Iraq

Everyone Loves Ron

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The Ron Paul ideological sweep continues: contrarian lefty Alexander Cockburn loves on him at Counterpunch. He points out the problem for the GOP inherent in the party powers-that-be's obvious disdain for the antiwar congressman:

A majority of Americans–65 per cent and up–hate the war in Iraq and think the US troops should leave. But the leading candidates from both parties fence-straddle at best, and also parrot Giuliani on the "war on terror". Hence the popularity of Ron Paul, as soon as he gets a national venue. The same happened to a Democratic outsider, Mike Gravel, even as his party votes Bush the money to go on fighting the war.

There's a good deal of evidence that to win Congress or the White House the Republicans need to hold the libertarian "undecided" bloc, overwhelmingly antiwar, which defected to the Democrats last November. So with every saber-rattling speech to Republican zealots the major Republicans candidates seal their party's fate next year. Paul will probably have dropped out by then, but he's already made his point, just like another presidential outsider did, back in the Vietnam years: Dr Benjamin Spock, like Paul a career baby-deliverer.

When I first profiled Ron Paul for the American Spectator back in 1999, I interviewed Cockburn for it, as he'd already declared his public affection for Ron. He talked to me, as he does in this new piece, of his love for eccentric Texas politicians, and when I asked if there were anything that he didn't love about Ron, all he could come up with was: "his reverence for gold is a little excessive." Cockburn has always been an outlier even with the Nation magazine world (where he is a columnist), but I don't think he'd be the only lefty who could find a lot to love about Ron Paul, especially as the war, and standard politicians' unwillingness to follow the obvious public groundswell against it, dominates politics.

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  1. “his reverence for gold is a little excessive.”

    Don’t all Republicans?

  2. I think he’s referring to Dr. Paul’s support of returning to the gold standard.

  3. I know, Jason, just snarkin’…

  4. joe, in this day and age, most Republican politicians love paper money just as much as the Democrats; it allows them to engage in massive spending paid for via inflation. After all, unlike taxes, voters don’t blame inflation on the politicians directly, but think it has something to do with “poorly managing the economy.”

  5. There’s a good deal of evidence that to win Congress or the White House the Republicans need to hold the libertarian “undecided” bloc

    LOL. Yes the libertarian “bloc.” What is that like %.05 of active voters.

  6. Yes, 15% of the populace and .05% of active voters.

  7. tarran,

    It was a cheap shot about greedy Republicans, not a commentary about any alleged partisan divide over fiat currency.

    I guess it’s not funny if you have to explain it.

  8. joe – it was very funny. Watching the people fall over themselves in goldbug fever makes it even funnier!

  9. Not to get all Chomsky on you but it’s been interesting to watch him skunk up the attempt by the MSM and both parties to frame the outlines of what is “acceptable” thinking on Iraq, even if only 35% of the public is behind it. (That 35% being hardcore republicans who would be the most anti-war if it were president Gore’s Awesome Mesopotamia Adventure we were talking about here).

  10. I saw Alexander Cockburn on CSPAN a few weeks ago. Smart, interesting guy. He’s a *tolerant* lefty – happy to find friends on the libertarian Right, not looking for reasons to hate or dismiss people.

  11. Pain, Mc,

    I know you’re just trolling, but for just to be sure, let me remind you of something. Liberatarians are frequently an active voting bloc when they get interested. Remember the republican sweep into office in ’94. The social conservatives were not the reason for that. Nor were a large swathe of independents lured by Gingrich’s husky entices. No, it was previously inactive libertarians that saw a republican group making all the right economic noises which helped sweep them into congress. And whether or not it was libertarians that helped the democrats win last year by voting for them or lack of voting for republicans, the fact is that not having libertarians weakens the republican party and so they are a contigent not to be ignored.

  12. joe, my mistake. As a new reader, it’s hard to know who to take literally or not. 🙂

  13. For sure Ron Paul could win over some on the left–9/11 truthers and other wingnuts–but he would still be a creepy unelectable. He comes off as being not quite bright enough to recognize the holes in his own zealorty. Tha flaw probably explains his popularity here.

  14. Yep, I stepped into it that time.

    Uhm, VM, I wish you and your fellow paper-cranks would stop calling me a gold-bug, because I’m not. I want the government out of the money-decreeing business entirely, and don’t care whether I find myself doing business in gold or lutefisk.

  15. tarran thinks the gold-standard people are squishes.

    That’s some high-test libertarianism right there.

