Thursday, December 15, 2011

Now Rush, too

I have to wonder if the Republican Party is sending out emails to some of these talk show hosts. The modus operandi in 2008 was: pretend Ron Paul doesn't exist; exclude him from debates and he'll go away. But then he didn't go away. The recession, which he had been predictin for years, compelled many Americans to examine his views, despite the media blackout. Meanwhile, McCain, the moderate who was supposed to be electable, was defeated by Obama.

This time around, they tried to ignore him again. But suddenly Paul is second in Iowa. We are told that everyone knows that he isn't going to win the nomination. But how do we know this? Can Republicans predict the future? If so, they shouldn't have nominated McCain. He lost.

Anyway, the smear brigade is out in full force against Paul. Hannity came out against him yesterday, and today Rush Limbaugh took up the cry: anyone but Obama--except for Paul. Here's a selection of the transcript from his show:

The Tea Party wants that government cut down to size and they want it to happen in a big step. And Ron Paul's giving them meat. But they're not hearing much about his foreign policy. So his support actually could be widespread throughout Republican primary voters. We don't know. But Ron Paul has said things, for example, make you think that he believes 9/11 was an inside job, Ron Paul. He hasn't said it word-for-word, but the only conclusion you can draw when you listen to him talk about his theories on it...

We covered this yesterday. Ron Paul does not believe 9/11 was an inside job. What he has said is in agreement with the 9/11 Commission Report: that our policies precipitated blowback in the Middle East. This is not to say that the terrorists are not responsible for the attacks, only that our policies made such an attack more likely. Rush would like it if his listeners kept their heads in the sand: the terrorists are irrational, so anything we do to appease them will not be enough, they will attack us anyway. Yet it should be obvious that invading and occupying someone's homeland won't cause those people to think too kindly of the United States. We really shouldn't have to revisit this argument every time we discuss 9/11, but apparently it is still necessary to do so.

Rush continued:

No question about it. Ron Paul said -- I don't know if it was the last debate or in a town hall somewhere, but it was recently, Ron Paul said that the White House celebrated when 9/11 happened because that was their ticket to go into Iraq.

Here's the clip to which Rush is referring. Now, the point Paul was making should be fairly obvious. Just as the Obama administration used the economic crisis to effect policy changes on the domestic front, the Bush administration used 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq. This does not mean that Bush was happy that Americans died on 9/11, anymore than it means that Obama was glad that millions of Americans became poorer during the recession. It simply means that both knew that one should never let a crisis go to waste.

We know for a fact that an Iraq invasion was being planned prior to 9/11. It is doubtful whether Americans would have been whisked to war were it not for lies about WMDs and Saddam's connection with Al-Qaeda. Paul's point, then, is sound. And Limbaugh is playing the demagogue.

UPDATE: Rush was on Greta's show last night. The transcript is available here.

He mentions Ron Paul, only to say: "But I think right now anybody other than Ron Paul could beat Obama if the election were tomorrow, easily."

Yet this is patently untrue. According to a recent poll, Paul comes the closest of any Republican candidate to beating Obama; the poll shows a dead heat. Romney trails by 7 points and Gingrich trails by 10 points. It's true that this poll only counts Iowa voters, but this is consistent with older polls which survey voters from other states. On the basis of the latest polls then, Ron Paul has the best chance to defeat Obama. Rush is ignoring the data so that he can continue to ignore the candidate who worries him the most.

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