Thinking About Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich

21 Aug
Ron Paul

Ron Paul


I have seen the posts of friends on Facebook bemoaning the fact that Ron Paul is not getting much media attention, given his fervent fan base. And while I agree with those who say that he is not being covered because he doesn’t have a chance of winning the Republican nomination, I also believe that Ron Paul brings a perspective to the national conversation that is worth hearing. I think he and left-wing firebrand Dennis Kucinich are very similar. They both speak their minds consistently, with no regard to how it will play in the national media. And neither man has the slightest chance of winning national office.

Dennis Kucinich was one of the last Democratic Representatives to sign on to the healthcare reform bill. He was unwilling until the last moment to support the signature legislative achievement of the Democratic President because the plan was not what he wanted- single payer health care. I know that many on the left applaud him for his deep convictions, but he is someone who always proposes the noble idea and yet has very few legislative achievements to his name. I looked into it, and while I have found examples of his convictions in his dissenting votes against the Patriot Act and the Iraq War resolution, he has achieved very little.

Interestingly, he and Ron Paul were the only Congressmen to vote no on the Rothman-Kirk resolution, which called on the UN to condemn Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his statements. So the two mavericks coincide in some areas. Ron Paul has a similar track record of infuriating his Republican colleagues by frequently voting against his party. He has presented a host of bills, most of which do not make it out of committee, such as abolishing the income tax or the Federal Reserve; this year he has co-sponsored a bill with Barney Frank to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.  Paul garners much affection among his admirers for voicing opposition to a muscular foreign policy and promoting a smaller government. Yet I cannot help but look at the records of these two men and see two mouthpieces who have accomplished little.

Perhaps my resistance to posturing that leads nowhere is one reason why I am still a strong Obama supporter. I know that he has been criticized vocally on both the left and the right for not doing things as they would like. But he has an incredibly strong record of achievement for just two, almost three years into his presidency. The website What the Fuck Has Obama Done So Far provides a handy shortcut to listing all of his accomplishments to date. Healthcare reform, financial regulation, troop withdrawals from Iraq, and many more achievements which mostly required, yes, COMPROMISE. The ugly leadup to passage of the healthcare reform bill was ugly, but at least the President left things in the hands of Congress. I admire politicians who are savvy enough to do what it takes to achieve a track record of accomplishment, leaving the system in better shape and improving the lives of ordinary people, even in just small ways. So Congressmen Paul and Kucinich can lead their followers as much as they’d like. I’ll take a doer, thank you very much.

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