On Wednesday, Dick Morris said Ron Paul is “the most liberal, radical, left-wing person to run for president in the United States in the last 50 years.” Actually, Ron Paul is the most conservative person to run for president in the last 50 years. Understanding this first requires at least a minimal understanding of traditional American conservatism.
Morris made his case for Paul’s “left-wing radicalism” on “The O’Reilly Factor”:
Nobody else wants to dismantle the military, including Obama, but he does. Even Obama doesn’t want to repeal the Patriot Act. But he does. Even Obama doesn’t say that we caused 9/11 and brought it on ourselves. But Ron Paul does. Even Obama doesn’t want to legalize heroin and cocaine, but Ron Paul does. This guy is no conservative. This guy is an ultra, ultra-left-wing radical.
Paul’s Pentagon cuts, which aren’t much different from what Sen. Tom Coburn has suggested, are necessary to streamline our military and tackle our debt problem. Coburn has allies besides Paul in this fight, or as National Review’s Jamie Fly writes:
FreedomWorks, a Washington-based group that purports to speak for the Tea Party movement, issued its own “Tea Party Budget” containing the recommendations of its debt commission. They suggested enacting defense-spending reforms previously proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn that would result in almost $1 trillion in savings over ten years.
There’s a reason that Paul is the only presidential candidate who has been able to offer $1 trillion in cuts. He is the only candidate willing to address the black hole that is Pentagon spending. After entitlements, “defense” spending is the largest part of our budget. Still, Paul allows for a military budget four times the size of China’s and larger than President Bush’s 2005 military budget.
This is what Morris calls “dismantling the military.”
As a constitutional conservative in reality and not just rhetoric, Ron Paul also believes the Fourth Amendment is as important to protect as any other. He opposes the Patriot Act on these constitutional grounds. His son Sen. Rand Paul along with Sen. Mike Lee valiantly fought against the Patriot Act’s renewal in November on the same premise.
Does Morris believe tea party Republicans Paul and Lee are also “radical left-wingers”?
Ron Paul has suggested that constant American sanctions and military interventions in the Middle East contributed to hostility toward the U.S. which created a more potent environment for 9/11. Who else says this? The CIA and the 9/11 Commission Report.
But since we’re discussing conservatism, let’s take a look at what Russell Kirk had to say about this subject. For those unfamiliar with Kirk (pay attention here, Morris), Bill Buckley once said: “It is inconceivable even to imagine, let alone hope for, a dominant conservative movement in America without [Kirk’s] labor.” Kirk is the person most credited with popularizing the term “conservative” with his groundbreaking 1953 book The Conservative Mind. In a speech before The Heritage Foundation in 1991, Kirk had this to say about President George H.W. Bush and the possible future consequences of the Persian Gulf War:
We must expect to suffer during a very long period of widespread hostility toward the United States — even, or perhaps especially, from the people of certain states that America bribed or bullied into combining against Iraq. In Egypt, in Syria, in Pakistan, in Algeria, in Morocco, in all of the world of Islam, the masses now regard the United States as their arrogant adversary …
“Expect to suffer”? Is Russell Kirk “blaming America” here? Or was Kirk predicting 9/11? Either way, Kirk was making a basic conservative observation about human nature (his forte). Conservatives generally agree that any government intervention — taxes, regulations, abusive TSA agents — affect human behavior in multiple ways. But the most intense action any government can take — the decision to wage war — produces no similar human reaction?
The CIA disagrees. So did Russell Kirk.