Re: R[evol]ution In The Heartland

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I'm pretty convinced that Paul's going to end up running an independent or 3rd party campaign. What else are you going to do with all that money? I haven't really been able to figure out what the fallout would be.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 1:49 PM
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I haven't really been able to figure out what the fallout would be.

Even more people passing out at Reason parties?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 1:50 PM
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I was in high school for the (first) Perot thing and knew a couple people who supported him- our school did a mock election. Since I was less politically aware at the time, I can't say who's the bigger nutbag- my feeling is Paul, but that could just be because he has a longer public record than Perot had. I can't wait to see who he picks as his running mate.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:09 PM
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4: I'm hoping he picks that guy with the blue skin.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:10 PM
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I.e. this dude.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:11 PM
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What's rution?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:12 PM
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I'm also stumbling over the title.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:16 PM
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It's not just Midwest college campuses, either. I'm told that he is very popular at hippie schools like Bard.

And what's with those "r[evol]ution" stickers? Has his campaign been taken over by his internet nerd supporters?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:16 PM
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I can't say who's the bigger nutbag

Man, that's a tough one. When Paul came out against the Civil War, saying that the killed could have been saved by buying all the slaves (the government?), I think that made him the winner.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:19 PM
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The post title explained.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:20 PM
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10: after a fashion.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:22 PM
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So they're saying Paul is the candidate of revolution and free love? Interesting strategy...


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:22 PM
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Paul is the candidate of clever typography.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:38 PM
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12: He's a libertarian - it's not free love; it's love at a price determined by an unfettered market.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:39 PM
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Free market love for Ron Paul.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 2:43 PM
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i thought they wanted to emphasize evolution
but it was love, nice
in russia or japan for example it would be considered too frivolous for a politician to use this kind of slogan
sure i'm not an expert of their political life


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 3:30 PM
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There's no limit, read, to how frivolous Americans will get in selecting politicians.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 3:37 PM
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We heartland folks are always up for a little revolution. Carrie Nation to Emma Goldman to KKK, doesn't seem to matter as long as we get to use our axes & pitchforks on sumpin.

Long before the bloodsimple gets to the coastal brain.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 4:15 PM
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How long before the pauldroids show up? I think they have constant search-monitoring on the RSS feeds. The key 'tell' is referring to him as 'Dr Paul.'


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 4:25 PM
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I think we have our feeds set up not to be indexed, so we might be safe.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 4:30 PM
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My brother asked me about Ron Paul too. Is the Drum-Yglesias line canon?


Posted by: Lambent Cactus | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 4:31 PM
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RON PAUL 2008!!! He's the IN candidate because he supports LIBERTY and the CONSTITUTION!!!!!!!1!

Okay, seriously. Is Unfogged, like, not on the internet or something? Don't give me that "feeds not indexed" crap. There's something funky going on here.

By the way -- while we're on the subject -- why is it that they're called "Paultards" rather than the much more intuitive "Rontards"?


Posted by: Alex F | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 4:46 PM
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2008 will be a populist year. Huckabee, Edwards, and Paul are all trying to ride & control that wave. I don't know if I have ever seen a populist run in politics, ok Nixon/Wallace in 68, maybe Reagan. If Clinton had run against Washington starting 1993 he could have taken advantage of it, but confrontation really isn't his nature.

It is about defining a subset of the "elite" as the enemy, and unleashing the mob against it. FDR "managed" it in his first term, which saw violence in Dearborn.

"I welcome their hatred." ...FDR, 1936.

Read Krugman today. The commenters at Thomas, a lot of the wimpy left is turning on Paul Krugman now. Krugman gets it. The middle must become roadkill. Thith meanth war.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 4:46 PM
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This whole thing is so depressing. Congrats, prominent Democrats, on avoiding any risk of what David Brooks might view as unseemly anarchist behavior. Now all the anti-war energy is going to prop up the movements to eliminate all income taxes, government funding of schools, and enforce traditional roles for women. Which did not need any help being funded to begin with.

I really wonder what would have happened if R. Feingold hadn't dropped out of the primary. I'd like to know what he thinks would have happened too. The media takes him seriously, unlike Kucinich.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 4:56 PM
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My opinion of Ron Paul is inversely proportional to how recently I have read internet comments by his supporters. It is amazing how they swarm over a thread.

Though this is probably a cliche about populism, but it's amazing how inchoate anger can be attached to random unrelated issues, like the gold standard. The gold standard! It's as if America is fated to recreate all of the conditions that led to the Great Depression.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 5:08 PM
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Wait, Feingold was in the race? Seriously? I missed that completely.

Some people I love and respect are Ron Paul supporters. I've spent enough time talking with them to understand why, even if the final calculus comes out differently for me. But I don't know any people of color, or women of any color, who support him.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 5:13 PM
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Wait, Feingold was in the race?

Not quite. He registered a PAC but opted out of the race early on.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 5:21 PM
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I didn't even go to the Heartland, just to upstate New York, where the next-door-neighbours had Ron Paul stickers on the vehicles in their driveway. Meanwhile, my sisters went to midnight mass at St. Pat's, which, hearing about in combination with the Ron Paul stickers, made me feel very homesick indeed.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 5:49 PM
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A very earthy-crunchy hippie friend of mine who followed Phish around and now teaches at one of those custom schools based on that German guy's philosophy (not Montessori), has started sending out Paul spam.

"It's amazing he hasn't been killed for what he's saying," she says. "Find out what the good doctor has to say."


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 5:57 PM
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But I don't know any people of color, or women of any color, who support him.

This is a very Pauline Kael thing to say.

I know several such: among the men, they're IT-industry libertarians who happen to be nonwhite, and among the women, well, one is Catholic/pro-life, one (IT libertarian) is willing to ignore the abortion part of Paul because of his awesome fiscal policy, and the other (earthy-crunchy) just likes him because he's willing to Tell It Like It Is, and is different.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 6:02 PM
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one of those custom schools based on that German guy's philosophy

Waldorf? (Steiner was Austrian.)

The more I know about Ron Paul, the more convinced I am that his otherwise progressive supporters are maniacally misguided.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 6:08 PM
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The more I know about Ron Paul, the more convinced I am that his otherwise progressive supporters are maniacally misguided.

Well, yeah.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 6:09 PM
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Waldorf sounds familiar, yeah. What's the deal with those? I really can't tell from the Internettz if they're an intriguing option for progressive parents, or CRAAAAAZY.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 6:14 PM
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24: Ned gets it. The Dr. Paul phenomenon is purely and simply the result of a deliberate, purposeful, anti-popular refusal of the Democrats to do the obviously sensible thing.

