US Politics - 2008 Election

Ron Paul and other False Change Agents

By Joel S. Hirschhorn
Published January 17, 2008

(Editor's Note: Raise the Hammer occasionally publishes Joel S. Hirschhorn's non-partisan political commentary about the US for those RTH readers who are interested in following US politics. -Ed.)

The good news is the huge pent up public demand for political change in the United States. The bad news is that presidential candidates have made a mockery of the concept of change while ignoring true political reforms.

Missing are details about fixing the corrupt, dysfunctional political system and restoring balance among the three branches of government and between the states and the federal government.

So what kind of change do people want? The Wall Street Journal-NBC News survey last month of both Democrats and Republicans found 24 percent of voters favor "small adjustments" in America, 29 percent want "moderate corrections," but 46 percent thankfully seek "major reforms" and a "brand-new" approach.

When people rally behind false change agents, something worse than being disappointed and having their hopes killed happens: the national energy for real change is wasted.

In the end, false change agents protect the status quo political establishment. Hope is replaced by despair for disaffected anti-establishment masses.

Ron Paul Cultists

The worst false change agent is Ron Paul. An early sign of trouble was that Paul supporters seemed to worship him as if he is the long-awaited savior for America, akin to one of our Founding Fathers.

In their writing and behavior, they seem like members of a cult, not thoughtful political activists open to new information.

They don't appreciate the need to have disagreements without being disagreeable. Though their hero speaks of persuasion, his supporters express obnoxious in-your-face anger, disparagement, and intimidation. They show disdain for others that want major political change but do not support Paul.

For years before he became a Republican presidential candidate, I had admired Paul for his maverick behavior in Congress and had a very pleasant meeting with him.

But I had doubts about most of his policy goals, and his use of pork spending earmarks to get billions of dollars for his district was troubling. Paul remains a change talker, not a change agent.

No Detailed Plans

The more I examined what he wanted to do as president the more he looked like the emperor with no clothes. He never produced detailed plans on how he would use new legislation, presidential actions or constitutional amendments.

This is especially important for his drastic changes, such as eliminating much of the federal government and putting the country's currency back on the gold standard.

His supporters never seem to demand details. Paul and his supporters exhibit therapeutic activism: activism that makes them feel good but lacks details necessary to convince others.

Yes, I have advocated a Second American Revolution and Paul's supporters also want a revolution. But a revolution requires leaders that can communicate so effectively with diverse Americans that massive public support results.

Paul and his supporters give freedom their highest priority, but do not welcome the exercise of freedom by Americans to reject their beliefs.

As Gary Wood, a Paul supporter correctly observed:

You will create more damage to our cause than good if you continue to spew hatred and poisonous venom rather than reason and kindness. Threats and nasty vile hatred will not spread our message; only detract from the importance of liberty and freedom.

Article V Missing From Paul's Constitution

Paul, the professed champion of the US Constitution, brings it up in virtually every public statement and claims to believe in a strict reading of it. But he refuses to honor what is in Article V: the option the Founders gave us to have state delegates in a convention consider proposals for constitutional amendments.

The one and only numeric requirement in Article V has been more than satisfied, as explained by Friends of an Article V Convention. Yet Paul has not demanded that members of Congress obey Article V and their oath of office to obey the Constitution. This is no trivial matter.

You would think he would honor the purpose of the Article V convention option: a way to circumvent an ineffective federal government and restore balance between it and the states.

Paul should use his candidacy to make a public commitment to get the nation's first Article V convention. That would be revolutionary.

Two Party Stranglehold

Nor has Paul forcefully criticized the two-party stranglehold on the political system, despite once losing as a Libertarian Party presidential candidate pushing the same policy ideas.

Nor has he clamored for the impeachment of George W. Bush, whose foreign policies contradict Paul's isolationist beliefs.

There's no reason for Paul to be concerned about Bush supporters: only 4 percent of Republicans support Paul. Citizens in Iowa, Wyoming, New Hampshire (a libertarian stronghold), and now Michigan have not succumbed to Paul's demonology. Despite having considerable money, Paul has won no delegates.

