This column is archived at http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2007/cbarchive_20070227.html
Evangelical Christians are already beginning the process of selecting the Republican presidential candidate whom they can anoint as their successor to George W. Bush. Somehow, evangelicals have this deluded idea that President Bush is one of them. How they came to this delusion both fascinates and escapes me. Bush is anything but one of them. However, most evangelicals believe he is, and today it seems that illusion is greater than reality, anyway. Bush proves that more than anyone I have ever known. But enough about Bush.
The question burning in the minds of evangelicals today is: Which Republican candidate for president will we anoint? There are several possibilities, but apparently Congressman Ron Paul is not one of them.
For example, Jerry Falwell's widely distributed National Liberty Journal, in its March 2007 edition, had a major section entitled "Campaign 2008-Identifying the Republican Presidential Candidates." A total of ten Republicans made the Journal's list. The ten listed were Sen. Sam Brownback, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Chuck Hagel, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Sen. John McCain, Gov. George Pataki, Gov. Mitt Romney, and Rep. Tom Tancredo.
However, even though Rep. Ron Paul has also formed a presidential exploratory committee (something Gingrich has not even done yet), his name was conspicuously absent from Falwell's list. Why is this? Why do evangelicals ignore Ron Paul?
Ron Paul received his Bachelor's degree from Gettysburg College. He received his MD from Duke University. He began his OB/GYN career in 1968. He was also an Air Force Captain and a member of the Air National Guard.
Ron Paul has served as a conservative congressman from Texas for over 16 years. He currently has a 100% rating from The Conservative Index, which is probably the most relevant and accurate reflection of a congressman's true conservative record out there.
Furthermore, unlike most Republicans, Paul's commitment to the life issue is more than rhetoric. For example, during the 2005 congressional session, Rep. Paul introduced H.R. 776, entitled the "Sanctity of Life Act of 2005."
Had it passed, H.R. 776 would have recognized the personhood of all unborn babies by declaring, "human life shall be deemed to exist from conception." The bill also recognized the authority of each State to protect the lives of unborn children. In addition, H.R. 776 would have removed abortion from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, thereby nullifying the Roe v Wade decision, and would have denied funding for abortion providers. In plain language, H.R. 776 would have ended abortion on demand. (It is more than interesting to me that none of the evangelicals' pet politicians, including George W. Bush, even bothered to support Paul's pro-life bill.)
In addition, Ron Paul has been the most outspoken defender of constitutional government in the entire congress-bar none. He has often stood virtually alone against federal abuse of power, corruption, and big government.
Currently, Ron Paul is one of only a handful of congressmen that dares speak out against the emerging North American Union, NAFTA superhighway, and the Security and Prosperity Partnership agreement, all of which are being promoted by the White House in concert with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Speaking of the CFR, two of the U.S. senators listed as presidential candidates in Jerry Falwell's Liberty Journal, Chuck Hagel and John McCain, are current members of the CFR.
For his entire political career, Ron Paul has served foursquare upon the principles of constitutional (limited) government, less taxation, right to life, and personal liberty. Ron Paul is a conservative's conservative, a principled constitutionalist of the finest order. How is it, then, that Jerry Falwell and other evangelicals ignore him?
The answer to the above question is not easy to determine. Maybe today's evangelicals are more concerned about being accepted by the GOP establishment than they are supporting principled, conservative candidates. After all, Paul's willingness to openly oppose his own party has caused him to be blacklisted by party loyalists and apologists. Therefore, it might be that our illustrious evangelical leaders are unwilling to be identified with Paul lest they share the same ostracism.
Another reason might be that today's evangelicals are extremely shallow in their discernment. They seem to love Republican candidates who wear religion on their sleeve. Whether the candidate walks the walk does not seem to matter near as much as whether he talks the talk.
Hence, evangelicals are already warming up to John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and even to Rudy Giuliani. Falwell's National Liberty Journal (NLJ) calls Gingrich "a true American statesman." McCain is called "pro-life." Already, McCain has spoken for Dr. Falwell at his Liberty University. (Don't be surprised if Falwell becomes one of McCain's strongest proponents.) The NLJ quotes Evangelicals for Mitt as saying, "Gov. Romney . . . shares our values." Of Giuliani, NLJ states, "On issues such as national security, battling terrorism and combating crime, Mr. Giuliani is very popular with conservatives."
However, the truth is, neither Gingrich, Giuliani, Romney, nor McCain deserves the support of principled conservatives. Each of these men has numerous examples of failure and compromise of essential conservative values.
Another trap evangelicals seem to fall into is the puerile desire to "pick a winner." Wanting to be sure that they are seen dancing with the last man on the floor, evangelicals are trying to figure out who that man will be so as to be ready to receive their invitation to the dance. And since they don't expect to see Ron Paul issuing dance invitations, they have already written him off.
However, rather than letting themselves be used as dupes by the GOP machine, if America's evangelicals would determine to stand on principle by supporting only those candidates who most courageously champion our principles (regardless of their popularity, or lack thereof, with the Republican hierarchy), they might actually be able to bring real change to American politics.
As it is, evangelicals continue to call George W. Bush "one of us," they continue to drink Kool Aid from the faucet of Republican propaganda, and they continue to ignore Ron Paul.