Sometimes I really do wonder whether the leading Democrats aren't petrified by the fear of being Wellstoned. Kerry's camaign was so incredibly lame in so many different ways. Washington wizards they are.

For 20 years the Democratic consultants have sold a hawkish foreign policy as being required by the dictates of public opinion, but there was always some other more important reason.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 6:16 PM
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This is a very Pauline Kael thing to say.

I dunno; I spend a lot of my life around people who don't think like I do, politically. Work, community, volunteering, classes, acquaintances, and friends...but outside of my faith community and my immediate family members (sometimes), I don't have a sense of common ground.

And here, I guess.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 6:16 PM
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About all I've heard of Paul is some graffiti on a bus sign (when I were a lad it was anarchist graffiti you saw), and his anti-immigrant humbug on one of the debates. So I was reading his "issues" page, which was basically just low-tax gobbledygook, until you come to this, in his 2nd Amendment section: H.R. 1146 would end our membership in the United Nations, protecting us from their attempts to tax our guns or disarm us entirely. O noes, blak helcopters iz comin!


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 6:21 PM
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Oh, I'm sure his supporters are predominantly white and male. I'm just being a noodge.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 6:23 PM
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What's the deal with those? I really can't tell from the Internettz if they're an intriguing option for progressive parents, or CRAAAAAZY.

Waldorf and Montessori are definitely not crazy. Everything we know of them, including our daughters' experience at a Waldorf preschool last year, is positive (the crazier parts of Steiner, such as his anti-immunization beliefs, aren't part of the program; never mind that Ayn Rand approved of Montessori). They're holistic and wholesome (i.e., fascist in the Goldbergian sense), and the only major drawback I've seen is that kids in those schools tend to miss out on the class and racial diversity they might otherwise experience at their local public school.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 6:53 PM
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My niece was in a Waldorf preschool. The one thing I remember is that she learned that toy animals are not supposed to talk. Apparently anthropomorphizing of nature is against the Waldo philosophy....


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 7:05 PM
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Our kids were in Montessori and it was great and not at all craaaaaaazy. However, the fact that the local Waldorf is the center of the local anti-vaxers collective told us to stay well clear of them. If for no other reason than I want my kids to benefit from the heard immunity.



Posted by: ukko | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 7:07 PM
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I think you guys are forgetting who his opposition is. He's running (at least right now) for the Republican nomination. His opponents are crazy, too. However crazy he might be, I'm certain that Paul would make a better, more palatable, President than Giuliani or Huckabee and it's an arguable proposition that he'd be better, more palatable, than Romney or McCain. If it should happen that a Republican will take office in 2009, it's not ridiculous to hope that his name is Paul.


Posted by: jim | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 7:10 PM
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Jim, that's nuts. I find the idea of President Ron Paul pretty farfetched, but if he were actually elected he'd wreak enormous havoc. In an election electing Ron Paul a majority of Americans would show their willingness to elect an open racist with a large number of toxic views. That would transform the nation for the worse far more than the Reagan election did.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 7:16 PM
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However crazy he might be, I'm certain that Paul would make a better, more palatable, President than Giuliani or Huckabee and it's an arguable proposition that he'd be better, more palatable, than Romney or McCain. If it should happen that a Republican will take office in 2009, it's not ridiculous to hope that his name is Paul.

This is true, he would probably be unable to accomplish any of his insane, destructive goals. But then he might commit suicide or resign, and leave us with President Jeb Bush.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 7:17 PM
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A guy can do a lot of harm without accomplishing anything from his own point of view. Dubya should have laid the "One man can't do much harm" myth to rest.



Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 7:20 PM
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[I]f he were actually elected he'd wreak enormous havoc is also true of at least Giuliani and Huckabee.

I don't want to see President Ron Paul. But don't single him out as "the crazy" as though the rest of the Republican field were actually sane.


Posted by: jim | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 7:26 PM
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None of us want any of the Republicans, but Paul (despite his antiwar view) would be as bad as the others.

The Pat Buchanan bigot wing of the right has been antiwar for some time, but if you look closely at their reasons why, there's not much comfort to be taken from their stand.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 7:31 PM
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So, the points of departure that have made the Bush era uniquely horrible -- wars of aggression, legalized torture, a police state attitude to civil rights, corrupt elections, persecution of immigrants, cut-and-spend economics -- would be unchanged under Paul?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 7:36 PM
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Giuliani and Huckabee are odious in their own ways, but Paul takes many of those bad ideas and ads an extra layer of crazy on top. I think Huck would be a bad president, but I would at least trust him not to drive the economy over a cliff. On the other hand, Paul's policies, if implemented, would inflict a level of economic misery not seen since the Great Depression.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 7:45 PM
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Paul would be different than Bush, but not better. Immigrants would be treated much worse, and he would use the Bush-planned fiscal crisis as an excuse to eliminate almost all federal discretionary spending, in addition to reducing regulation of business still further, eliminating environmental protection, and reducing taxes still lower.

I wouldn't be surprised if he unleashed the police too, in some respects, judging by his "95% criminals" quote.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 7:56 PM
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Also, if you think Paul's web-based minions are insufferable now, think if they had any real power....


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 8:10 PM
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It seems like a key aspect is how much you think Congress would roll with a given President's agenda. Paul's weird enough that it doesn't seem like he'd get as much of his way as a more "mainstream" Republican. Which is pretty cold comfort; lots of stuff is under pure Executive Branch control.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 8:10 PM
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What I wonder about Paul is whether he's helping Huck, and harming Guiliani. I'm thinking maybe Huck is the better opponent from that field. I'm also thinking that none of the Paul surge is coming at Huck's expense.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 8:20 PM
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I doubt an explicitly antiwar candidate is hurting Giuliani much. Despite all the noise and money, he's not likely to make much of an impact on the GOP race. What I'm more curious about is how he affects the general if he stays in.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 8:51 PM
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38 etc.:

Waldorf and Montessori are definitely not crazy. Everything we know of them, including our daughters' experience at a Waldorf preschool last year, is positive (the crazier parts of Steiner, such as his anti-immunization beliefs, aren't part of the program

Yes, not to harp on it, but it wouldn't do to associate Paul with the Waldorf School (or Montessori). They may have their problems, but they're not crazy, absolutely promote positive, creative learning; I lived with a Waldorf teacher for several years. Waldorf teaching is not obsessively tied to Steiner.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 9:13 PM
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34- I hope you mean the Washington Generals, or saiselgy will kick your ass.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 10:08 PM
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but they're not crazy

The gnome thing is a little crazy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 10:29 PM
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Now, now, gnomes are not nearly as bad as requisite gauzy swirly skirts on women.