Other Candidates

Whether other candidates are true reformers remains doubtful. Obama's glib talk of more bipartisanship smacks of protecting the status quo political establishment.

Huckabee's religiosity and Romney's automaton personality are plain frightening, as are McCain's and Giuliani's bellicose beliefs.

Edwards looks like the real thing, but like Kucinich has been outspent by Obama and the ever-phony Clinton, whose first change priority is moving back into the White House.

Like others, I want Mike Bloomberg to enter the race as an independent candidate, if only to mount a serious attack on the two-party stranglehold on our political system.

(Ron Paul supporters can send their usual hate mail to

Joel S. Hirschhorn, Ph.D., is the author of Sprawl Kills - How Blandburbs Steal Your Time, Health, and Money. He can be reached through his website: Check out Joel's new book at


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By Scott (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2008 at 14:46:43

By stereotyping all of Ron Paul's supporters the way you do, you lose your credibility.

I have an understanding of the state of the US economy and the causes thereof that is likely different than yours. Ron Paul is the only candidate I hear who is speaking to these issues as I see them. Most other candidates are promoting ideas that will only accellerate our path toward a depression. Any candidate who ignores the issues of our monetary system and thus the root causes of the bubbles and busts is not viable in my eyes. Any candidate who does not acknowledge the major issues of fractional reserve banking and of privately-held central banks is a false change agent, from where I stand. It is unfortunate that you allow the fact that you disagree with me to cloud your judgement to the point that you label all of a candidates supporters as "cultists". I appreciate a debate on the issues, but not these kinds of below the belt attacks.

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By Lynn (registered) | Posted January 17, 2008 at 14:53:03

Yours is the first article I've seen that takes a negative view of Ron Paul without resorting to ad hominem attacks. I intend to look into your reasons why he's not a good candidate for change because, not in spite of, the fact that I support Ron Paul. I don't want to support him blindly. So far, my reasons for supporting him are:

I agree with most, if not all, of his ideas. That's the main reason why most people support a candidate, except for the possibility of supporting a person because of race or gender.

I have seen his voting record, and it supports his campaign platform. Let's face it--most candidates would tell us anything we want to hear in order to get elected. Ron Paul has been called many things, but inconsistent isn't one of them.

He tells the truth. I looked Ron Paul up on, a non-partisan, non-profit site that aims to provide facts about statements that candidates have made, to help voters see when they are using untrue statements to their advantage. His name is conspicuously missing, except where it is noted that he took part in one debate or another. I couldn't believe that they had nothing on him, so I checked every article with his name. Not one distortion, half-truth, or bold-faced lie. Every other candidate had some fault associated with his or her campaign.

So what's a voter to do? If I really want change, do I go with the people who just tell me they will change things, or do I go with the only one who does what he says he will do and tells the truth?

If you know someone better, by all means, let me know who it is--as I said, I really do want to be an informed voter who makes the best choice.

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By badmedia (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2008 at 15:03:28

lol, I love the spam tester. 2 thumbs up on it. Bit of a basic IQ tester built in.

But I have to disagree, Ron Paul is the only one who stands for change. Yep, I was pretty much waiting for him, and have been for years. I don't deny that for a second. I don't belong to any cult, but I have been researching things like the constitution and how government has supposed to operate. So when I seen Ron Paul, no doubt it was like a dream come true. Don't deny it, I am excited to have him in the race.

But I'd love to see better options if we could get them. They just aren't there. Doesn't exist. I'd love to vote for the better of 2 goods, instead of the better of evils, but it takes more than 1 good candidate for that to be possible.

No doubt on the democrat side you have it pegged, Dennis and Edwards are the 2 best they have to offer. I disagree with Dennis on healthcare, I think it's better done on local levels. But I love that he understands the constitution enough to see how to do it the right way.

No detailed plans is wrong, he plans to follow the constitution. It's all laid out right there for you to see, and has been for 200 years. The change he wants is that we actually follow it as intended, not with all these big government loop holes that serve special interests. He understands to get the weeds out, you gotta get them at the root. And that root is from not following the constitution.

