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Ron Paul at Cornell

Ron Paul at Cornell

Last night, Ron Paul delivered a speech to over 4,000 people at Cornell’s Lynah Rink. Naturally, I was part of the audience – it’s not every day that a presidential candidate comes to Cornell and it’s even rarer that I don’t have any homework in the evening.

I have seen Ron Paul speak on several occasions, primarily at CPACs and the like. While I generally like his criticisms of the government (calling for the repeal of prohibition, sound monetary policy, holding politicians accountable, etc.) I’ve identified two things that make  Ron Paul difficult to agree with while he gives a speech:

  • Cadence. I can’t type the intonation of a Ron Paul speech, but I can certainly link a video to one and ask you to pay attention to the way his voice rises and falls in the course of every sentence. His delivery looks and feels almost physically taxing.
  • Ambiguity. Phrases you will only hear in a Ron Paul speech include: “Or whatever!” and “well, you know.” Granted, this is almost certainly the by-product of Ron Paul’s off-the-cuff style rather than a deficit of knowledge or willingness to get into specifics, but the use of sweeping generalizations cripple Paul’s points all too often. With respect to his points on civil liberties, I think more names and anecdotes would breathe life to Paul’s insistence that the FBI and CIA infringe on the comforts and rights of innocent persons.

I like Ron Paul. I generally agree with his ideas and I think he does a very important service to public discourse in the US. However, time and time again, I cringe when I hear him in person.

Historically, I’ve found it endearing that Paul comes off as “one of us” – those who don’t (and shouldn’t) speak publicly for a living. I suspect many people like his off-the-cuff style and libertarian shorthand, otherwise we probably wouldn’t know Ron Paul’s name. But, last night, this sense faded with the realization that this sense of endearment only extends to a receptive libertarian chorus; not a general public.


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Yes, well put, Kathleen. If I just listen to his message, I often agree with him but if I listen to everything, he sounds like the crazy uncle in the attic!

    JimMtnViewCaUSA in reply to JoAnne. | April 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    You know, I’ve never heard Ron Paul speak. I’ve only ever heard that he is “nutty” or the “crazy uncle in the attic”.
    Of course, the same MSM which repeats these phrases endlessly seems to be uncomfortable with any voices in the marketplaces of ideas which differ from their own views. The thought of some ordinary American citizen speaking up or leading seems to be anathema to them (cf Sarah Palin).

      punfundit in reply to JimMtnViewCaUSA. | April 21, 2012 at 12:50 am

      Of course you’ve heard him speak, Jim. There’s practically no way you couldn’t have heard him speak. He’s been all over the broadcast media and the internet. So, yeah, I’m betting a nice shiny nickel you’ve heard him speak. Unless you’re deaf.

      Anyway, I’ve heard him speak. And while I appreciate the general libertarianism in his platform, the conspiracy kook pandering makes me physically angry. I cannot support him. I will not support him. But if it makes you feel any better, I will not support Romney either.

      Go Operation Counterweight.

The more you know Paul, the more “nut-ball” comes to mind…

he has a lot of good ideas and has brought a lot to the table. would like him to be in cabinet, one of the few I think would return land to the states.
for personal reasons I will never vote for him though.

I like having his voice around. He gets libertarian ideas into the discussion, and that’s a good thing IMO. He’s an excellent counterforce to a lot of things, and expands the conversation. I don’t want him to shut up and go away. I just don’t want him as president.

    Ragspierre in reply to WMCB. | April 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    “I don’t want him to shut up and go away. I just don’t want him as president.”

    I agree with that. I also don’t want him associated with Conservatives, which is his false-flag operation.

    I think it good to hear people out, and recognize what merit they may have, as a general proposition.

      Browndog in reply to Ragspierre. | April 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      Remember a few months ago, the MSM started tagging him as “The Father of the Tea Party”

      Ever see a dog, trying to figure out what’s being said, cock his head back and forth?

      That was me.

I’ve found that Paul sounds alarmingly like Noam Chomsky not only in tone and cadence but in the sweeping statements presented as unquestioned assumptions.

Ron Paul is an anti-American, anti-Semitic nut job and he should have been expelled from the Republican Party the first time he said America had 9/11 coming. It never ceases to AMAZE me how gullible and naive conservatives are when it comes to simple character judgments.

You like Ron Paul? You find Ron Paul endearing? You think he does an important service to discourse in this country? Shame on you.

The real danger of Ron Paul is not so much himself, but his “followers”.

Aptly named “Paultards”…in my opinion.

Wierd, isn’t it–that they bear a striking resemblance to #OWS?

Try to have a conversation with one–it’s a riot.

I used to think Paul was the smartest man in America when it came to monetary policy, but a little “skewed” in everything else.

The more I read on him, the more I agree with Jaynie.

The long and short-

I think he’s nuts.

I think his followers are unstable.

That’s what I think.