(Seriously, though, female Waldorf kindergarten teachers, in this area at least, are not supposed to wear pants, or not close-fitting ones; they are supposed to project a sort of dreamy (creative, unformed) angelic mother-leader-figure for the children. Who are then taught by these ladies how to form things. I did wonder about this.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 10:46 PM
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The gnome thing is a little crazy.

The gnome is a crazy little thing.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 10:48 PM
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I really like Paul and have contributed a fair amount of money to his campaign. I've been disappointed at the left-wing reaction to him. Glenn Greenwald at Salon seems to be the only guy who really gets it about him.

Basically, if you're anti-war and pro civil liberties and you're not supporting Ron Paul at some level then there's something wrong. He's the most articulate, forceful, and radical spokesman on the national scene about those issues for decades. He's the best, clearest, and most articulate opponent of the national security state since WWII.

On other issues...well, he won't be President. But he's not really so bad all told. He has a good solid resistance to corporate welfare (he's been quite skeptical about e.g. big pharma, he's for drug reimportation), and his strong stance against the war on drugs would probably do more real good for minorities in America than any number of more traditional liberal nostrums.

I find the abuse of him from the left -- which goes beyond simple disagreement with his positions -- quite disappointing.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 10:54 PM
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if you're anti-war and pro civil liberties and you're not supporting Ron Paul at some level then there's something wrong

Right, like perhaps being pro-women's rights, pro-immigrant rights, pro-national health care (oh noes, big government!). Because the rights of immigrants and women aren't civil liberties issues, I guess. And being against little things like, oh, say, getting rid of the minimum wage and social security, or installing a completely insane tax policy. Or, you know, other manifestations of his insane libertarian I-got-mine-so-fuck-you point of view.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:05 PM
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59 has opened my eyes a bit. But it seems like the part of Paul's platform which would be destructive to everyone (i.e. Grover Norquist's platform) is the part that could possibly be ratified, whereas the good parts of his platform are the parts that are the exact opposite of the conventional wisdom and therefore have no chance of being ratified in the next 20 years. I think his campaign would be valuable if it were publicizing the good parts of his platform, although it isn't.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:19 PM
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59 has opened my eyes a bit. But it seems like the part of Paul's platform which would be destructive to everyone (i.e. Grover Norquist's platform) is the part that could possibly be ratified, whereas the good parts of his platform are the parts that are the exact opposite of the conventional wisdom and therefore have no chance of being ratified in the next 20 years. I think his campaign would be valuable if it were publicizing the good parts of his platform, although it isn't.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:20 PM
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The abortion issue does not sum up womens' civil rights. And I don't believe that Paul has ever questioned any of the Constitutional rights of legal immigrants to the U.S.

As it happens, three of our last four Presidents have opposed abortion, opposed the minimum wage, and social security. Democratic Congresses and popular majorities have preserved all of those things. Paul strikes me as preferable to all of those Presidents, and preferable in a few important ways to previous Democratic Presidents as well.

It's amazing to me what a fundamentally conservative movement American liberalism has become. There sometimes seems to be more interest in fighting rearguard actions over the old traditional bundle of social services and identity politics than in figuring out ways to build new alliances and challenge new threats to our liberties. Either you think that the complex of issues around the national security state and American imperialism is really important, or you don't.

I'm not sure people really understand either exactly what a game changer it would be to get the national security state under control. If you could roll U.S. defense spending back to year 2000 levels, you would cut Federal spending by between $300 and $400 billion a year....a massive amount of money. That's not going to happen, but the point is that questioning the nature and extent of our military committments could transform our ability to address national priorities in a way we don't even understand now.

his insane libertarian I-got-mine-so-fuck-you point of view.

That's just totally unfair. He's a principled guy who has made significant personal sacrifices in the name of his principles. Certainly more sacrifices than either you or I have. You may disagree with him (God knows I do on some of his beliefs), but he's clearly motivated by genuine idealism and not personal greed or the typical libertarian sneering at the poor.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:28 PM
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Paul is batshit crazy. I would argue that he is 1.) less batshit crazy than his Republican opponents and 2.) less likely to be effectual in the areas where he is batshit crazy.

But, of course, he'll never be elected. His influence as a candidate is a big positive, and his influence as a general election candidate could be enormous. He could do to the Right what Nader did to the Left.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:28 PM
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The abortion issue does not sum up womens' civil rights.

Bodily integrity is pretty fundamental. Either you think it's important, or you don't. Eh?

Anyway, not worth arguing about. You made a statement about why liberals should support Paul, I explained why it'll be a cold day in hell for this liberal.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:29 PM
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Except inasmuch as 64 spells out: he's the obvious spoiler candidate for the right. In that sense, go Paul!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:30 PM
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PGD, there is absolutely no contradiction between this statement of yours:

He's a principled guy who has made significant personal sacrifices in the name of his principles.

And this statement of B's:

his insane libertarian I-got-mine-so-fuck-you point of view

I-got-mind-so-fuck-you is a matter of principle with these people, including Paul.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:32 PM
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I don't think Paul is only a spoiler for thr right in the general. It's entirely possible that a non-trivial number of Dems could buy into the siren song presented here by PGD, and vote for Paul instead of Hillary. After all, he's right about the war, and she isn't. And if that means that we end up with Mitt or Guiliani, well, that's Hillary's fault. Or Obama's. Or Edwards. Anyone but the people who voted for him, but really didn't want Mitt or Rudy.

I agree that Paul is better on the national security state than any of the Republicans running. I do not agree that he's better, in the execution, than Hillary will be: Congress is not going to be doing anything at all to enhance her executive power. Her election may the the best hope for FISA rollback, for example.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:41 PM
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Come on, 67. This is the merest sophistry. If he has sacrificed for his principles, then his principles can't be entirely "i-got-mine-fuck-you", because then that would lead him to never sacrifice anything. Those statements are definitely incompatible.

I hope Paul becomes the Libertarian candidate for President for the reasons stated in 59. Right now he's only competing for the votes of Republican primary voters, and the only Republican primary voters who would vote for him are either conspiracy theorists or glibertarian would-be oligarchs. If he was trying to attract both Democratic and Republican votes, with the number of people who are already taking him seriously, it could really open people's minds about the drug war and privacy issues and the eternal martial law state, and make Democrats wonder why exactly these things are seen as such terrifying "third rails" that only hilarious communists care about.

The Overton window, again.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:43 PM
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a non-trivial number of Dems could buy into the siren song

I suspect this too. I've said before that, when it comes down to brass tacks, my single issue is stopping the religious right. And Ron Paul fails that one so spectacularly that only Huckabee creeps me out worse.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:47 PM
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True, the potential spoiler effects are unpredictable. But long-term, these things need a non-laughingstock spokesman. And because of the huge amount of money Paul is able to raise from people who want all taxes abolished and/or the UN building demolished, he is being taken seriously, and because he actually believes what he says and isn't just a would-be kleptocrat, he is being a spokesman for other, non-kleptocratic ideas.

