Enough Already with the Ron Paul This and the Ron Paul That

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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106 Responses

  1. Avatar TycheSD
    Ignored
    says:

    Maybe the writer is continually searching for his car keys because he’s continually searching for the perfect martini.Report

  2. Avatar Ryan Bonneville
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    says:

    Do you think having a legitimate lunatic in the Oval Office would force Congress to claw back some of its authority from the president?Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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      says:

      I think putting a lunatic in the office would be the absolute worst way to answer that question.Report

      • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        Is there another way to make it happen? I mean, I guess we could go with a garden-variety megalomaniac like Nixon; do you think that would work?Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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          says:

          Support non-lunatics who have the same views on national defense and civil liberties? For instance, how much money did you send to Russ Feingold in 2010?Report

          • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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            says:

            $100.Report

          • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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            says:

            Perhaps my support of Ron Paul has confused you into believing that I am somehow not an Actual Liberal. Let me disabuse you of that notion.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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              says:

              I think liberals who are unhappy with Obama should vote for an actual liberal then. Not a goldbug fiscal and social conservative who happened to stumble into decent positions on national security and civil liberties.

              So, if I was giving advice, I’d say spend time on getting more liberal elected, not more libertarians.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                says:

                We don’t have one of those. Unless you’re planning on supporting me for my run against Obama?Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                So, there are no liberals running for Senate or the House that passes your litmus test? Who ya’ know, might need your support monetary or otherwise than the guy with the second-best fundraising machine in the US?Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                says:

                Whoa, what? This is a big leap. I am a big fan of Elizabeth Warren. I’ve already designated her as my Annual Recipient of Money Who Either Loses or Becomes Ideologically Unacceptable After Winning. Notably, she ain’t running for president or involved in a contested primary that takes place next week, so I haven’t had a lot of reason to write about her just yet.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                As a follow up, how much do you think Elizabeth Warren will get done with Ron Paul as President?Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                I suspect and hope she’d be a reliable vote for any anti-war or anti-war-on-drugs policies emanating from the White House. If she wanted to introduce bills help wind those down, that would be great. Then, after President Paul has served for four years or so, she could run to replace him.

                🙂Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                And when blacks, Hispanic’s, and other Democratic votes suddenly don’t have the ability to easily vote for Senator Warren in states ran by Republican Governor’s thanks in part for your vote for President Paul and his disassemble job on the VRA, what will you say then?Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                I guess I would say that you should probably apply for the opening in Delphi, because your insane conspiracy theory turned out surprisingly correct.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                Why is it a conspiracy theory? Multiple conservative sites have openly called for severe changes to the VRA. Ron Paul isn’t the biggest fan of the VRA for a variety of non-racist reasons. I realize it’s not fair to point out a Republican Congress might just take advantage of President Paul and pass things he’ll sign, but for reasons that don’t line up with theirs.

                Or ya’ know, you can ask the thousands of Floridians who couldn’t vote in Florida even with a VRA if they think it should be further weakened.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                says:

                In fairness to Ryan, I’m guessing he’s focusing on presidential politics because the Iowa Caucuses are coming up.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                says:

                Also, I’m with Mark from earlier. I don’t consider “liberal” and “libertarian” mutually exclusive categories.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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              says:

              Ryan, question: you feel justified voting for RP as a principled vote, as an expression of support for his views on foreign policy and the WOD. But by definition, when you vote for a candidate, you’re supporting the entire platform, right? So isn’t your support for RP tacit support of the rest of his crackpottery?

              Or maybe this is a better way to ask it, going back to Mark’s comment: how is voting for a known whackaloon supposed to be understood as an expression of support for his sane views rather than his insane views when support for individual policies is lost in the platform noise?Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Stillwater
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                Well, my goal, as Mark has indicated is also his own, is to support a candidate whose most high profile positions

                a) mirror my own

                b) seem particularly important to me

                c) are not well represented in the political sphere

                It is, of course, possible that my vote for Ron Paul will somehow propel him to the White House, where he will proceed to renege on the things I voted for him specifically to do and then ramp up all the stuff I don’t like and ram it through a compliant Congress. That would be a very unfortunate circumstance indeed.

