As Red State observes, strange things happen when Tim Russert meets Ron Paul. On MTP this morning, Russert asked Paul a number of questions, from how and what government stuff would Paul pay for once he’s done away with the income tax, to whether America should defend its allies like South Korea (he thinks we shouldn’t, and double ditto that for Israel, and don’t even get him started on any other problem area anywhere in the world — his answer is always to blame America).
Ron Paul, quite incredibly, thinks Iran has no army, no navy and no air force at all and therefore would never attack Israel. Evidently Paul doesn’t realize the utility that ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons would offer an Iran whose president has repeatedly declared his personal desire to wipe Israel off the map. A couple of well-placed nukes could in fact do that, whether Iran has an army or not. Which, by the way, it does. Really. Iran does have an army. A navy and an air force, too, with an indigenously constructed fighter airplane leading the latter into the skies. Paul might want to bone up on that a bit. He’d do well to Google the Shahab series of missiles while he’s at it.
Paul also might want to bone up on the US military’s presence overseas and who actually pays for it. He’s against it, though he doesn’t even know how many troops we have overseas or what they’re doing or why they’re there. That also came out in the interview. And he thinks the US taxpayer pays the entire bill, which isn’t true. We pay the bulk of it, but we don’t pay all of it. Host countries pick up a sizable portion of the tab, funding everything from the cost of living allowances to the housing that our overseas troops need. All of that and more was packed into an interview that demonstrated once and for all that however well-meaning Paul is on the small government front (an area where he could and does make some sense), he’s simply too ignorant on foreign policy and too quick to blame America for just about every bad thing in the world to be trusted with the power of the presidency. No good can come of it.
I clipped the section below, though, because it reveals that deep in his libertarian heart Ron Paul may actually be a bigot. Tim Russert asks Paul if he would like to revise the remark he made on Fox the other day when he reacted to the Huckabee “floating cross” ad by leaping to denounce fascism. The clear inference Paul was making was that Huckabee was engaging in a little fascism when he wished Americans a Merry Christmas in a TV ad. Check out Paul’s answer: He was unprepared for that question, heard about a cross in an ad, and thought immediately of fascism. Not the Christmas season, that being this very time of year. Not church or anything like that. Fascism.
That’s the mind of a bigot at work, imho. Or a paranoiac. Take your pick, Ronulans.
More: In case anyone thinks I’m kidding about some of the things I mention above, here’s the transcript of the interview. On Iran:
MR. RUSSERT: So if Iran invaded Israel, what do we do?
REP. PAUL: Well, they’re not going to. That is like saying “Iran is about to invade Mars.” I mean, they have nothing. They don’t have an army or navy or air force. And Israelis have 300 nuclear weapons. Nobody would touch them. But, no, if, if it were in our national security interests and Congress says, “You know, this is very, very important, we have to declare war.” But presidents don’t have the authority to go to war.
On South Korea and our overseas troops and bases:
MR. RUSSERT: How many troops do we have overseas right now?
REP. PAUL: I don’t know the exact number, but more than we need. We don’t need any.
MR. RUSSERT: It’s 572,000. And you’d bring them all home?
REP. PAUL: As quickly as possible. We–they will not serve our interests to be overseas. They get us into trouble. And we can defend this country without troops in Germany, troops in Japan. How do they help our national defense? Doesn’t make any sense to me. Troops in Korea since I’ve been in high school?
MR. RUSSERT: What…
REP. PAUL: You know, it doesn’t make any sense.
MR. RUSSERT: Under President Paul, if North Korea invaded South Korea, would we respond?
REP. PAUL: I don’t–why should we unless the Congress declared war? I mean, why are we there? Could–South Korea, they’re begging and pleading to unify their country, and we get in their way. They want to build bridges and go back and forth. Vietnam, we left under the worst of circumstances. The country is unified. They have become Westernized. We trade with them. Their president comes here. And Korea, we stayed there and look at the mess. I mean, the problem still exists, and it’s drained trillion dollars over these last, you know, 50 years. So stop–we can’t afford it anymore. We’re going bankrupt. All empires end because the countries go bankrupt, and the, and the currency crashes. That’s what happening. And we need to come out of this sensibly rather than waiting for a financial crisis.