He doesn't differ much from the current Republican mainstream in his support for kleptocracy anyway.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:48 PM
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The thing is, Paul's ideals include a principled and consistent opposition to U.S. militarism abroad and to most forms government repression at home. These are clearly the central issues that have propelled candidacy. I think they are central and really important values, and I personally admire him for standing up for them in very difficult times. Whether or not he lines up perfectly with my more standard liberal laundry list.

I wonder whether people really know how clear and how radical Paul is on those issues. He's essentially very similar to Noam Chomsky on foreign policy and most domestic civil rights.

I guess the whole language of "batshit crazy" is an exclusionary language that annoys me as much when directed against Paul as it does when its used to marginalize perfectly sensible if radical left-wing thinkers. Paul has an internally consistent and workable philosophy of government. It has quite different costs and benefits compared to our current system. But our own system has plenty of "batshit crazy" elements in it that we are blind to through familiarity. The war on drugs, the level of our military committments, quite a number of other things -- all batshit crazy to me.

Finally, Paul is quite clear about respecting Constitutional checks and balances, so he wouldn't cram his more radical beliefs down peoples' throats. He has taken a very strong stand on reducing the power of the Executive Branch, which IMO is a critical liberties issue that no Presidential candidate has strongly pushed for. He has a lot of committment to work for consensus within the Constitutionally designed democratic system -- he frequently works with Kucinich in the House.

OK, I'm becoming a one-man Paul-tard. I'll stop now.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:49 PM
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Ned, no minds are opened if defecting Dems give Guiliani a plurality. Really: Guiliani 48, Obama 45, Paul 7 hasn't demonstrated a goddam thing about whether or not some Paul issue is a third rail.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:50 PM
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There were too many grammatical and stylistic errors in 72 to even bother correcting. Hopefully the meaning came across. I was overcome by passionate batshit craziness!

73 is unfortunately quite true. But I'll say if Democrats lose votes to a Ron Paul insurgency then they have no one to blame but themselves. It should be very easy for a Democratic candidate who (finally!) takes a clear stand on national security and civil rights to peel off Paul supporters. Paul's *economic* agenda and stands on e.g. abortion are extremely unpopular among both Democratic and Independent voters.

But if Democratic candidates continue to dodge questions like when we'll be out of Iraq -- as they've been doing -- then a Paul candidacy could be trouble.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:55 PM
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I wonder whether people really know how clear and how radical Paul is on those issues. He's essentially very similar to Noam Chomsky on foreign policy and most domestic civil rights.

I guess the whole language of "batshit crazy" is an exclusionary language that annoys me as much when directed against Paul as it does when its used to marginalize perfectly sensible if radical left-wing thinkers. Paul has an internally consistent and workable philosophy of government. It has quite different costs and benefits compared to our current system. But our own system has plenty of "batshit crazy" elements in it that we are blind to through familiarity. The war on drugs, the level of our military committments, quite a number of other things -- all batshit crazy to me.

I tend to think that his principles would also lead to a dystopian society in which all the horrible things currently done by the government, plus other horrible things that we've gotten used to the government usually preventing, like knowing selling poison as medicine, are done by monopolistic for-profit corporations.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:55 PM
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"knowing" s/b "knowingly"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 11:56 PM
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Come on, 67. This is the merest sophistry. If he has sacrificed for his principles, then his principles can't be entirely "i-got-mine-fuck-you", because then that would lead him to never sacrifice anything.

Well, I'm curious to know what he's sacrificed.

But yes, many Republicans - like Ron Paul - are of the "i-got-mine-fuck-you" variety even when they don't got theirs.

What many of them have got is that they aren't women, or they aren't immigrants, or they aren't poor. And they understand, as a matter of principle, that black people would achieve equality if they worked harder, or that women wouldn't need abortions if they weren't so loose, or that people who don't get healthcare deserve to die.

These are principles. And "i-got-mine-fuck-you" is an entirely reasonable - if brief - description of those principles.

Southern whites held down blacks, and continue to do so, on principle - not because doing so is in their economic interest.

But as long as you're talking about sophistry, please explain how Ron Paul, of all people, doesn't got his? The smug prick seems to be doing all right, if you ask me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:00 AM
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73, Perot hurt the Republicans, that makes me think Paul would as well. On the other hand it's all about the swing states, in which the Democratic vote may contain more white males than in the country as a whole, so I don't know.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:00 AM
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I'm strongly advocating for a Ron Paul in 2028 campaign. I figure, by then, I'll be a rich white guy, and it'll make sense for me to vote for him. For now I like the UN and women's rights and equitable tax systems.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:01 AM
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I'll note that as I understand it, Rep. Paul's objection to the drug war is one of federalism. He's got no problem at all with Texas waging as aggressive a war on drugs as it wants. And he doesn't think the federal courts ought to be enforcing limits the federal constitution places on the exercise of the death penalty.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:01 AM
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Perot hurt the Republicans

The war changes the calculus pretty sharply, I think.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:02 AM
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I would be interested to know if Rep, Paul thinks the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is constitutional. Anyone with better google-fu at this hour want to take a crack at that?


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:04 AM
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80: I think he's opposed to state governments doing those things too. But he's not a state legislator, he's a federal legislator. And what with having such a large number of principles, he's opposed to both federal governments doing those things AND federal governments improperly preventing state governments from doing those things. See, it's all very unworkable in practice.

He's a very good pundit, though.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:04 AM
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I'm strongly advocating for a Ron Paul in 2028 campaign. I figure, by then, I'll be a rich white guy

I first read this as "in 2008", and was impressed with your confidence in your ability to correctly pick lottery numbers.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:05 AM
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Oh, that was easy.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:06 AM
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I wonder whether people really know how clear and how radical Paul is on those issues. He's essentially very similar to Noam Chomsky on foreign policy and most domestic civil rights.

I think this is right. I don't like Chomsky, either - and for many of the same reasons I don't like Paul. But I wonder how Emerson, say, would defend his opposition to Paul.

As for "batshit crazy," look, the gold standard is just batshit crazy. Libertarianism, as described by Paul, does not make for a functional society. If my language is intemperate, well, it's because I'm describing a guy who is, in fact, batshit crazy.

That said, there's not a Republican I'd support over him.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:06 AM
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Huh. How's that get there? This is it.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:07 AM
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Libertarianism, as described by Paul, does not make for a functional society.

