A bit of a startling moment happened near the end of Monday night’s CNN debate when a hypothetical question was posed to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
“What do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn’t have health insurance? Who pays for his coverage?” Wolf Blitzer asked. “Are you saying society should just let him die?” he added. “Yeah!” several members of the crowd yelled out.
Paul, an unapologetic isolationist, interjected to offer an explanation for how this was, more-or-less, the root choice of a free society. He added that communities and non-government institutions can fill the void that the public sector is currently playing.
“We never turned anybody away from the hospital,” Paul said of his volunteer work for churches and his career as a doctor. “We have given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves, assume responsibility for ourselves … that’s the reason the cost is so high.”
The answer may have struck a truly libertarian tone but it was clearly overshadowed by the members of the crowd who enthusiastically cheered the prospect of letting a man die rather than picking up the tab for his coverage.
Ron Paul was also roundly booed during the debate for suggesting that American foreign policy helped contribute to the Sept. 11 attacks. Paul was upbraided by former Sen. Rick Santorum, long a hawk on taking on radical Islam on a global scale.
“You said that it was our actions that brought about the actions of 9/11,” Santorum said. “Congressman Paul, that is irresponsible.”
Paul defended his views, and said that Santorum’s contention that the country was attacked by Al Qaeda because the terrorist organization resented America’s position in the world was wrong.
“This idea that whole Muslim world is attacking us because we’re free and prosperous, that is just not true,” Paul said. “We’re under a grave threat because we occupy so many countries.”
Many in the crowd began to boo and hiss, drowning out Paul as he attempted to explain Muslim sympathies for the plight of the Palestinians. The back-and-forth was notable in another way. The CNN debate gave time to candidates who frequently have received less screen time in past debates, such as Paul, Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, and Jon Huntsman Jr.
But perhaps the biggest round of boos for the evening came when Paul said Osama bin Laden attacked the U.S. on September 11 because of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and in part because bin Laden believed the U.S. treated the Palestinians “unfairly.” [via The Huff Post and The Blaze]