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May 06, 2008
My Libertarian Blues and Ron Paul in Disgrace (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Hillary Clinton) There's always trouble in the land, but all in all I personally feel pretty good about the future of America and the world at large. The country's doing ok, and we'll muddle through well enough whether we elect the giant douche or the turd sandwich.
But I'm not feeling near so good about my Libertarian Party, Ron Paul and the whole reputation that they are earning for the broader libertarian movement. Foolish blind ideological dogma has increasingly made us look like kooks with minimal connection to reality.
For starters, Ron Paul is a goddam disgrace. I voted for him in 1988 with the LP, but I was done with the thought of voting for him in the first debate of the 2008 contest where he uttered the word "blowback." It would be absolutely unacceptable to have a person talking such as the POTUS, for it would utterly destroy our credibility to even pretend to have a right to protect ourselves. It would amount to giving jihadists what Ayn Rand would call "the sanction of the victim."
Paul partisans would argue that it's not really that at all, that it's equivalent to explaining the motivation of a killer - not saying that they're right. College boys can parse that out to make it fall on the right side of the line. But that's just not going to matter. Al Qaeda will be not unreasonably saying, "Hey, your own president says 'They're over here because we're over there.'"
Policy aside, Ron Paul is a major personal disgrace. First, there are these really awful newsletters that Paul has published under various names over at least 30 years. I'd ignored passing mentions of such things until James Kirchik at The New Republic went to the effort of searching obscure university libraries and such to document the true depravity of this stuff that Ron Paul was putting out in his name. Not one or two little politically incorrect cracks, but really ugly white trash bigotry mixed with ugly conspiracy. I was particularly unimpressed with his 1994 Survival Report on "AIDS Dementia" which speculated among other things that gays don't really mind getting AIDS because they enjoy the attention they get for being sick.
I've been told not to talk, but these stooges don't scare me. Threats or no threats, I've laid bare the coming race war in our big cities. The federal-homosexual cover-up on AIDS (my training as a physician helps me see through this one.) The Bohemian Grove--perverted, pagan playground of the powerful. Skull & Bones: the demonic fraternity that includes George Bush and leftist Senator John Kerry, Congress's Mr. New Money. The Israeli lobby, which plays Congress like a cheap harmonica.
Confronted with these newsletters, Paul not only denied authorship but claimed that he didn't know who actually authored these variously named publications owned and/or licensed by him. (Likely speculation would attribute some of this to Paul's longtime associate and one time staff member Lew Rockwell.) Why, he didn't know about these very many hugely awful things he was putting out. So besides the ugliness of these years of writing, add on that he's lying through his supposedly good Christian teeth.
Now for something not completely different, but more recent: Ron Paul has given endorsement to the infamous John Birch Society. "The John Birch Society is a great patriotic organization featuring an educational program solidly based on constitutional principles. I congratulate the Society in this, its 50th year. I wish them continued success and endorse their untiring efforts to foster 'less government, more responsibility - and with God's help - a better world.'" He has agreed to be keynote speaker for the Birchers 50th anniversary conference this coming October.
The Birchers are probably the most infamous cheesy fringe conspiracy kook group in American history, founded in 1958 partly to promote the belief that President Eisenhower was a Soviet agent. The first and most important thing that William F Buckley did as an early founder of the modern American conservative movement was to run these ugly JBS characters out of the conservative movement.
Now here's Paul wanting to recruit and identify them as "libertarians." Oh, HELL no. I have absolutely no desire to affiliate with hateful anti-semitic conspiracy theorists, and I certainly don't want people associating my beliefs with theirs. The Birchers can have Ron Paul, cause I wouldn't vote for him for dog catcher.
But these Birchers aren't any worse than some of the people already prominent in the Libertarian Party. For starters, we've got some 9/11 truthers. Jim Duensing, founder of Libertarians for Justice, is chairman of the Nevada state party. I saw some of his family at our local Indiana Libertarian Party convention in April participating in a workshop on recruiting new members. He was of course encouraging us to seek out members among the 9/11 truth community.
Yeah, that's JUST the retards I want representing for me. Way to boost your credibility with the public. We absolutely do not need members that bad. These conspiracy mongering idiots absolutely do not represent any idea of libertarian philosophy as I understand and believe such things.
