Monday, January 14, 2008

No A Paulogies

Several readers, both directly and indirectly, have criticized my "defense" of Ron Paul's presidential campaign. Why so soft on a whacko righty? I'm asked. Is this a sign of further rightward drift? Don't I know any better?

Let me take a moment from stocking my basement with gold bars and automatic weapons to say for the record that I don't support Paul's campaign, and have no plans to vote for him, nor would I under existing conditions. I thought I'd made this plain in my original post when I confessed to having many differences with Paul's politics. Clearly, this didn't get across. So, I'll say it again: I have numerous problems with Ron Paul, and do not support his campaign.

Capice? Terrific.

The two points I was trying to express were: 1) liberal attacks on Paul's alleged racism, especially the New Republic's hit piece, have more to do with Paul's anti-imperial politics than with upholding Dr. King's dream; and 2) when it comes to statist abuses, I would side more with libertarians like Paul (though not exclusively Paul) than with most Dems, Hillary and Obama included. Of course, Paul is imperfect on the civil liberties front. His stances on immigration and abortion rights alone should make one wary. And his laissez-faire approach to economics would hand more power to corporations, given the present system. Thus, I don't view Paul as some kind of answer. Indeed, if the guy were ever elected to high office, I suspect that he'd either be weighed down by political/economic reality, which would negate most if not all of his plans, or he would crash ahead regardless, sending the system into chaos and shock. But this is all speculation. Ron Paul is not going to be president.

There are those lefties who do support Paul's campaign, seemingly undisturbed by his numerous faults. In some ways, pro-Paul lefties are essentially Leninist in their approach, looking to heighten the contradictions of the system, perhaps knowing that in the contemporary U.S., a radical from the right would gain more grassroots traction than one from what passes for the left. Others are so sick of the war that they'll back anyone who openly opposes imperialism, no matter where it originates. Given that the leading Dems, all rhetoric aside, embrace the war state, and that Paul's profile is higher and stated position much sharper than any other antiwar candidate, his campaign is attracting a lot of positive attention. Again, this is why TNR attacked him with what it had. Were Paul in Mike Gravel territory, he wouldn't inspire the same venom. He'd be ignored or laughed away.

I support no one for president. Not. A. Soul. No matter who takes the wheel later this year, the ship will remain on the same destructive course for quite some time. Enjoy shuffleboard and bingo while you can, and try not to spill your Mai Tai on the deck.