Sunday, July 15, 2012

Next Time, Ron



I have to say I developed a soft spot for Ron Paul during this election cycle and was sorry to see him miss out on the minimum number of delegates necessary to ensure him a speaking role at the GOP convention.  His was often been the only voice of reason on the Republican political trail.  Not that I particularly agree with him, but he knew how to put forward a strong argument.

He had been the darling of the Tea Party when it first sprouted in 2009, thanks largely to his book, The Revolution, in which he laid out his political and economic agenda.  He was the sole Libertarian  and the frontrunner for the GOP nomination until the religious fundamentalists took over the Tea Party and the campaign in general.  Of course, you knew this love affair with Paul couldn't last, but still he managed to build a loyal following and amass almost enough delegates to put him on the GOP podium, while other Republican challengers fell to the wayside.

I guess the question remains why is the GOP afraid of challengers like Paul who truly do stand behind fiscal conservatism.  You hear all this lip service to better economic management and this Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge, but when pressed to come up with an actual budget, it simply doesn't add up.  Not that Paul had the magic bullet, but it was fun to watch him shake up the GOP and put Romney, Santorum and Gingrich on the defensive.

35 comments:

  1. Stirring the pot a little this a.m.?

    Paul has the right idea about the endless wars, which I think appeals to students, and I personally agree with him about decriminalizing most recreational drug use (ditto).

    But his main idea that everyone should paddle his or her own canoe suggests you already have a canoe and, more importantly, a river left downstream to float it down.

    And as his son has said, he (and probably his dad who was apparently quite the racist in his day) is against all government-sanctioned civil rights at least in the private sector.

    Plus, for someone so anti-government, like his fellow republicans, Paul's all for the government telling women they can't have access to an abortion. I'm assuming he'd have the government lock up women for 9 months if they didn't agree.

    I agree that most of this is what the republicans _say_ they believe in but then do the opposite. But this randian world he promotes is dog-eat-dog when it comes right down to it, and is not the kind of world I'd like to live in.

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  2. I can't say I agree with much of what Paul has to say, and I agree he lives in some Randian universe that is detached from reality, but I liked the style of his campaign and the way he went after his opponents. It was refreshing, at least as far as the GOP primaries went. The other candidates had nothing, and put up about as milquetoast candidate as you can get as their presumptive nominee, provided there are no surprises in his tax returns, which I'm sure the IRS can audit.

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  3. I see Sarah is also being snubbed at this year's convention,

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/where-palin-convention-invite-083953582.html

    what a bore!

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  4. You would think that the Republicans would have had enough with these men who want to reclaim their father's legacy -- but then we could have had Gingrich or Santorum running (or Palin!). I'm not so sure which would have been a worse possibility. They all scare me, even Mormon Mitt.

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  5. I really can't figure out what happened to the Republicans and how they allowed themselves to be led down this dead end street. Even Papa Bush spoke out the other day against the Norquist anti-tax pledge, calling it ludicrous. But, it seems the new generation of Neo-cons have been reading too much Ayn Rand, which is pretty hard to reconcile with the Bible-thumpers who took over the Tea Party. Yet, Romney and Obama remain neck and neck according to the polls, and the Tea Party continues to shake up Republican primaries.

    My feeling is that the media has played into all this by treating elections like horse races, allowing candidates to get away with way too much on the campaign trail. It used to be candidates would get called out, but not anymore. Anything goes. Look at Santorum. What a joke!

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  6. On the other side, I notice articles like this one putting forward the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein,

    http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/10334-the-voting-dilemna

    There have been times I have been very upset with Obama, like when he urged Congressional Democrats to extended the Bush tax cuts so that they could get a few things passed before the end of 2010, like a repeal of DADT. Fat lot of good it did him. But, on the whole, I think he has done a reasonable job given the horrible hand that was dealt him. He had to walk a fine line between two wars, manage an economic recovery and deal with an insurgent Republican House that wanted to block everything he put forward.

    You tell me how a Green Party candidate is going to make any headway in today's deeply divided political world.

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  7. I have voted for greens at the state and even federal level (Congress), even when there have been reasonably good Democrats running. I like most of what they stand for. And I've voted for Nader, in the same way I think those on the right vote for Paul.

    But in this case, I think you have to go with the Democrats. And I like Obama. I don't always agree with him -- a lot of times actually - but I think he's probably the best president we'll see in our lifetime.

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  8. I think Krugman sums up the media problem well,

    "Perhaps in a better world we could count on the news media to sort through the conflicting claims. In this world, however, most voters get their news from short snippets on TV, which almost never contain substantive policy analysis. The print media do offer analysis pieces — but these pieces, out of a desire to seem “balanced,” all too often simply repeat the he-said-she-said of political speeches."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/16/opinion/krugman-policy-and-the-personal.html?ref=politics

    There really is very little discussion about policy. It is mostly about personalities.

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  9. And you see these polls after ground-breaking events like the Supreme Court ruling and half the country (or close) isn't even aware of them.

