Here is an excellent summary of Ron Paul’s points last night:
Ron Paul gave perhaps his best debate performance yet this evening in New Hampshire, continuing to offer Republican primary voters a real choice, and continuing to educate Americans (and his fellow candidates) on the benefits of adhering to the Constitutional limits on government. While the other nine candidates continued to endorse the increasingly unpopular Iraq war, and openly considered another preemptive, and possibly nuclear, attack on Iran, Ron Paul stood alone in calling for a return to a sane and just foreign policy.
I do not believe that’s part of the American tradition. …but now we have accepted the principle of preemptive war. We have rejected the Just War Theory of Christianity. And now, tonight, we hear that we’re not even willing to remove from the table a preemptive nuclear strike against a country that has done no harm to us directly, and is no threat to our national security. I mean, we have to come to our senses about this issue of war and preemption… but not to think we can change the world by force of arms and to start wars.
Ron Paul also provided the answer that many Americans want to hear on the question of how much longer American troops should stay in Iraq:
The sooner we come home, the better. If they declare there’s no progress in September, we should come home. It was a mistake to go, so it’s a mistake to stay. If we made the wrong diagnosis, we should change the treatment. So we’re not making progress there and we should come home. The weapons weren’t there and we went in under U.N. resolutions. And our national security was not threatened. We’re more threatened now by staying….
We don’t need to lose 100 men and women every month, more than a thousand per year. And so, if you want it done, you want them [the Iraqis] to take over, you’ve got to give them an incentive. So I think we should immediately stop patrolling the streets. That’s a policeman’s job. It’s not the work of the Army. We’re not fighting a military battle. We’re in a different type of warfare right now. So the sooner we recognize that, the sooner we can make sure that no more Americans will die.
Unlike the previous debates, Ron Paul was also given a chance to show his conservative credentials on immigration, earning some of his strongest applause of the night.
…border security is important. And we talked about amnesty, which I’m positively opposed to. But one thing that has not been mentioned here, which I think is very, very important: If you subsidize something, you get more of it. So we subsidize illegal immigration. We reward it by easy citizenship, either birthright or amnesty. But we force our states and our local communities to pay for the health care, to pay for the education. Why wouldn’t they bring their families?
Another question asked about the general issue of church and state, which gave him yet another chance to explain the benefits of Constitutional federalism in addressing divisive social issues:
Well, I think we should read the First Amendment, where it says, “Congress shall write no law,” and we should write a lot less laws regarding this matter. It shouldn’t be a matter of the president or the Congress. It should be local people, local officials. The states should determine so many of these things that we just don’t need more laws determining religious things or prayer in schools. We should allow people at the local level. That’s what the Constitution tells us. We don’t need somebody in Washington telling us what we can do, because we don’t have perfect knowledge. And that’s the magnificence of our Constitution and our republic. We sort out the difficult problems at local levels, and we don’t have, you know, one-case-fit-all. Because you have a Supreme Court ruling, like on Roe v. Wade, it ruined it for the whole country. And that’s why we shouldn’t have it at a central level.
Dr. Ron Paul prescribed a better understanding of individual rights to yet another potentially divisive social issue, gays serving in the military:
I think the current policy [don’t ask, don’t tell] is a decent policy. And the problem that we have with dealing with this subject is we see people as groups, as they belong to certain groups and that they derive their rights as belonging to groups. We don’t get our rights because we’re gays or women or minorities. We get our rights from our Creator as individuals. So every individual should be treated the same way. So if there is homosexual behavior in the military that is disruptive, it should be dealt with. But if there’s heterosexual sexual behavior that is disruptive, it should be dealt with. So it isn’t the issue of homosexuality. It’s the concept and the understanding of individual rights. If we understood that, we would not be dealing with this very important problem.
Alone in the presidential field in both major parties, Ron Paul defended legitimate free-market profits, while criticizing subsidies and preferential treatment for Big Oil, returning to his principled criticism of the current interventionist foreign policy.
I don’t think the profits is the issue. The profits are okay if they’re legitimately earned in a free market. What I object to are subsidies to big corporations when we subsidize them and give them R&D money. I don’t think that should be that way. They should take it out of the funds that they earn. But also, you can’t discuss energy without discussing our foreign policy. Why do we go to the Middle East? We know the oil is very important about the Middle East and why we’re there. Why did we, our government, help overthrow Mosaddeq in 1953? It had to do with oil. So, our foreign policy is designed to protect our oil interests. The profits, that’s not the problem. It’s the problem that we succumb to the temptation to protect oil interests by literally going out and fighting wars over oil.
If we want to continue to hear such well reasoned and articulate responses in future debates, we should all do our part to help boost Ron Paul’s standings in the national polls. He was once again winning handily in Internet polls, but online support is not enough. Put a bumper sticker on your car. Make a donation. Tell your friends and family members why you are supporting Ron Paul. Join your local Ron Paul group on Meetup.com. Register to vote in the Republican primary in your state. Help to make sure that Ron Paul earns his recognition as a top-tier candidate, one who can’t be excluded from the much more restrictive debates that undoubtedly lie ahead.
Debate transcript source.
Ron Paul highlights on Youtube.