                But I don’t think it’s all that likely. What’s really happening here is that I’m supporting Ron Paul explicitly because he’s anti-war on people and drugs, while stating clearly that I don’t like his crazy positions. To the extent that my support of those crazy positions is tacit in my vote, I do plead guilty. But I am also sending a signal to anyone else who wants to run on the “good” issues – and is more like me on the “bad” issues (like Russ Feingold!) – that my vote is up for grabs. If Feingold were in this election running against Obama, let’s not pretend I’d be writing the same blog posts.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                I’m sorry, but the actual signal you’re sending is, “as long as you’re with me on issue x and y, I don’t care how bugfuck crazy you are on issue a, b, and c.”

                To make a somewhat tortured analogy, you’re eating a Big Mac, but saying, “look, there’s lettuce and tomatoes on here. So, it’s all good. Because veggies are important after all.”Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                says:

                Okay, that’s fine too. If that’s the kind of signal that scares people into taking positions with me on issue x and y, then my work is done. I am more than happy to scare the ever-living shit out of Wall Street and NARAL if it means ending US imperialism and the war on drugs.

                Your analogy is more apt if you also note that, in that situation, I am starving to death.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                And I guess this is what it comes down too. You’re OK with putting reproductive rights, the welfare state, and so on, all things you supposedly support on the firing line for the _chance_ a President Paul might somehow convince a Republican Congress to end the war on drugs and lessen US imperialism.

                I’m not.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                As I said about 50,000 times, that’s explicitly the choice I’m making. Although I think your emphasis is batshit. I’m putting all those things on the line for a candidate who is really, sincerely opposed to the war on drugs and US imperialism. The chance factor goes on the first half, not the second.

                Either way, I’m not sure what we’re arguing about.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                Well, I wonder if you’d be willing to say to a woman at Planned Parenthood, “hey, I’m OK with you no longer having the right to this abortion because it means possibly a kid two blocks over will only get six months instead of six years in jail.”

                Or, if you’d be willing to say to a kid, “hey buddy, sorry that funding for Medicaid was drastically cut and as a result, you can’t quite afford that asthma medication. But hey, as far as the President knows, we’re not using drones in Iraq anymore.”

                Or if you’re willing to say to a guy in college, “Hey, good news. Pell Grants have been slashed big-time, but you can smoke pot without fear of going to jail!”

                And by the way, maybe you don’t believe me, but I am willing to say to a guy in jail right now, “yeah, it’s fucked up you’re in here. But, I’ll take the 100% chance the social welfare state exists for your family on the outside over the 25% chance you might be able to get released.”

                I know the trade-off’s with what I support. I’ve accepted them, because I believe in the long run, we’re better off with 4 more years of Obama than 4 years of Paul or any other Republican.

                 Report

              • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                Okay.Report

              • Avatar sonmi451 in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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                says:

                “That would be a very unfortunate circumstance indeed.”

                But not unfortunate for you, [edited]. And when people point that out, you’ll turn around and say that women and other minorities are just being selfish for caring more about what Ron Paul’s presidency would do to them, rather than caring about the people abroad that Obama is merrily killing just because he feels like it. It’s brilliant, really, as a silencing method.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to sonmi451
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                Please refrain from doing that on my posts.  Your argument is strong enough you don’t have to go down that road.

                Thanks.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Stillwater
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                I don’t think that support for RP’s positions here is lost in the platform noise; if it was, then the equation would be vastly different.  A candidate may have a broad platform, but there are only certain issues that the candidate, especially in a primary, truly campaigns on to distinguish himself from the rest of the field.  Those are the issues on which the candidate himself is trying to earn support for his campaign, and providing that support acts to validate those issues in a way that it does not validate the candidate’s other positions, even if those other positions are nonetheless still part of their platform.

