Some have asked me to list differences between Dr. Paul and Mr. Santorum and why I would argue Mr. Santorum is a better choice for Catholics who take their Catholicism in the public square with the utmost seriousness.
Abortion and funding for Planned Parenthood
First, let's tackle what some consider a really sticky point about Mr. Santorum, namely charges he voted for funding Planned Parenthood. He did not. Political consultants and their push button hit mailers and attack ads want you to think that, but don't believe the hype.
I worked in Congress for one year and in politics for 15. In Congress, unlike many states, you have what are called omnibus spending bills. Let's say there is something in this year's omnibus spending bill you want -- upgrading our fighter jets, defunding to some degree our international contraceptive efforts, funding you were able to secure for crisis preganancy centers, defunding of agricultural subsidies, whatever. In that same bill, there might be one or a dozen things you don't like: Funding for ACORN, funding for promoting global warming propaganda.
Or funding for Planned Parenthood.
You do not get to decide which aspects of the bill you liked or don't like. You have to vote on it, up or down, take it all or leave it all.
It's the same things with many procedural votes, votes that move a bill forward to its final defeat or final passage. Political consultants will use this to say, "Someone voted for funding Planned Parenthood 52,000 times!!!" Now instead of thinking this is a great guy, you're thinking, "What a fraud! What a phony!!!"
Between 1995 and 2006, the year he lost his Senate seat, he had a 0% rating from PP, and the same rating from NARAL between 1996 and '05. Between 1996 and 2004, he received100% ratings from National Right to Life. I couldn't find anything from NRL for his first years as a Congressman.
What about Dr. Paul?
He believes the Constitution makes abortion a state issue, yet he believes “being pro-life is necessary to defend liberty.” How does that make sense? So, let me get this straight: It's a state issue (i.e., it can be legal in Mississippi, but not Alabama), but “being pro-life is necessary to defend liberty.” So in the MS/AL example above, there would be no liberty in MS? Maybe my brain is too pea-brained but I don't see how this squares.
Furthermore, if he believes life begins at conception -- as Dr. Paul claimed on the Friday, March 30, 2012, on the Relevant Radio program, "A Closer Look" with Sheila Liaugminas -- how does it begin at conception in this, that, and the other state, but not states A, B, and C?
Nonetheless, according toProject Vote Smart, Dr. Paul consistently scores comparably well with Mr. Santorum by NRL's assessment. Except, well, he does and he doesn't. According to VoteSmart.org, Santorum never scored below 100% for NRL.
Dr. Paul, however, got a 95% in 1997-98, a 69% in 1999, a 78% in 1999-2000, an 81% in 2001-02, a 73% in 2003-04, a 56% in 2005-06, an 80% in 2007-08, and 100% only in 2009 and 2010.
However, he doesn't do too badly by PP and NARAL and their ilk. In 2010, for instance, Planned Parenthood gave him a 20% rating.
Here are some other ratings over the years:
The highest he ever scored with the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health association was his 63% rating in 2005-06. His highest NARAL score was 75% in 2005 (that was the same time NRL gave him a 56%). Besides the 1995-98 score, Planned Parenthood has never rated him above or below 20%.
1995-1998, PP - 11%, 1995-2003, PP - 20%, 1995-2004, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association - 17%, 1997, NARAL, 3% (but by 1999, NARAL was giving him a 26%, and in 2001, it gave him a 35%).
Judging by the above, who is more pro-life?
If you've listened to the debates, you've heard him say in effect that Muslims hate us and want to attack us because we keep going into their part of the world and won't stay out of their business. It's a paraphrase, but I don't think it's a bad or unjust/unfair one.
If you know anything about radical Islam, however, you know nothing could be further from an accurate assessment of the situation.
Osama bin Laden hated us because of our system, and because in the world view of his ilk, you're either in the world of Islam or the world of war. (See Robert Spencer's blog www.jihadwatch.orgfor more on all things that are problematically and radically Muslim.)
They don't hate us simply because of our beastly pop culture. They don't hate us just because we allow men and women to socialize and mix with one another even if they aren't a near relative or at least chaperoned by one.
