Hawks to the left of me, hawks to the right…here I am…

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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34 Responses

  1. Dan Miller says:

    “where Paul is truly important: his views on foreign policy”

    I think this is where you’re mistaken. Paul’s views on foreign policy have basically zero chance of being enacted (which is kind of a shame). So how are they important?

    Once anti-war, non-hawkish candidates demonstrate that they control a meaningful bloc of votes, in the public or the Congress, then they’ll be important. Until then, they’re not, and it’s basically legitimate for the media to ignore them.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Dan Miller says:

      His views on foreign policy are important because they are correct.Report

      • Koz in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        I disagree. I don’t think RP’s foreign policy views could be correct even if I sympathized with him, and to a significant extent I do.

        For good or will, foreign policy has gone in a different direction and we’ve made commitments and policies than what RP would have done. If we take an isolationist turn now, where and how will it be implemented? I don’t think it’s realistic to think it could or should be done everywhere and AFAIK RP has resisted any effort at prioritization.Report

        • MFarmer in reply to Koz says:

          I think “isolationist” is a misleading term. We can have open culture sharing, open trade, open foreign student exchange, ect, while still maintaining a neutral position regarding the affairs of other countries. As In Libya, with a non-interventionist doctrine, we could have allowed those in the region to deal with their problems. In Afghanistan, if the initial attack was necessary to find out what was going on right after 9/11 regarding terrorists there who were a potential threat, shortly after we could have left without staying a decade and trying to nation-build. We can be open to the world without being miltarily interventionist.Report

          • Katherine in reply to MFarmer says:

            Wow. I just agreed with something you said.Report

            • MFarmer in reply to Katherine says:

              I believe could agree on more things, like gay marriage, abortion, ending the Drug War, ending the Patriot Act for starters. That’s why I’m mystified when liberals want to separate economic liberty from civil liberty — it’s all liberty from statist control.Report

              • Jason Kuznicki in reply to MFarmer says:

                I’m with MFarmer on this, for what it’s worth. “Isolationism” is a very misleading term for what might better be called “peaceful cosmopolitanism.”Report

              • E.D. Kain in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

                Ditto. As I say in my post, people try to “smear” him with the term. It’s a pejorative. It’s also clearly bullshit. Peaceful trade between nations is not isolationism. War is more isolationist than free and peaceful relations.Report

          • Koz in reply to MFarmer says:

            Ok. I was making a narrower point, ie, I mean isolationist in a relative sense, not a pejorative one.

            If RP offered a credible path of action if he were President, his candidacy would be viewed differently, both by his suppporters and others. Ie, he might say,

            “There are 200 American military bases and installations outside American soil. That’s too many. I can’t say how many there will be at the end of the Paul Administration, but I can promise you this: there won’t be any in Libya. Our intervention there is not in our interest, and should be ended long before I get to office but if for some reason it hasn’t it will be ended then.”Report

      • Dan Miller in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        Important to someone writing about the directions US foreign policy should go? Sure. Important to somebody writing about the Iowa caucuses? Not so much. Foreign policy is barely even an issue in this year’s GOP primary campaign, so you can hardly fault the press for ignoring it, especially coming from someone whose views on it are fairly marginal.Report

  2. Michael Drew says:

    There is no non-interventionist status quo, unless you’re going back to before 1898, and even then the argument is muddy. There is only a theoretical non-interventionist possible future.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Michael Drew says:

      Maybe so.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Status quo noninterventionism? The GOP, 1935-39, with some Dem stragglers. You could look it up. Here, I’ll save you the trouble.

        Powerful forces in United States Congress pushing for non-interventionism and strong Neutrality Acts were the Republican Senators William Edgar Borah, Arthur H. Vandenberg, Gerald P. Nye and Robert M. La Follette, Jr., but support of non-interventionism was not limited to the Republican party. The Ludlow Amendment, requiring a public referendum before any declaration of war except in cases of defense against direct attack, was introduced several times without success between 1935 and 1940 by Democratic Representative Louis Ludlow…


        “Democratic President Roosevelt and especially his Secretary of State Cordell Hull were critical of the Neutrality Acts, fearing that they would restrict the administration’s options to support the country’s allies. Even though both the House and Senate had large Democratic majorities throughout these years, there was enough support for the Acts amongst Democrats (especially those representing Southern states) to ensure their passage. Although Congressional support was insufficient to override a presidential veto, Roosevelt felt he could not afford to snub the South and anger public opinion, especially whilst facing re-election in 1936 and needing Congressional co-operation on domestic issues. With considerable reluctance, the president signed the Neutrality Acts into law.”Report

  3. Patrick Cahalan says:

    Kevin and Will are both wrong on one account.

    If you define “the media” as “opinion”, then yes there is a credible position to be staked out that Ron Paul has shown he doesn’t have staying power and thus can be regarded as both a marginal candidate and an indicator of the weakness of using the early primary season as an indicator of anything.

    There is also a credible position to be staked out from the opinion side that regardless of his popular appeal, his ideas in certain areas (such as hawkishness foreign policy) ought to be engaged, however.