    I've been watching The Newsroom. I'm not a series or t.v. sort of person -- other than goofy English comedies -- but this show was so unanimously panned by the critics, who all said that newsrooms aren't like that and it's too preachy, that I figured there must be something there. I'm enjoying it.

    Lots to complain about in the characterization of the anchor as a registered republican -- not even close! -- and the female lead is way miscast, but it does present a fantasy world of what we wish the news was like: young people working around the clock with a passion for getting out the truth, and the courage to call a lie a lie, instead of this so-called fair and balanced stuff. "while leading scientists believe that the earth is round, Dr. Jones at Texas A&M believes that the earth is actually flat. Dr. Jones, welcome to the nightly news ..." etc.

    Funny, I read a review that compared the lead to Chris Matthews, but the character is so clearly based on Olbermann I'm surprised he hasn't spoken up. Although he no longer has a venue ... which is one of the threats held over the anchor.

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  10. The problem with Paul is his unwillingness (or perhaps his inability) to come up with concrete solutions to society's problems. All he offers is theories, not anything that can be measured in any way.

    He said he will close down 5 federal departments. In my correspondence to his website I ask, ''what do you put in place of the Dept of Education"? Closing it down will mean that thousands of school districts will go bankrupt, schools will close down, teachers & staffs will become unemployed, colleges will be deprived of students, colleges then will close down, thousands more will lose their jobs, and society's productivity will decline. How, then, will closing down this agency benefit society? I asked repeatedly and never got an answer.

    Society does not need any more empty theories that offer meaningless or mythical solutions. It needs concrete answers, concrete solutions to current and future problems. Merely pretending that libertarianism is some of messianic solution, as Paul and his disciples claim, is laughably stupid. This is why so many dismiss his claims.

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  11. But you answered your own question.

    Local school districts have to provide for local students, preferably with for-profit entities or some form of voucher system. The federal government shouldn't be involved with local schooling, or any schooling. If there's no Department of Education, there won't be any Federal interference with local affairs. It's that simple. (The right hates the Department of Education by the way. It's not just Paul.)

    As you note, there will be vast differences in quality of education and access, but that's the markets at work. If you don't like it, move. Vote with your feet. You don't need the federal government telling you what to do in the classroom.

    But that's not what gets him his followers. His followers like the no wars on drugs or abroad. And let people take care of themselves no matter what their circumstances. If they want charity, they should join a church. But no one should ever look the government to do it.

    It really is a philosophy that boils down to greed. I got mine, thanks very much, so go paddle your own canoe.

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  12. What I haven't been able to figure out is whether Libertarians are against government in general or against federal government. It seems like most of their angst is directed at the Fed, although you see a lot of tax cutting going on at the state and local level where the Teabaggers have gained power.

    It seems to me that we have that age old Federal Gov't v. State Rights issue, with many of the conservative states now regarding themselves as "sovereign," especially in regard to education and health care, where they feel the federal gov't is encroaching on "their" domain. Arizona takes it even further, feeling it has the right to its own immigration policies.

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  13. This is priceless,

    At a fundraiser at a country club in Mississippi this evening that was expected to raise a record-breaking $1.7 million, Mitt Romney defended the Republican Party against its reputation as the "party of the rich" explaining that really, it is a party focused on helping the poor.

    http://news.yahoo.com/romney-says-gops-not-party-rich-those-want-012359242--abc-news-politics.html

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  14. Unfortunately, I think the contradiction is lost on conservative voters.

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  15. I hate writing about Paulisms -- I wrote a lengthy response last night on race, but it just gets weird to even enter that world of anti-civil rights so I deleted it.

    But on the federal vs local debate, I _think_ the distinction he makes based on his debates is that you can vote to support local education or fire fighting or whatever -- or not. And if you don't like the outcome you can always vote with your feet. But you can't escape the federal government unless you limit its powers or leave the country, which seems like a natural response for a Paulist.

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  16. My favorite Mittism was the comment he made in Montana after NAACP -- if "they" want more for nothing from the government "they" should vote for the other guy. That sounds just like Ronald Reagan all over again.

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  17. Mitt has been trying to channel Reagan throughout this election cycle, but it isn't really working. He is looking more and more like a Republican version of Dukakis. I expect a total self-destruction at any time.

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  18. "Paulisms," I like that, although nothing original in his thoughts. It all comes from the same Randian universe, as filtered down through so-called Libertarians.

    I just don't know how the Libbies can square their secular views with the evangelical tent revival the Republican Party has become, but I guess they figure they have to attach themselves to one of the dominant political parties to have any voice.

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  19. You enter that world and it does have an insular logic of its own, assuming you can live with the outcomes like trippler noted.

    It's a very weird world view as far as I can tell, although I loved it when Paul denounced US foreign policy in the Middle East during the debates and the audience cheered -- no doubt the same republicans who got us entangled over there in the first place.

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  20. Paul is honest but also a goofball. Would you like to see the U. S. divided into 50 separate countries? No thanks.

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  21. "But you answered your own question.

    Local school districts have to provide for local students, preferably with for-profit entities or some form of voucher system. The federal government shouldn't be involved with local schooling, or any schooling."