Yes, they do hate us for these things, but they mostly hate us because they belong to the most virulent strain of Islam, that of Wahabbiism. Thus to them, we are infidels. It would be an insult to Allah were they to let the status quo remain. They blame us for their being so backward. They blame us for not having been a major force in the world since the 1600s.
They want to make us dhimmisand that we should live in dhimmitude, which effectively translates to just above 3rd class citizenship. They would also make us pay the jizya, a protection racket tax. They call Spain "Andalusia" because that is what it was called when they ruled it prior to 1492, and their intent is to take it back. Indeed, their greatest hope is to restore the caliphate and make it a global caliphate.
Either Ron Paul is ignorant of these things or he knows them and chooses to ignore them. I'll pray that it's the first. It's still problematic because it bespeaks a lack of intellectual curiousity about what really makes our enemies tick. Isn't that essential for a potential Commander in Chief, so he'll know from where the threats will come and understand the options at hand?
He also would close down our military bases in the world. Amongst those would be the ones on the Korean peninsula. That's scary. The North has been telling its people for over 60 years that it's only the US and Japanese imperialists that keep them from overrunning "south Chosun" (what they call South Korea) and extending their "socialist paradise" to all the Han (i.e., Korean people). Their military is technologically inferior (grossly so), but they have far greater manpower reserves, and they have a motivated fighting force that has been brought up since they spoke their first words to want to give their lives fighting for the "Dear" and "Great" and now "Supreme" leaders, the Kim dynasty.
Furthermore, they have developed nuclear warheads. In April, they will launch a "satellite" rocket. It is not a satellite rocket. It's real purpose is to see if they launch a missile that will reach the US. For if a missile can get into the atmosphere, it can reach various points in the continental US. Maybe even your point.
The North Koreans also have vast stores of biological and chemical agents. These are believed to be particularly effective, since they are tested on humans, particularly families with small children, the physically and mentally handicapped, and Christians. This is not propaganda: It's all been documented, including by me. See here and here.
Why is the North problematic and why do we need a presence there? South Korea is a huge trading partner with us. It has all of the Korean peninsula's best real estate in terms of agriculture and various mineral resources, by and large. It has technological and economic giants headquartered in Seoul, the capital.
North Korea has already shown a very ready willingness to export its nuclear, terrorist, and WMD know-how to Iran, Syria, possibly Pakistan, etc. And it has done this while being the poorest, most technologically backward industrialized, literate country in the world.
What do you think will happen if they get their hands on those resources down south?
Finally, there are the humanitarian considerations. I could easily make you throw up right now. All I would have to do is describe the atrocities reported by defectors about life not only for the average free citizen, but for those laboring as slaves in the death camps.
Again, the North Koreans have made it very clear that the only thing that has kept them from pouring over the border and taking over like they almost succeeded in doing back in 1950 is our very strong presence there.
I said "Finally." Actually, one more point on the North Koreans. They are friends with the Iranians. The Iranians are Shiites who hate the Sunni Wahabis, and vice versa. But both consider Western culture something to be defeated and dominated (and in the Middle East there is a saying: "My enemy's enemy is my friend."). Why do we think Iran wants the bomb?
Can you imagine the North Koreans having even greater resources with which to help make the dreams of the Wahabis and Iranian Shiites possible?
Rep. Paul is also fond of saying we have 900 military bases around the world. For him, a base is anything owned or used by the US armed forces.
Here are the actual numbers:
Afghanistan- 6 (hundreds of smaller outposts)
Diego Garcia- 1
El Salvador- 1
Iraq- *formerly* 14 (hundreds of smaller outposts)
Puerto Rico- 1
Saudi Arabia- 5
South Korea- 15
United Kingdom- 6
Final count: 137 overseas U.S. military installations
Maybe many or even most should be closed. That's a different argument for a different time. But let's not inflate numbers to make our case seem more palpable.
Is Rick "conservative enough" when it comes to economics? Look at the following, and I would say he is.
