… which is why I respect him.
I don’t agree with him on much besides his certifiably insane views on foreign and military policy. Those I generally share.
And, while I have been reluctant to join the punditocracy’s growing he-can’t-be-nominated consensus on Herman Cain, I do assume that Congressman Paul can’t be the presidential nominee of any party other than the Libertarian Party.
But, as he demonstrated again on Meet the Press, he routinely achieves a level of politically incorrect candor that puts the others to shame. When Meet the Press star David Gregory asked him how he feels about the use of pilotless drones to assassinate individual bad guys in foreign countries, Paul says they are illegal, unconstitutional and asks how we would feel if any other nation arrogated to itself the right to do that in our country. Insane, like I said.
On the domestic side, Paul doesn’t just talk about the need for spending cuts like the others do. He specifies $1 trillion in cuts in the first year of his presidency, including the complete elimination of the Departments of Energy, HUD, Commerce, Interior, and Education (some of the functions would be transferred to other agencies, but most of what they do would simply not be done). When Gregory tries to get him him gag on the specific government functions that would disappear under his plan (all federal aid to keep people from defaulting on their mortgages, all aid to kids paying for college) he doesn’t back down. Federal activities in the housing market are a “distortion of the market,” he says. Removing that distortion will produce a “sharp correction,” but that’s what’s needed to “cleanse” the market.
He also proposes to allow people under 25 to opt out of all the big entitlement programs. He would honor the commitments to those already in the system and pay for the transition with the savings from his truly massive cuts to other programs.
Other candidates claim to be fiscal conservatives and to have big ideas for modifying the big entitlement programs, but they are usually willing to be specific only about the happy parts of their program and often not even on those parts because all those tax cuts raise such troubling questions.
Here is Paul’s “Plan to Restore America.” If other candidates were this straightforward, we could have a real debate.