
get the first Article V convention will learn that it has consistently been
opposed by people and
groups on the political left and right that are part of the nation's elitist
political status quo establishment. So here is Ron Paul, supposedly an honest
non-elitist political maverick that does not fit into the political
establishment, yet too cowardly to stand up to the political establishment by
backing the use of the Article V convention option. Paul has had virtually no
real impact on what Congress has done, yet he does not support the convention
option that would circumvent the power of Congress. What does he have to lose?
Of course, if all the passionate supporters of Paul would spend more time investigating all his congressional activities, they would find a lot more to seriously question. A chief example is that he has routinely inserted earmarks for pork spending to make constituents in his district happy. Then he hides behind his votes against the spending bills containing his earmark spending items. But those earmarks remain in those spending bills passed by Congress. Tell me, is that really virtuous behavior? His earmarks increase federal activities and spending. Many have been for projects by the Army Corps of Engineers, many to funnel money to the Texas Department of Transportation (including one for repairs to the Galveston Trolley system), and one for Texas A&M University/Galveston Campus to convert the Texas Clipper for educational purposes; maybe this was the $30 million for the Texas Maritime Academy to refurbish a ship. And then there was the $8 million for the marketing of wild American shrimp and $2.3 million to pay for research into shrimp fishing. This seems like pretty conventional Republican politics. This year Paul has requested about $400 million worth of federal spending for his district - not exactly consistent with Paul's rhetoric on reducing federal spending and taxing. His duty is to inform his constituents about the wrongness of earmarks, not capitulate to their requests.
There is still time for Paul to search his soul and find the courage to either to support use of the Article V convention as the route to achieving deep political reforms that Congress itself will never have the integrity to propose through constitutional amendments, or to step up and make the case for an amendment that would remove the never-used Article V convention option.
Here is some irony: With our thoroughly corrupt and rigged political system Ron Paul has absolutely zero chance of becoming the Republican presidential nominee, regardless of his high level of grassroots support. Odd then that Paul has not supported the one and only route to profoundly changing this awful political system. It is the method our Founders gave us with the Article V convention option. Indeed, his lack of support for using the Article V convention option seems to makes him a part of the political establishment, which is consistent with his recent announcement that if he does not get the Republican nomination he will not run as a third party candidate.
[Joel S. Hirschhorn can be reached through www.delusionaldemocracy.com and is a co-founder of Friends of the Article V Convention at www.foavc.org.]