                Here, Paul is not campaigning on his executive competence, he is not campaigning on his views on abortion (which, in any event, are indistinguishable from the other candidates in this particular race), he is AFAIK campaigning no more than indirectly on his goldbuggery (he’s obviously focusing on his problems with the Fed, which are an offshoot of this, but I don’t think he’s talking overly much about the gold standard….could be wrong about that, though, and it’s not as problematic to me in any event), and he is not campaigning on the racial views he and others presented in the 1990s.

                So his candidacy doesn’t seem to create much space for future candidates on those issues.  But it certainly creates space for future candidates on issues of war and civil liberties.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Mark Thompson
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                It would create a lot, lot more if he followed up a bid for the GOP nod with an independent general candidacy one of these years.  As long as he keeps not doing that (effectively advancing the fortunes of the GOP as is rather than advancing the ideas where he differs from them), I’m going to have a tough time seeing his candidacy as overwhelmingly more about the things he stands in stark contrast to the GOP with than the things that are more in line with them (if also always giving them his own unique twist) – i.e. money, taxation, regulation, immigration, gays, abortion, etc.

                But I don’t deny your point as far as it goes.Report

    • Avatar sonmi451 in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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      says:

      Oh my god, the stupidity! Let’s put a lunatic in the White House so the President’s power will be curtailed. Hey, why not elect a child as President? That will really diminish his power and authority. This blog has gone crazy, crazy, crazy. You people should have vetted your new frontpagers more. Are you guys so desperate for traffic you let any lunatic Tom, Dick and Harry spewing lunacy to be a frontpager?Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to sonmi451
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        @sonmi451: Oh my god, the stupidity! Let’s put a lunatic in the White House so the President’s power will be curtailed. Hey, why not elect a child as President? That will really diminish his power and authority. This blog has gone crazy, crazy, crazy. You people should have vetted your new frontpagers more. Are you guys so desperate for traffic you let any lunatic Tom, Dick and Harry spewing lunacy to be a frontpager?

        Dude, no offense, but how on earth did you get any of what you just said out of my post?

        You didn’t actually read it, did you?Report

        • Avatar sonmi451 in reply to Tod Kelly
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          says:

          It’s a response to Ryan’s comment, not your post. Sorry, the comment nesting is confusing.

          “Do you think having a legitimate lunatic in the Oval Office would force Congress to claw back some of its authority from the president?”

           Report

        • Avatar sonmi451 in reply to Tod Kelly
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          says:

          And the frontpager I’m referring to is Ryan, with his post on Ron Paul stating that Obama kills people abroad just because he feels like it. It’s not a reference to you. Apologies for the miunderstanding.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to sonmi451
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            says:

            Cool.

            Though, fwiw, regarding the other comments about the League in general I might suggest taking a look at more posts than just Ryan’s one (which I obviously disagree with) before decided who we all are.  I don’t think of Ryan’s post today to be very indicative of the vibe here… or of Ryan’s usual stuff, for that matter.

             Report

  3. Avatar Mark Thompson
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    says:

    The way I’ve come to look at it is thusly: his candidacy, and the success of his candidacy, is useful for the very limited but nonetheless important purpose of shifting the Overton Window as to what is acceptable to discuss in mainstream politics.  He isn’t going to win the nomination, and even if he did, he’s not going to be President, so there’s not any risk of his crazier views becoming policy, nor is there any risk of unintentionally electing a peace candidate but getting Alex Jones as our Attorney General.

    So for that limited purpose of moving the Overton Window, it is only necessary that Paul’s campaign (and the comparative success thereof) be centered on particular issues where I agree with him substantially, even if on some of those issues his position may be more extreme than I would prefer.

    In fact, his craziness almost becomes a positive for this purpose to the extent that he is able to get enough support to put a scare into the powers that be.  The message becomes that his positions on those issues are so fishing important to a substantial number of people that they are literally willing to vote for someone who is otherwise close to insane in order to get those issues brought to the forefront.