And as I say in 62, the parts of libertarianism that could actually be enacted in our society circa 2008 are entirely the parts that would make society less functional.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:08 AM
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Ned, I'm going to invite a cite for Rep. Paul's views on drug enforcement at the state level.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:08 AM
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89: Basically I'm assuming he's a libertarian on every issue.

However, he's also afraid of black people and cities, so I may be wrong about that.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:09 AM
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that is to say, a libertarian on every issue that wasn't addressed in the Republican debates. Everything else is just hearsay.

I think the drug war issue didn't come up at the Republican debates because of assumed unanimity, the idea that any candidate would allow himself to appear SOFT ON CRIME is so laughable that it isn't even addressed.

time for bed,.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:19 AM
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In his Colbert interview Paul he said he'd abolish every federal agency which Colbert asked him about, and the UN (which I take him to mean "pull out of:).


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:27 AM
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look, the gold standard is just batshit crazy

well, I think it's a very bad idea, but I'm not sure you can quite call it crazy...after all, we were functioning under a (heavily) modified gold standard till 1971 and civilization didn't collapse.

All it comes down to is that Paul is the only guy out there clearly saying a bunch of stuff that needs to be said. And I respect him for that. I can think of a whole lot wrong with his views, but since I'm pretty sure most of his views will never be implemented I'll cheer him on for the stuff I agree with.

nite-nite.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:30 AM
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89-90: Paul is vehemently and publicly opposed to the war on drugs and gets the most positive possible ratings for his voting record from the NORML guys...that's how I first heard of him (before 9/11). But like abortion (which he also vehemently opposes), he thinks states should get to do what they want on it. He's a 10th amendment states rights type.

With no Federal role, I think it's safe to say that national drug policy would look extremely different than it does today. I think our national capacity for social experimentation is way underused because so much of policy and fiscal capacity has moved to the Federal level from the various states, but that's another story...


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:35 AM
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it's a very bad idea, but I'm not sure you can quite call it crazy

I think you can. The following is crazy: "I think we should remove responsibility for determining income tax from the legislature, and instead tie it to the number of siamese twins born." The gold standard is crazy in much the same way, except for the fact that siamese twins are a renewable resource. Civilization survived w/ the gold standard because a)it was convenient, b)everyone was crazy in the same way, and c)gold never ran out (except post-civil war it kind of did).


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:45 AM
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@26 But I don't know any women of any color who support him.

Meet Jacqueline Passey.


Posted by: Econolicious aka anonymous D. | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:56 AM
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The message from this, as I more or less said above, is that the Democratic Party is worthless or harmful. If we had a two-party system in this fine land, there would be a strong anti-war candidate among the Democrats. But we don't and there isn't. Ours is a 1.5-party system.

But the craziness right now seems very unpredictable. What if we have a bunch of splits?

1. Establishment Democrats (interventionist elite): Hillary
2. Establishment Republicans (country-club hawks): Romney, Giuliani
3. Anti-war Democrats: Dodd?
4. Christian maniacs: Huckabee
5. Libertarians, anti-war Republicans, and bigot isolationalists: Paul.

Sadly, the #3 group probably goes to Paul. The Democrats have been very effective in strangling their own left.



Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 1:12 AM
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the Democratic Party is worthless or harmful

Surely this is better than straight up harmful? That's my bet, anyway.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 1:17 AM
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Yes, every day I pray that the Democratic Party is only worthless, and not harmful.

God bless anyone who succeeds in securely anchoring the Democrats in the relatively safe Bay of Worthlessness,, thus preventing them from venturing out into the Sea of Harmfulness where they recently have spent so much of their time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 1:25 AM
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97 -- Apparently, your group 3 isn't big enough to make a candidate viable, either in a primary race, or in the general. It's maybe just big enough to put Rudy in office. I wish this group would reject Harmfulness, but the presence of Paul in the field will be catnip for a considerable number, who will rationalize about the little difference, really, between Hillary and Rudy.

You're wrong about who is strangling whom.

If anti-war Dems want to be relevant and have a shot at winning, they need to organize and fundraise, choosing either Edwards or Obama. Oh, I forgot. Neither is perfect. Oh well, then, let's have Rudy anyway.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 4:24 AM
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"When you talk to very energetic supporters of someone who comes out of nowhere, like Ron Paul, you find that they are, essentially, a blank screen onto which their supporters (even half hearted or backhanded ones like Jerry) project their dissatisfactions with other candidates. Their actual political histories and policy prescriptions are either not understood at all or misunderstood."

from one of Brad Delong's commenters, here.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 4:57 AM
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AFAICS, PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful is completely right and you are all completely wrong. Carry on.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 5:50 AM
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(Well, okay. Emerson is not wrong; the wanting to slash federal spending and further privatize is non-trivial, and a horrendously bad thing. But this is why you oppose him as a Republican, not why you single him out as Teh Craziest Publican EVAR.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 5:58 AM
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103: He may not be the craziest politician ever, but that's setting the bar rather high. He's certainly crazy enough to merit the descriptor "batshit." No doubt, as per the comment in 101, many of his supporters don't have a firm grasp on all of his policy positions, but no doubt they are picking up on his not very subtle and barely even coded racism (e.g., racism is caused by the federal government, with its "racial set-asides and welfare programs" and etc).

There have always been anti-war candidates on the far right. Their anti-war isolationism doesn't make the rest of their wingnuttery any more palatable.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 6:27 AM
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@26 But I don't know any women of any color who support him.
Meet Jacqueline Passey.

Isn't McArdle toying with voting for him?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 6:36 AM
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OT: Benazir Bhutto has been killed.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 6:43 AM
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Oh boy.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 6:44 AM
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Yikes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 7:04 AM
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There have always been anti-war candidates on the far right.

How is Ron Paul any different from Pat Buchanan, aside from Pat having less insane economic views? I don't recall a bunch of progressives and libertarians teaming up to money-bomb Pat's presidential runs, but there also wasn't a war to oppose during his campaign.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 7:23 AM
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um mani badmi khum, um mani badmi khum, um mani badmi khum
how sad


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 7:24 AM
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How long before Dubya issues a statement pointing to this as an example of the sort of terrorism that freedom-lovin' leaders like Musharraf have to deal with?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 7:32 AM
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For a newsbrief, the NYT story was an alarmingly complete and balanced profile. I'm guessing this one was in the hopper.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 7:32 AM
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Well, after the last attempt they probably put in some prep-work.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 7:38 AM
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Maybe the NYT sponsored the terrorists- they knew it was going to happen!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 7:39 AM
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Bad news. Very bad news.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 7:44 AM
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A list of Ron Paul's legislative history:

http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2007/11/ron-pauls-record-in-congress.html


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 7:58 AM
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For a newsbrief, the NYT story was an alarmingly complete and balanced profile

Did you think? I was going to do a post about how the subtext was "good riddance" and I was wondering why that was.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 8:02 AM
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The piece deserved the caveat: "Not to speak ill of the dead, but . . ." I don't think the subtext was good riddance; I think the text itself was measured obit, and not newsflash.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 8:07 AM
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And yes, I don't know so much more than the next guy, but I do think Bhutto's status in the West is highly skewed and whether this article was exactly appropriate given the timing, I did appreciate that it did not serve to bolster some common misperceptions about her administration and her leadership in exile.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 8:12 AM
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Owen Bennett-Jones must be pretty shaken up, he just used the word "condemnationatory".


