Thursday, January 5, 2012

"He's voted for foreign aid repeatedly"

Another reason not to support Ron Paul. His son, Rand, going on the attack against Santorum, said on Tuesday, on CBS's The Early Show: "On economic issues, like foreign aid — he’s voted for foreign aid repeatedly."

Now I don't actually have any idea about Santorum's general stance on foreign aid. (I suspect that, like most of the Republican candidates this election round, he's largely opposed to it.) Regardless, I find it offensive that Paul is trying to imply that any support of any foreign aid at any time is obviously wrong.

Interestingly, Paul's statement also illustrates an argument about the framing of aid I make in my book. Paul clearly sees aid as an economic issue. I don't think he is being strategic here (though he might be): he really thinks of aid in those terms. More importantly, I would argue he thinks of it in those terms not because he is a libertarian (many libertarians in Europe think of aid in humanitarian terms, and support it), but because he is an American. Foreign aid has been framed in economic or security terms in the United States for decades, much more so than is the case in other donor countries. As a result, if Americans think aid serves no economic purpose, they're much more likely to reject it than are their counterparts in, say, Denmark.

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