Welcome to Behind the Lines, a weekly conversation with Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley and BYU economist Val Lambson.
Lambson: I suppose I should be glad that Ron Paul is doing well enough to warrant your attention, and I understand artistic license, but really. Bagley: I actually thought Ron Paul would do better in Iowa, but Santorum snuck in at the last second. Part of the Paul mystique has to do with his being a straight shooter unafraid to say unpopular things. However, his response to questions surrounding the content of the Ron Paul newsletters shows that he can double talk with the best of them. Lambson: You aren't saying that he changes his expressed views to fit the audience. Bagley: No, not like Rick Santorum, who now informs us we all misheard him say "black people' when he really said that it was "blah people" who were living large on other peoples' money. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/04/rick-santorum_n_1185033.html On the other hand, Paul sticks to his intellectually honest guns by refusing to disavow endorsements from racist groups on the grounds, I suppose, that people are free to their own opinions, and who is he to tell them what they can do? http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/26/us/politics/ron-paul-disowns-extremists-views-but-doesnt-disavow-the-support.html?_r=2&hp Lambson: I have often wondered how much endorsements matter. In any case, it is not as though we have new information on what Ron Paul would do as president.Bagley: This newsletter thing makes one wonder at the management style Paul would bring to his presidency. But getting elected president isn't the point of his campaign-even he admits his chances are almost nil. This whole exercise is get his libertarian views out there, and in that sense he has been successful. The other GOP candidates are vowing to carpet bomb Washington back to the stone age in order to stay up with Paul's anti-government positions. Lambson: Ron Paul's management style might be more like Reagan's than like Carter's, but I doubt that it would matter much. I think having him in the debates has made them more fun for everyone, regardless of political leanings, and probably more informative.Bagley: I'll go with you on the "fun" part. As for the "informative" part, I have to plow through PolitiFact.com http://www.politifact.com/ FactCheck.org FactCheck.org http://www.factcheck.org/ and The Fact Checker http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker following each GOP debate. It's a grim, thankless job. Lambson: Not quite thankless. It's part of why you get the big bucks. And, from me to you, "thank you." Bagley: Like I keep telling you, I'm not the 1 percent. But your appreciation is noted. Speaking of the 1 percent, here's how GOP tax policy made the rich even richer: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/income-inequality-driven-bush-tax-165200088.htmlRon Paul was the subject of our conversation two weeks ago and here is a comment from notneedythat probably reflects my sentiments on the gentleman, though probably not yours:Ron Paul every once in a while comes up with a good idea, then he pulls out his "crazier-the-a-bedbug" routine and scares everybody off.