The disgraceful and frighteningly uniform rallying for Ron Paul among bigshot talking heads on the so-called “left” has made further impressive strides towards cynicism, dishonesty and self-defeating idiocy in recent days. Glenn Greenwald uses his Salon column Dec. 31 to gush over Paul—while denying he “supports” or “endorses” him so many times that it smells strongly of methinks-he-doth-protest-too-much. Effuses Greenwald: “Ron Paul is the only major candidate from either party advocating crucial views on vital issues that need to be heard, and so his candidacy generates important benefits.” He goes on to dismiss principled progressive criticisms of Paul as “fallacies”:
The thing I loathe most about election season is reflected in the central fallacy that drives progressive discussion the minute “Ron Paul” is mentioned. As soon as his candidacy is discussed, progressives will reflexively point to a slew of positions he holds that are anathema to liberalism and odious in their own right and then say: how can you support someone who holds this awful, destructive position? The premise here—the game that’s being played—is that if you can identify some heinous views that a certain candidate holds, then it means they are beyond the pale, that no Decent Person should even consider praising any part of their candidacy.
Greenwald gripes (rather obviously): “The candidate supported by progressives—President Obama—himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested.” He then goes on to list a litany of Obama’s crimes (the drone wars, targeted assassinations, betrayals of habeas corpus, etc.), which “have been vehemently opposed and condemned by Ron Paul.”
What a spineless and weasily argument! Pointing out the double standard among Obama supporters is just changing the subject—it lets Paul off the hook for nothing. Yes, there damn well are some things that are beyond the pale! Greenwald has it exactly backwards. By legitimizing his wacko far-right ideas among the “lefty” crowd, Paul’s candidacy is generating important detriments—which far outweigh any benefits.
Similar swill is served up by Robert Scheer in The Nation, who blames the media for “marginalizing Ron Paul”—as if he doesn’t deserve to be marginalized! If in fact Paul were being marginalized, we could thank the media for getting it right! But the “left” media—which should be the loudest voice warning against the lure of Paul’s fascistic bogus populism—has been virtually co-opted into a mouthpiece of his campaign!
Ron Paul’s agenda: pro-corporate, anti-environment, anti-woman, anti-immigrant
Why is the “left” not raising the alarm that Paul opposes the Civil Rights Act; that he would abolish birthright citizenship and overturn Roe v. Wade? That he would disband the EPA and sell off the national parks to Exxon and ilk, calling global warming a “hoax”? That he would disband OSHA and abolish the federal minimum wage? (See, e.g. “10 Reasons Not To Vote For Ron Paul” at AddictingInfo)
The Daily Caller links to a video of a 1998 John Birch Society “documentary” on the UN plot to take over America prominently featuring Ron Paul—in which this paradoxical hero of the “left” fuels the xenophobic hallucinations of the Militia Movement. He touts legislation he introducted to withdraw the US from the UN, warns that “they [occupying UN troops?] would confiscate our guns” and “repeal the Second Amendment.” He says the UN seeks a program of “socialist redistribution” in the US (if only!) and threatens “private property rights.” He warned that soon “we will not a have a United States of America and we will be a pawn of the United Nations.” CBS News offers a video in which Paul dismisses the theory of evolution as “a theory, and I don’t accept it… The Creator I believe in created the universe…” Pretty sad that the right-wing Daily Caller and mainstream CBS News are doing what Salon and The Nation should be doing!
Ron Paul the Zionist
A particularly hideous irony is provided by the inability of Greenwald and Scheer to perceive what a conniving chameleon Paul is (“pro-life” reactionary in Iowa, anti-Israel peacenik for Nation readers). Greenwald hails Paul’s get-tough-on-Israel stance, while contrasting that Obama remains “as subservient as ever to the destructive agenda of the right-wing Israeli government” (fashionably reversing the power relations between the imperial center and the client state). Contrast this Ron Paul quote from the Israeli daily Ha’aretz Dec. 28, in which Greenwald’s hero endorses the Zionist Entity’s unilateral land-grabs and military aggression:
I am the one candidate who would respect Israel’s sovereignty and not try to dictate to her about how she should deal with her neighbors. I supported Israel’s right to attack the Iraqi nuclear reactor in the 1980s, and I opposed President Obama’s attempt to dictate Israel’s borders this year… Israel should be free to take whatever steps she deems necessary to protect her national security and sovereignty.
