Among GOP, only Ron Paul opposes war

Republican presidential contenders voiced support for the Iraq war Wednesday night despite a warning from anti-war candidate Ron Paul that they risk dragging the party down to defeat in 2008.

“Even if we lose elections, we should not lose our honor,” shot back former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, “and that is more important than the Republican Party.”

Huckabee was in the majority, Paul very much in the minority on a University of New Hampshire debate stage when it came to the war. The politically unpopular conflict has emerged as the dominant issue of the 2008 race for the White House.

The issue flared near the end of a 90-minute encounter in which all eight men on stage welcomed former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson to the race with barbed humor and pointed advice.

“This is a nomination you have to earn,” said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. “Nobody’s going to give it to you. Nobody’s going to grant it to you.”

The debate unfolded several days before Gen. David Petraeus is scheduled to deliver an assessment of President Bush’s wintertime decision to commit 30,000 additional combat troops to the war.

Sen. John McCain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Giuliani all stressed support for the war, at times even competing to show their commitment.

“The surge is apparently working,” said Romney, referring to the increase in troops.

That brought an instant rebuke from McCain, who said, “The surge is working, sir, no, not apparently. It’s working.”

Alone among the contenders, Paul, a veteran Texas congressman with a libertarian streak, made the case for withdrawing troops. That drew a sharp challenge from Chris Wallace, one of the debate questioners, who asked whether the United States should take its marching orders from al-Qaida.

“No! We should take our marching orders from our Constitution,” Paul shouted back, pointing his pen at Wallace for emphasis. “We should not go to war without a declaration” by Congress.

Occasionally interrupted by applause, Paul doggedly stuck to his point. “We have lost over 5,000 Americans over there in Afghanistan, in Iraq and plus the civilians killed,” he said during his exchange with Huckabee.

“How long — what do we have to pay to save face? That’s all we’re doing, is saving face. It’s time we came home,” Paul said.

There was no debating whether it was important to cut taxes and spending, although McCain and Giuliani defended their refusal to sign a pledge not to raise taxes.

“I stand on my record and my record is 24 years of opposing tax increases,” said McCain.

Giuliani said he had a strong record of cutting New York City taxes. “I only think a man or woman running for president ought to take one pledge and that is a pledge to uphold the United States Constitution.

The debate ranged over familiar issues, and each of the men on stage looked for moments to appeal to their target constituents.

Huckabee, eager to win the support of social conservatives, said he supports a “human life amendment” to outlaw abortion.

By contrast, Giuliani supports abortion rights and Romney favors allowing states to decide on their own whether to permit or ban them.

Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California called for the resignation of Sen. Larry Craig, the Idaho Republican who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in an airport men’s room in an undercover police operation.

“It’s important that the party stand for family values,” said Brownback, although as recently as last week, he pointedly avoided recommending that Craig step down.

Brownback also drew boos from the audience when he called for passage of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. “I understand there is a divided audience,” he said.

Giuliani responded to questions about his personal life by confessing to imperfections.

“I’m running as a human being who has been very successful as a leader,” he said.

Giuliani’s son has said he didn’t speak to his father for some time. Giuliani and their mother, Donna Hanover, had a nasty and public divorce while Giuliani was New York’s mayor, and he has since remarried.

The debate occurred roughly four months before New Hampshire holds the first primary of the 2008 race.

Thompson clearly hoped to upstage the event — airing the first advertisement of the campaign on Fox News during a commercial break, and formally announcing his candidacy on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” after the debate.

He was not disappointed. Brit Hume, the debate moderator, opened up by asking each of the eight candidates to respond to the newcomer’s presence.

“I was scheduled to be on Jay Leno tonight, but I gave up my spot to somebody else because I’d rather be here in New Hampshire,” joked Huckabee.

“Why the hurry? Why not take some more time off?” Romney said humorously.

The war was a recurrent theme for the debate, in which New Hampshire voters outside the hall were allowed to pose questions to the candidates.

One man, Mark Riss, chastised Romney for comparing the service of men who have fought in Iraq with his own sons’ support for his campaign.