Then there is the presidential candidate lineup I was eyeballing in Indy. Actually, I was somewhat partway impressed with latecomer member Senator Mike Gravel. I suspect that if you grilled him good, he's got some substantial libertarian deviationism in the direction of believing in government social programs. I suppose I could live with that. But even he has apparently signed on to Duensing group.
Former Republican Bob Barr (who was not at our Indy convention) is the most likely candidate, thankfully having re-thought his former fierce commitment to the drug war nonsense. But he's also recanted his vote authorizing the Iraq war. That might be a change of heart, but unfortunately apparently at this point you can't be any kind of hawk and seek the Libertarian presidential nomination.
But his top competition for the nomination and favorite of many long time activists is Mary Ruwart. She's been in the party forever, and is known for a 1992 book Healing Our World: The Other Piece of the Puzzle. Watching her and talking to her at the Indianapolis convention, she seemed like a very nice well-preserved 50-something grandmother.
But she's definitely out on the ideological debate society tip, leading her into seriously bad juju, most obviously some faux-philosophical foolishness that somehow leads her to defending the right of children to engage in prostitution and child pornography. In her book Short Answers to the Tough Questions, Mary Ruwart says
Children who willingly participate in sexual acts have the right to make that decision as well, even if it's distasteful to us personally. Some children will make poor choices just as some adults do in smoking and drinking to excess. When we outlaw child pornography, the prices paid for child performers rise, increasing the incentives for parents to use children against their will.
To even start to think that a six year old would have capacity to understand such choices or that this wouldn't simply be license for adult abuse is just ridiculous ideologically blinkered stupidity. But in Indianapolis, she didn't back off from this an inch. I tried nicely to get a preferred term for her position. Would you say you favor "legalisation" of child pornography, or "decriminalization"? The only thing I could get out of her with repeated friendly questions was "not banning." She said that to me at least six times.
But at that, she's got juice in the party. For starters, in the multi-pick Indiana Libertarian presidential straw poll she got 19 votes to Barr's 22. I love my Indiana LP people with my whole black heart, and they're about the most sensible, pragmatic and successful state party. But even here amongst (relatively) sensible Hoosiers, she's a top-tier candidate for the presidential nomination. Do you really want to get branded as the pro-kiddie porn party? Are you out your goddam minds?
More than that though, she swings a big enough stick in the party to run the executive director of the national party out of his job for putting out a press release noting that the party does oppose child pornography.
Shane Cory has resigned as exectuive director of the Libertarian Party, which issued a press release with three top LP officials praising Cory's service to the party.
Cory's exit comes in wake of an internal party uproar surrounding longtime Libertarian activist Mary Ruwart, who is seeking the LP presidential nomination, after it was reported that a passage in a book she wrote in 1999 appeared to defend child pornography. This prompted Cory, who had been the Libertarian executive director since 2005, to issue an official LP press release clarifying that the party opposes child pornography. Ruwart's supporters and others in the party's "left-libertarian" wing responded by accusing Cory of attempting to sabotage her presidential campaign and being a "lackey for Bob Barr," who is considered Ruwart's chief rival for the LP nomination.
Jumpin' Jebus on a pogo stick, what rational reality-based individual would want anything to do with the Birchers, 9/11 truthers and defenders of kiddie porn? I'm not really digging on the big government stands of Democrats, but compared to this supposedly "libertarian" nonsense even Barack Hussein Jeremiah Wright Obama starts looking good.
But that's not what I came to talk about. I'm here to talk about our Indiana primary election. As I type, it's rolling over into primary morning May 2008 here in the Hoosier hills. This is the only time pretty much ever that anyone has given a rat's patoot about Indiana's presidential primary vote all the way out in May.
What's a half-sensible libertarian to do? As an expression of disgust with Ron Paul, some months ago I said that I'd vote for Hillary Clinton before I'd vote for Ron Paul. That is, I'd vote for even a frickin' lying cutthroat CLINTON before I'd vote for Paul. I was saying that facetiously.
But what's really messed up is when your facetious thoughts start sounding reasonable. Hillary's not some Bircher idiot tilting at windmills. At least Hillary is worldly and serious enough to know that the country actually does have to be defended, however better or worse she would do than Bush. We'll muddle our way through the rolling bankruptcy of the welfare state.
