Ron Paul staked out the grounds of his immovable Ron Paul-ness last night at the last (Allah be praised!) GOP candidate debate before the Iowa caucus on January 3.
The all-Paul version of the debate:
Some highlights: They tried to make Paul pledge to support the eventual nominee, and he refused (while getting crowdlove by saying any one of them can beat Obama). He staked out how he's too different from the others to get behind them: "I emphasize civil liberties and a pro-American foreign policy, which is different from being policeman of the world....The philosophy I'm talking about is the Constitution and freedom...it brings people together, brings independents into the fold, even Democrats on some of these issues...[I'm] very electable, it's the American philosophy, it's the rule of law, we ought to balance the budget, and opens door for supporting my willingness to cut $1 trillion the first year."
He was challenged on his anti-Gingrich ads (and stressed that working for Fannie and Freddie isn't working in the private sector) and his belief in earmarks. On that, Paul says he's never been anti-earmarks in principle and believes it's a positive good that Congress should be able to shape spending rather than the executive, and repeated that, however, he never actually votes for the spending even if he inserts earmarks in the spending bill.
He was reluctant to run roughshod over the courts via Congress, and stood firm (in a move that, as if he's never said such things before, led many pundits to declare, ooo, he killed his chances right there) on not spoiling for a war with Iran, which does not actually have and is not close to having nukes.
Paul uses a question about the Supreme Court (pick your dreamiest Justice!) to lecture us on the bad effects of splitting liberty into personal and economic components, which he charges most justices do. Thus Paul declares them all good and all bad in some respects.
*Ron Paul in the Hannity spin room after the debate last night, getting annoyed and dealing with the questions of "Iran swears it will wipe Israel off the map" and old newsletters. One might almost imagine Paul doesn't like Hannity very much from the body language and tone, which was fun to see:
In other Paul talk:
*The Wall Street Journal saith: Paul can't win, he doesn't support war sufficiently.
*Paul Krugman saith: Ron Paul is a nut to fear unrestricted paper money, and inflation is not threatening the commonwealth, but credits Paul by saying "his economic doctrine has, in effect, become the official G.O.P. line."
*Michael Tomasky spews the rage of the establishment liberal against Paul, calling him a "batty reactionary" and a "pestilential little locust." Are we in a Party Re-Education Session, Comrade Tomasky? Jeez. Tomasky is obsessed with the notion that all "hipsters" of Los Feliz, Willamsburg and the San Fran Mission District are abandoning liberalism for Paul, and it's pissing him the hell off. (He has a very small point on that, but via Facebook, where I learn everything I know about reality these days, for every hipster who dares speak in defense of Paul, a dozen scream and cry and rend their garments.) It seems to upset Tomasky that anyone might politically privilege liberty and not killing lots of people over making rich people give other people things.
Anyway, while it is assuredly true that people who think like Tomasky should not support Ron Paul, some of his reasons given are absurd--like conflating a lack of belief in hate crime laws with a lack of belief in laws against assault, snidely mumbling about "the question of what exactly it is about civil disobedience that’s libertarian" (the part that valorizes liberty and justice over the state, Mr. Tomasky, that's where civil disobediance and libertarianism meet).
Anyway, says the very high school-sounding Tomasky, Paul's "being antiwar" is "really less brave than it looks. There has always been an isolationist strain in the GOP, so it was always clear that he’d have a base of support there to watch his back against the neocons. And besides, the war turned out to be highly unpopular, which worked out very nicely for him."
I wonder if Tomasky saw the parts of last night's debate about Iran? Does he still think it isn't brave of Paul to stake out that position? And that last sentence...well, sure, we can't give anyone credit for sticking to a position when they turn out to actually be right about what a bad idea war was; that just makes it too easy. Think of how brave those who doggedly insist that war is right and will always be right are! After all, the shitty results might make them have to back down on their position. Paul, that coward, faces no such risks on his lucky-guess about war. Except more of this desperate crap from people fighting to keep the all-important "hipster" vote in the Democratic warfare/welfare fold.
*Paul rising, Gingrich and Romney falling, in latest New Hampshire polling from Rasmussen; Paul now at 18.
*National Review trying to squash Paul third party rumors, though Paul himself never swears he absolutely won't do it. But his campaign says: “Asking this question over and over again of a candidate who’s actually doing quite well in competing for the Republican nomination is both silly and insulting,” the source says. “Is anyone asking Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich about running third-party if they don’t get the nomination?”
*CNN: the GOP has to face the very real possibility of a Paul win in Iowa.
*Salon on the analogies between Paul '12 and Jesse Jackson in '88, with the discouraging-for-Paul-fans historical fact that Paul could, like Jackson, actually win a bunch of states and still eventually fade in favor of the establishment candidate.
*The New Yorker notes how much his own party hates Paul, and muses on the meaning of Paul's love for Bastiat's The Law, managing to give some feeble hat tips toward Paul's good qualities:
[His fans] love that he’s not owned by and not for sale to any corporate interests—and for this reason, as well as his isolationist repudiation of America’s post-9/11 wars, he draws followers from the ranks of Occupy Wall Street protesters as well as from the Tea Party. And the conspicuous (and, frankly, inexcusable) extent to which he’s been ignored by the national press has only confirmed the conviction of his supporters that he is speaking truth to power.
Lately, for instance, he has been on a tear against the legalization by Congress (with Obama Administration support) of indefinite detention without charge of suspects in terrorism cases under the National Defense Authorization Act. “This should be the biggest news going right now—literally legalizing martial law,” Paul says. A good point: we should leave it to our enemies to announce and define themselves by such laws, and the fact that Paul is the only Presidential candidate to call attention to the outrage makes it an even greater cause for despair.
*Rachel Maddow, like Chris Matthews, wants to assure us all: a Ron Paul win in Iowa won't mean anything at all, heh heh, nervous laugh, and ain't it funny how both me and my arch-enemies at Fox want to ensure you are already all on the same page on this whole silly issue of, heh heh, Ron Paul winning Iowa? Pshaw, who cares, you know? (Rush Limbaugh feels the same way too):
*Paul's campaign is throwing a Tea Party day moneybomb today, which is at $1.5 million right now. Not on target to challenge his biggest-in-history single day take on Tea Party Day 2007 of over $6 million, but nice, and who knows what the rest of the day may bring.