The vast majority of media outlets will no doubt characterize the Florida debate as a slug match between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. But, while Romney and Gingrich duked it out over who was more corrupt and disingenuous, another candidate stood out and actually stated his views on the real issues at hand. That lonely figure was, of course, Ron Paul.
Moderator Brian Williams raised a series of questions on American-Cuban relations, an obvious allegory for Iran. Gingrich and Romney flippantly called for CIA-sponsored regime change, while a bug-eyed Santorum demanded immediate strikes on Iran and Latin American countries like Venezuela (part of his Communist-Jihadist conspiracy theory). They then admitted that current and past sanctions had zero effect on the Castro regime, but advocated for tough action on Cuba anyway.
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Paul later flexed his economic understanding in his predictions of the housing crisis. He explained yet again how the government’s policies kept interest rates artificially low, allowed a select few to make great sums of money in a short time, wiped out the housing market, and forwarded the debt onto the taxpayer through corporate bailouts. Just for contrast, refer back to Romney (funded by Goldman-Sachs) and Gingrich (Freddie-Mac consultant), the banks’ two representatives on stage.
Finally, the candidates were asked who was “conservative enough,” and Ron Paul posed a very important question: How are we defining “conservative?” Paul is no factionalist, as he pointed out the host of war-crazy, big spending neoconservatives within his own party. He instead offered his own definition of “conservative,” a person who believes in smaller government and personal liberty.
He went on to proclaim that the role of government “is not to run a welfare state and to be the policeman of the world” and continued, “How can you be a conservative and cut food stamps, but you won’t cut spending overseas?”
Throughout the night, Ron Paul attracted much applause from the audience, far more than his competition – and with good reason. As yet another debate drew to a close, the differences between Ron Paul and what the GOP has offered become even more apparent. This is not a fight merely between candidates, but between fundamentally different views on the role of government. This is a fight for liberty against the status quo.
Photo Credit: Jayel Aheram