I swear to Ayn Rand and Ann Coulter I'm going to go out in a few hours and cast a ballot for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Partly that is a gesture of my contempt for Ron Paul, much as was my 1988 primary vote for Pat Robertson over Vice-President Bush. Plus, if in fact the country is determined to elect a Democrat, I would quite sincerely prefer her over friend-of-the-Weather-Underground Barack. Truly, this giant douche is substantially preferable to this turd sandwich from the Trinity United Church of Christ. And even the most liberal member of the United States Senate is preferable to the John Birch Society or the NAMBLA candidate. Hey, Ann Coulter, Al Barger and Richard Mellon Scaife can't ALL be wrong in supporting Hillary.
Fortunately, there's a lot more to the country than whatever jackleg weasels grease their way to the top. Remember, if you don't see the fnords, they can't eat you. Don't worry about the government.
Republicans can quit whining about the YouTube debate Last week (November 28, 2007), the Republican candidates for POTUS appeared in a CNN debate based on questions posted by YouTube users. For my money, this was the most interesting debate of the campaign season so far - which is not to say that it's the one that has made the candidates look the best. This was in large part because CNN picked out some relatively adversarial questions, and also some perhaps more oddball questions (as appropriate to the YouTube gimmick).
Because of this, right wing types of even the more respectable stripe (ie National Review pundits) have been bitching for a week about how awful and unfair and even scandalous this debate supposedly was. They really need to guzzle down a big ol' glass of shut the hell up.
The main point of complaint is that some of the questions were from people with ties to Democrat candidates, or people who just aren't Republicans. These folk have been repeatedly described as Democrat "plants." But the more I look at it, none of them appear to have been in fact operatives for any Democrat organization, give or take the lead paint mom. For example, John Podhoretz (whom I know for his writing at National Review) says, "The scandalous aspect last night is that three Democratic operatives were allowed to pose as 'unaffiliated voters' asking questions specifically designed to embarrass the entire Republican party, not just the candidates on stage."
Yeah, so? Are you saying that the candidates should not be asked questions by people who aren't supporters, that this is somehow illegitimate and dishonest? Why shouldn't they get grilled good and hard and long by people who disagree with them? For one thing, these guys are running to be president of the whole United States, not just the red states.
More importantly, this should be valuable even to a hardcore Republican looking for the best candidate to put up against whoever the Democrats pick. Friendly questions lobbed by Fox News reporters are all well and good, but maybe you should see how the candidates are going to respond to the concerns of the larger electorate before you commit to them. Is Rudy going to blow up at them? (He didn't.)
The biggest criticism there was for the gay retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr, who wanted to know why they didn't support allowing gays in the military. Turns out he's on some or other gay steering committee for Hillary. Joe Scarborough says that it's "total crap" that CNN didn't know he was affiliated with Hillary. So what? The guy has a legitimate issue, even if it's not on the top of most voters minds. Plus, it's obviously his issue, not Hillary's. If she were planting a question, this would surely not have been it.
As someone who dedicated his career to serving his country, seems like this guy has every legitimate reason and right to ask about this. You might reasonably disagree with his opinion on the matter, but why shouldn't candidates be put on the spot? The completely weasel like answers from the candidates in fact support his point. He got easily the worst answers from the candidates of any questioner all night.
There wasn't an honest answer among them, fumbling over meaningless pandering to prejudice with crap about 'unit cohesion' and such. I was particularly unimpressed with Romney's bit about asking generals if it would be okay to allow openly gay soldiers. Yeah, then there's that little thing about civilians controlling the military. Then again, a more honest answer about not wanting to offend Bible thumpers and bigots would not have sounded so good. Their answers were illuminating - putting every candidate who answered the question in a bad light.
And this exchange was also illuminating in showing the true colors of the Republicans in the audience, who booed the general, apparently intent on shouting him down. Kind of gives the lie to the "support our troops" rhetoric, doesn't it? Sure, they support our troops - unless one of them expresses an opinion they don't like. Again, this was a useful and illuminating little exchange all around. It's just that it accurately put the candidates and their supporters in a bad light.
Also, you can't necessarily 100% know what everyone's intentions were. There was a question from a Joseph Dearing waving a KJV Bible, demanding to know "Do you believe every word of this book? Specifically, this book that I am holding in my hand, do you believe this book?" From the Branch Davidian style of his phrasing and presentation, I took it as some militant atheist daring the Republicans to profess belief in this foolish book. Turns out, Joseph Dearing really is a fundamentalist Christian and in fact WANTED the candidates to answer 'yes.' Even Rev Huckabee is not enough of a Bible zealot for this guy to vote for. Plus, turns out he's a Ron Paul supporter. Also, the question about the Confederate flag turns out to be from a Paul supporter.