  16. Pain, Mc,

    I know you’re just trolling, but for just to be sure, let me remind you of something. Liberatarians are frequently an active voting bloc when they get interested. Remember the republican sweep into office in ’94. The social conservatives were not the reason for that. Nor were a large swathe of independents lured by Gingrich’s husky entices. No, it was previously inactive libertarians that saw a republican group making all the right economic noises which helped sweep them into congress. And whether or not it was libertarians that helped the democrats win last year by voting for them or lack of voting for republicans, the fact is that not having libertarians weakens the republican party and so they are a contigent not to be ignored.

    Ok, I’m not trolling. Just frustrated. I am a very hardcore libertarian at heart but over the years it has become very apparent that this “libertarian bloc” is mostly fantasy. Kept alive by a small percentage of online bloggers and the like. Both parties may crib arguments that libertarians use if they find them politically useful. But I doubt %15 of the population even knows what a libertarian actually is (see Bill Maher).

    People want the government out of their business but not out of everybody else’s. To most people their is no contradiction in free trade and being anti-immigration. Or asking for high taxes on some businesses while subsidizing others. Most people have one or two issues they focus on and vote on. Comprehensive political philosophies simply don’t exist for most people. The major parties understand this and that’s why they seek to sabotage candidates like Ron Paul, who come off as cranks to most people.

    I would love to believe in an effective libertarian voting bloc. That would be cool. But so would the Loch Ness monster.

  17. The reason all the Republican presidential candidates except Ron Paul are saber-rattling is this: about 7 out of 10 of general election voters are against the Iraq war, but the numbers are reversed in the primary: about 7 out of 10 Republicans are for the Iraq war. And, since the electoral college has been so close for two elections running, the only conceivable winning strategy for a Republican is to saber-rattle in the primaries, and then desperately try to change the topic for the general election, and hang onto the swing states. Which is a roundabout way of saying Hillary in the White House.

    And, since much the same logic applies to congressional races, all this is a roundabout way of saying that we’re likely to go from divided government to one-party government in the next election, with all the nastiness that entails. Socialized medicine, anyone?

  18. Pain:

    15% of voters tend in a “generally libertarian” direction. 99% of them fail the GREAT LIBERTARIAN PURITY TEST, however. I’m well within that 99%. Which, of course, means I’m an evil statist who lies when he says he’s a libertarian… but then again, who isn’t…

  19. 15% of voters tend in a “generally libertarian” direction.

    That may be, but I don’t consider that a voting bloc. The NRA, Unions, civil rights groups, anti-war, pro-war, and evangelicals, are voting blocs. They are all essentially one issue groups. Only if the candidates are exactly the same on an issue will there be any question as to who those votes will go to.

    “Generally libertarian” means they might drift this way or that depending a number of factors. This means you cannot count on them to vote in a specific way. And I imagine most of this group is a member of the above mentioned single issue blocs.

  20. URKOBOLD SUPPORTS THE GOLD STANDARD. THE NAKED-BOND-WOMEN-PAINTED-GOLD STANDARD, THAT IS. URKOBOLD KEEPS A FEW AROUND FOR SHOPPING AND PAYING TOLLS.

  21. *runs off, suspecting that URKOBOLD is about to get all “Clan of the Cave Bear” on this thread!

  22. I don’t know. I think the libertarian block is more active than is generally supposed. Candidates with libertarian leanings do well when nominated. The problem is getting them past the fanatic party faithful, and on to the ticket.

  23. OR QUEST FOR FIRE, LONG DUCK DONG’S GREATEST MOVIE.

  24. Gasp! The URKOBOLD refers to A BOARD MEETING in Florida.

  25. You can’t count on a group like libertarians to “get out the vote” en masse for a candidate or movement, no. At least, not anymore.

    But you can piss them off, and get them to either vote against something/someone, or to not vote (or vote LP, same thing) in order to deny their votes to a candidate.

  26. “even as his party votes Bush the money to go on fighting the war.”
    Whatever Mr. Sheehan, the Dems went to the line to stop the war, forcing a veto and several cloiture votes, unlike another lock-step party I know…

  27. For a political or ideological group to be labeled a voting bloc, they might actually need to vote…and vote as a bloc…and comprise a significant portion of the voting population. Actual libertarians, who have a cohesive political identity, are not that significant. They just aren’t. I wish they were, but they aren’t. You just hope to keep the ideas alive, in order to provide solutions to the problems when they spiral out of control. Someone said that….forget who.

  28. 7 out of 10 voters want to end the Iraq war, but 7 out of 10 also oppose Congress de-funding it (which, given Bush’s stubbornness, is the only way we’re getting out). So, at least 4 out of 10 voters want contradictory things.

