Saying Ron Paul was ignored in the CBS News National Journal debate on foreign policy is like saying the maiden voyage of the Titanic didn't go so well. It's an understatement. Speaking for a total of 87 seconds, out of the 34:44 of total time allotted to candidates, Dr Paul only had two turns to talk during the first hour of the debate. The first hour of this debate was the only televised time, the last half hour was only shown on the internet. If the average American used the internet to actually research their candidates then the debates would not be necessary in the first place. That is to say that the only time that really mattered was the televised time, because Majority America seems to need their election information handed to them sandwiched between Clean Coal commercials.
Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann each received twice the amount of speaking time as Congressman Paul while, mysteriously, Rick Santorum and Jon Hunstman chewed up even more time than them despite their disastrous positions in the polls. Who had the most floor time? Resurrected from the dead, Rick Perry spoke for 6:53 of the on-air time, followed by Herman Cain (6:19) and Mitt Romney (5:52).
Lest you think Representative Ron Paul is unqualified or unworthy of a foreign policy debate, campaign spokesman Jesse Benton quickly pointed out that Ron Paul is one of only two candidates on the stage who actually served in the military, Ron Paul has more donations from the active military than all of the candidates combined, he consistently registers third place in the polls with support in the double digits, and Dr Paul serves on the House Foreign Relations Committee.
Considering Ron Paul also has severely dissenting views on foreign policy from the rest of the candidates, advancing a non-interventionist position, the debate he brings to the floor is also substantial in terms of diversifying the field and would balance out the calls for war and torture. This debate honestly could have been run with the Texas Doctor on one side, telling the field why he disagrees with their positions of a nation-building empire of mass destruction.
Save Jon Huntsman, no one but Paul seems to desire defining water-boarding as torture. The discussion about that subject alone, in my view, warrants a full half hour at the least to dive into the depths that result in the use of torture. Such as the dehumanization of the torturer, that it's a recruiting tool for terrorists and allows them to further paint us as the enemy rather than an ally, is it effective, what is the precedence that we can glean from historic uses of torture, what are the implications on our civil liberties...there are many more things to consider than the two or three minutes it was given.
While this persistent failure to deliver a well-rounded debate continues, America is losing an important voice. I honestly don't think that this is because Ron Paul isn't liked, or even that his views are so fringe, but I honestly think this is age discrimination. Ron Paul isn't a sexy candidate. He's old, he doesn't always have his words together, his suits never fit quite right, he doesn't have a chiseled jaw or manicured haircut and he isn't worldly by mainstream media conventions.
No, his problem is that he's experienced. While he was racking up birthdays he managed to use his time on Earth to gain wisdom. No other candidate can refer to the Great Depression, or Vietnam, or the Korean War with any authority. The man has lived a full life and has learned from it.
He sometimes struggles to find the right word. Sure he does, because he has an entire vocabulary that requires choosing the best one. While he does have a repeated theme of liberty, he doesn't prepare his responses because he has already thought through all the issues. He has the philosophy inside his head, it requires real life thinking. The other candidates are either responding to how a question is phrased so as to "give the right answer", or are repeating rehearsed statements. We see how well they always remember their script, right Rick Perry?
His clothes will only show up on GQ as fashion don'ts. Imagine that. A candidate who preaches fiscal responsibility and actually lives it. Bloody amazing. Ron Paul gives back a portion of his congressional budget every year because he runs a lean ship. He's more concerned about the economy and current events than he is about trying to look and sound like a walking cliche.
As a lifelong San Antonio Spurs fan I'm well acquainted with having the very thing the media pretends to long for: a well-behaved team who performs night in and night out. No drama, no showboating. Just a flawless execution of the fundamentals. Ron Paul doesn't run his mouth carelessly to make a headline, he's evenhanded in the most irritating moments with the issues he has been fighting for for over half of his life. No one wants to spend time with someone they think is boring, no matter how fantastic the followers know it is.
No, the media doesn't marginalize Ron Paul mainly because of the substance that he brings to the table. His personality isn't fun, he's older. Sure, he reminds everyone that the real cure for America has been politely tapping them on the shoulder for the last four decades, an embarrassment to be sure. Rand Paul will not have these same problems, he'll receive vitriol without a doubt, but not a lack of coverage and adoration, because he's young, new. This is about reality TV, and Ron Paul is simply packed too full of substance, this is not what makes good television, you need to be full of something else.
- I find it odd that Herman Cain finds it impossible to say what he would do in *any* foreign policy scenario without having consulted with the ground commanders to get all the facts, yet, he has no problem saying that Barack Obama is doing the job wrong even though he has access to the very people that would guide Cain's decisions. Maybe, just maybe, Cain's ignorance extends to foreign policy and he couldn't point out England on a map.
- Rick Perry's final comment about the French having a strong economy reveals his deep lack of global economic comprehension since many economists are predicting France to be next the next Euro crisis (link).
- Empire of Mass Destruction. EMD. I like that label, considering the cultures and lives we have destroyed, I think it's fitting until we change our foreign policy.
- Will the next debate finally learn from this process, or does the news media enjoy fueling the flames of conspiracy.
Stats on each candidate's speaking time for the televised first hour:
|Avg b/w Talks||Longest Wait|
|Ron Paul |
Stats on Entire 90 Minute Debate:
|Avg b/w Talks||Longest Wait|