Ron Paul Reality Check

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 was a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association; he has authored five nonfiction books, including Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. Read other articles by Joel.

4 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. Darryl Schmitz said on October 29th, 2007 at 5:47am #

    You’re right, the entire Constitution is important. We must appear to the Iraquis to be such hypocrites that we have been encouraging them to abide by a constitutional government when we won’t even abide by our own.
    I think Dr. Paul’s “15 minutes of fame” are actually going to develop into at least 4 years of fame – a term as president of the United States. Electing him will send a immensely powerful message to Congress and special interests: the American public is tired of corruption and the wasteful political war between the left and right.

  2. AJ Nasreddin said on October 29th, 2007 at 10:36am #

    You think it’s just the Iraqis who think America is hypocritical? You should hear what people are saying when America calls itself the Leader of the Free World!

    Bush makes me embarrassed to be American. Whenever I go to some diplomatic get-together or have to deal with people from other countries (especially the Europeans), my introduction as an American gets met with silence or something like “Oh, I’m sorry about that.” Not like the smiles I got while Clinton was in office!

  3. kikz said on October 29th, 2007 at 11:24am #

    i don’t agree w/hirschhorn’s assessment that RP’s seeming neclect of championing an Article V Convention as cowardly… v8foreheadschmack for hirshy!

    no doubt, constitutional adherence is RP’s banner, although quite possibly he has been advised to limit his message, as the majority of j.q. public can’t even remember when 9/11 occurred.

    if requirement/procedure, in calling for a convention are existent…..
    then if constitut. adherence is once again a given, wouldn’t the situation take care of itself, irrespective of RP’s seeming neglect in it’s mention?

    i’m no constitutional scholar… so anyone in the know…
    do englighten us.

    to the earmark issue…
    i agree that earmarked funds should end, they are an absolute black hole for taxpayer monies.

    but, the piddly amounts hirschhorn ascribes to RP, are negligible in comparison to most if not all. micenutz.

  4. hp said on October 30th, 2007 at 1:55pm #

    Anyone who thinks Ron Paul has a chance to become president is sadly mistaken, at best.
    He’ll be whacked quicker than you can say Paul Wellstone.
    He’s already being avoided by the msm and he hasn’t even uttered a bad word about the phony-baloney parasite democracy, yet. That alone is a death wish.
    I mean, it’s so obvious that for saying just one thing, all troops home, he’ll be “suicided.”