Many of Ron Paul’s supporters, television pundits, and even other politicians all agree on one thing: He stays true to his ideals no matter what.
In fact, Paul is known as Dr. No, consistently saying no to big government spending and involvement. He hardly, if ever, flip-flops on an issue. His voting record is tried and true…
Read on to see if Paul’s voting history really does agree with his current campaigning rhetoric or if he’s as bad as any other politician.
Belief: Abortion is wrong
Ron Paul has always touted his libertarian views, even running in opposition to the Republican Party as a libertarian in the 1988 presidential election.
Many argue this is why he continues to fall in fourth and fifth place in many major polls, having alienated huge portions of the base with his “strict” views.
However, Paul has one thing in common with the party: He is vehemently against abortion. In fact, he’s willing to work to ban it, a position that would seem in opposition to his other less government involvement views.
“This whole notion of life being valuable just is something I was never able to accept,” he states in a personal commercial ad. “Who are we to decide that we pick and throw one away and pick up and struggle to save the other ones?”
His campaign has begun to run the ad in Iowa according to ABC News expressing this connection to the Republican Party in hopes of helping him in the state’s caucus this January.
The Vote: Voted Against Abortion
The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2000 aimed to prevent all physicians from performing partial abortion unless necessary to save the life of the mother.
The bill made it through the House, where Ron Paul voted in favor of it, but was tabled upon arrival in the Senate. When time came to clean out all the old bills that never made it anywhere, H.R.3600 was forgotten.
However, new life was breathed into the document a few years later, where it eventually became law. Now known as The Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 2003, Paul voted in favor of it, as well.
In fact, Paul has shown a number of times that he firmly opposes the Rowe v. Wade decision. Because he is a doctor, he has made an effort to separate himself from other candidates as an expert on medical issues.
Conclusion: Stuck to Ideals
In this instance Paul voted in the same manner as he believes. He has yet to flip-flop on the issue. However, in this rare occasion he has submitted that more governmental involvement is better, which seems to go against his values.
“This doesn't go against his libertarian views at all, actually,” argues the coordinator for the University of Iowa Youth for Ron Paul chapter Tim Huwaldt.
“If you look into the libertarian philosophy, the most precious rights that any human being has are his or her God given right to life, liberty, or property.”
Belief: Education Needs No Governmental Funding
The Department of Education has been hot topic among many Republicans over the past years. Ron Paul is one of many who advocates cutting the entire program.
“They don’t educate our kids, they indoctrinate our kids,” he told attendees at a "public speaking event:http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51836.html in Des Moines, Iowa. “It’s a propaganda machine.”
Mix this with his opposition towards government-funded programs and you have a man fighting for its complete removal.
“The Department of Education has given us No Child Left Behind, massive unfunded mandates, indoctrination, and in some cases, forced medication of our children with psychotropic drugs,” he says on his website. “We should get rid of all of that and get those choices back in the hands of the people.”
The Vote: Voted Against No Child Left Behind
In a close battle, the House passed HR1, the infamous No Child Left Behind Act on May 23, 2001. The legislation sought to improve education through government means and funding.
It increased accountability of teachers, held every school to similar high standards for continued funding, and emphasized reading and math. The bill set all sorts of new precedents, monitored by the national government.
President Bush signed off with approval early in 2002, one of the largest reformations of education in 40 years. Ron Paul however, did not support it.
Conclusion: Stuck to his beliefs
When it comes to education, Ron Paul has consistently voted against governmental funding. He has always been a homeschooling sort of man.
His lack of support for No Child Left Behind evidences such views, as well as his consistent denouncement of the Department of Education.
In an alleged Iranian plot, two of its countrymen were charged with attempting to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States in Washington in late October 2011.
Many Democrats and Republicans condemned the country, playing up the controversy.
Ron Paul was not amused, telling Wolf Blitzer on CNN “I think it’s mostly war propaganda. They’ve been itching to go to war against Iran for a long, long time. This is exactly what they did leading up to the war in Iraq, and the danger was not there.”
In fact, Paul claims he’s always been against war, primarily because its expensive and an invasion other cultures. The United States would benefit from cutting the Military budget and expanding national defense he argues.
“Bring the troops home, and we stop spending money on war, military installations, and enemy creation,” says Tim Huwaldt. “I guess it just makes logical sense that ending war in three countries would save a lot of money.
Vote: Voted against the invasion
October 10, 2002, marked a turning point in American history. The Senate voted 77-23 while the House voted 296-133 in favor of allowing President Bush to assemble troops and invade Iraq later in 2003.
The aim was to take down Saddam Hussein and reveal weapons of mass destruction in the country. Because of its serious nature the vote was highly publicized.
Notable “Yea’s” at the time included Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John McCain, John Edwards, and Rick Santorum.
However, Paul was one of only six Republican members of the House to vote against the authorized use of force. He’s also the only Republican nominee who can say he’s done so.
Conclusion: Stuck to Ideals
When Paul says he never supported an invasion of any kind his voting record supports him, a point he emphasizes in his campaign. However, in this respect he is telling the truth.
