Paul: Gingrich a “chickenhawk”

posted at 10:00 am on January 4, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

At first, I wondered why Ron Paul would spend his morning after Iowa recycling Democratic demagoguery from two presidential cycles ago.  Then I remembered who was talking:

Ron Paul came out swinging Wednesday against Newt Gingrich for calling him a dangerous candidate, dubbing Gingrich a chickenhawk who avoided the Vietnam War.

“I don’t want to fight a war that’s unconstitutional and I’m the dangerous person? You know, when Newt Gingrich was called to service in the 1960s during the Vietnam era, guess what he thought about danger? He chickened out on that, he got deferments and didn’t even go,” Paul said on CNN later in the morning.

“So right now he sends these young kids over there to endure the danger, and the kids coming back, the young people coming back and the ones in the military right now, they overwhelmingly support my campaign. We get twice as much support from active military personnel than all the other candidates put together. So, Newt Gingrich has no business talking about danger because he is putting other people in danger. Some people call that kind of a program a chickenhawk and I think he falls into that category,” Paul said.

Like most of Paul’s arguments, this is an exercise is hyperventilation and contradiction.  First, Gingrich hasn’t sent any “young kids” anywhere; when Gingrich was last in office, it was before 9/11, and he was Speaker of the House, not President.  In fact, between the two of them, only Ron Paul has voted to send “young kids” to war, with his assenting vote on the 2001 AUMF regarding Afghanistan (a correct vote, by the way).  Second, c0ntrol of military policy properly belongs in the hands of elected civilian government, not the military itself.  This attack relies on a rather fascistic notion that only those who have been in uniform can make those decisions, which would invalidate the entire idea of free elections.  Gingrich didn’t break any laws in seeking and gaining those deferments, and it has little bearing on the wisdom of one’s national security policies, unless the presumption is that a flight surgeon from the 1960s has some special national-security insight that can’t be learned through study elsewhere.

However, that’s not the real message from Paul in this attack.  At a moment when he should be taking aim at one of the two front-runners, Paul is wasting time and effort getting personal and nasty with a man he beat by eight points and thousands of votes in yesterday’s caucuses.  That signals a sense of frustration, desperation, and a serious lack of focus from Paul.  Clearly the Paul campaign thought they would win in Iowa and make a case for national consideration; instead, they fell thousands of votes short of both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney.  Paul could have easily shrugged off Gingrich as irrelevant, had he considered his finish last night a positive development.  Instead, with only a third-place showing and little hope of gaining any traction in the next couple of states, Paul will fade back to the fringe quickly enough.

Update: My friend David Freddoso reminds me that Gingrich voted for the AUMF for the first Gulf War in 1990, but that hardly negates the point above.  In terms of current conflicts, which have been the focus of Paul’s vehement campaigning, Gingrich didn’t cast a vote at all, and Paul voted for one of the two AUMFs in question.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

The critique of starship troopers is that it promoted fascism. I don’t think that’s right. It just imagined that a one world fascist state might arise if we were in a multi planet war with space bugs.

BoxHead1 on January 4, 2012 at 3:51 PM

Read Heinlein’s novel of the same title. Much better than the film–although the film was and is one of my favorite action movies. Heinlein always goes to great lengths to furnish a logical rationale for the imaginary worlds he creates.

troyriser_gopftw on January 4, 2012 at 3:56 PM

So, you WANT to see Americans more isolated, cold, and hungry. Right? Just admit it and defend it. Your losing this debate so you might as well be honest about it.

blink on January 4, 2012 at 3:47 PM

I’m not losing this debate. I’m operating within the parameters of the real world. Bad decisions result in bad consequences. You cannot print your way to prosperity. You cannot rely on other regions for a majority of your energy resources. You cannot ship your manufacturing base offshore.

The bad decisions have been made. I can’t turn back the clock and take them back unfortunately. Collectively, Americans are going to suffer horribly for the sins of the past and what we need to do is prepare to save a percentage with the vision to see the error in their ways. Right now, we’re relegated to mitigation mode as opposed to continue the status quo Fairy Land nonsense. Not everyone is going to make it. This crisis far extends beyond the scope of the government.

Pitchforker on January 4, 2012 at 4:01 PM

stationing troops in Saudi Arabia and bombing Iraq helped al-Qaeda recruit suicide bombers used on 9/11

I don’t concern myself much with the motivations of psychopaths and fanatiics. Charles Manson was inspired by Helter Skelter to go on a killing spree, but I don’t see anyone accusing the Beatles of murder.