    I don’t view Paul as a true “protest” vote to fix what ails the GOP – that involves saying that you wish the GOP were more like him across the board, and I’m not so sure I would want to say that.  But the fact is that the positions his campaign is based on are important positions that have been shut out of our national debate for a long time; as long as there are no examples of a candidate obtaining success on a national level when emphasizing these issues, this will continue to be the case.  But once there is such an example, the Overton Window finally gets shifted.Report

    • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Mark Thompson
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      says:

      I agree with this wholeheartedly. Paul, of course, brings the added benefit that the people he most truly horrifies are mainstream white liberals. They are exactly the people who need to stop being so fishing feckless all the time and get their shirt together.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mark Thompson
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      I have a simple question. How extreme would Paul’s views or for that matter, any candidate’s views on other little things like abortion, entitlements, tax policy, and the such have to be in order for the push of the Overton Window on civil liberties and national defense to be tossed away? For example, let’s say there was a candidate with the same views on civil liberties and national defense as Paul. But, he wanted forced birth control and abortion for teenagers, a marginal tax rate of 95% for more social spending, churches forced to marry gay couples, and a Swedish-style welfare state. Oh, and a carbon tax. Would all that be all right?Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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        I think that would largely be ok, actually, at least for these purposes, and as long as the candidate did not put much emphasis on those views during the campaign.  Even if he did, as long as you got rid of the “churches forced to marry gay couples” and “forced birth control” positions, I’d still be willing to support such a candidate for Overton Window purposes since you’d basically be talking about Dennis Kucinich at that point.Report

      • Avatar Ryan Bonneville in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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        Since you didn’t really read Mark’s post, I’ll answer: it depends. What’s the focus of the campaign? The fact is that Ron Paul, whatever else he may believe, is campaigning HARD on the ideas of anti-imperialism and anti-drug-war…ism. He’s not running around screaming about abortion on TV. If these things were flipped and he were quietly anti-war and loudly anti-gay (or whatever), it would be a lot harder to support him even now.Report

        • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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          says:

          See, I guess there is where I part company with both of you. I actually look at all the policies of a candidate, not just the one he focuses on because he knows they play well to disaffected liberals and libertarians.

          Also, to Mark, the policy positions I put forth for this candidate was for a reason. Ron Paul recently signed a pledge with Personhood USA to promise to support a constitutional amendment and federal laws on personhood. In other words, as extreme a pro-life position as one can have. So, I tried to create the most extreme pro-choice position I could. Same thing with gay rights. Paul wants to eliminate federal recognition of unions, but completely allow states to ban gay unions if they want. So, I went for the extreme-lefty position.

          So, I think it’s interesting you’re OK with Paul’s positions on gay rights and abortion, but not OK with the left version with the opposite positions.Report

          • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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            says:

            If you think that’s the case, then you’re missing my point.  There’s a difference between signing an interest group pledge and making something the focus of your campaign.  Paul has not, to my knowledge, made abortion a focus of his campaign.

            As for whether I’m ok with the left version of the opposite positions, the fact is that there is no liberal of whom I’m aware that believes in forced birth control and forced recognition of same sex marriages, so to set that up as the extreme liberal position and then say that I’m exhibiting a preference for the Right is more than a little unfair.  There are, by contrast, no shortage of conservatives who take the extreme position on abortion.

            If you’re trying to show me as being all about hippy punching then you’ll need to overcome the fact that I explicitly promoted a vote for Dennis Kucinich for these same purposes, even though Kucinich not only holds a more or less maximalist position on taxation and social welfare spending, but in my hypothetical, he’s even making those positions one of the primary focii of his campaign.

            All that matters for purposes of what I’m talking about here is whether the candidate’s success would shift the Overton Window on certain issues where I want it shifted without excessively shifting it on other issues where I don’t want it shifted.