    But “the media” isn’t just the opinion pages. When *news* reporters skip over mentioning the guy’s name in a news report in which he is an integral freaking data point, you’ve just turned that news report into an op-ed piece.

    And that’s clearly bad behavior for a news reporter. If someone comes in second in the Iowa Straw Poll, and the Iowa Straw Poll is regarded as *news*, then when you report on it you’d better fishing mention who came in second.Report

    • Jeff in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

      When *news* reporters skip over mentioning the guy’s name in a news report in which he is an integral freaking data point, you’ve just turned that news report into an op-ed piece.

      News reporting became op-ed pieces quite some time ago. False equivalency, burying the lede, not doing even basic research, these sorts of things have become standard practice for most news outlets (even NPR — I can’t contribute as long as the keep treating the American Enterprise Institute as a legitimate think tank).Report

      • Art Deco in reply to Jeff says:

        There are few think tanks that exceed AEI in seriousness of purpose: the RAND Corporation (in a class by itself), the Brookings Institution, the Hoover Institution, and the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies. AEI could use an improvement program, but if you cannot quote someone from AEI, you cannot quote think tanks.Report

  4. We don’t have to guess about Ron Paul’s appeal: we know exactly what it is, where it comes from, and how big it is.

    I’m not as offended as others by the comparative lack of coverage for Ron Paul, but this justification for that lack of coverage seems more than a little off-base. Until the race in 2008 was winnowed down to McCain, Huckabee, and Paul, there were almost no national GOP polls that put Paul above 6 or 7 percent, and the vast majority put him in the 3 to 5 percent range.

    This time around, with a more or less equally large field and several higher profile candidates aping Paul on economic issues (which, it is too easy to forget, were as much or more the foundation of his support in 2008 as foreign policy), his support is twice that in virtually every poll, landing in the 8-10 percent range, and the most recent Gallup poll putting him as high as 14 percent.

    That despite the fact that his media coverage is even less than it was last time around, not to mention the fact that foreign policy issues are clearly a lower priority for voters this primary season, so the utility of that as a distinguishing characteristic of his campaign is pretty limited.

    To thus say that “we know exactly what [Paul’s support] is, where it comes from, and how big it is” thus strikes me as more than a bit off.Report

    • Koz in reply to Mark Thompson says:

      Until the race in 2008 was winnowed down to McCain, Huckabee, and Paul, there were almost no national GOP polls that put Paul above 6 or 7 percent, and the vast majority put him in the 3 to 5 percent range.”

      This is a very good point. It shouldn’t bug me as much as it does, but it is tedious how much RP supporters indulge the idea that they’re being kept down by the man.Report

  5. MFarmer says:

    I agree with everything in this post. Even if the media thinks Paul can’t win, his positions are important to a growing number of Americans, and the media is missing this slow shift, especially to non-interventionism — which simply means a wide-open embrace of the world sans military intervention and military/industrial power games. A strong defense, yes — intervention in the affairs of other countries, no. Ecomonic means over policial/military means.Report

  6. Will says:

    I actually think the racism issue is a pretty big deal. Here’s the full text of the TNR article on his newsletters:


    • MFarmer in reply to Will says:

      Whatever happened, it was something that should have been avoided, so yes, that’s a mark against Paul — but Ron Paul is not a racist, so it’s not really pertinent in 2011. Everyone has a few marks against them in the past.Report

  7. Jeff says:

    I see Ron Paul as the Dennis Kosinisch of the GOP (but I don’t think he has the hot wife…). Good ideas, stuff that his party should listen to, and left howling in the wilderness.Report

  8. Mr. Confidentiality Agreement says:

    Really? You don’t want to see Mayor Bloomberg run? Anyone who’s worth their Bloombergs knows only Bloomberg can fix this Bloomberg. The man is a true Bloomberg, uniting high Bloomberg and high Bloomberg as such with the infamous Bloomberg Bloomberg and building a Bloomberg to rival Thomson-Reuters. I’ll tell you, most Presidents don’t know Bloomberg about business or the Bloomberg. Bloomberg does.Report

  9. keestadoll says:

    I’m sorry, but until very recently I didn’t really “get” what the FED was or how it operates, and for what it’s worth, THAT has come into the national discussion this political cycle. On that score alone, I think Paul’s influence has been very devalued. No seriously, ask some non-poli-blogging friends a simple question and see how they answer: “What is the Fed?”Report

  10. Ryan B says:

    Not to harp on a point, but Drum doesn’t care about Ron Paul’s foreign policy views, because Drum doesn’t care about foreign policy.Report

  11. Kim says:

    Do we really want racists and libertarians conflated in the public mind? Ron Paul’s supporters are a curious medley of both.Report

  12. keestadoll says:

    You could also say: do we really want liberals and racists conflated in the public mind? Obama supporters are a curious medley of both.. In that case as in the case of Ron Paul supporters, I’m assuming you did not mean all supporters.Report