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 8:17 AM
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How long before Dubya issues a statement pointing to this as an example of the sort of terrorism that freedom-lovin' leaders like Musharraf have to deal with?

Not long. He's supposed to make a statement at 11 am.

Re: the NYTimes article, I thought "the dance of veils she has deftly performed since her return" was a bit much.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 8:26 AM
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The "veils" comment is where I clicked away, too.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 8:37 AM
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The nyt piece has an op-ed feel to it, possibly in anticipation of Bush administration statement. It does seem more obit than breaking news, but maybe they feel they have a journalistic role to play.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 8:38 AM
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the dance of veils she has deftly performed since her return

" ... whereas General Musharraf has proved to be an adept camel jockey."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 8:40 AM
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Panic in Karachi as people prepare for riots. Fires in Lahore.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 8:43 AM
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and Pakistan has nuclear arms
so frightening if unrest


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 8:47 AM
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The Bhutto thing is disastrous. But haven't we known for years that we've set ourselves up for a slow-motion disaster across the whole middle east? You could see the house being erected card by card.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 9:09 AM
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Ron Paul has a career 55% rating from the ACLU -- better than the other Republicans in the race and higher than Edwards (sigh). The article speculates that if Edwards had actually been present for important votes, his record would be better -- a strategy Paul may well be using to keep his record up by not voting on the Protect America Act and the Improving Head Start Act.

Hillary has 72% lifetime but much lower for 2006-2007, which is problematic. (That article's a bit out of date.) Obama has 79% lifetime and 50% for that same time period in 2006-2007.

On the other hand: I think someone already linked to this, but it's very telling on where Paul's priorities are. Paul's not just anti-abortion but anti-birth control, and supports a right to life amendment. (So much for letting the states set reproductive rights policies -- something that at best would be benign neglect, and in practice would make birth control much, much harder to get.) He's against OSHA, labor unions and federal guarantees of a minimum wage; wants to repeal Moter Voter, which was effectively a pro-voting-rights measure for poor and non-white voters; and is against funding of a whole bunch of federal agencies in ways that ultimately support the right of corporations to run amok.

So Paul is much, much worse than the Democrats on a bunch of issues I really care about. I'm not thrilled about the voting records of the Democratic candidates re: war on terror/Iraq issues over the past few years, but since the mainstream is coming around on these issues, the good Ron Paul might be able to do at this point in time with his early, principled stand on WoT is far outweighed by his early, principled stand on whether I should be able to drink clean water or choose whether to have children or whether some of my neighbors should be able to vote.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 9:21 AM
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Partly pwned by 116. And Bhutto's assassination is really troubling.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 9:24 AM
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Yes, if you like birth control, do not vote for Ron Paul.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 9:33 AM
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What sort of libertarian opposes birth control, ffs?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 9:37 AM
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You know, this whole thing with Paul is about political coalition-building, not a general election choice. I would probably vote for Hilary in an actual general election before I'd vote for Paul, even in a one-to-one race where there was no possibility of unintended consequences.

The question is whether Paul and his movement deserve respect and support as part of an anti-war, pro civil liberties coalition. My answer to that is an unequivocal yes. He's the only guy in my lifetime who powerfully questions the national security state from the perspective of conservative values. A central problem in American politics since the start of the cold war is that both party establishments have allied to marginalize real questioning of the military-industrial complex or the national security state. Paul is an important development in this area. And he's not a monster, he's just a country libertarian.

Also, the link in 116 is something of a hit job. This archive of Paul's speeches is a better source:

http://www.house.gov/paul/legis.shtml

You can see that yes, he's a near across-the-board anti government type. But he has more integrity than you'd expect for that sort -- he's rather good on Social Security for a libertarian (far better than Cato and even some Democrats; he's very clear about the need to keep the basic social security promise to those who have paid into the system, and that there is no need to cut benefits).

Some of the claims in 116 are also revealed as false; Paul strongly opposed the flag-burning amendment for instance.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 9:42 AM
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I would probably almost definitely vote for Hilary in an actual general election before I'd vote for Paul


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 9:48 AM
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No doubt the Neiwert item ref'd in 116 is unsympathetic, but where exactly is it false or misleading?


Posted by: kth | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 9:49 AM
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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is batshit crazy. Ron Paul is bastshit crazy. I don't like the easy branding. Even with people I know who are batshit crazy, I try not to label them that way.

In case you think I am endorsing Ron Paul. Uh uh. Paul has some very bad ideas for governing. Even if I had to pick from only the GOP list, I still don't think I'd pick Paul.

Why isn't Ru Paul running? Draft Ru Paul as the Mineshaft candidate.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 9:55 AM
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89: I'm going to invite a cite for Rep. Paul's views on drug enforcement at the state level.

At this link there is a fairly comprehensive statement, "The Case for Drug Legalization" (you have to scroll down past his letter calling out the Repubs on he Reagan administration) from Paul's campaign for president as a Libertarian in 1988 (he beat out Russell Means for the nomination!). He pretty clearly argues for full decriminalization, although the bulk of his rhetoric is directed at Federal government involvement — not inappropriately for someone running for Federal office. I do not know if he has changed his views since then.

There has been an uptick in attention being paid to Ron Paul in the Left Blogosphere in the wake of his interesting appearance on MTP with Tim Russert, Attack Bovine of the Moneycons. For instance, dday at Hullabaloo.



Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 9:58 AM
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Attack Bovine of the Moneycons

Christ but that is funny.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:01 AM
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If it were eight years ago, I might be a lot more inclined to be charitable to Paul and Paul sympathizers. But in the intervening years, things have happened, and my willingness to engage in the coddling of lunatics and aiders of villains who happen to have one or two right ideas has been all used up. Yes, ending the occupation of Iraq is important, and I won't turn away prospective allies on that issue. But neither am I going to concede one ounce of respect for someone whose ideal America is part the Articles of Confederation, part the 1850s, and part the 1890s - that's a regimen under which I suffer and die, and a lot of other people I care about suffer and die, and under which a lot of the nastiest people in America today get to flourish even more than they already are. The libertarian vision of a nearly ungoverned America in which the power of the market leads to wealth, health, security, and opportunity for all willing to make a modicum of effort is a fantasy, and a far more damaging one than (say) Kucinich's views on UFOs and space brothers.

