Ron Paul and American liberalism

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Shawn Gude

Shawn Gude is a writer, graduate student, activist, and assistant contributor at Jacobin. His intellectual influences include Chantal Mouffe, Michael Harrington, and Ella Baker. Contact him at shawn.gude@gmail.com or on Twitter @shawngude.

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26 Responses

  1. Avatar Tod Kelly
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    says:

    Yay!  Shawn Gude post!  Dude, I was just wondering where you were these days.Report

  2. Avatar TycheSD
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    says:

    Bill Kristol just said today on C-Span that he thinks Ron Paul should leave the Republican Party.Report

  3. Avatar E.C. Gach
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    says:

    I would love to see a four-way Presidential debate between Romney, Obama, Nader, and Paul.Report

  4. Avatar Dennis
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    says:

    With the exception of Ron Paul, the GOP candidates are a group of warmongering fools. They are so simple minded they associate invading and bombing foreign countries with patriotism. And this they want to spend vast sums of money on – while the national debt soars.

    Some have stated that Ron Paul’s views are “…well out of the Republican mainstream….” and give it a derogatory bent. Actually, his views are well out of the Republican AND Democrat mainstream.  And that is a very good and refreshing thing.

    No one in the political establishment on either side wants Dr. Paul to ascend to the presidency. They know for certain that if he was elected it would not be business as usual. They know that he alone among the candidates is the only one that will rigidly adhere to Constitutional government; that he will not be influenced by money, but by Constitutional principle.

    He has been attacked mainly because of his stance on foreign policy. As I understand Ron Paul’s position, he deeply believes the United States should not go to war unless: 1) it is truly necessary and in the best interest of the United States & 2) it is entered into in a Constitutional manner. For this he is berated. I completely agree with Ron Paul.

    A few thoughts:

    Do those who promote unnecessary wars really consider that people die in them? Do they not watch the evening news when the lists of young dead servicemen scroll across the television screen? So far, 6,331 American servicemen have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Paul’s foreign policy has been attacked by his critics as “dangerous.” What a bunch of simple minded individuals his critics are. How can they criticize Dr. Paul’s position on not fighting unnecessary wars as “dangerous” as opposed to the thousands of American service men and foreign civilians killed during the Bush and Obama administrations? Those self-righteous people who condemn Ron Paul’s views on war do not seem to mind the killing and maiming of young United States soldiers. They do not really treasure human life, though they try very hard to persuade the electorate they do.

    If you kill (bombing, etc.) a person’s family members, this person will intensely hate the country doing the killing for the rest of his/her life. Many innocent people are killed in needless wars. This breeds terrorists who may one day bring such terror to the United States.  This is a no brainer. It is estimated that 132,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    China is not spending money fighting wars. China is spending money on infrastructure and making loans to the United States. Meanwhile, our government is squandering money fighting in three countries.

    The senselessness of war stands out when we see veterans of past wars on both sides meeting and shaking hands (U.S./Japanese, etc.). The men are now friends, but the dead are still dead. It is governments that cannot get along – it is not the people.

    Those politicians who promote wars should be in the vanguard of the first attack. If going to war is so important, they and their families should be intimately involved in the actual fighting.

    Electing anyone but Ron Paul is just asking for more of what we have had for years – it is time to renew Constitutional Government & the American Spirit – it is time to elect Ron Paul.

    P.S. Please, I do not need an ignorant reply from someone accusing me of being a liberal. I served in our active duty armed forces for 8 years and reserve forces for 4 years. The active duty military supports Ron Paul’s foreign policy position overwhelmingly over the other candidates. So, trashing his position on foreign policy is like trashing our troops.

     

     

     Report

  5. Avatar Kirk
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    says:

    The memories of politicos are long.
    Like the Bourbons, they forget nothing and lesrn nothing. The Dems had their asses handed to them in 3/4 elections (1972, 1980, 1984) in part bc of perceived “weakness” on foreign policy.
    Likewise, the Nader example is hardly encouraging to those annoyed by Dem squishiness.
    The Dems are scared shitless of being labled another mcgovern or carter.
    That fear is not entireli irrational…
    Until all the baby boomers who are psycholofically scarred by those defeats die off, I don’t expect much change in mainstream Dem thinking on foreign policy.Report

  6. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto
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    But the Democratic Party is bereft of prominent, unapologetic defenders of civil liberties and non-intervention.

    Yeah…balderdash.

    Ron Wyden? Barney Frank? For that matter Russ Feingold is still a Democrat and looking at a gubernatorial run, it would seem like.

    Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Nob Akimoto
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      says:

      He’s disavowed running for office in 2012.  Perhaps he will reverse himself, but at this point it is getting really irresponsible fo him to be considering that option, with Democrats in the state needing to organize and plan for the process of selecting a candidate to challenge Walker.  So I don’t expect that from him.  I would love it if he’d just turn back around and run for Senate again, but it looks pretty likely to me we’ll be sending our (I speak as a very recent expat) former governor Tommy Thompson back to Washington in that seat, completing the Republican takeover of our Senatorial delegation.  Though perhaps if the the  recall is set for November, the Democratic tide from that will carry Tammy Baldwin into the Senate.  But I have heard that timing is unlikely to come to pass under Wisconsin special elections law.  I suppose Obama coattails could have that effect as well.  I’m actually not exactly sure where Obama stands right now in the state that voted for him by a 56-42 margin in 2008.

      In short, I have no idea what Feingold’s short or medium-term game is exactly at this point; I’m dying for some indication.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Michael Drew
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        says:

        Drat. I was hoping the recall success would let him ride into the governor’s mansion and put him in a nice position for 2016.

        Alas. Maybe Feingold too is a false prophet.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Nob Akimoto
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          says:

          What? Because he’s in a weak position due to political factors outside his control?

          I’m not saying he won’t be back.  Just not sure when or where.  But even if not, I’m not sure what would make you say that.  He’s certainly done his part, hasn’t he?  He never changed his positions on these issues…Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Nob Akimoto
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          says:

          …Or you just mean not that much of a prospect to turn the Democratic Party around on these issues.

          We need to understand what a tall order that is for either party. Obama went a long way toward that just by running and winning on that message, but since he didn’t follow through, now anyone trying to really reform the practices and new law will be running to his left on it.

          There isn’t any prophet who can really change these things fundamentally until the public cries out for them in ways neither party can ignore.  I’d love to see what Ron Paul would actually be able to do on these questions in office.  I think people would be astounded at how constrained he’d be by his own party, even on the questions they assign purely to presidential prerogative and decisionmaking.

          That is why the opportunity Obama lost for the left and his party by pursuing less change than I think the moment he was given made possible (though I think that amount in turn is far less than his critics suggest it is).  This is a question of long versus short-term interest for each party – whoever can get to the higher ground of liberty first while surviving the short-term cost of doing it will be in a strategically dominant position.

          When we ask why candidates and parties don’t do the right thing more often, we need to be sure we are actually interested in the real answer.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
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            says:

            …was so great — the opportunity lost.Report

          • Avatar Mike in reply to Michael Drew
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            says:

            That is why the opportunity Obama lost for the left and his party by pursuing less change than I think the moment he was given made possible

            He pursued closing Gitmo. The Republicans got their panties in a wad about the “security concerns” of keeping terrorists in Federal Supermax prisons, and cobbled together enough useful idiots (like Joe Lieberman) to start passing around bills refusing to fund Gitmo’s closure.

            He pursued ending DADT, and won.

            He pursued healthcare reform, and won.

            He pursued banking/credit card reform, called to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which is necessary to head off future abuses by the banking industry),  and won.

            He got the latest Federal hate crimes law passed.

            He got two strong, pro-choice women appointed to the Supreme Court.

            He got the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed, two years after the asshole Retardicans shot the initial version down.

            He’s followed his oath of office to defend the Constitution, by refusing to have his AG’s office defend the clearly UNconstitutional DOMA any longer.

            Oh, and under his direction a number of terrorist leaders have been taken out, including Osama bin Laden.

            WHAT THE FUCK MORE DO YOU WANT?Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Mike
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              says:

              I’m the guy who frequently makes this case, but here I was talking about civili liberties in the War on Terror exclusively.  I take issue with those who say that Obama represents total continuity with the Bush administration – that is facile and simply smacks of either an agenda or a failure to even look at the issues in close detail.  But it is true that in some ares, he has taken a doctrine further than Bush did, or else carried into effect a prerogative that Bush would have defended (assassination of U.S. citizens – an issue that is a much harder case on the merits and the law than the words that describe it actually suggest).  And in some (not all) others, there is indeed continuity.

              But notwithstanding any of that, if one had to choose either the word continuity or the word repudiation to describe the way Obama’s policy slate in the War on Terror relates to Bush’s (and one does not), continuity would be closer to the mark.  I rue this, but it’s not really debatable.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                If it’s any consolation, Mike, I do believe that if Obama had done the absolute best on the issues he were realistically capable of doing he still would have been called an abject failure by the constituency that was looking to be pleased on them.  What that means is that he had basically no incentive to do the right thing other than pure conviction, and in those type of situations, usually conviction loses.  But that still doesn’t reflect very well on him; after all, he has certain solemn duties whatever else obtains.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Michael Drew
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                My position on the civil liberties issues is that the only way they’re going to ever be resolved is if the US can get off war footing on any reasonable measure.

