Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ron Paul: The Electable Dark Horse

Today's column:

No matter what news we get out of Iraq, someone will offer it as proof that “we're winning”, so we absolutely cannot bring our troops home right now. My favorite place to find neocon cheerleaders is the corner over at National Review. Therein I read: “Violence is plummeting. But much of Iraq is a complete mess, a horrible mess... But it is imperative that we not stop now; it’s clearly starting to work.” This is a pretty good example of how to defend an indefensible policy. Next week, I'll read: “The infrastructure of Iraq is improving. But certain sectors are seeing increased levels of violence... But it is imperative that we not stop now; it's clearly starting to work.” I don't know how you argue with such illogic.

Ignoring its reliance on rhetoric alone, the argument belies the facts; we are not winning in Iraq, and actually have no idea what winning entails. Locutions to the contrary allow misguided conservatives to assuage their guilty consciences, but they are ineffectual in producing victory amidst certain defeat. While a stubborn contingent clings to faith in King George, by and large, the people have had enough of him and his little war. Seventy percent of Americans now believe the war to have been a mistake.

The steadfast faith of the neocons, though it is remarkable, is not the most noteworthy thing about the miscreants. Instead, it's the fact that one plank, which exists nowhere in the republican party platform—interventionism—is now the sole grounds for determining which candidates are acceptable. Thus a consistent and reputable conservative, indeed the only one in the race, Ron Paul, is persona non grata because he opposed the war in Iraq. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani—a pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-gay marriage, pro-affirmative action, pro-illegal immigration, big government liberal—is acceptable because he knows we must Stay the Course and Defeat Terror. If it wasn't for his stance on foreign policy—which is actually identical to Hillary Clinton's, though she has the intelligence to be more discrete about her warmongering—Rudy would be a good fit for the democratic party.

In his defense, it is posited that Giuliani is more electable than Paul, who is still largely unknown. But this argument is as tautological as those offered to keep us on the war path in Iraq; and it too is in stark contradiction with the facts. Poll after poll shows that Giuliani is trailing to Clinton; even if he is more “electable” than the rest of the major republican candidates, he is still a loser. It is worth noting, too, that political power is worthless without principles. The republicans captured Congress and the White House under Bush, but were unable to make any significant gains because they put all their money on a pragmatist who didn't hesitate to betray those who put him in power.

It is true that Paul fails to register in the polls, but this is largely due to the code of silence which surrounds his name, especially among purportedly conservative commentators. Of course he's going to be deemed unelectable if he's not going to get any favorable press outside of strange corners of the Internet. If those who stumped for Rudy vilified him as the traitor to the republic(an party) that he is, or even if they started to ignore him as they do Paul, his “electability” would dissipate rather quickly. It bears mentioning that in recent memory a relatively unknown governor of Arkansas went on to become President of the United States.

This comes as a surprise only to the neocons, but Bush's war is not popular. Any candidate who aligns himself with the President is doomed to defeat. Meanwhile, someone who opposed the war, unlike Hillary, should be able to do quite well with independents and sensible democrats. Ironically, the oft ignored Ron Paul is not only the most conservative candidate in the republican race. He is also the most electable.

1 comment:

troutsky said...

I understood Paul was doing much better than expected in fund raising. Tell him not to mention UFOs ,a la Kucinich, or he'll really experience "fringing".