Monday, September 17, 2007

Salt Lake City Weekly Conducts Brief But Fair Interview With Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul During His Utah Visit

While some the larger media outlets in the country attempt to trivialize, marginalize, or demonize Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul (pictured at left), many local outlets do try to cover him fairly. Both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret Morning News passed the test.

However, another less-prominent Salt Lake outlet also covered Ron Paul's visit to Salt Lake City. On September 14th, The Salt Lake City Weekly, the city's official "alternative" newspaper, conducted a brief interview with Congressman Paul before his appearances on Saturday September 15th, and posted it on their City Weekly blog, which is operated under the auspices of the newspaper. While brief, it highlighted several key issues and was quite fair and balanced. Here's the applicable part of the post:

Weekly: What should City Weekly readers know about Ron Paul?
Paul: That I fight for your individual rights and freedoms more than any other politician in Washington.

Weekly: On what issues do you part company from other Republican candidates?
Paul: I part company on the direction that the Republican Party has taken on a lot of things in the past six years. Republicans have traditionally been non-interventionist when it come to foreign policy and stood for less government and constitutional rights at home. But now, we have become a party that advocates pre-emptive war, entitlement spending and illegal wiretapping. I want to bring the party back to the traditions from which we have strayed.

Weekly: Who are some well-known Ron Paul supporters in Salt Lake City?
Paul: I can’t name anyone in particular but I understand that we have hundreds of Meetup group members and a lot of enthusiastic volunteers.

Weekly: If, while attending a fund-raising dinner in Salt Lake City, you notice the wait-staff is made up of mostly undocumented workers, what would you tell them about their future employment prospects in the United States?
Paul: I would tell them that I hope that we can fix our broken immigration system and attune it much more closely to the free market so the United States can be much more generous in granting legal immigration and guest worker programs.

Weekly: Assume you are elected president in 2008 and take office in January 2009. When would you order troops from Iraq withdrawn?
Paul: I would immediately have the troops stop patrolling the streets of Iraq. That is a policeman’s job, not a job for our brave men and women. Then, I would consult with our military leaders and devise a plan to withdraw all of our troops and quickly and safely as possible.

Weekly: How have you been so surprisingly effective at reaching the grass-roots?
Paul: It’s the message. The message of freedom. It is popular and powerful. The message of freedom brings people together from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Weekly: Many Utahns support Mitt Romney. How would you be a better choice than Mitt?
Paul: I’m not going to disparage Mitt Romney. But if the citizens of Utah want a president who will bring the troops home, stop policing the world and vigorously defend the constitution, then I am their candidate.

Weekly: Why should a Democrat give you his or her vote in 2008?
Paul: Democrats were elected in 2006 to end this war in Iraq. They haven’t done so and are playing political games just like Republicans. I am the only candidate who would end this war and fix our foreign policy.

Jerre Wroble is identified as the author of the post. Hat tip to Wroble for a professional job. Paul's visit proved successful as he attracted over 1,000 people to his rally on Saturday afternoon, a significant accomplishment in a state that is considered Romney Country. While many Utahns, particularly LDS voters, are attracted to Romney because of his conservative posture and his LDS membership, a significant number of Utahns are also attracted to Ron Paul's vision of organic constitutionalism.

Paul's answer to the question about undocumented workers was mildly disappointing in the sense that he appears to support a fairly substantive guest worker program. However, Paul is still one of the better candidates on immigration. While Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter get the best grades on immigration, they tend to be war hawks. Ron Paul is not a war hawk, but his immigration grade from Americans for Better Immigration is still a very respectable "B+". No candidate is perfect.

For those who believe that government should limit itself to those functions that people cannot do for themselves efficiently or effectively, Ron Paul is still the candidate of choice. Don't take your cues from Sean Hannity or Keith Olbermann; do your homework and make your own choice.

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