I will, however, call out one questioner for a particularly cheesy and utterly dishonest, poopie licking question. Question #12 involved a LeeAnn Anderson using her young children as an emotionally manipulative prop to nominally ask about what the candidates would do to protect her against toys from China with lead paint. But really, she didn't give a rat's ass about lead paint. She's an activist for John Edwards and the United Steelworkers union. The real point of the question was to argue for protectionist trade policies - not anything to do with product safety. See, it's not just a self-interested point of protecting overpriced American union labor - she's just concerned about protecting The Children. That's dishonest and manipulative.
This woman should have been considered the most objectionable questioner of the night, but she was not. Indeed, some of the Republicans are only too happy to get on that bandwagon - notably Mike Huckabee.
Besides the supposed Democrat plants, some Republicans have grumbled about some of the rightwingers whose questions were used, on grounds that their individual nutjobbery made all Republicans look like nutjobs. Most particularly, there was a question about gun control from a gun enthusiast who ended up his question by having a shotgun thrown to him from off camera, which he pumped in mock intimidation of the candidates. I thought it was cute, but I can see how some Republican partisans might say that this tended to make all Republicans look like a bunch of nutjobs.
Yeah, well some of them are arguably a bit nutty - not like there aren't plenty of nutjobs on the other side. Was it CNN's job not just to ask questions of Republicans, but also to make sure they only used questions that reflected favorably on the party? I think not.
As an aside, I beg gentle readers to indulge me in a bit of my own rightwing nutjobbery, regarding question #21 in which an apparently Muslim woman asked the candidates what they would do to repair America's image in the rest of the world. The candidates didn't pander particularly, but they were all understandably and appropriately to their position as candidates way too nice to her. Considering that the US has both might AND right on our side, why is it US needing to appease the opinions of every irrational and envious schmuck in the world? I'd like to ask her instead what the Muslim world in particular is going to do to repair their reputation with US?
Special award to Fred Thompson for best answer of the night on another gun question about how many and what kind of guns the candidates personally own. Thompson, God bless him, declined to say what kind of guns he has - or where. Good answer!
Now granted, the Democrats haven't gotten anything like this kind of oddball and adversarial questioning. But that doesn't mean that the Republicans shouldn't. We in the general public are better off to see how the candidates respond to these questions, and it's also informative to Republicans in seeing how they'll do dealing with people outside their warm, cozy rightwing bubble. Hillary's already been tested that way significantly, but perhaps it would benefit Democrats to see how Obama would deal with some of these rightwing types before they select a candidate.
In fairness, I note that the conservative whining has not been directly from any of the actual candidates. But by rights, I would expect a proper alpha male wanting to be leader of the free world to positively publicly ask their people not to whine.
Yes, the Democrats are a bunch of whiners, what with Hillary carrying on about "the politics of pile on" and John Edwards leading a charge to refuse even to appear on Fox News. But we expect that, don't we? The modern Democrat Party is little else but a collection of groups competing for who has the greatest and most grievous claim of victimhood. I expect at least a little better from Republicans.
David Frum vs Ron Paul and the gold standard David Frum has a posting over at National Review about Ron Paul in which he offers a detailed basic answer to Ron Paul's signature issue, advocacy of the gold standard. Mr Frum offers a pretty compelling sounding argument about why the gold standard was not a good thing, and why it would be absolutely out of the question today. I don't claim great expertise in monetary policy or history to say much for sure, but Frum's explanation seemed pretty reasonable.
On thing though where I do have an obvious answer to his outlook. "What the gold standard really is, fundamentally, is a rule that the nation's monetary stock should be determined, not by central bankers, but by miners. Why that should be regarded as an improvement by anyone, I cannot understand."
Answer: The reason one might prefer miners to central bankers as determiners of the money supply is because miners cannot artificially inflate the supply of gold. They might find a little more here and there, but no amount of gold they find today is going to substantially change the overall supply of all the gold accumulated ever. Whereas, a central bank or government with fiat money is constantly tempted with mischief. You see some country with 5000% annual hyperinflation, you know it didn't come from being on the gold standard.