            By the way, a precondition of all this is that the candidate at issue have little to no chance of actually winning the sought after office and that the other pertinent options be a matter of choosing between a douche bag and a turd sandwich.

            In this case, the “office” is the POTUS – and Ron Paul clearly has exactly zero chance of winning that, even if he does have an extraordinarily remote chance of winning the GOP nomination.  The other pertinent options here are Romney, Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum….basically a collection of douchebags and turd sandwiches.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
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              says:

              All that matters for purposes of what I’m talking about here is whether the candidate’s success would shift the Overton Window on certain issues where I want it shifted without excessively shifting it on other issues where I don’t want it shifted.

              Yes, that’s the question. And my worry is that voting is an expression of support for a collection of views rather than support for only two planks of an otherwise rejected platform. So a vote for Ron Paul can be just as reasonably construed as support for his anti-war positions as for his abolish the fed/pro-life/New World Order positions.

              Of course, polling can tease out some distinction here, but polling has already teased out policy preferences amongst registered and likely voters. So I’m dubious that a vote for Paul will move the Overton Window in the way you’re hoping. In fact, I think it might (and probably would) be understood as support for a whacky version of libertarianism (or whatever Paul’s views are labeled) and mainstream the crazier policy views in the future.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Stillwater
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                So a vote for Ron Paul can be just as reasonably construed as support for his anti-war positions as for his abolish the fed/pro-life/New World Order positions.

                I have to concede that this is possible, though I think it extraordinarily unlikely in this specific context, at least with the latter two of your examples.  On the “abolish the Fed” business, I can’t deny that he is very much shifting the Overton Window on that.  I find that shifting the Overton Window on that question is not terribly important to me one way or another; at the very least, I think there are plusses and minuses to doing so that more or less cancel each other out.

                On the pro-life issue, the context is critical – we are talking at the moment about a Republican primary.  Those pro-life positions are one of the things that absolutely does not distinguish him from other candidates, and thus is not something where his views are relevant for purposes of shifting the national discussion.  If he were in the Dem primary instead, this would be a much more legitimate area of concern.  On the New World Order business, AFAIK he’s been avoiding that in his campaign, especially this time around and so my concerns about that are made much more minimal.  Additionally, I don’t think there is nearly the constituency for that as there is for anti-war and pro-civil liberties issues, so there is in my view much less risk of any real fallout from marginally normalizing those topics (emphasis on marginally).

                I think that last was a much bigger concern in 2008, by the way, and had it not been too late in the campaign to change my voter registration when I first saw him pushing that crap, I would have changed my voter registration to avoid having to pull the lever for him on primary day.  As it was, it still almost led me to pull the lever for McCain.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mark Thompson
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                Mark, I didn’t intend for that list to end merely with those three issues. I should have put an ‘etc.’ on the back end.

                But I get what you’re saying. It’s possible that support for Paul is understood as support for his anti-war positions. I find that unlikely, but I’m not a GOP primary voter, nor am I in tune with the subtleties of what each candidate is campaigning on.Report

        • Avatar Sam in reply to Ryan Bonneville
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          says:

          The man doesn’t have to be loudly anti-gay. He has proxies that do the work for him: http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/ron-paul-hired-anti-gay-activist-to-run-iowa-campaign.phpReport

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Mark Thompson
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      says:

      Mark, this is a solid reply, but let me play devil’s advocate with you for mine moment:

      I put it to you that a Paul victory moving the Overton Window in a positive direction would be the result of the GOP looking at Paul’s success over their mainstreams, deducing that their problems were exactly what you and I might believe, and correctly peeling off all the crazy s**t.

      My question to you: Have you met today’s GOP?