Article V at this point is a bit dangerous I fear. While I'd love to envision the delegates going over our civil rights and restoring the constitution, considering the 2 party stranglehold you mention I can just as easily see many bad things coming out of it. When people actually understand the constitution, then I'm all for it. As most people see it as a document of limited rights, instead of limited government I just can't be in favor of it.

The 2 party system is actually a 1 party system. Mitt Romney and Rudy are both confessed "liberals" - hijacked word honestly, statist is more accurate. 2 sides of the same coin, both so called parties want control of the issues, they fight for it viciously. But they really only disagree on how to control it, not on who should control it.

As for Bloomberg, I fail to see how electing another CEO of a corporation is going to help break the stranglehold corporations have on this country.

Have a nice day, and btw no need to call or make fun of people over who they support. For someone asking for change, you'd think you'd want to move past that kind of stuff.

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By ShawnBoy (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2008 at 15:36:02

I am not quite sure what country this web-site (and author) are from, but I am guessing Canada? In any event, it does not matter where you are from, but more importantly that you are not from here. And for that I am thankful because it gives me the opportunity as an American to read view points of people from other countries. However, while you may have a a pretty good idea of what is going on over here and how our political system works, I believe there are some things you may be unaware of. You are correct about many RP supporters, many do get over aggressive and in doing so become so caught up in emotion that they become irrational. And i understand that many have a hard time if someone does not immediately agree with them, it can make debate a futile exercise. I am not sure if you realize the demographics of this group, though. I would say RP has about a diverse a group of supporters you can get, from age, to gender, to race to religion to ethnicity to sexual orientation. But, I would have to say the majority of his support comes from the 18 to 32 year old group, and predominantly white males (I have no statistics to support this, just an observation I have made as an avid RP supporter). I am a 27 yr old white male myself. Hard working, intelligent, decent citizen. I represent the quint-essential American male, I would say. I have never before really took a pro-active role in government until now. I have, however, noticed over the past 2 elections (of which I voted in neither b/c I did not feel it mattered) that neither candidate really seemed different, and I would not buy a car from them, let alone their garbage of empty presidential promises. I had also felt that corruption (as you pointed out already) is so deeply implanted within our system, and for such a long time yet over such a gradual period, that it is damn near impossible to anything about it save for revolt against our government much as we did in the late 1700's.

Now, many Americans have felt a hopelessness over the past few decades. Which brings us to RP. You may not agree with his ideas, but I do believe he does not just propose plans just to propose them, I believe he does have plans to support these ideas. It seems to me like you are focusing on the specifics, like how will he actually get a bill passed in Congress. The answer is he probably won't or can't.

And I think this is where you cannot fully appreciate the seriousness of the conditions over here. NOBODY can really do anything, nothing will happen quick. My average fellow countryman has regressed socially in my opinion. The mass of our people no longer think for themselves, they allow our media to basically make up their minds for them. ABC, FOX, CBS, NBC and CNN all have their favorites, and portray these candidates in a positive light. RP does not get mentioned very often, and when he does, it always that he is a racist, or that he has no shot.

I also think you failed to realize that Americans are not really rooting for RP himself as much as what he stands for. He stands for the fact that Americans, regardless of what our government or the rest of the world thinks, is not entirely lost. We are sick of corruptness, we are sick of lies from our leaders, we are sick of our rights and privacy being stripped from us, and we are sick of the people that have been trying to "sell" us a vote, instead of trying to improve our country.

For you to say that RP is the "worst agent of change" in this elections just proves that you really have no idea how low this country has sunk. Supporting RP is supporting a change of mindset for our country. A vote for RP is the ONLY way our voices will actually be heard by the government. Then, we have a lot of house cleaning to do in Congress. There is a lot of work to do over here, and it seems like RP might be the first step.........

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By Help Me (anonymous) | Posted January 17, 2008 at 15:41:35

You are putting the blame in the wrong place here. The fault is not Paul's, and for you to expect one person to change everything that is wrong with America overnight is ridiculous. The fault lies squarely with the slumbering American population which has dozed their way into a semi-dictatorship for the past few election cycles.