There might be other reasons why a gold standard doesn't or wouldn't work so well today, but the elimination of political mischief with the money supply would certainly have to be considered at least one good argument on the other side.
Traction for Ron Paul? Be careful what you wish for Couple of new notes on Ron Paul. One is a libertarian lament about what kind of meat grinder Paul's going to be run through if he gains enough traction to be worth more than the few seconds of attention Giuliani gave him at the Fox debate. He's got decades worth of largely unexamined radical rhetoric to be used against him on all kinds of topics, apparently including some unappetizing racial stuff put out under his name.
The other is a small sign that he may in fact be getting a little traction. It's a clip from Bill Maher's show. PJ O'Rourke and Ben Affleck are discussing politics, but they're not what the audience is interested in. As Maher notes, he's got the big movie star Ben Affleck right there on stage - but the audience is whooping and hollering for the non-present Ron Paul whose name was only even being mentioned in passing.
Obviously, the Republican establishment would love to just quash the guy, throw him out of the debate loop and pretend he existed only long enough to give Giuliani an easy applause line. But he's created quite a buzz at this point, and clearly has a fair number of vocal supporters who hadn't even heard of him until the Fox debate. There's definitely a constituency for his views.
From this point on Memorial Day 2007, it seems that he's getting near to a point where they simply will not be able to deny him a seat at the table. Plus, as the broader public starts becoming more aware of him, he will likely start coming up in the polls. He's certainly not going to be nominated or elected, but just by being the only anti-war candidate in the Republican pack he could well pull voting percentages in the double digits - especially in states with open primaries. It wouldn't surprise me much at this point if he gets enough support and delegates to muscle his way into a speaking spot at the Republican convention.
In short, Paul is THE source of excitement in the Republican debate, and only likely to become more so as the public starts paying attention. The cheap attempts to suppress him after the South Carolina Fox debate have failed miserably. The likes of Michelle Malkin are not going to be able to make their conspiracy theorist smear stick, because that's just not what he's saying. He and his supporters are knocking that down handily.
But we'll see what happens when, say, Mitt Romney actually seriously answers his isolationist rhetoric. There's certainly good wisdom in considering how we might be making things worse rather than better with SOME of our extensive foreign military entanglements. But Paul takes that all the way to the wall on principle. His entire foreign policy consists of worldwide military withdrawal, on the frankly asinine presumption that Islamist enemies will just leave US alone if we leave them alone. I for one look forward to seeing how this sometimes valid but extremely simplistic viewpoint stands up to serious scrutiny based on applying it to the real world problems of America 2007.
Ron Paul Creates REAL Discussion of the Nation's Issues Thank heavens for Ron Paul. Of all the candidates running for US president in the spring of 2007, Ron Paul has clearly done more than the rest of them put together to inject serious talk about real issues. Whether you agree with his outlook on any given issue, he's got a serious and well considered viewpoint that bears consideration.
For example, I was very glad to see him in the first debate hosted by Chris Matthews on MSNBC. At one point, he'd asked about national ID cards. Oh yeah, good idea, fine, prudent thinking. Then the question got to Ron Paul, who had a big ol' hell no answer, invoking the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Suddenly all these other Republican candidates are backpedaling as hard as they can. That was a valuable service to the public debate from Congressman Paul. I'm real glad he was there thumping that pesky Constitution.
I was also tickled with the early part of his performance in the second debate with Brit Hume on Fox. Hume came asking the candidates simply to name three programs they would eliminate to cut the budget. Tommy Thompson bragged on his 1900 gubernatorial vetoes, but couldn't come up with even one little specific tiny federal program that he'd publicly commit to eliminating. That was pretty much the deal with all the other candidates - except of course for Ron Paul. He had three whole cabinet departments that he'd be happy to shut down - education, energy and homeland security. Now THAT'S answering the question. And if you'd ask him, I bet he'd come up with at least a couple more whole cabinet departments we could eliminate.
Most of all though, he's a uniquely valuable presence in the Republican debates as the only anti-war candidate in the mix. He voted against the war in 2002, and he wants to shut it down NOW. It's highly valuable to the public debate to have a candidate on that stage willing to make a principled constitutional argument against not just the details of how the Iraq war has been conducted, but against the whole thrust of our aggressive military involvement all around the world. Ron Paul demands a basic re-examination of our whole approach to foreign policy.