      What on Earth makes you think the base and all those that pander to it wouldn’t assume the best strategy wouldn’t be to go the black helicopter rout?Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        I think, all things considered, I’m not so much hoping/expecting a shift within the GOP’s Overton Window (though I don’t completely discount the possibility- sometimes all it takes to convince the insane is someone equally insane!), as I am hanging my hat on demonstrating that there is a sizable constituency in general on civil liberties/anti-militarism/WO(s)D that will support a politician en masse if if he throws them a few fish in’ bones for once. It is not unimportant that a good chunk of Paul’s support comes from Dems and Independents looking to participate in the GOP primaries to support Paul.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Mark Thompson
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      says:

      Didn’t see this fuller version of when I responded above to a response version of it.  So here’s a reprint of my point in response (and let me be clear it’s in the context of general approval of this way of seeing the Ron Paul Moment vis-a-vis the GOP).

      Regarding putting a scare in the GOP powers that be, Paul could do this to a much, much greater degree if he followed up a bid for the GOP nod with an independent general election candidacy one of these cycles, decisively giving that part of the GOP electorate who are really committed to Paul’s message a way to impose a steep cost to the party for not being responsive to the political clout of Paul’s issue profile.

      As long as he keeps not doing that (effectively advancing the fortunes of the GOP as is rather than advancing the ideas where he differs from them), I’m going to have a tough time seeing his candidacy as overwhelmingly more about the things he stands in stark contrast to the GOP with than the things that are more in line with them (if also always giving them his own unique twist) – i.e. money, taxation, regulation, immigration, gays, abortion, etc.

      But I don’t deny your point as far as it goes.Report

  4. Avatar Stillwater
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    says:

    The message becomes that his positions on those issues are so fishing important to a substantial number of people that they are literally willing to vote for someone who is otherwise close to insane in order to get those issues brought to the forefront.

    Heh. That’s about right, isn’t it?Report

  5. Avatar Tom Van Dyke
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    says:

    Yay.  More Ron Paul.

     Report

  6. Avatar Katherine
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    says:

    Thank you for that.  That is some grade-A wingnuttery.

    I still want him to win the Republican nomination, for the entertainment value.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    “People, with all respect, this kind of warning is squarely in “Obama is having FEMA set up concentration camps” territory.

    Literally, yes, But metaphorically no.  (Metaphorically, it’s why people are rightly critical of certain measures to ‘fight terrorists’ for the least reason that can be easily used one day to fight not-terrorists)

    (which shouldn’t detract from your larger thesis, which I agree with)Report

  8. Avatar Charles
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    says:

    ” But trust me when I say this isn’t the guy you want to be your champion.”

    So, who is?

    Seriously, I agree that Ron Paul is a problematic spokesperson, even for those of us who believe that rolling up the empire is a moral and fiscal imperative. However, how will we get a better spokesperson? Or more importantly, how will we get several such spokespersons?

    The answer is that we need a movement, one that is capable of recruiting and supporting new libertarian candidates. As it happens, Ron Paul has inspired this sort of movement — one that is full of people who tend to be younger, more secular and more tolerant than the typical Republican. Whatever baggage Ron Paul might carry from his decades in the wilderness has not carried over to the movement, in general. That development inspires a lot of hope, at least in me,

    I don’t see any of this objectionable stuff in the young people who are inspired by Paul, and that’s why I don’t place much stock in the crocodile tears being shed over these newsletters, especially when they’re from people who don’t share libertarian views of any sort in the first place (I’m not ascribing that view to Mr. Kelly, but I would ascribe to many of the anti-Paul pieces that have posted on this site over the last few days.)

    I think there are a lot of people who want Paul to fail, not because they want an already-retiring septagenerian Representative with some questionable past political ties to go away. Rather, they want his (more clearly libertarian) movement to go away, as it seems to be diverting energetic young idealists away from their obvious destinies as respectable, bien-pensant progressives.

    In other words, they’re not worried about people emulating Ron Paul’s possible non-libertarian views on things like race or NAFTA, they’re worried about people emulating his less objectionable, more typically libertarian views, precisely because those views constitute a more credible and formidable rival ideology to their own.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Charles
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      says:

      “ But trust me when I say this isn’t the guy you want to be your champion.”

      So, who is?