If you are paying as close attention as you would have your readers believe, you may have noticed that the Primary elections are reporting "record breaking numbers of voters turning out for a primary election".

Americans are awake now and demanding big changes. American citizens must do their part by cleaning out the corrupt House and Senate as well as the corrupt White House. We have a lot to do.

If Bloomberg enters, great. he might have just enough cash to buy his way into one or two debates. Looks as though Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC)is trying to draft Lou Dobbs as a candidate. Wonderful. The more, the merrier.

For once I feel that there is somewhat of a choice rather then the old "lesser of two evils" vote that I have been presented with all of my voting life. Some really good candidates have left the race because they cannot afford to go on. That is something that needs to be changed in the election process.

I am sick of corporate cookie cutter candidates. Have you voted routinely in every election? Were you always happy with the choices presented?

Rather then criticize everyone and everything, get up and go to work to change something. Maybe it will change your perspective.

This petty sniping and whining about everybody and everything is not too productive. Your posting history shows that you are pretty squarely in the Cult of the Anti-Pauls. Fine. We get it. The prominent "Ron Paul" in the title gets you some hits and feeds your ego.

So go to work to help your candidate of choice rather then tearing down others. Boots on the ground are always needed. Your negativity is ruining my joy in seeing people taking part again.

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By websmith (registered) - website | Posted January 17, 2008 at 15:41:58

We are not delusional. We know that Ron Paul will not be able to change everything he would like to.

We also know that we elected a Democratic Congress to end the war and instead of ending it, they have used its funding to get their own pet projects funded.

We know that a Senator from California helped in the writing of the so called Patriot Act. We know that the same Senator allocated millions in defense contracts to her husband's companies. We know that the Majority Leader has managed to get her own husband a multi-million dollar contract.

We know that we have elected Republican Presidents to limit government and government spending only to see the government grow larger and the spending increase.

We know that the government has spent our social security money and is now trying to tell us that this is the reason for the spiraling debt. We know that we have been taxed for public health care and are now being told this is another reason for the spiraling debt.

We know that we claim to be allies of Israel but more of our tax money is given to the Arab countries with the restriction that it be given back to the our military industrial complex. We know that none of these countries need the money.

We know that the Constitution prohibited tax on labor, fiat money, and control and printing of the country's currency by anyone other than the federal government. Yet, we know that all of these things have come to be.

We know that the framers and past Presidents have warned us about a centralized bank, the industrial military complex, and entangling alliances. Yet, we also know that all of these things have come to be.

We know that the government has intentionally not enforced immigration laws in order to provide cheap labor and have us subsidize it through our tax paid for social infrastructure. We know that this cheap labor is not so cheap.

We know that Ron Paul has voted against all of these things while being scoffed at by his fellow legislators. We know that none of the other candidates have.

We know that we are no longer represented and that the public servants we elect have changed into a class of rulers that ignore the wishes of the people.

We don't expect Ron to be able to change all of these things overnight but we know he will try. Most of all, we know he will represent us as our President and none of the other candidates will.

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By ron (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2008 at 22:15:10

You claim that Ron Paul has no detailed plans for how he would accomplish his goals. This is a curious comment since he is on record stating exactly what he can do with Presidential powers (end the war, bring troops home, restore habeous corpus, reverse previous executive orders, and pardon non-violent drug offenders). Other goals (eliminating entire departments) can only be done with the approval of Congress, but if the American people voted him into office he would have a lot of popular support (and therefore political clout)to get it done.
As to your claim that he has not denounced the two party you ever listen to what he says? He says America likes to talk about spreading democracy, but we don't practice it very well, and that the laws are very unfair to third parties. Pretty good denunciation of the two party system, if you ask me.

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By Guy (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2008 at 11:18:41

Listen, the person who wrote this has set it up to where the supporters of Ron become mad, purposely. He or she first attacks Ron and says he has no idea what to do, then says he is basically a good guy, then says he has no good ideas. This person, I believe, is just trying to get RP supporters pissed or has very little knowledge on RP and what he is offering!

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