As far as I'm concerned, someone like Paul is welcome in the anti-war effort (and also the anti-War on Drugs effort, and some other specific issues) in much the way that someone from a chain gang would be in an old-fashioned bucket brigade. When you need every available body who can pass a bucket along, everyone willing to pitch in is a good thing. But that doesn't change anything else about them.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:04 AM
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Few things make me more eager to bust out my brass knuckles than a jackass who wants to legalize all drugs but Ortho TriCyclen.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:06 AM
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Why isn't Ru Paul running? Draft Ru Paul as the Mineshaft candidate.

Better yet, Paul/Paul '08!


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:06 AM
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134: I was thinking particularly on flag-burning, where I knew Paul was against the Constitutional amendment. Compare this speech:

http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst99/tst062899.htm

BTW, the speech also gives a pretty clear picture of his 10th amendment absolutism -- states are not bound by the bill of rights. I'd say he is more a states rights type than a classical libertarian.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:06 AM
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"I'd say he is more a states rights type than a classical libertarian."

That and the gradual emancipation position pretty much ought to wrap up the Calhoun sympathizers' vote.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:11 AM
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The Hullaballoo link at the end of 136 expresses my views almost perfectly, and as usual, much more succinctly.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:12 AM
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I dunno, I'd say "proposed legislation" trumps "gave speech", in the absence of some compelling explanation resolving the contradiction (obviously a lot of congresspeople supported various alternatives to a federal flag-burning amendment as a way of defusing the issue, but that hardly seems an ideal posture for a self-styled libertarian gadfly).


Posted by: kth | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:17 AM
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PGD, I appreciate you explaining that he thinks 14th Amendment incorporation is either bad, a misinterpretation of the Constitution, or both, but this just means that he's far worse than I realized.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:19 AM
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141-he may have been against somebody else's flag-related amendment in that speech, but in 1997 he proposed a constitutional amendment giving states the power to prohibit flag burning.

And that's a seriously crazy view of the 10th Amendment, especially in light of the 14th.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:20 AM
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27: I saw Russ Feingold at a house party early in the cycle, before he'd announced one way or the other. A goobin the front row said, "What I want to know is, what chance does America have if someone as talented, compassionate and progressive as you doesn't run for President?"

Feingold, bless him, said, "If a five-foot-six twice-divorced Jew from Wisconsin doesn't run for President? I think the republic will survive."


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:37 AM
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whose ideal America is part the Articles of Confederation, part the 1850s, and part the 1890s

Exactly. It's a fantasy of a pre-New Deal America in which men were men and rugged individualism held sway.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:40 AM
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in which men were men and rugged individualism held sway.

As Douglas Adams says somewhere, "In those days, men were real men, women were real women ... great fortunes were made, and no-one was really poor. At least, no-one worth speaking of."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:43 AM
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What sort of libertarian opposes birth control, ffs?

The Christianist kind.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 10:46 AM
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I don't think he wants to outlaw birth control, he just wants no government funding for it- the typical screw the poor libertarian position.
I hadn't read the actual text of the 10th and 14th amendments in a while- If you understand English, claiming that the bill of rights doesn't apply to states qualifies you for batshit crazy:
10: "The powers not...prohibited to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
14: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States..."
Does he argue that because the 1st amendment is written in terms of Congress being prohibited from doing something, instead of a list of affirmative rights, that 1st amendment rights aren't really privileges of citizens? Even so, 2-8 are written as affirmative rights.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 11:02 AM
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If you want speaking ill of the dead, the London Review of Books did a comprehensive piece only two weeks ago.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 11:04 AM
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No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States

SP, what you say is true, but the Supreme Court, for various stupid path dependency reasons, didn't incorporate via the P&I clause.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 11:07 AM
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136- Hullaballoo gives Paul a pass for not knowing how many troops around the world would be coming home? That's absurd. There's no indication that he's given much thought to consequences of any of his proposals, if that's what you call them. 'Let's go back to the gold standard!' and his supporters say 'Yeah, fuck the Fed!'. All principle, no governance. No thanks.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 11:37 AM
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Napi 100: You seem to be preparing to blame the only sane group of the five for anything bad that happens.

Anti-war Democrats are once again being presented a "take it or leave it" offer from the establishment Democrats, and as a result next fall we will presumably see a weak, opportunistic campaign by a candidate who will make meaningless anti-war noises while signaling to the big-time people that he doesn't intend to change the long-term strategy (permanent occupation of Iraq and global American hegemony).

It would be electorally possible for the Democrats to propose an actual change in strategy in 2008, but the party has made sure that that won't happen. Why is this? For a variety of reasons the money people, the party pros, the party bureaucracy, and the media all want it that way, and most well-known politicians are pretty close to the pros. For most of them the voters and public opinion are just something external to manipulate.

It isn't a question of "purity". All three major candidates have hedged their opposition to the Iraq War very carefully in the face of widespread public opposition to the war. One of the major Dem bloggers just now said that they all want to increase military spending (I don't have a link). An actual strange in strategy is possible, but not from the Democrats.

So by default, the anti-war candidate is Paul, who's from the Pat Buchanan wing of the Republican party. Shouldn't that disaster be attributed to the machine Democrats rather than to the anti-war Democrats? To put it differently, even if none of the anti-war Democrats vote for Paul, and even if Hillary is elected (precluding the bloody shirt you were getting ready to wave) we still will have a disaster.

Though if you are an establishment Democrat who wants no change in military strategy, just better implementation, you won't agree. But in that case you and I have nothing to talk about but the weather.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 11:42 AM
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What I don't understand about your analysis, John, is why the big-time people would want permanent occupation of Iraq? It's good for no one other than a few clients of the Republican party. It is incompatible with American hegemony, and will inevitably lead to its destruction.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 11:56 AM
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Ask them, Walt. Presumably they disagree with your analysis.

The media and the higher ecelons of the Democratic Party are so afraid of populism (talk to a Dem poli sci prof) that for all I know going contrary to public opinion is a positive goal of theirs. Defying the base seems to be a kneejerk response.

I don't really claim to understand everything that's going on or the reasons why, but I'm convinced that it's worse than most people are willing to think.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 12:10 PM
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156: 'Do they want a permanent occupation of Iraq?' is a different question than '[Why] should they want a permanent occupation of Iraq?'