Belief: Illegal immigration cannot be solved by a wall
Border patrol has been an issue over the last few years in the United States. Specifically, whether or not the government should fund the building of a fence to keep illegal immigrants from crossing the southern border.
A majority of Republican nominees have shown favor towards the idea. It’s been a favored position of the group since the beginning, except for Ron Paul.
When the topic arose the last debate sponsored by Politico.com, Ron Paul weighed in on the issue:
“The people that want big fences and guns, sure, we could secure the border, a barbed wire fence with machine guns, that would do the trick,” he said, “I don’t believe that is what America is all about, I just really don’t.”
A talking point of his campaign speeches, Paul believes the best way to decrease illegal immigration is to put a stop to government-funded programs that bring them here in the first place.
The Vote: Voted in favor of building a wall
Paul voted in favor of the Secure Fence Act, legislation that encouraged building a wall on the border.
A summary states it would provide “systematic border surveillance through more effective use of personnel and technology,” as well as “physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful border entry.”
Basically, it called for more protection of the southern border through increased technology as well as the beginning of a “physical” wall 700 miles long.
However, Paul defended his vote with John Stossel on ABC in 2007, after the host asked him if he wanted the fence.
“Not really, there was an immigration bill that had a fence in it, to attack amnesty,” Paul replied. “I don’t like amnesty so I voted for that bill to stop the amnesty, but I didn’t like the fence. I don’t think the fence could solve a problem, I find it rather offensive.”
It would seem Ron Paul clearly went against his views. While he does try to vote for legislation he believes to be the lesser of two evils, the fact that he voted yes still remains.
Belief: Less governmental involvement in oil
Government subsidies have always been an issue for Paul; consistently he has blasted funding of any kind from the federal government. It’s one of the strengths that makes him so appealing to his voters.
In 2010 his campaign used phone calling to convey the following message in regard to government involvement with fuel:
“Government subsidies programs interfere with finding realistic long-term solutions. Subsidies divert resources towards certain politically favored fuel types while ignoring others.”
He finished the message with the usual, stating that leaving the market alone would encourage private investors to expand alternative fuel use.
Vote: Voted to continue taxing oil companies
In 2007 legislation was proposed that included putting a stop to subsidies and tax breaks towards big oil companies in the United States, specifically ending the Subsidies for Big Oil Act. "Paul voted against it"http://www.issues2000.org/HouseVote/Party_2007-040.htm.
Opponents, including Paul, argued that depleting help towards American companies would give foreign oil the advantage.
However, the bill passed and became law later that year. It flourished in a time of high gas prices and public perceived corporate greed concerning oil as a fuel source.
It’s tough to pin Paul on this one. There are hundreds of other votes in which the man blatantly refused to support government funding in multiple areas.
As Tim Hudwaldt puts it, “A congressman who's been in the game for 26 years is probably going to have a few "regrettable" decisions. However, facts are facts.”
However, he did vote for the continuation of subsidies towards big oil. The bill ultimately failed, which may explain why opponents continue to neglect bringing it up in debates.
Belief: Against government subsidizing of energy
In one of many heated moments during CNN’s Republican Nomination debate in late October, a question from the audience was directed towards Newt Gringrich. Did he support opening the national nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain?
What was intended to be a discussion over dumping nuclear waiste in Nevada quickly changed tone when handed over to Ron Paul.
“Quite frankly, the government shouldn't be in the business of subsidizing any form of energy,’ he told Anderson Cooper. “And nuclear energy, I think, is a good source of energy, but they still get subsidies.”
Paul opposes government subsidies, that is, he opposes the government helping pay for other companies to develop alternative forms of energy.
He believes a good free market will result in businesses developing alternative energy; therefore, no funding from the government should ever be needed.
The Vote: Pursued subsidizing NRG Energy
To get technical, it wasn’t a vote.
That being said, in 2008 both Paul and Texas Gov. Rick Perry appealed to Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman on behalf of the Texan company NRG Energy, according to The Washington Post.
Both wished to see the company receive part of the $18.5 billion in subsidies marked aside for nuclear development. However, the loan was eventually denied.
Paul would defend his claim, stating that he opposed the original decision in 2005 to grant loans to nuclear development companies. However, since the measure was approved against his will he was merely taking advantage of it.
Result: Kind of Flip-Flopped
Technically Paul didn’t vote for any subsidies, therefore he can say he never supported it. It was only because the program existed that he took advantage of it. Considering the appeal was denied, he and Perry have nothing to atone for.
It’s up to the voter to decide if taking advantage of already in place subsidies is as bad as creating the subsidies in the first place.
Reporters often try to leave themselves out of their writing; however, I must take a moment to interject.
I spent hours looking into Paul’s voting record, finally concluding that over his entire voting career he has stayed undeniably consistent to his views.
However, this may ultimately be a weakness. A summary of polls over who’s leading among Republican nominees, by Real Clear Politics puts Paul in fifth place with 8.3% of the vote.
While top picks, such as Mitt Romney and Herman Cain tend to flip-flop on their views, it allows them to go with the flow and appeal to what is popular.
Paul does not. This may explain why he, along with other low tiered, rarely picks up large amounts of supporters. While he does have faithful followers, he has trouble appealing to the masses.
In the end it’s the masses that count.