Ramesh Ponnuru

On Syria, Conservatives, and the Constitution

Ramesh Ponnuru

The discussion that has been taking place among conservatives on foreign policy is a welcome one. And though those of us who believe in a more constitutional approach to foreign affairs, perhaps best defined by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), cannot yet claim victory, there are growing signs that we are gaining influence in the conservative movement.

The editors of the National Review yesterday half-heartedly the endorsed military action that President Barack Obama seems prepared to take in Syria, not because they agree with the White House, but rather that inaction hurts the United States in the eyes of our enemies. Yes, that is what passes for foreign policy in Washington.

This is the prevailing argument at the moment from conservatives who support intervention in Syria. Essentially, it’s a matter of pride. President Obama laid down his so-called “red line” on the use of chemical weapons. Syrian President Bashar Assad called President Obama’s bluff, and now conservatives worry that the United States will look weak to Iran, Russia, or any other perceived boogymen that are out there in the world.

But Ramesh Ponnuru, a columnist at the conservative magazine, offered a dissident take yesterday on Syria, noting that the arguments made by the editors of the National Review don’t make much sense.

Rand Paul’s growing appeal and influence in American politics

Is Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) the future of the Republican Party? That’s a question that observers on both and Right and the Left have diving into over the last couple of weeks.

Paul, who is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, has found a niche in the conservative movement as a figure who embodies the traditional views of free market advocacy with a libertarian flair on civil liberties and foreign policy. His views on these issues have worried the Republican establishment — including his colleagues, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) — because they see his influence and popularity growing while the clout that they once enjoyed is diminished.

Similarly, the many on the Left are worried that Paul will be able to undercut them on these issues; especially civil liberties, in light of the NSA spying scandal. Paul has already pointed to polling that shows young voters noticeably souring on President Barack Obama in the wake of the government’s broad surveillance program.

In an editoral last week at the National Review, Rich Lowry discussed how the string of scandals coming out of the Obama Administration have helped Paul seize the spotlight.

Government spending doesn’t grow the economy

We’ve been constantly told by Barack Obama and his apologists in Congress that government spending is good to get the economy growing again. It’s not. In fact, as Ramesh Ponnuru notes, that the 2009 stimulus bill really only grew the national debt, not the economy.

But in a new video from Economic Freedom, Professor Antony Davies of Duquesne University explains the reason why so-called “stimulus” spending only contracts the economy by taking dollars away, either by borrowing or taxing, from the private sector and individuals:

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan continues to come under fire

If you watched the Republican debate last night, you noticed the increased scrutiny on Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. The criticism isn’t without risk. If they hit him too harshly, they risk victimizing him and emboldening his base of support. If they’re too lenient, the quick-witted Cain wll turn make sure that it blows up in their face.

But Cain has tipped his hand in what he has to come back with as conservatives lay out very serious concerns about the proposal; and it’s clear that he isn’t ready to argue on substance. His staff has responded to criticism with a simple line, “the problem with that analysis is that it is incorrect.” Cain’s own recent defense of the plan laid out in an editoral leaves more questions than answers.

Even the editors at the conservative National Review are unconvinced that Cain’s good intentions will bring the benefits that he claims:

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