There’s a far cry between what motivates someone’s actions and what JUSTIFIES one’s actions. Bin Laden might have been motovated by US troops protecting Saudi Arabia, but he wasn’t justified by it.

BohicaTwentyTwo on January 4, 2012 at 4:12 PM

You already have a basket of competing currencies to choose from. You can choose anything that someone will accept.

So I can ask my employer to pay me in Euros? I can use the said Euros to buy milk? They’ll likely send me to jail for violating the legal tender laws. Let the citizen and the free market decide what the best currency is.

Pitchforker on January 4, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Read Heinlein’s novel of the same title. ..

troyriser_gopftw on January 4, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Thanks. I will.

BoxHead1 on January 4, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Hmmm, Ron Paul.
Hmmm, Politico.

How about Paulitico? Hmmm.

drowningpuppies on January 4, 2012 at 4:28 PM

Maybe our crazy Uncle Ron got some stash from some of his supporters! After all, a whole lot of his supporters, especially in Iowa, probably produce meth-amphetamine down on the farms, deal whatever in the population centers, or are simply addicted POT-heads. Earth to Ron: Not everyone supports your “any drug” legalization. Get off the drugs, Paulites!!!

Colatteral Damage on January 4, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Gingrich a “chickenhawk”

The giant hook is coming to pull you off stage Ron in 3- 2-

V7_Sport on January 4, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Convince Conservatives that if Ron Paul is not chosen to lead the Republican Party, that he will not seek a third party position, and I will be the first to rebuke the “continued bashing and unfair treatment and slimy smears against Paul”.

Until Ron Paul makes this promise, (and keeps it), the man is a threat to everyone’s single purpose—unseating the current resident in the White House.

Rovin on January 4, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Well, can we make Michelle Bachman and the Texan and the big ego Gingrich promise to not run third party? Why is only Paul questioned about this? Very strange. So, the only reason you are bashing and smearing Paul is because you think he will run third party? Wow, that’s a great way to get his supporters to vote for your candidate. How can you be so stupid?

Puma for Life on January 4, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Puma,

People like you aren’t going to vote for the Republican candidate anyway, so just stop with the self-righteous indignation, OK?

And no, he’s getting ‘smeared’ (as you call it) because he’s a horrible candidate.

catmman on January 4, 2012 at 5:42 PM

In 1784, Congress authorized American diplomats John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson to negotiate with the Muslim terrorists. [18] Negotiations proceeded, and in 1786, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson candidly asked the Ambassador from Tripoli the motivation behind their unprovoked attacks against Americans. What was the response?

The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet [Mohammed] – that it was written in their Koran that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners; that is was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise. [19]

ITguy on January 4, 2012 at 6:01 PM

And Paul is just a chicken.

dukecitygirl on January 4, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Well, can we make Michelle Bachman and the Texan and the big ego Gingrich promise to not run third party? Why is only Paul questioned about this? Very strange. So, the only reason you are bashing and smearing Paul is because you think he will run third party? Wow, that’s a great way to get his supporters to vote for your candidate. How can you be so stupid?

Puma for Life on January 4, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Paul has already left the Republican party once, and came back because of political expediency. Why shouldn’t we be worried he would do that again?

cptacek on January 5, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Once again Ed, looking, desperately grasping, for stories to write in which to criticize Paul. Meanwhile publishing articles about other Republicans – whether in the race or not – who were taken out of context by the liberal media. Yet, you do that yourself with him.

However, that’s not the real message from Paul in this attack. At a moment when he should be taking aim at one of the two front-runners, Paul is wasting time and effort getting personal and nasty with a man he beat by eight points and thousands of votes in yesterday’s caucuses. That signals a sense of frustration, desperation, and a serious lack of focus from Paul.

You’re acting as if this came from nowhere when in fact, this was a response to accusations by Gingrich during his speech after the Iowa caucuses. Watch that video to understand. Unlike the other candidates who congratulated the other top tier candidates in their speeches, Gingrich does the following: he does congratulate Santorum, but then rails on Romney and rails on Ron Paul’s foreign policy. Sure, that’d make sense during a debate, but what is he doing criticizing specific points in a debate concession speech? It seemed so out of place. And as all Gingrich does, it was put in a condescending manner. In the video you posted, Paul was responding.

Dagny__Taggart on January 5, 2012 at 3:42 PM

I’m not the greatest fan of either Ron Abu Rand or Mr. Gingivitis, but my initial reaction is: Paul’s a little too full of chicken$#|+.

Olo_Burrows on January 5, 2012 at 6:19 PM

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