Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas

Despite being called every name in the book and then some by rabid Ron Paul supporters over the last year, I still had a modicum of respect for the candidate himself – until his big moment on “Meet the Press.”

I’ve had my disagreements with Ron Paul – and they are big ones.

He and his supporters seem to think America can, in 2008, decide we just don’t want to be involved with determined foreign enemies who have sought to destroy the U.S. since it became a nation. He and his supporters seem to think that America itself is to blame for creating its enemies because of its own interventionist meddling.

While I agree America has involved itself in world problems far more than it should, I will never accept that our enemies will leave us alone if we leave them alone.

Having studied America’s No. 1 foreign enemy, Islamic radicalism, for the better part of the last 28 years, I can only say Ron Paul and his supporters are just dead wrong about this. Furthermore, we’ll all be dead wrong if we follow his prescription.

Believe me, I wish it were as easy as Ron Paul suggests. But the sad truth is that if we run from this enemy now, our days as a country living in relative peace and prosperity are over. Dr. Paul’s prescription for peace is actually the kind of prescription you’d expect from Dr. Kevorkian.

Nevertheless, despite those serious differences, I thought there was much to like and admire about Ron Paul.

What I had always appreciated about him was his outspoken support for the Constitution, the fact that he didn’t get caught up in the trappings of Washington power, that he wasn’t a hypocrite.

I believed all that. And I have to thank Tim Russert for blowing his cover.

I just simply didn’t know that Ron Paul plays the Washington racket just like the rest of the gang. The only difference is he has figured out a system of plausible deniability for himself – a way he can still maintain his image of incorruptibility and integrity, while bringing home the pork to his Texas district with the kind of efficiency that would make Robert Byrd blush.

Ron Paul developed his reputation as a constitutional tax fighter and proponent of limited government through decades of voting “no.”

But that hasn’t stopped him from earmarking federal tax dollars for his district’s own pet pork projects – to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars!

Paul defended his actions on “Meet the Press” in spin that would make Bill Clinton proud.

“I’ve never voted for an earmark in my life,” he explained. “I’m against the tax system, but I take all my tax credits. I want to get their money back for the people.”

This is actually as ingenious as it is immoral.

Ron Paul knows his vote against his own earmarks for pork is meaningless to the actual outcome. He’s going to get his pork because every member of Congress gets his pork. But Ron Paul gets the psychic satisfaction of voting against it – after, of course, he proposed it.

While I’m sure this makes him feel better about himself, is he really any less guilty of picking taxpayer pockets than the rest of them?

And I love the second part of his explanation in which he likens his support of pork to a “tax credit.” Yet, isn’t this logic that any one of the other bandits in the House and Senate could use to justify their own game of unconstitutional plunder?

Here’s another problem I have with his answer: Is pork good or bad? I don’t understand his duplicitous answer. Is he defending pork as a good way of bringing money back to taxpayers? Or is he condemning it as the waste we all know it to be?

Ron Paul wants to have it both ways, doesn’t he?

While portraying himself as cleaner than the wind-driven snow, a man standing up against the machine, a courageous freedom fighter, it turns out Ron Paul is just another politician using the system for his own empowerment, his own ego and defending this abuse of the Constitution with his own relativistic moral code.

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