                Look, whatever else Obama is doing, he’s not doing what McCain would’ve done. Which is continue the war in Iraq, possibly start a war in Iran and god knows where else he’d have gotten involved.

                The gradual strategy of the Obama Administration DOES seem to be to actually make for the exits and stop fighting wars and instead move towards a strategy of off-shore balancing. Once this happens I think there’ll be a different conversation on whether or not the PATRIOT Act needs to be renewed.

                At that point I think it’s more likely that a congress with a Speaker Pelosi and a majority leader Reid plus a president Obama (or successor) would be able to end some of the more egregious parts of the war on terror.Report

              • Avatar Mike in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                But it is true that in some ares, he has taken a doctrine further than Bush did, or else carried into effect a prerogative that Bush would have defended (assassination of U.S. citizens – an issue that is a much harder case on the merits and the law than the words that describe it actually suggest).  And in some (not all) others, there is indeed continuity.

                And that’s rather a dishonest argument – the idea that Obama, or any President of a different party, ought to have been a 180-degree switch from the previous administration.

                I wouldn’t have liked to see us simply say “ok, Bush is out of office, we don’t give a crap about Al Qaeda / bin Laden any more.” I’m glad that terrorist leaders, including OBL, have still been taken out.

                “Assassination of US Citizens” – this one is a tough call. You could make the case that any time a mobster is killed in a gunfight with cops, or a SWAT sniper takes out a hostage-taker, that’s “assassination.” The case most referred to, the al-Awlaki case, is the subject of much demagoguery by people who insist he was “taken out for speaking out against the US” when, if you read the actual reports and statements from those who were involved in the decision (and it wasn’t just the President involved), he was taken out for the same reason other terrorist leaders were taken out, including OBL, and that is because he was actually planning, providing materials and guidance, and giving the greenlight to terrorist attacks.  If you read his Wikipedia entry (blacked out today, but you can see if it you disable javascript on your browser) his rap sheet is pretty clear – kidnapping and hostage-taking for ransom, arranging to hide al-Qaeda members from the Yemeni government, and a long list of greenlighted attacks and assassination attempts.

                But, under Obama, we’re pretty much done in Iraq at long last. Policy in Afghanistan is winding down quite a bit after OBL was finally taken out, though the Pakistani government situation is just a mess. No matter what you think otherwise in defining “continuation”, I’ll contend that yanking troops willy-nilly would have been bad policy.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Mike
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                says:

                And that’s rather a dishonest argument – the idea that Obama, or any President of a different party, ought to have been a 180-degree switch from the previous administration.

                Well, I don’t think it’s dishonest. It’s just an opinion, and one I don’t hold.

                I wouldn’t have liked to see us simply say “ok, Bush is out of office, we don’t give a crap about Al Qaeda / bin Laden any more.” I’m glad that terrorist leaders, including OBL, have still been taken out.

                Me neither, and me too.Report

            • Avatar LarryM in reply to Mike
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              says:

              I want him to at least move us a little bit in the direction of a less immoral foreign policy. It’s interesting that none of the achievements you list are in that area.

              Obama is, like every American President in my lifetime, a war criminal who, if there was any justice, would – at best, if mercy was displayed at sentencing – be serving a life sentence for his crimes. The fact that there were arguably worse war criminals in past administrations doesn’t mitigate his crimes.

              The achievements you listed were essentially bought with the blood of the many innocents murdered by Obama in our various foreign entanglements. Sorry, I don’t buy the argument made by many “liberals” that a murderous foreign policy is a price worth paying for progressive domestic policies.Report

  7. Avatar sonmi451
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    says:

    More often than not, the party’s been populated by supine politicos rather than principled true-tellers.

    My general experience with politicians who billed themselves as “principled truth-tellers” is that they are usually people more interested in self-aggrandizement rather than actually leading and achieving any policy goals, sad to say.Report

  8. Avatar Al Sheppard
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    says:

    Paul’s party-straddling positions may be both the source of his success and its chief limitation. While he clearly is taking advantage of the dearth of Democratic voices on certain issues, as you say, this may show nothing about the viability of those issues for Democrats.

    This post inspired me to write on my blog about just why Ron Paul is such an oddity. (Click on my name to see.)Report

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