Thursday, September 6, 2007

Tough questions for Ron Paul? Bring 'em on

There has been some criticism of the moderators' treatment of Ron Paul during the Sep. 5 GOP debates, but I think they actually did a great job. I was in the audience at the Whitemore center, and for the most part, the moderators asked questions that were already on the minds of many people. For example, when Chris Wallace asked Paul "Are you saying we should take our marching orders from Al Qaeda?", there was a lot of applause in the audience. (But not as much as when Paul replied "We should take our marching orders from the Constitution!". )

So sure, they asked tough questions of Paul, but they asked tough questions of everyone else too. They confronted McCain with his voting against the very tax cuts he praised. They aired a question from someone in the cafe to Giuliani about his divorces. They pounded Romney (unfairly, I thought) about illegal immigratants in the "sanctuary cities" in MA and about his quickly-retracted remark that his sons' working on his campaign was equivalent to serving in the military.

I am impressed with how far we've come. Though they waited a long time before asking him a question, Paul eventually got a good amount of time to talk during the debate. No one now says "all the Republican candidates support the war." Indeed, this morning's Boston Herald coverage of the debate led off with this sentence: "Republican presidential contenders voiced support for the Iraq war last night despite a warning from anti-war candidate Ron Paul ..."

I was sitting next to someone who was apparently very well connected in NH politics, and while he didn't support Paul, he respected him for being so principled. During their post-debate interview with Hannity & Colmes, even several other candidates gave Paul props for his principled approach.

I'm happy with anything except ignoring him. Tough questions? Bring 'em on. As Obi Wan said to Vader, "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."

Paul is one of the most articulate advocates of the principles of libertarianism that I have ever seen. He has an amazing ability to respond lucidly and clearly to even the most biased questions, and he always cuts to the heart of the issue. With every word Paul speaks, he sprinkles a little more holy water on the vampire of the state.