Feb 052012
Authors: Seth Stern

Texas Congressman Ron Paul continues his bid for the presidency, despite an uphill battle against both the media and his own political party. The mainstream media and press, by both design and necessity, have developed the art of vetting candidates into events that appear to be debates. But instead, they serve as one-liner contests of candidates regurgitating talking points on totally different issues.

At one point in American history, candidates would all answer the same question so voters could get an idea of substantive differences between candidates. Eventually the perceived differences between candidates of parties became so minimal, the TV networks adopted a debate format more like “The Dating Game” than anything formally political.

As a result, politicians became less substantive, culminating in the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore who were, in essence, the same person politically as Rage Against the Machine –– so wonderfully highlighted in their video for Testify.

But Ron Paul refuses to be shoehorned into the mold of a just-add-water politician. When someone in the press, Neil Cavuto and Dylan Ratigan excluded, speaks of Dr. Paul, it’s typically riddled with criticisms of contextual extractions of his complicated policies.

The press continues to misidentify his foreign policy as “isolationist,” while the appropriate term is “non-interventionist.” The difference is highlighted with two examples: Switzerland is non-interventionist, North Korea is isolationist.

The difference is primarily how a nation handles its trade and military power. Dr. Paul has advocated making peace with enemies overseas by making them trade partners.

Instead of sanctions, he prefers to move forward in finding a business relationship with all nations and, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, tangling alliances with none. This seems, in our current climate of non-education, like a revolutionary idea sprung forth from the distant past — it’s not.

Instead of moving toward war with China in the 1970s, Nixon opened the doors to trade. China is now our biggest trade partner and debtor by an ever-widening margin, and the primary reason they’ve become a threat is our continued devaluation of that debt, which wouldn’t be necessary if we would simply live within our means.

Dr. Paul’s foreign policy cannot be summarized in a single-phrase talking point in a way the American people understand. As many of you have learned, the American people are not particularly well-educated; this is a problem for a press that doesn’t want to risk confusing the consumers. Thus, instead of the complicated answer his foreign policy necessitates, you’ll hear he’s “isolationist.”

Foreign policy notwithstanding, few of his policy ideas are simple. His lucid argument against the Federal Reserve goes far beyond the space I have available here, but as an Austrian economist, Dr. Paul has been caught on video accurately predicting the unintended consequences of government intervention in the housing market and has explained why the behavior of the Federal Reserve is the bartender pouring shots into the economy.

The press, when given the opportunity, will imply his spoken desire to return to a gold standard is laughable. Why? The fiat currency systems in place today give unlimited printing power to politicians who are concerned with reelection. A politician comes along and says he wants the powers abused by the Federal Reserve put back in Congress’ hands where they have to answer to voters, and he’s labeled as disconnected.

The two-party system is protectionist, this surprises no one, but the press is culpable in this situation. As voter participation rates increase, the levels of involvement have decreased. To be a truly informed voter, you simply cannot rely on the press to accurately apprise you of the candidates and issues when they have a track record of error.

When people start reading about Ron Paul, they’re usually skeptics –– I was. As you get deeper and deeper into his record, you find someone with complicated ideas on complicated issues with complicated explanations. When compared to the modern political environment, the only conclusion is, uh oh.

In a land of simple sound bites and catchy talking points, Ron Paul stands alone as a leader with ideas and understanding of the issues. You won’t, for instance, catch Mitt Romney or the president able to explain why U.S. foreign policy in Iran has been counterproductive and they certainly won’t go all the way back to 1953 when the CIA overthrew the Shah.

Ron Paul? The 76-year-old OB/GYN can provide a lecture from memory on the failed policies of the U.S. in the Middle East, specifically regarding Iran, and the explanation isn’t simple.

The press? They’ll tell you Ron Paul wants Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

S. Jacob Stern expects too much of the American people. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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