    The problem is that the feds bring in thousands of immigrants from East Africa and South East Asia into the Twin cities every year. Without federal dollars we are stuck with the bill for educational expenses and other forms of social welfare. If the government should stay out of education in order for us to miraculously come up with the solution to educational costs, then shouldn't that same government stay out of immigration and stop imposing these costs and burdens on us as well?

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  22. "Paul is honest but also a goofball."

    I don't think the GOP establishment liked the "honest" part about him. God knows they have plenty of goofballs.

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  23. Who let the dogs out?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/18/john-sununu-apology-obama-unamerican?newsfeed=true

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    1. This unamerican business is one of the talking points. Romney says the same thing -- that Obama's policies are unamerican. That he doesn't understand how America works. You know, he's not like us. Creepy.

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    2. It is. Basically, it is a tacit acceptance of the whole birther argument, which Sheriff Joe and his "Posse" continue to promote. On the one hand the GOP can deny any association with the Birthers, but on the other continue to imply that somehow Obama is "Un-American."

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    3. If any president was not "one of us," it was Bush Jr., born with the silver spoon in his mouth, trying to talk around it as he rode his bike. But I don't recall anyone saying that he was unamerican. Another one of those deeply racist comments that appears to be all Romney has left in his arsenal.

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  24. Trippler, remember you're talking Ron Paul here. There is no logic.

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    1. "no logic"

      Exactly. Paul approves of the government bringing in immigrants who can't speak a word of English or understand our ways, he imposes the cost of helping those people on those of us from the inner cities, and offers us no financial assistance when we are burdened in that way.

      Here's what I mean:

      An East African Muslim women wears a full veil and drives her car so that she cannot see the road ahead of her. One made a quick turn on a cross walk and nearly ran me over. I screamed out at her and she left as if nothing happened. Who pays my welfare bill if I am debilitated if she runs me over?? Suppose she runs over a mother with young children in a baby carriage - who pays for all that??

      Another woman comes from a South American tribe where women openly breast feed their children. I was dining at a community center when one such incident took place. Naturally, I lost my appetite when that happened.

      Just across the street where I live a South East Asian shot his wife to death. The police tried to take him away and he screamed "leave me along - I have done nothing wrong!". In turns out that in his culture you cannot divorce your wife if you want a new one. You KILL her and get your new wife if you wish. Evidently, nobody told him that in this society you cannot kill your wife. Thereafter, we as a community had to feed and take care of his 8 homeless children.


      We have incidents like these all the time. Now imagine if things like this happened in the privileged suburbs every day. Ron Paul and those other right wing dingbats NEVER have to face issues like this as we do. You can bet he and other loonies like him would have to take corrective action at once if these problems were dumped in the suburbs like they are in the ghettoes. How lucky he is that he never sees anything like these incidents every day.

      Again, mere theories do not correct society's problems. This is why Paul and others like him are full of you know what.

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    2. These are pretty extreme cases, trippler, not sure where you are headed with this one. The vast majority of illegals come to America so that they can send remittances back to their families in their home countries. They stay as long as they need to improve their quality of life from where they come from, not to stay in the US, and take "advantage" of a system that for the most part is against them.

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    3. Perhaps I failed to make my point clear - I did not necessarily object to their presence here. My objection is when the government sends them in (whether documented or not), and these people use our resources, don't pay for them, and we are stuck with the bill which Paul refuses to pay. For many years, libertarians lie Paul advocated open borders (he has changed his mind somewhat). So that while they were perfectly happy with allowing more people here and disregarding the unemployment we already have, they have never given us the means with which to pay for the burdens these people impose. Paul wants to end the Department of Education - so how then do we pay for their education when several local school districts are bankrupt? He wants to get rid of all governmental health care - so how then do their medical needs get met? We now have a severe outbreak of whooping cough (some of which has been initially detected in children of undocumented aliens) which is very dangerous for children and vulnerable adults like myself - Paul tells us we do not need any federal help to meet this problem. But how do we solve it when our own resources are exhausted??

      Again, dump these people and their problems into the wealthy suburbs like Scarsdale, NY or Orange County, California - do you think those people will stand by and allow it to happen to them? When they balk the politicians like Paul and others will kiss up their butts and put a stop to it. But when we complain nothing gets done. That's the big difference.

      Bottom line: if a problem is going to be caused at the federal level, it should solve by federal authorities. The federal government must not impose burdens on us at local levels and expect us to use our very limited resources to solve problems we did not create. Ron Paul offers us no solutions to the problems created at the federal level.

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  25. There is a logic, it just isn't carried out to the end, at least not publicly.

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  26. Yes, that's the internal logic that I was talking about before. Of course Paul would say the federal government should stay out of immigration, except when it comes to defending its borders. And I'm assuming there might be a pay-your-own-way to get into the country aspect as well, or work for free or something.

    The Times Literary Supplement has a review of a couple books on how, these days, everything is for sale. In spite of the particular weaknesses these books may have, I think they are on to something:

    http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article1079083.ece

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