It continues to amaze and demoralize us how many so-called “progressives” are gushing over Ron Paul because he talks a good anti-war game. A case in point is Philip Weiss of the popular anti-Zionist blog Mondoweiss. Weiss starts out by acknowledging the loads of ugly racist garbage that Paul printed in his newsletter over the years—usually under his own by-line. But he still writes:
Readers know that I’ve promoted Paul a lot on this site. And I will continue to do so because of his incredibly pointed and intelligent foreign policy positions; I believe he is the best means of politicizing American militarism in the Middle East so that our people can actually form the right opinion of the neocons and of the rationalization of military occupation. He’s an antiwar candidate… But that doesn’t mean I’d vote for Paul. I might—but he’s got to do a much better job of apologizing for that racism and putting it behind him.
Meanwhile, new revelations of racist ugliness appear on Gawker and Reuters, which reprint portions of a 1993 Ron Paul direct-mail fund appeal in which this “anti-war” hero urged his readers to prepare for a “coming race war in our big cities.” There is also fear-mongering about the supposed multi-colored hologram-embedded “totalitarian” new currency which has amazingly still failed to arrive nearly 20 years later, and about the “federal-homosexual coverup on AIDS.” The accounts also, of course, contain the requisite quotes from Paul campaign spokesmen saying that Paul “disavows” such content, and that he didn’t write it—despite the fact that the letter bore his signature.
Paul boosters invariably point to such weak disavowals, and his empty prattle about individual rights and opposition to the “war on drugs,” which is supposed to somehow prove he isn’t a racist. If Paul really cared about racism, he would man up and take responsibility for the ugliness that appeared under his name and in the pages of the modestly entitled “Ron Paul Political Report”—repeatedly over a period of several years. He would take full responsibility instead of shilling the blame off to ghost writers, and say, “I was wrong.” He would also resign from politics, or at least become aggressively anti-racist to atone for his past indiscretions—instead of clinging to such reactionary positions as opposition to affirmative action and even to the Civil Rights Act!
Weiss, to his credit, is not bought off so cheap, and is holding out for a more forthright repudiation of Paul’s past (?) racism. But the fact that Weiss would even consider voting for Paul indicates that he just doesn’t get it. Who are you willing to throw overboard to advance a candidate who spouts facile anti-war populism, Weiss? Women? (Ron Paul’s website says he supports “repeal” [sic] of Roe v. Wade.) Immigrants? (Ron Paul’s website says he wants to abolish birthright citizenship.) The planetary biosphere? (Ron Paul calls climate change a “hoax,” and wants to abolish the EPA, privatize public lands to the resource industries, and open up virtually all offshore waters to oil drilling.)
That any “progressive” would consider a vote for this monstrosity of far-right yahooism is indicative of an abject failure to grasp the truly fascistic nature of the increasingly nativist cast of GOP politics. Ironically, this fascistic strain is even evidenced in the Ron Paul campaign ad that got Weiss so enthused. Entitled “If China Attacks America (JUST IMAGINE),” it is skillfully designed to play to both sides—a big dose of xenophobia (and specifically Sinophobia) for the heartland Republicans, and a shrill anti-war message for deluded “progressives” in those once-demonized “big cities.” The video (which Weiss hails as “genius”!) starts out like a standard Militia Movement potboiler about a UN-backed foreign (in this case, Chinese) military occupation of the US (specially, Texas)—only to lead to the obvious punch-line of an analogy for the US occupation of Iraq. From the voice-over: “Imagine if the occupiers’ attitude was that if they killed enough Americans, the resistance would stop but instead for every American killed, ten more would take up arms against them, resulting in perpetual bloodshed…” (Note the implicit cheering of the Iraqi “insurgents” as legitimate “resistance,” ignoring the overwhelming reality of sectarian war in Iraq; the better analogy would be a Chinese occupation of Texas leading to a mutual bloodbath between Baptists and Methodists.)
This is what comes of single-issue thinking—and in Weiss’ case, the obsession with the (mistaken) notion that the Iraq adventure was a “war for Israel.” Oblivious to the military adventure’s roots in the global struggle for control of oil, Weiss and his ilk cheer on a man who would give the oil industry everything it wants in terms of access to public lands and waters at home, and eliminating public oversight. And they don’t even grasp their own irony.
See our last post on Ron Paul.