None of the three leading Dem. candidates will commit to a withdrawal of troops before 2013 at the earliest, and all three have suggested they might keep troops there beyond 2013.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 1:04 PM
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An actual strange in strategy is possible, but not from the Democrats.

This is weird. If it's possible, it's going to come from one of the two parties, so why not the Dems? It is not a very unified party. Political parties are vessels, they are pushed in one direction or the other all the time. It's like your realization that the Democratic establishment is not very liberal on foreign policy (is this really surprising given our whole post-WWII history?) has made you want to give up on the whole thing.

Non-Democratic populists like Paul pushing the party on these issues could be helpful.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 2:47 PM
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I would be very happy for the Democrats to come up with an alternate foreign policy, but since 1972 that has been forbidden.

The range of opinions within the foreign policy establishment runs from A to B, and Democrats always seem more tied to the academic experts than Republicans are. (One of my main points recently). They also seem less interested in foreign policy generally, and few of them have any vision of any kind past the next floor vote and the next election.

I like Feingold fine, for example, but he's one guy. I loved Wellstone, but he's dead and (for all the tributes he got) uninfluential within the Democratic Party on the major issues. (I've always suspected that Wellstone was offed as an example to the others. That would explain a lot).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 2:56 PM
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Academic experts are not very influential in foreign policy (although some foreign policy operators get academic sinecures, notably at SAIS). In that way foreign policy is very different than economic policy.

Academic economists are somewhat (but only somewhat) more influential with Democrats because the Dems are not as tied to supply-side theories that all academic economist have rejected.

Reaction to events is as much about personal psychology as analysis, and you seem to have a tendency toward fatalism. It's generally correct that the cold-war type national security establishment has maintained its control over foreign policy, but its hegemony has not been absolute. There were massive defense cuts in the 90s, Congress tried to take on Reagan over Central America, a significant hiatus in overseas military adventurism after Vietnam, etc. There is "give" in the political system.

They also seem less interested in foreign policy generally,

true, the DNA of the party is in domestic programs. On the part of liberals, there is fear of re-imagining foreign policy (thanks to a deeply engrained history of red-baiting). And of course there are many who would like to see a strategy that rehabilitates U.S. hegemony for a post cold war world (although they are comfortable with it working through international institutions). A committment to hegemony channels influence and money to DC and to politicians.

and few of them have any vision of any kind past the next floor vote and the next election.

The Democrats are not as ideological a party as the Republicans. No Democrat has emerged who was able to "nationalize" the Congressional Democrats like Gingrich did with the Reps. (Although Pelosi is somewhat better on this than some outsiders realize, I think). But in our system vision often comes more from the executive branch.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 3:32 PM
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"Not ideological" sounds nice, but "getting from one day to the next by passing out favors to specific benefactors" is what I meant, along with "terrified of being called a dove".

I wasn't a fatalist when I started observing the Democrats around 1968, though I indeed am one now. In the end enough Democrats will defect to ruin everything, and the defecting Democrats will probably include at least Steny Hoyer but probably others in the leadership too.

Whether you call it ideology, opportunism, or cowardice, there's something horrifying about the cautious responses of the major candidates to the Iraq War, especially when combined with their quieter messages to the foreign policy establishment that they aren't planning to change things much.

For whatever reason, Democratic money people do not want a "dove". Dodd is a solid establishment guy, not a Kucinich, but no one takes him seriously either. It seems to be a done deal.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 4:24 PM
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There really seems to be a consensus across all partisan lines that America be an imperial power. Anyone who doesn't signal that they're ok with that is basically non-serious.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 4:31 PM
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It's really too late over here for me to commit to a long talk, but if the hegemonic power in the world (in, say 25 years) is not the US, it's gonna be China, and is that the kind of world that we want to live in? The EU, bless it, is not up to serious global commitments, and its individual constituent members point in too many slightly divergent directions to truly set a global agenda either. And the trasition away from American dominance is likely to be no fun, either.

I think Emerson's p.o.v. is a valid one, and Walter Russell Mead (in Special Providence) calls it the Jeffersonian school, which has a long and distinguished tradition (even if given the Louisiana Purchase, Mead's name is a bit of a misnomer). But I don't think it should be the dominant p.o.v., simply because there is a global system, and benefits accrue to the US because the current system is largely an American-run one.

I'm closer to Walt's view at 156 that Iraq and associated fuckups of the Bush administration are seriously damaging to America's medium-term position in the world and should be corrected post-haste. But having started pulling resources away from Afghanistan in 2002, the US has lost five irreplaceable years in having people and funds in place to follow up on the successes of late 2001. As the British and Russians discovered, and as any number of people said at the time (probably including Emerson), it's much easier to install a regime in Afghanistan than it is to keep one in place. And not the Taliban are back on the upswing, Pakistan is in for some serious shit, and the focus of the US government has been in the wrong place for years. Grr.

Incidentally, Emerson, if you read this, what do you think of James Milward? I missed him while I was at Georgetown, but his interests look compatible with yours.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 4:32 PM
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By the way, the only reason I'm not posting an analysis of Democratic Party decision-making like John's is that he's doing it first and better than I would. But I'm in complete agreement. If the Democratic Party establishment were just a bit less attached to war and to toadying to Republicans, Paul's candidacy would be far less relevant because there'd be a saner candidate who could represent the general public idea for less of this war now. The gap between what the leadership wants and what basically everyone else wants is scary and weird to me, and I honestly don't know what can be done about it. I support good challengers when I see them, but I don't see it as really being enough. I don't know what would be.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 12-27-07 5:24 PM
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What B said. Ron Paul is not a progressive and is not pro-liberty or pro-freedom as I understand the concepts.


Posted by: Nbarnes | Link to this comment | 12-28-07 3:49 AM
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155: It would be electorally possible for the Democrats to propose an actual change in strategy in 2008, but the party has made sure that that won't happen. ... For most of them the voters and public opinion are just something external to manipulate.

I disagree. Or rather, it's true that all those groups want a non-anti-war Democratic Party, but that's not the only reason for the current state of the party. See 163 and 164a. The money people, the party pros, etc. all want global hegemony, but so does a majority of the public. Or at least a plurality. Most Americans like how the U.S. dollar is almost universally accepted and pictures from exotic places like Beijing and New Delhi will have the Coca-Cola symbol in the background. You're right, there's general opposition to the war, but that's just because it's a failure on every level. There is much less opposition to the idea of being world police. And even if people decide they don't want an American hegemony, Doug's right -- there's no easy way to transition out of it.

I agree with you overall, don't get me wrong -- our foreign policy is a bad idea for a variety of reasons. But the cause of the problem is bigger than some cold-blooded political operatives.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-28-07 2:37 PM
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