Laup Nor is an outstanding argument for Texas to loosen its laws on involuntary commitment for the mentally ill.

his unhinged anti-Semitic behavior should have resulted in his being disowned by the GOP years ago.

the only reason the MFM is treating him as a valid candidate for President is to help in their campaign to get the SCOAMF reelected.

    Ragspierre in reply to redc1c4. | April 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Dude! Some of us are quite happy with the Texas laws on involuntary commitment.

    I personally have a vested interest…

Uncle Samuel | April 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm

If you mean by ‘prohibition’ making drugs, sex-trafficking and porn, including child porn legal – I heartily disagree.

Making the streets safe for drug dealers is like turning the US over to the cartels now beheading people and gunning down all who stand in their way in Mexico.

Making the airways and sidewalks safe for sex trafficking is a horrible idea.

I do not want my grandchildren to have to wade through traffickers to get to the school bus or in a shopping mall.

Porn, promiscuity, pedophilia, gambling, drugs, alcohol, tobacco are addictive and destructive. They should be treated as such…decisions about law and policy made because of evidence and facts, not agenda and interest group pressures.

We have given place to the devil way too much already.

    Ragspierre in reply to Uncle Samuel. | April 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I think sometimes you are nuts, too, Unc.

    I say this over my cigar and Friday afternoon Scotch.

    Prohibition was SUCH a sterling success, as has been the “war” on drugs.


      Uncle Samuel in reply to Ragspierre. | April 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      Dear Rags, ol buddy,

      Better get yourself an AK47 and a bullet-proof vest for that trip to the liquor store or any ATM, then if Ron Paul is elected and all vices and drug are legalized.

      Also plan to put a lot of money aside in a trust fund for treatment for your grandkids and great grandkids for addictions to substances and behaviors like porn/drug/gambling/alcohol/tobacco/etc.. All addictions are deadly as rattlesnakes, act like thieves and slave-masters. Once hooked, always hooked.

        Uncle Samuel in reply to Uncle Samuel. | April 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm

        I grew up in a home full of addicts and users and abusers and their excusers and enablers.
        I have worked in Celebrate Recovery and healing prayer ministries with addicted and traumatized people whose parents were addicted.

        Addicts are not safe people whatever their ‘poison.’ They are abusers and predators who value their gratification above other people’s human rights, their childrens’ basic needs and safety.

        A policy of ‘laizzez fair with addictive substances and behaviors is a recipe for total societal destruction and chaos…

        and Ron Paul is too silly and giddy to realize it. He’s a theorist, not a realist or a pragmatist.

        Reality is the devastating trauma many human beings have experienced at the hands of inebriated ‘adults’ whether alcoholics, druggies, violent, abusers, pedophile priests, coaches, teachers, porn makers and users, violent young addicts and gangs running wild on the streets.

        If Ron Paul has his way, there won’t be many safe streets, homes, adults, laws or punishment, imprisonment or rehabilitation programs.

        There will be a diminished, increasingly impaired workforce, economic repurcussions. Right now, nearly half the US population is addicted to a substance or behavior. You can’t reason with addicts and they don’t make safe friends or parents. But they reproduce like rabbits whether by sex or dealing or sharing their substances.

          Ragspierre in reply to Uncle Samuel. | April 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

          Look, Unc, I feel for you. And this explains a lot about your kink over prohibition.


          1. Paul CANNOT be elected

          2. Prohibition is not the answer

          3. A lot of things you fear are…well…loopy

          4. A LOT of things you fret about are NOT “addictive”, and even of those that are, the best approach is to teach people and trust them.


        bobby b in reply to Uncle Samuel. | April 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm

        1. Drug addicts tend to be dangerous persons only when they can’t easily get their drugs. People don’t rob and kill in order to get money to buy free or cheap stuff.

        2. Having said that, a decision to legalize or decriminalize drug use would lead to a vastly expanded unemployable population, giving us a choice between expanding welfare or experiencing an explosion in begging and homelessness.

        3. Ron Paul can never, ever be elected president. His ideas and intellect might well be wonderful for us in that office, but his voice – oh, god, that voice – high-pitched, whiny – just imagine him making some important international speech. It just wouldn’t work.

Dr. Paul does have a huge following and his supporters are just whack-o.

There is no point to argue with any of them when they are on the internet. Dr. Paul is the only conservative running for President. They plan to have a huge presence at the Republican Convention.

Ever wonder why nobody on the left…er….the media…ever calls for Paul to drop out?

If you have the time, you could Google and find someone from network/cable calling for every single one of the republican candidates to withdraw, with the exception of Paul and Romney.

    Todd O in reply to Browndog. | April 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    They know calls for Dr. Paul to quit the race would do no good. He has money, avid supporters and incentive to stay in.

