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Rush Limbaugh recently accused Ron Paul of running to the left of Barack Obama. I can only imagine the emails Rush incurred from the online legion of Paulites. And to a certain extent, I can see where their frustration would come from in that Ron Paul is far from liberal when it comes to government spending. The truth is, though, that Rush is clearly talking about Paul's national defense policies and verbiage - something that endears and ingratiates himself with the anti-war crowd and Occupy crowd of the left.
I know Paul likes to talk about how drastically cutting military spending is something that can "bring Democrats" into the Republican fold, but what he doesn't seem to understand (or at least acknowledge) is that such a move will drive many defense conservatives from the Republican fold. As I've said on a number of occasions, I tend to agree with Paul that we shouldn't use our military strictly as a "world policeman" or that we shouldn't have military bases scattered all over the world. But gutting defense spending and failing to acknowledge the extreme danger that isolationism can bring is a big concern of mine.
So from a national defense perspective, you can see the logic behind Rush's comment. But over the last few days we have seen yet another unflattering similarity Ron Paul has with the left: willingness to vilify his opposition with outrageously irresponsible smears. Via The Blaze:
Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul took some strong digs at his fellow candidates Friday, saying Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann "hates Muslims" and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum doesn't like "gay people and Muslims."
Paul made his comments on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" when the host asked him for his take on the other GOP contenders in the field.
On Bachmann, the Texas congressman said: "She doesn't like Muslims, she hates Muslims, she wants to go get them."
"Wow, okay, that's not good," Leno said.
"Gay people and Muslims," Paul answered.
Are you serious, Ron? This is the stuff that I've noticed about Paul supporters that has been a big turn-off, but I guess they're simply taking cues from the man they adore. This type of generalizations and ad hominem attack is just plain pathetic.
If Paul wants to suggest that Bachmann's tough stand on radical Islam will be easily misconstrued as hatred towards Muslims - or even that she need to do a better job distinguishing between the two, that's one thing.
If Paul wants to suggest that Santorum's strong stand for Biblical morality is too easily misconstrued as hatred towards those practicing homosexuality - or that he needs to explicitly state how far he wants to use the power of government to regulate the behavior, that's one thing.
But to posit, as Paul did on national television, that two of his fellow Republican competitors "hate" anyone without proof is stooping to the lowest rung of the left's ladder of personal attack. Paul loves to draw parallels between himself and Reagan - one has to wonder how he can equate that with these obvious violations of Reagan's 11th Commandment.
Paul really set himself back quite a few steps in the hearts and minds of traditional conservatives with this little stunt. Pathetic.