Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Smears away

There's a terrific smear piece over at Politico today. It really needs to be read in its entirety to appreciate the depths to which the writers have sunk in an attempt to discredit Ron Paul.

We'll examine some samples:

Paul poses an existential threat to the state’s cherished kick-off status, say these Republicans, because he has little chance to win the GOP nomination and would offer the best evidence yet that the caucuses reward candidates who are unrepresentative of the broader party.

We're seeing this notion--that Paul will not be able to obtain the GOP nomination--more frequently. Yet the whole point of the caucuses and primaries is to determine who the people prefer since our system is supposed to be, you know, democratic. We could tweak things a bit if we've like, but essentially the only way we can determine if a candidate has support is to have the citizens vote. After January 3rd, we'll know whom Iowans prefer, and we'll go from there.

What especially worries Iowa Republican regulars is the possibility that Paul could win here on January 3rd with the help of Democrats and independents who change their registration to support the libertarian-leaning Texas congressman but then don’t support the GOP nominee next November.

Translation: what worries Republicans is that Ron Paul puts loyalty to his principles and his country ahead of loyalty towards the party. Unsurprisingly, this is a large aspect of his appeal. Republicans can bemoan his reluctance to bomb Iran all they like; it is precisely this position, held firmly when revoking it would be politically expedient, that attracts independents and Democrats.

There is no indication that these same groups wouldn't vote for Paul against Obama if he were to obtain the GOP nomination. In regards to foreign policy and civil liberties, Obama has been little better than Bush--though one wouldn't know it from listening to the right. This has hurt him with his base, who would be reluctant to vote for another Republican warmonger, but would be receptive to vote for Paul.

“People are going to look at who comes in second and who comes in third,” said Gov. Terry Branstad. “If [Mitt] Romney comes in a strong second, it definitely helps him going into New Hampshire and the other states.”

Romney is the establishment candidate this time around. He has loads of money, not from individual contributors, but from large corporations and banks, who know that Romney can be counted on to ensure that no substantial change occurs. The not so subtle message here is: Romney will be the nominee, so get in line and vote for him.

“Everybody has the perception that there’s absolutely no way [Paul] can win the nomination, whereas a Mike Huckabee coming out of nowhere at the end to pull out a victory here – he was a serious contender,” said Lamberti. “That’s the distinction that has the potential to do real damage to Iowa.”

Notice the double standard here. If Iowa is worried about discrediting the caucus system, they shouldn't bring up Huckabee, who turned out to be unelectable. Of course, no one knew much about Huckabee, whereas "everybody" knows that "there's absolutely no way [Paul] can win the nomination" so you can see how it's actually different. I'm familiar with the argumentum ad populum logical fallacy, but this is more absurd still. If I say that everybody knows that Lamberti is an obnoxious blowhard, I'm not telling the truth, but we have at least one example to lead us towards that conclusion.

“What has me concerned is that on Main Street Iowa people are coming up to me and saying, ‘What do you think about Dr. Paul?’” said Cable. “These are folks who have to be informed. They have to get past the 30 and 60 second ads. If you ask Iowans if they’re for legalizing marijuana or legalizing heroin, they’d say no. But Dr. Paul has said on many occasions that that’s ok. But people don’t all know that.”

This is probably my favorite part of the piece. Paul has consistently voiced his opinion on every issue about which he was asked a question during the debates. Granted, the Republicans were busy ignoring the "unelectable" candidates, so part of the ignorance is the fault of the establishment which is now doing everything in their power to downplay Paul's success.

Cable argues that the only reason people could be attracted to Paul is that they do not understand his views. This underestimates the number of people who are attracted to the entire program, along with those who, quibbles aside, understand that Paul stands with the people and against the ruling oligarchs on issues that matter.

But even when this isn't the case, he threatens the bifactional ruling party by widening the realm of acceptable discourse. The people are supposed to choose between Candidate A, who is prone to war and bailing out banks, and Candidate B, who is prone to bailing out banks and going to war.

The drug issue is a case in point. Not only are we supposed to support the War on Drugs, we're not supposed to mention it at all. So what if our policies haven't done anything to alleviate the drug problem? Who cares if inner-cities are uninhabitable and overrun with drugs? Why does it matter that hundreds of thousands of Americans have been incarcerated for non-violent crimes? The establishment tells us which questions we are allowed to ask, because this ensures we'll also come up with the right answers. These questions are not on the list.

Something very big is happening in this country right now. The extent of the corruption of the political system is coming to light If Paul wins Iowa, the establishment will have to decide if they will tolerate democracy, or if they will continue to smear the people's candidate--which will only make the corruption that much more apparent.

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