For starters, an analysis came out recently that was crafted by the Heritage Alliance (not to be confused with the Heritage Foundation), a group that has worked on behalf of conservative causes since 1984. It shows Rick is the most conservative candidate running in our primary (WHICH IS THIS TOMORROW TUESDAY, APRIL 3, SO DON'T FORGET!!!)
Wisconsin Republican Primary for President of the United States:
Gingrich, Newt (R) Grade: B
Paul, Ron (R) Grade: C
Romney, Mitt (R) Grade: D
Santorum, Rick (R) Grade: B+
Here are Santorum's lifetime averages as in Congress:
American Conservative Union — 88% (for his last year in Congress, it was 96%)I don't doubt Rep. Paul would score similarly. However, there's one problem: He's a libertarian. Some may remember how his first run for President was as the Libertarian party's nominee in 1988. The Liber in Libertarian has the same root as liberal. So what?
Americans for Tax Reform — 95%
National Tax Limitation Committee — 92%
U.S. Chamber of Commerce — 88%
League of Private Property Voters — 94%
The Church has repeatedly -- since Leo XIII -- condemned libertarianism, which is what it calls "liberalism." Go to papalencyclicals.net and see Rerum Novarum, Quadrigesimo Anno, Octogesima Adveniens, and Centisimus Annus (by Bl. John Paul), not to mention B16's Caritatis in Veritate.
Although it's longer than the others, I think the one that would find the greatest acceptance by most economic conservatives in the US would be Centisimus Annus. At first glance, we may not like the Church's fundamental principles when it comes to the economy or whatever. However, given the never-deviating, consistent message of popes over the last 100+ years, if we're to be faithful Catholics, we ignore those principles at our spiritual peril, no? For otherwise, what makes us any different than the Call to Action types, or the SSPX/Lefebvrists?
In any event, Dr. Paul is an acolyte of Ayn Rand, and you can't find a more unChristian or even anti-Christian take on the duties of both society vis-a-vis the poor, at least not as the Catholic Church has defined them. You can't find anyone outside of Ludwig von Mises, the Austrian philosopher/economist, who is more against the Church's social teaching on economic matters. And yet Rep. Paul thinks she's the bee's knees. He's also on record as being quite fond of von Mises, as well.
Same Sex Unions vs. Traditional Marriage
No one can question Sen. Santorum on this issue. It's one of the reasons he got into the race.
No one can question Rep. Paul on this issue, either. Or can they? Actually, the doctor's stance here is amongst his most problematic for concerned Catholics.
Granted, he voted for DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), and co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Act challenges the same year (the MPA would have removed judicial to DOMA from federal courts’ jurisdiction ... begging the question, even if that's what states want?).
However, this seems very inconsistent. On the one hand, he opposes the federal government redefining marriage. However, he's fine with the federal government definingmarriage. But doesn't he say that is supposed to be a state issue (he does, by the way)? This causes some confusion.
Paul has also taken his libertarian views even further, repeatedly stating that he hopes the state will stop sanctioning marriages altogether.
“I think the government should just be out of it. I think it should be done by the church or private contract, and we shouldn’t have this argument,” he said recently. “Who’s married and who isn’t married. I have my standards but I shouldn’t have to impose my standards on others. Other people have their standards, and they have no right to impose their marriage standards on me.” [Isn't the Mario Cuomo argument given in a conservative guise? I can't see how it's not. Cuomo in his 1984 Notre Dame speech, after all, argued the same thing. Look how good that has been for Catholic politicians wanting to wiggle out of defending life in the womb.]
“But,” he continued, “if we want to have something to say about marriage it should be at the state level, and not at the federal government.”
Dr. Paul's most recent book Liberty Defined has a chapter on marriage. In he write, “In a free society…all voluntary and consensual agreements would be recognized.” ...“There should essentially be no limits to the voluntary definition of marriage.” [Polygamy or polyandry, anyone?]
“Everyone can have his or her own definition of what marriage means, and if an agreement or contract is reached by the participants, it would qualify as a civil contract if desired … Why not tolerate everyone’s definition as long as neither side uses force to impose its views on the other? Problem solved!”