This is a good thing. For a whole bunch of reasons, it surely behooves us to reconsider why we've got US troops stationed in over 100 countries. How much of that actually serves vital US national security interests, how much is just a waste of limited resources, and how much is it just an invitation to get caught in the middle of other people's conflicts and needlessly make enemies?
Ron Paul presents a strong classical conservative isolationist or libertarian point of view, demanding adherence to the letter of the US Constitution as the first prerequisite. That gives him a thoughtful and consistent point of view that is highly useful in debate.
The downside is that he's an ideologue. That's bad after a certain point. The defense is to say that he's principled. That's great, but adherence to ideology has a tendency to come at the expense of dealing with reality. As Robert Anton Wilson would say, the thinker part of the brain comes up with an idea, and the prover side proceeds to bend and twist and selectively cherry pick all the facts to prove their theory. As in the actions of the Catholic church in Kevin Smith's movie, even a really good idea blindly or stupidly followed out can become a highly destructive Dogma.
This brings us to Congressman Paul's famous dustup with Rudy Giuliani in the Fox debate. Ron Paul insists on applying the basic libertarian non-aggression principle to foreign policy - without regard to how that plays out in the real world. The basic point is that we'll leave you alone if you'll leave us alone. That's so simple and reasonable. Any half sensible person or country can see that.
But we're not even vaguely following the properly disentangled libertarian foreign policy, so obviously the reason people are attacking us is because we've been meddling in their part of the world. As he explained to Brit Hume, "Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years." This is an application of the basic "blowback" idea. "I believe sincerely in blowback. If we ignore that, we ignore that at our own risk. They don't come here to attack us because we're rich and free. They attack us because we are over there."
But of course, that's turning a blind eye to the malicious and irrational nature of the enemies that we face. It's careful editing of facts to get the result you want. Yes, sometimes our enemies claim they are attacking us because we're in Iraq. But then they say a lot of things, don't they? Watch closely, and you can see our enemies parroting back our own left wingers, bitching about lax US campaign finance laws and absolutely quoting Noam Chomsky.
Paul's comments on the reasons they attacked us created something of an air ball in that debate, which Rudy Giuliani took for the easy layup. He expressed genuine and perfectly well justified resentment, and requested that the congressmen take back or modify his remarks that seemed pretty close to saying that we brought 9/11 on ourselves. He most certainly would not do that.
The other Republican candidates were all kicking their own asses that Rudy got to that loose ball before they did. But maybe Mitt Romney can get some of that next time they're together. He's obviously quite the brainiac, and a particularly smooth talker. Maybe he can ask Paul what he thinks would be the results of US flatly pulling up stakes in the Middle East as he wants and coming home. Would that soothe the Islamists heated hatred, or massively embolden them?
Also, is it a matter of principle that we would have no right to militarily prevent Iranian mullahs from getting a nuclear bomb? Also, would crazy mullahs with a bomb be better than violating our supposed principles? If your principles say that we don't have a right to aggressively defend our lives from people bent on killing us, then your principles are not valid moral precepts. You may need to re-examine your premises.
But he won't get any chance to make such an argument to Paul if the fixers have their way. By the end of the Fox debate, there was already grumbling coming back from SC locals that Paul should be excluded from future debates. Michigan party chairman Saul Anuzis said he would be circulating a petition to have Paul excluded from future debates.
Anuzis called the comments "off the wall and out of whack."
"I think he would have felt much more comfortable on the stage with the Democrats in what he said last night. And I think that he is a distraction in the Republican primary and he does not represent the base and he does not represent the party," Anuzis said during an RNC state leadership meeting.
"Given what he said last night it was just so off the wall and out of whack that I think it was more detrimental than helpful."
Anuzis said his petition would go to debate sponsors and broadcasters to discourage inviting Paul.
Mr Anuzis is wrong. Paul's views are not just off the wall. He may be wrong, but it's not unreasonable to consider the possibility that we are exacerbating our problems by our foreign policy. Moreover, a lot of good patriotic Americans think just that.
As to detrimental, Ron Paul is the only character in the Republican primaries causing much of any actual debate at all, certainly in the critical area of foreign policy. The other candidates are largely all in agreement. Having someone with a clear and sharply different outlook on the stage is not detrimental, but absolutely essential to having any real debate at all. Basically, he's the one guy on that stage you know is saying just exactly what he really thinks, not just figuring on how to bump the boobs with some red meat.