“I know you apologized a couple of days later … but it was wrong sir, and you never should have said it,” Riss said.

“Well, there is no comparison, of course,” Romney agreed.


  1. Richard Kanegis

    Richard Kanegis
    MyName&EmailAreAlreadyPublic ButICanHideFromAutomaticEmail
    Richard Kanegis

    I’m a 61-year-old somewhat pessimist, who sees more hope in Obama changing the image of the US as a big bully, than Ron Paul becoming President and actually stopping the US from trying at times to bully the world.

    However it’s really exciting to see young people with their music blaring, the medium age of most peace meetings is over 50. Political correctness in important in traditional peace meetings with a statement in support of women, blacks and gays, minimum wage, and arguments whether vegetarianism and opposition to spicy-ism, should be included in the beliefs statement. Now thanks to Ron Paul you can be troubled about abortion yet still be allowed to oppose the war.

    Third Parties in this country have just about as much freedom as non-Marxist Parties do in Cuba and Venezuela. Hatred for the war, plus the fact that most Americans don’t come from Britain and find English only offense, means we might have another one party county in this hemisphere to add to Cuba and Venezuela after the next election. Please Ron Paul whether or not you succeed in becoming President, please stop the Republican Party from becoming the party of ethnic hate. If even 1/4 of the delegates in the national Republican convention are Ron Paul delegates, they might vote to turn the Republican Party back away from ethnic hate.

    The Ron Paul campaign makes positive changes in everything it touches. With most political campaigns if you fail to win, you wasted your time, except in possibility of being more prepared to try to win the next time.

    Collecting signatures will be fun. Giving money for Ron Paul to advocate reason in all directions including drug laws is money well spent.

    If only 1/4 of the delegate are Ron Paul delegates, they may be able to steer the Republican Party away from ethnic hate. The number one platform becoming English Only troubles many who aren’t Hispanic.

    The Ronald Reagan revolution pushed a slight majority of previously very progressive Catholics and Jews into the Republican party. Now English Only is chasing the vast majority of Catholics into the Democratic Party.

    A USA Today study found that what it calls the California Recession is chasing California Hispanic into small town and rural USA. New immigrants who speak broken English stick to the areas of the country seized from Mexico, in downtown Hispanic neighborhoods.

    It seems to me that even borders wide open would be no problem if the US would accept the Israeli model of slowly returning areas seized during the Mexican American war.

    However, Governor Swarthnagger is purposely chasing the working poor out of California.

    You must have heath Insurance. But the California government won’t pay for it unless you are dirt poor, willing to fill out a lot of paperwork, and both your parents are legal. If you can afford an old car you must buy fancy pollution control devises also. So Swarthnagger is making the poor hate ecology.

    Swarthnagger calls himself a pro-choice, pro-environment Republican, but he one admired Hitler, claiming Hitler’s biggest mistake was thinking the Jews were inferior. Swarthnagger’s hope may be expense licences to have a child, with violators facing sterilization or compulsory abortion if they don’t leave California. So thanks to Swarthnagger we are heading toward a one party government, maybe with a little goose stepping to go with it. Ron Paul, please save the Republican Party.

    Richard Kanegis

  2. nuQler Ostrich

    “No member… shall use the threat, or the use of force against the territorial integrity, or the political sovereignty of any other nation.”

    Those are the words in a TREATY that was ratified by the US Senate and signed by a President. President Truman to be specific.

    And that TREATY, I believe was what Richard Perle was talking about when he was in Europe and admitted that the Iraq war was [is] illegal. [UN Charter],2763,1089158,00.html

    However, under Article Six of the United States Constitution, “All treaties… shall be the supreme law of the land.”

    Ron Paul is the only GOP candidate to consistently stand for the Constitution.

    And isn’t that the primary mandate of the President? See Article Two, if you don’t know the answer to that question.

    Every one of those men would love to be up there pledging to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution on January 20, 2009, but only one of them has shown a willingness to actually DO IT.