The Newsletters: inexhaustible font of hate
Paul’s boosters act as if the racist ugliness that appeared in his newsletter and under his by-line for years is practically old hat. But more and more gems continue to emerge from this seemingly endless store. Good compilations are provided by the MrDestructo and ITalkYouBored blogs: Paul notes that “If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet of foot they can be”; he ruminates that the 9-11 attack was “a setup by the Israeli Mossad”; he advises that ACT-UP change its slogan from Silence = Death to “Sodomy = Death.” But the best one is Paul’s comment about David Duke‘s 1990 Senate run. Hailing the “former” Klansman’s opposition to affirmative action and welfare, Paul said: “To many voters, this seemed just like plain good sense. Duke carried baggage from his past, but the voters were willing to overlook that.” Ah yes, neo-fascism is just a little “baggage” that can be “overlooked.” Exactly what Greenwald and Scheer now say of Paul!
ThinkProgress provides us with the text of Paul’s lame and lukewarm “disavowal” of the years of racist slime he ran under his own by-line:
I never read that stuff. I never—I would never—I came—I was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written… Well, you know, we talked about [the newsletters] twice yesterday at CNN. Why don’t you go back and look at what I said yesterday on CNN, and what I’ve said for 20-some years. It was 22 years ago. I didn’t write them. I disavow them and that’s it.
Not only is this so dismissive and perfunctory that it barely qualifies as a “disavowal” at all, but ThinkProgress documents that throughout the ’90s Paul repeatedly defended the content of toxic newsletters. (LRC blog repeats the widespread claim that Lew Rockwell was Paul’s ghost-writer in the newsletters—as if that makes any difference. If you don’t vet what your ghost-writers write, you shouldn’t sign off on it.)
Ron Paul’s hostile take-over of the “left”
When will the “left” recognize that Paul’s populist and anti-war rhetoric make him more dangerous, not less? Maybe only after it’s too late. The wacky/sinister Alex Jones‘ Infowars website reports: “After being interrupted by Occupy protesters during a veterans rally in Des Moines, Iowa yesterday, Ron Paul praised the movement, compared it to the Tea Party and declared that he was the only GOP candidate who could bridge the two causes and instill real change in Washington.” Great, just what we need—cooptation of an anti-capitalist movement by an exponent of laissez-faire capitalism. Alarmingly, Greenwald even favorably cites a bit of verbal Paul-puffery from Nation publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel!
If we ever see a President Paul, he’ll be bringing the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, alright—to wage a race war in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Houston. His own positions make clear that he stands for a Fortress America in which corporations run wild, advances for immigrants and women are radically reversed, and the proverbial 99% are even more thoroughly betrayed. His paradoxical “leftist” boosters seem to mistake isolationism for anti-imperialism—despite the fact that the prior is predicated on xenophbobic nationalism, the latter on solidarity and internationalism. The rally ’round Ron is a betrayal of our most fundamental principles.
There is a case to be made for a tactical vote for Obama to fend off the truly fascistic scenarios represented by a President Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann or Paul—even while vigorously opposing him on the Web and in the streets. There is also a good case that giving the Democrats a blank check will not halt the fascistic trajectory, and is counter-productive. If you feel swayed by the latter case—please, work for the Socialist Party candidate Stewart Alexander. Or join the anarcho-abstentionists and work to expose the entire political process as the sordid farce that it is.
But in any case—please, think! And repudiate Ron Paul!
See our last post on idiotic “leftists” for Ron Paul.