      Anybody but the crazy man.  Seriously, there is a big difference between “guy I disagree with on a lot of stuff” and “guy who is mad as a hatter.”  Also, I would take a cure from Elias, and stop looking for a champion altogether.  Y

      Most important, though, is this: You want a Congress that won’t roll over and give undue power to your President?  Start focusing on your congressional and senate races, and stop hoping that some commander in chief is going to say “thanks but no thanks” when he is offered too much power.Report

      • Avatar Charles in reply to Tod Kelly
        Ignored
        says:

        “Also, I would take a cure from Elias, and stop looking for a champion altogether.”

        and

        “Start focusing on your congressional and senate races, and stop hoping that some commander in chief is going to say “thanks but no thanks” when he is offered too much power.”

        I agree completely with these two statements, which was my point above about the necessity of a movement. Ron Paul inspired one (and one that happens to be decidedly less “eccentric” on a lot of these problem issues) and no one else has. I just don’t see how we get from here to there without some half-steps in-between.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Charles
          Ignored
          says:

          I see where you and others are coming from here, but I am skeptical.  I do not know that the is a significant Ron Paul movement, anymore than there was a Herman Cain movement, or a Michelle Bachmann movement, or a Newt Gingrich movement.

          Times are tough, and people want a change… in general.  But do they want an end to the drug war, the “police action” wars, and respecting the rights of so called “terrorists?”  I think not.  (But I hope I’m wrong.)

          Ron Paul may or may not win Iowa, but either way by February we’ll all be writing “Where did the Paul campaign go wrong?” posts.Report

  9. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    Paul 2012: “A chicken in every crackpot!”Report

  10. Avatar Michelle
    Ignored
    says:

    While I ca appreciate Paul’s positions on the defense budget and civil liberties, his embrace of pure Ayn Rand economics has always doomed him as a serious candidate for me. That he also embraces other crackpot theories has therefore not come as a huge surprise. I just like to see him tie the other Republican candidates in knots, and will enjoy the apoplexy he induces in the Republican elite should he actually win Iowa and do well in New Hampshire.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Remember Kennedy’s “Robert Bork’s America” speech?

    Good times.

     Report

  12. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    What year was this? I know it was written on “Monday morning,” but of what day, month, and year? In the letter, Paul refers to his four terms of service in Congress, but he’s selling stuff, suggesting that he’s out of office (or breaking those obstructionist laws) at the time he writes this, meaning some time between 1985 and 1997. He also references an apparently recent speech by President Bush, which could be either Bush the Elder or Bush the Younger, but again given that he’s selling stuff, I’m thinking it’s Bush the Elder, putting the letter some time between 1988 and 1992. Further, the use of Courier font, the liberal use of underlines and highlights, were all hallmarks of political mass mailing techniques that were in use in that era; proportional fonts were thought of as ‘too slick’. Finally, there is quite a lot of paranoia about anti-counterfeiting strips in the money and IIRC, those strips made their first appearnaces in twenties and hundreds in the early Nineties (and were a subject of paranoia by Fox Mulder on the X-Files, too, demonstrating the gravity of Rep. Paul’s concerns).

    Reading it now, looking like it was hastily banged out on an ancient IBM Selectric, erratically underlined and pre-highlighted, evoking images of bizarre and intrusive government activity that has never happened, appealing to fear and ignorance, and concluding with an invitation to spend money buying more screeds just like this one — it looks positively unhinged.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      I was also assuming that it was Bush the Elder.  I must admit, though, I had made the assumption that the highlighting was done by the recipient of the letter, not by Paul or his staff.

      But I certainly agree that it looks positively unhinged.Report

  13. Avatar Steve S.
    Ignored
    says:

    “Enough Already with the Ron Paul This and the Ron Paul That”

    And the next front page post was on Ron Paul.

    The League is in a serious rut.  Ron Paul will be a footnote to a footnote in a few weeks.  How about something on Tim Tebow?  Tippi Hedren?  Kim jong-un’s personal trainer?Report

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