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An Opportunity Lost

I am currently cruising in the South Pacific, taking advantage of an opportunity to visit many of the places where my father and uncles spent 1941 through 1945 – New Zealand, the Solomons, the Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Kiribati, and Hawaii.  As part of the experience, I have been participating in various veterans’ receptions on board ship.  Most often thirty to forty vets show up, mostly Vietnam era like myself, but also a few from Korea and even one from World War II.   Talk of America’s recent wars frequently comes up and it is interesting to note that even the vets who are still very active in veterans support are opposed to any continued presence in Afghanistan and are highly skeptical of the US role as world policeman.  Some of the vets expressed their discomfort in very strong terms, noting that they are not opposed to war per se, but only want to see US involvement if there is a clear national interest at stake.  Not necessarily related, most of the vets identify as Republicans who very much want to see the demise of Obama (figuratively speaking) but view Romney as a complete phony.

This all suggests to me that there most definitely has been a shift in thinking over the past two years which has not been seized upon.  Americans are tired of the unending war and the constant drumbeat of foreign threats, a sentiment that was captured by Ron Paul, but his poorly run campaign failed to capitalize sufficiently on the issue while becoming snared in obfuscatory and eminently confusing debates about entitlements programs, the Fed, and Austrian economics.  Paul could have won in Virginia, where he was head-to-head with Romney, and become a genuine contender but his advisers instead ignored the primary and chose to put their resources into caucus states.  The opportunity to turn this ship around has been lost and it may not return as both Obama and Romney are wedded to the status quo in every sense and we will surely wind up with one or the other, the usual American dilemma.

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#1 Comment By Marty Heyman On April 10, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

Many are, I am sure, mourning the loss of the appearance of freedom, the loss of the feeling that private matters were private, and the loss of faith in what we’re being told by “our leaders.” I often wonder how sad the emerging nations’ people feel, watching our turn from Liberty.

#2 Comment By CD File On April 10, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

Suggesting Paul had a poorly run campaign is ludicrous. His campaign finance with no corporate funding didn’t leave room for waste. His working against a hostile major media and the competitions corporate PAC’s was admirable considering how quickly others in the early race got thinned out. The whole purpose of those debates was to obfuscate the issues because none of the other candidates had any kind of plan other than throwing red meat and mindnumbing repetition of rhetoric.

#3 Comment By Game of Thrones On April 10, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

I’m not surprised by what you report. Those who have served aren’t necessarily better qualified to make these decisions, but they know a hell of a lot more than most of our coddled, media-poisoned citizenry about war and the reasons for which wars should be fought. Most people don’t have the first idea of what really happens – either to our people or to the countries involved in the fighting.

I’m not as worried as you seem to be by the “lost opportunity”. The cause of non-interventionism and constitutional government is a good and noble one, and it is attracting more people every day. It may take a few more election cycles, but in time the good guys will gain the upper hand.

Thanks for you service, Mr. Giraldi – in uniform and out.

#4 Comment By sal magundi On April 11, 2012 @ 9:09 am

i admit to little sympathy for the feelings of those whose opposition to US adventures coincided with the election of mr obama. were the veterans mentioned above opposed to the invasion of iraq?

#5 Comment By Sands On April 11, 2012 @ 9:25 am

The problem with Paul’s campaign is that the majority of hysterical Republican primary voters *really* believe that Iran is a threat and Israel is on the verge of being ‘wiped off the map.’

#6 Comment By Joe Cloud On April 11, 2012 @ 10:09 am

“Americans are tired of the unending war and the constant drumbeat of foreign threats, a sentiment that was captured by Ron Paul, but his poorly run campaign failed to capitalize sufficiently on the issue while becoming snared in obfuscatory and eminently confusing debates about entitlements programs, the Fed, and Austrian economics. ”

If one was conspiracy-minded, one could imagine Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan as designated by the AIPAC-Wall Street complex to be the anti war standard bearers. Paul has his reducto ad absurdum libertarianism, while Buchanan is the champion of the troglodyte right. We supply our own straw men.

#7 Comment By Raleigh On April 11, 2012 @ 10:09 am

I wholeheartedly and mournfully agree with this assessment… The same thing happened in 2008… The man met the moment but the campaign dropped the ball… Again. No excuse, they had four years to get ready…

#8 Comment By Steve in Ohio On April 11, 2012 @ 10:23 am

I voted for Ron Paul in the Ohio primary while most of my friends voted for Santorum. The problem is that most conservatives look at social issues first followed by economic and lastly foreign policy. Afriend of mine in the legislature, who is a veteran and thinks all of the troops should come home, endorsed and campaigned for Santorum. Perhaps Rand Paul will do a better job than his dad in appealing to movement conservatives. Jim Demint and Tom Coburn are other possibilities. The ideal candidate would be a Rod Dreher type who is a social conservative, economic populist and non interventionist.

#9 Comment By John McKeown On April 11, 2012 @ 11:14 am

Ron Paul failed to win a state because Joe Six-Pack likes bellicose candidates. The notion that a war could be unnecessary and military size inappropriate, and that it is more important for the country to be economically competitive, is beyond the comprehension of most Americans.

#10 Comment By There’s Something In The Tea On April 11, 2012 @ 11:55 am

I agree that there was a missed opportunity in Virginia where Ron lost by a margin of 40,000 votes. Romney voters are incredibly week; a moderate push in the state to convert 20,000 Romney voters to Paul would have been a great play. The media would’ve had to explain it away as a protest vote, but the fact is they would have had to take notice.

However, I disagree that the campaign has been run poorly. Rick Perry’s campaign was run poorly, and Michele Bachmann’s campaign was run poorly. Ron Paul’s campaign was good enough to scare the bejeezus out of the establishment, and it’s not over yet.

#11 Comment By cfountain72 On April 11, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

CD File,

While I think Mr. Giraldi may have been a little extreme calling the campaign ‘poorly run’, I would say there was room for improvement. In some ways, they seemed to want to hide what I consider one of Dr. Paul’s greatest assets; his foreign policy views. While a tough sell to many Republicans, I believe they can be sold on the idea, using the right terms to explain its value, from moral, strategic, and financial points of view.

Peace be with you.

#12 Comment By CD File On April 11, 2012 @ 5:22 pm


There is always room for improvement, but money matters. I totally agree with you on the foreign policy bit and think John McKeown’s earlier post explained it nicely.

#13 Comment By Huck On April 11, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

Ron Paul has put foreign policy on the table, and did it in the teeth of both parties and various foreign lobbies. I agree about the campaign misfires, especially in Virginia.

I know Phil doesn’t need to be told this, but it is no time to lose heart. We’re just getting started and in it for the very long haul. There will be more elections and other candidates.

#14 Comment By Marc On April 12, 2012 @ 6:18 am

Has Philip paid attention at all during the campaign? Ron, the anti war candidate, has been running for the nomination of the War Party. There is nothing more Ron could have done to win over a party full of warmongers. He almost got booed off the stage during the SC debate. How many of you have heard Republicans say “I like Ron Paul except on foreign policy.”

#15 Comment By Robert Fallin On April 14, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

I’ve said, from the beginning 1) the campaign needs ads with testimonials from foreign policy, military and counterintelligence experts backing Ron Paul’s world view and, specifically his views on Israel and Iran and 2) the campaign needs ads that focus on Romney’s “crony capitalist” financial backers, particularly Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan et al. Instead, that bellicose idiot Jesse Benton gives us “Ron Paul is like a Ford truck” lunacy. This thing, however, isn’t over, provided the superPACs take the lead. One thing we have been trying to do is raise money using a celebrity telethon.