Then there are those who choose to deal with Paul's challenge to our foreign policy by just making crap up by accusing him of advocating nutsy 9/11 conspiracy theories, which he most certainly does not. Nonetheless, according to Fox News John Gibson: "According to a recent Rasmussen Report poll, 35 percent of Democrats think President Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks beforehand. The so-called 9/11 Truth Movement has already infected people like Rosie O'Donnell and one in three Democrats, and many other people, Americans evidently, including Congressman Ron Paul." Ron Paul has never said anything like that George Bush was in on 9/11. Gibson's talking out his hat.
Then you've got Michelle Malkin. I'm inclined to like her cause she's a hottie, and being all crazy radical only makes her hotter. Nonetheless, in regard to her leading the charge against Ron Paul, the most charitable interpretation of her comments would be to say that she's a lying bitch. She strains a half dozen different directions to portray Paul as believing that 9/11 was an inside job, but he simply does not. Look at the main quote from the debate that set this off about why they attacked US. "They" would clearly be referring to Islamic radicals attacking US - as opposed to the CIA or some other US government agents.
Ron Paul does not have great faith in government investigations generally, which point Malkin carefully tries to conflate with being a 9/11 conspiracist. She makes a point of highlighting this Ron Paul quote: "Too often investigations on almost any issue is usually a cover-up." So distrusting the government's investigations of itself marks you as a nutjob? She also highlighted this as proof of Paul's lunacy: "It will be a little bit better now with the Democrats now in charge of oversight." Wait now, Ron Paul thinks the opposition party might do a better job of oversight than the president's own party? That's just beyond the pale for public debate! Get this guy off the stage!
In short, Malkin wishes to insist that any position other than supporting the current foreign policy and complete trust in the integrity of the administration is the same thing as being a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist who thinks Bush was in on 9/11. Suspecting that administration backed investigations might go into CYA mode rather than delivering full truthfulness is absolutely not the same thing. Michelle Malkin knows better when she says it.
Meantime, they could thin out the ranks for the Republican debate. There appears to be little or no public support for most of these guys other than obviously McCain-Romney-Giuliani. What are any of the other six Republican candidates adding to the debate? Not much, and they have almost no public support. If they got lost on the way to the next forum, no one would much miss their input.
Ron Paul, on the other hand, has more than earned his place on the stage. The fact that his ideas so displease some Republican operatives is a pretty good argument for his continued presence right there.
On top of which, he certainly and unmistakably has quite a few supporters. Numerous Paul critics have complained or mocked the army of Paul supporters coming down on them. Paul has won or placed high in most polls on who won the debates, including those by the event sponsors. He doesn't make much impact so far in some of the polls, but then again he's not even listed as a choice in a lot of them. I'm also to understand that he's currently #4 in Republican fundraising.
Personally, I regret that I can't support his candidacy. I was glad to vote for him as a Libertarian candidate in the 1980s. But we clearly could not in fact trust Ron Paul as commander in chief. For starters, we'd be crippled by a leader who has already conceded what Ayn Rand would call "the sanction of the victim." Hey, your own president says that you brought a lot of this on yourselves. How could we then even pretend to justify defending ourselves? Then we just start withdrawing our worldwide military presence wholesale. Whatever libertarian candyland the congressman may construct in his mind, in the real world we'd be chum in the water.
So let me wrap up then with one of the most unholy statements I've ever made. If it came down to a November 2008 match-up of Republican Ron Paul vs Democrat Hillary Clinton, I'd have to vote for Hillary. Rand forgive me, but I'd trust her as commander in chief over the sincere, thoughtful, consistent and blindly idealogical Ron Paul. All the groovy tax cuts in the world won't do US much good if we're getting eaten alive by evil bastards because we're too principled to protect ourselves. Even the dreaded Hildebeast gets that point. She knows she can't get more taxes out of US if we're dead.
But Ron Paul has a lot of valid points to contribute to the debate, and represents in parts the views of many people not otherwise represented in the presidential primary debates. In particular, most of the country is now against the Iraq war, and Ron Paul is the only candidate in the Republican primaries representing that view. For that reason alone, he deserves a seat at the table.
Sad but true "One thing is certain: those who worked and voted for less government, the very foot soldiers in the conservative revolution, have been deceived. Today, the ideal of limited government has been abandoned by the GOP, and real conservatives find their views no longer matter."
--Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)