NC Mountain Girl | April 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I try to avoid criticizing Paul’s supporters on strategic grounds. A healthy percentage of them are young.
When I was that age my crazy uncle seemed pretty cool while the rest of the adults in the family seemed hopelessly square.

1. The Left’s claims about Paul’s ties to white supremacists seem more substantial than their usual scream of raaaaacist at every conservative.

2. While I agree the guy is a whacko or maybe worse, he has value as long as he’s kept on the fringe. Occasionally—occasionally—society is crazy and the whackos are correct (or ahead of the rest of us). Cf the emperor’s new clothes.

3. As for the media going easy on Paul: I suspect they’re hoping for a strong Paulian presence at the convention, whereupon they’ll denounce him as a Nazi, and damn the rest of the party by association. Hopefully the GOP is aware of the threat.

As one of the “crazy” Ron Paul supporters, I understand both of the poster’s complaints. I wish he was more polished and more explanatory so he would be better at delivering the message.

I am also convinced he was and is the only non-RINO Republican running (Roemer and Johnson maybe too?). Who else is willing to cut as much and say so beforehand? That is the hallmark of a real conservative: be on record as what should be cut and honestly attempt to do so.

And no I am not crazy and neither is Dr. Paul. All this ad hominem posted here is silly. Dr. Paul IS clearly the godfather of the Tea Party, if not its progenitor. He is correct about our unsustainably expensive, risky and deadly foreign policy.

His admittedly slim chances are being reduced to near zero by the GOP establishment cheaters in ME, AK, and ND, clearly RINOs themselves.

Our executive has become too powerful. Subversive and clandestine acts of war, signing statements, executive orders, suspension of habeus corpus, secret prisons, executive assassination orders on citizens abroad,; it’s all nuts. We need to restore some balance to the office of President.

    Browndog in reply to Todd O. | April 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I love how you guys address him as “Dr. Paul”…first and foremost-

    Since he hasn’t been a practicing physician in decades-

    As to your (some of) last paragraph–many, many others agree with the sediment….and aren’t nuts.

    I’ll leave it at that.

Ron Paul is, at this point, irrelevant. It’s highly unlikely that he will get enough delegates to influence the Republican convention, much less be nominated. He’s not running for re-election to Congress. He’ll be seventy-seven years old come August. Like it or not, he’s irrelevant.

In some ways, he’s always been irrelevant. He’s been in Congress for more than twenty years. He’s been in Congress continuously since January 1997. During that time, he has sponsored 464 bills. One has passed – quite a trivial, non-controversial one.

His record of getting legislation through Congress is one very good non-ideological reason for thinking that he wouldn’t be a very good President.

BannedbytheGuardian | April 20, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Every House of Reps in the western world has a few loons. George Galloway just got back in the UK.

I think the appropriate song is Galveston Oh Galveston … ( his electorate ? Please correct me if I am wrong – I don’t really know -just read it somewhere ).

[L]ast night, this sense faded with the realization that this sense of endearment only extends to a receptive libertarian chorus; not a general public.

As a small L libertarian (e.g. non-doctrinal), I find Ron Paul’s impact on the national stage very damaging. In my opinion, his supporters, at least those who have a clue, trend xenophobic at best, and flat out bigoted at worst. Of course the mindless flock to his banner just like youngsters did to Jon Anderson, Ross Perot, and Ralph Nader; it is the cool and contrary thing to do – just like all their other cool and contrary piers.

The distinction that is important to draw is that while the right, and classic liberals and neo-libertarians like Ron Paul as a duly elected member of USCongress, he has no claim to leadership of any of these coalitions. Outside his district, his followers are most likely none of these, and in fact, would, in general, rather have someone like Obama elected that any Republican.

I don’t believe Paul actually agrees with the White Supremacists, Holocaust deniers, antisemitics, 9/11 Truthers, or other radical, racist, or conspiracy nuts who support him. He just thinks their money is as good as anyone else’s and doesn’t apologize for it.

Guilt by association is wrong, especially when it is a rare occurrence, but embracing supporters who spew venom goes beyond mere defense of their right to free expression, and should, at least in politics.

Paul’s foreign policy, had it been in effect after WWII, would have GUARANTEED we would be living in a Soviet America today. Without US troops as a tripwire in Europe and our Navy ensuring the sea lanes in East Asia and the Pacific and Indian Oceans, without use of surrogates and “interference” in other countries’ internal affairs (to match the communists’), there would have been nothing to stop Soviet expansion into Europe and the Middle East and Chinese domination of Asia. It is, in a word, insane.

His view of federal power isn’t one of support for the Constitution, either. He regularly pronounces this or that exercise as “unconstitutional” when the very branch designated by the Constitution itself to “resolve disputes arising under this Constitution” has ruled they ARE constitutional. How can you support the Constitution, but reserve for yourself the right to interpret it? That’s tyranny, not the rule of law.

Paul doesn’t support the Constitution; he wants a return to the Articles of Confederation.

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