  3. Steve Horn

    Sounds like Ron Paul has something the other candidates (on BOTH sides of the fence) lack – personal conviction as to what’s right and wrong, the courage to not say what’s “popular”.

    Given that, I’d be willing to bet that he’s also got the balls to do what he says he’s going to do.

    One question, though, what is Ron FOR??? He seems to be quite the contrarian –

  4. nuQler Ostrich

    How about The Constitution?

    If he’s FOR the Constitution, that’s good enough for me.

    And it’s more than any of the others can say, except for perhaps Dennis Kucinich on the Democratic side.

    All the others have ignored Article One Section 8, Article Two, 1st, 4th, 5th Amendments.

    And treaties? You got a couple of hours to go over all the treaties the other candidates have pledged to violate? Remember Article Six “All treaties..shall be the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND”

  5. Stoney13

    Treaties? Supreme law? Don’t make me laugh! I’m a Native American!!! Where’s my two mules? Where’s my forty acres?

    And just what in the corn-fed Hell are all those presidents’ faces doing chiseled into OUR Holy mountain, which was guaranteed to us by A TREATY!!!!

    If you think a treaty is the supreme law of the land, then you obviously aren’t a Native American!

    Stoney Browning

  6. SEAL

    Thanx Stoney. You put a big grin on this old Pawnee’s face. We know the United States government has broken every single treaty it ever made with us Native Americans and that established the pattern they have continued with everyone else in the world to this day. The FACT is that the US government has never told the truth about anything and proven by their history they cannot be trusted by anyone for any reason about anything. The rest of the world knows this. Only the invaders who call themselves americans believe otherwise. It is their enormous arrogance that justifies them and makes whatever they do “right.”. So, they will elect the most arrogant candidate and the pattern will continue.

    I wonder how many readers will actually understand what I have said?

  7. pondering_it_all

    I understand what you wrote, SEAL. But I don’t think this characteristic is unique to the American Government. Every government and every corporation makes promises, signs contracts, etc. and then later breaks or attempts to change the terms of those agreements. The reason behind this is that individuals have a sense of integrety and honor, but large groups do not. The responsibility is divided over too many people, so none of them feel it is their responsibility.

    When an individual interacts with a government or a corporation, they are at a fundamental disadvantage because the non-human entity is granted all the rights and powers of a human being (and often more), but faces few of the responsibilities. That is why we need Constitutions, contracts, lawyers, and the right to sue with a jury of our peers. Without those, the individual would be crushed.

    So, yes, the US Government has screwed-over all the Native American Nations from the very beginning, but that is just the nature of the beast: They screw-over everybody!

  8. Helen Rainier

    Very interesting comments on all parts here. I am caucasian by birth and there have been so many times throughout my life where I have been so ashamed of the horrible things that caucasian “Christians” have perpetrated on others who are not caucasian Christians.

    I was brought up in a small rural Wisconsin village of less than 2,000 people and, of course, like most kids in the 50s and 60s was brought up in the Christian-Judeo Christian religion. However, I always had a difficult time rationalizing all the stuff I was told to believe and accept on faith. Shortly after being confirmed, I made the decision to stop attending church services. Thank god, my father was an independent thinker and my parents didn’t give me any grief behind it.

    Over the years, I developed a sense of ethics and principles based on basic tenets of secular humanism that has enabled me to enjoy meeting people of different nationalities and religions and getting to know them as people and learning about their cultures. This, in and of itself, has been an interesting experience that has added significantly to my education as a person.

    It seems to me that we would all be better off if we focus on what we have in common as opposed to what separates us. Most people want to be able to live their lives in peace and be able to take care of their families and make the most of what life has brought to them.

    We need to learn how to help others and treat each other with dignity and respect — in the end if one chooses to put life into a religious context — the God that created us is the same God that created everyone else, so for us to label anyone as not as good is being disrespectful to the God we profess to “worship.”

    The older I become the more convinced I am that organized politics and organized religion are two of the most “evil” things that exist and have existed over time immemorial.