    Far be it from me to defend politicians, but how the heck is a politician running for office supposed to respond to this? McCain is unpopular because he wants to continue the war, and Paul is unpopular because he wants to de-fund it and withdraw immediately. And you wonder why the front-runners are noncommital on the subject!

  29. OR QUEST FOR FIRE, LONG DUCK DONG’S GREATEST MOVIE.

    sorry youkobolt…after that spelling nazi episode you will not win back my love simply by referencing cool cave man movies.

  30. I realize, of course, that I’m taking my life in my hands, but Urkobold? should not support the gold standard lest he suffer the tragic cartoon fate as befell King Midas as explained (dare I spell it thus?) hier.

  31. Who IS Ron Paul? They still need to know!!
    NOBODY explains Ron Paul
    BETTER than Ron Paul himself!

    Here is an interactive audio archive of
    Ron Paul speeches and interviews as a resource in chronological
    order.

    http://www.ronpaulaudio.com

  32. I could be wrong here, but I think the Urkobold was referring to this. Except not dead, because Urkobold knows that the whole skin-breathing thing was and is a total myth. A walking, talking means of exchange has its advantages, after all.

  33. crimethink:

    A politician running for office needs to have principles and strong beliefs and elegantly defend them. They need to go out there and _convince people why they are right, and you are wrong. Not stick a finger in the air to find which way the wind is blowing and go along with it. I have the greatest respect for statesmen (even though they may be politically opposite of me) who stand on their principles and defend them fearlessly in the arena of ideas. I have utter contempt for those politicians who flip and flop according to whatever the focus groups and polls tell them.

  34. No Brian..very few of us love Ron. He is, and always has been an annoying time wasting doofus.

  35. Does anyone have a good idea of Dr Paul’s position on gay rights, especially marriage? I know he supported DOMA (even tho he wasn’t elected at the time it passed) and that he co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Act.

    Has he spelled-out exactly what he would do as president regarding gays?

    It’s tough because I’ve gotten many of my liberal friends on-board with a Paul nomination except my gay friends, who have good reason to not want to support him, it seems.

    And that’s tough because it makes me feel that by supporting him, I am actively working against them.

    – Rick

  36. Rick,

    IIRC he believes the decision on gay marriage should be left to individual states, and also that a state that elects against gay marriage should not have to recognize the same-sex marriages of other states. And yes, liberals will absolutely hate Ron Paul once they find out he’s not simply an anti-war Republican. I don’t see them approving of his stances on gun control, abortion, health care, welfare, etc.

  37. pdog,

    That sounds all well and good, but Mr Bush’s stubbornness is making me appreciate politicians who go with the flow. There are worse things, I’m discovering.

  38. Ron Paul Supporters: Where’s Giuliani? From http://www.gambling911.com

    http://www.gambling911.com/Ron-Paul-Giuliani-060307.html

    Carrie Stroup with Gambling911 has requested the folks at Sportsbook.com – presently offering political betting odds on the 2008 US Presidential election – to offer odds on Giuliani attending and debating Ron Paul at FreedomFest.

    Breaking News at 9:34 AM on 6/4/2007

    Dr. Paul accepts the invitation to debate Mr. Giuliani on the Iraq War & US Foreign Policy.
    We are still waiting to hear from the Giuliani Campaign.

    http://www.freedomfest.com/debate.htm Paul/Giuliani debate invitation

  39. Ron Paul on the Daily Show right now

  40. Top 10 reasons Giuliani would want to debate Ron Paul one-on-one:

    #10.

    OK, this is hard.

  41. How about a little reality check?

    Paul has *not* improved his position in polls of likely Republican voters (I mean real polls, not internet ones) since his exchange with Giuliani.

    See http://www.pollingreport.com/wh08rep.htm (Paul gets 1 percent in the latest ABC/Washington Post poll, 1 percent in the Diageo/Hotline Poll, 1 percent in Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, etc.)

  42. crimethink,

    No, it’s not:

    #10 – Giuliani looks better in drag than Paul.
    #9 – Paul was not in New York saving the children on 9/11.
    #8 – Giuliani is willing to use torture to win debates; Paul is not.

    And so on.

  43. Endorsement by one of The Nation’s moonbatsmanship All-Stars is not exactly the same as getting George Soros on the Paul bandwagon.

    Cockburn may write like an angel, but his Beat The Devil Column often rivals Rush Limbaugh–

    http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/2007/05/dogs_cats_moonb.html

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