I think the response to this was best put by Ann Coulter, who wrote:
“How are child support and child custody issues determined if the government doesn’t recognize marriage? How about a private company’s health care plans - whom will those cover? Who has legal authority to issue “do not resuscitate” orders to doctors?...Who inherits in the absence of a will? Who is entitled to a person’s Social Security and Medicare benefits? How do you know if you’re divorced and able to remarry?”The homosexual Republican group GOProud released a statement in May 2011 thanking Paul “for rightly making the case that marriage and family laws should be decided at the state level.”
The homosexual magazine The Advocate wrote the following after the May 5, 2011, debate:
Paul was asked whether his libertarian views on such controversial issues — mainly his belief that personal liberties should not be encroached upon by the federal government —could help him attract socially conservative voters. Paul said he believes that states should have the right to legalize gay marriage, marijuana, and prostitution if they choose to do so. (emphasis added)If you think this is a mischaracterization of Paul's position, here is the transcript off of Ron Paul's own website:
Chris Wallace: Congressman Paul, you say that the Federal government should stay out of people’s personal habits, you say marijuana, cocaine, even heroin should be legal if states want to permit it, you feel the same about prostitution and gay marriage. Question sir, why should social conservatives in South Carolina vote for you for president?
Ron Paul: They will if they understand my defense of liberty is the defense of their right to practice their religion, and say their prayers where they want and practice their life. But if you do not protect liberty across the board, it’s the First Amendment type issue, we don’t have a First Amendment so that we can talk about the weather, we have the First Amendment so we can say very controversial things. So for people to say that, “yes we have our religious beliefs protected” but people who want to follow something else or a controversial religion, you can’t do this, if you have the inconsistency then you’re really not defending liberty, but there are strict rules on freedom of choice of this sort, because you can’t hurt other people, you can’t defame other people. But yes, you have a right to do things that are very controversial, if not you’re going to end up with government is going to tell us what we can eat and drink and what ever (sic).
It’s amazing that we want freedom to pick our future in a spiritual way but not when it comes to our personal habits.
Chris Wallace: But Senator (sic), are you suggesting that heroin and prostitution are an exercise of liberty.
Ron Paul: Well, I probably never used those words, you put those words some place but yes in essence if I leave it to the states it’s going to be up to the states, up until this past century for over a hundred years they were legal, what you’re referring is “You know what? If we legalize Heroin tomorrow, everybody is going to use Heroin,” how many people here would use Heroin if it was legal, I bet nobody would put the hand “Oh yeah, I need the government to take care of me,” I don’t want to use Heroin so I need these laws.”
Vis-a-vis heroin, I'm sorry, but in my judgment, this is just naive. The Catholic Church has long recognized that when something has the appearance of legality, people translate that in varying ways as "acceptable." Look at how many people support legalized abortion because it is "settled law ever since Roe v. Wade." When something is illegal, it's less likely to be accepted. Look at school Bible study groups or saying the "Our Father" at football games.
Similarly, were heroin legal and people tempted to try it knowing that they couldn't be busted ... well, if you've heard of things heroin addicts do to get their next fix (including murder, burgle, and steal), it's not something with which we should want to experiment, I would think.
As for marriage, however, we can’t have 50 marriage laws.
The homosexual agenda
While he opposed federal so-called “hate crimes” legislation and criticized the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case for overriding state anti-sodomy laws, he voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after previously supporting the policy.
"Well, like I said, everybody has the same rights as everybody else, so homosexuals in the military isn't a problem. It's only if they're doing things they shouldn't be, if they're disruptive. But there's ... men and women getting into trouble with each other too. And there's a lot more heterosexuals in the military, so logically they're causing more trouble than gays. So yes, you just have the same rules for everybody and treat them all the same."
These are the basic reasons I would encourage my serious Catholic friends to not support Ron Paul in tomorrow's primary election here and in Maryland or anywhere his name happens to appear on the ballot in this presidential primary season. I'm sorry I didn't have time to look up or insert the relevant sections from Scripture or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Thanks for your attention if you've gotten this far.
Have a great Holy Week.