Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cherrypicking Paul

Ron Paul's drawing big crowds in Iowa, whose caucus is less than a month away.

Paul's visited the state 50 times, and he's serious about winning there. Whilst the ineffectual and effete media have wasted more time than they should have, slobbering over Michele Bachmann (who was once Chris Matthews's hero), hand-wringing over Rick Perry, chortling over Herman Cain and deliberating over Mitt Romney and/or Newt Gingrich, no one's been paying attention to the danger Ron Paul might become.

And Paul is dangerous.

For anyone who argues that he's unlike any other politician, he isn't. Paul knows exactly how to tailor his message to the audience who's listening. That's why you won't hear any of the issues Paul espouses and which the EmoProg Left hold dear on his latest camapaign propaganda. Paul's been in the game long enough to gauge the people to whom he's speaking.

He also is no fool. He knows he espouses some ideals which look pretty hipster cool to very young voters and to those people who haven't bothered learning the art of critical thinking. They see one level of Paul's ideals, with which they agree, but they fail to see why he wants to espouse these ideals or what their implementation might entail. So, he's doing just what Fox News does to its demographic - revealing enough of a message to be enticing, but keeping the real lalapalooza in reserve, sorta kinda like a surprise.

But he needn't worry, because if, by whatever fluke, Paul secured the nomination and then the White House, anything unpleasant that his youthful supporters would encounter, they'd most assuredly blame it on Barack Obama - always easier to blame the black man, especially if he were the former President.

Here's how Paul goes fishing amongst the young, the naive and the idealistic, using the cherrypicking technique as bait:-

Paul explained his non-interventionist foreign policy to a packed rally of more than 1,000 mostly young people at Iowa State University on Thursday night.

The 12-term congressman has long done well with college students and draw another 700 mostly college students the following night at the University of Northern Iowa in Ankeny.

“He likes to do what he says – he says what he means – he doesn’t beat around the bush – he’s kind of entertaining to watch,” said Iowa State University student Mario Winburn.

Winburn said that he appreciates Paul’s consistency on issues ranging from abortion to the debt ceiling.

He also likes that Paul “doesn’t play politics,” said Winburn.

Although he has a favorable impression of the candidate, he’s not sold just yet. He’s giving all the presidential contenders a shot. Winburn voted for Obama during the last election, but is now taking a look at Ron Paul this time around.

“Ron Paul has something that just different about him could possible make him the next president,” said Winburn.

Now this is one mixed-up kid. He appreciates Paul's position on abortion - which is basically pro-Life and the way he was consistent during the debt ceiling negotiations - as in slash and burn everything? And for the record, spare me this "Ron Paul doesn't play politics". That's what he wants you to believe. Ron Paul plays politics. Believe me, he does; and you've just been played, kid.

Mother Jones, I find, has done an excellent and consistent job of keeping a wary eye on Paul this year. They, more than anyone, are excellent reference points to which starry-eyed political neophytes might be directed, in order to learn about the smellier parts of Ron Paul's advocacy.

Tim Murphy, writing recently, in MoJo, talks about Paul's now-infamous newsletters:-

Since 1978, Paul published and sold a newsletter (known alternatively as Ron Paul's Political Report, Ron Paul's Survival Report, and Ron Paul's Freedom Report) to tens of thousands of libertarians scattered across the country. Especially in the beginning, it played into the concerns of a certain kind of conservative white guy. As the New Republic reported, the newsletters suggest Paul is "not the plain-speaking antiwar activist his supporters believe they are backing—but rather a member in good standing of some of the oldest and ugliest traditions in American politics." Some excerpts:

"[Although] we are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers."

"Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the 'criminal justice system,' I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."

"[B]lack males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary, and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such."

Paul defended the newsletters' racist content when it was first brought up by his opponent in a 1996 congressional race—standing by, for instance, charges that Democratic Rep. Barbara Jordan, the state's first black congresswoman, was granted favorable treatment because of her race. His statements were "academic, tongue-in-cheek," he said of the newsletters, and were not meant to be taken at face value.

It wasn't until five years later that Paul offered an alibi, claiming that the newsletters had been ghostwritten. As he told Texas Monthly's S.C. Gwynne, "They were never my words, but I had some moral responsibility for them…I actually really wanted to try to explain that it doesn't come from me directly, but they [campaign aides] said that's too confusing. 'It appeared in your letter and your name was on that letter and therefore you have to live with it.'"

It's a confusing alibi, to say the least: Why would Paul's campaign prefer he take credit for racist comments he didn't write? Even if he never wrote the newsletters, he had no qualms profiting off of their contents for decades. The fact that none of his presidential opponents since then have raised the newsletters as an issue is a sign they simply don't take him seriously.

Racist much? Well, it leads directly into the now-sacrosanct Civil Rights Act of 1964:-

The good news is that Paul says he won't take any steps to undo it. But he is adamantly opposed to it, and says he wouldn't have voted for it. Sure, holding that same position didn't stop his son Rand from winning a US Senate seat in Kentucky in 2012, but it certainly didn't help him.

It's mete to know that Paul's undying objection to what the Civil Rights Act entails is its infringement of "property rights", which - as I've pointed out before, "property rights" was big in the South sometime before 1861. It became big again during Jim Crow, because it was used to defend a businessman's or an entity's right to serve or administer to one certain type of people and exclude another. So Ron Paul - and his son Rand, who is hated by the very same tranche of people who are devoted to kindly old Uncle Ron - are ok with this. Presumably all those disaffected Lefties and pony-wanting youngsters would be ok with that as well?

Here are a few other things which have been highlighted by MoJo:-

Eviscerate Entitlements: Believes that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are unconstitutional, and has compared the failure of federal courts to strike them down to the courts' failure to abolish slavery in the 19th century.

Got that? It's not President Obama who wants to eliminate and end entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, as Adam Green would have you believe. It's Ron Paul - even though his son, Rand, as an opthamologist, accepted Medicare and Medicaid patients and took payment from these schemes for these patients. Both Pauls voted against Paul Ryan's budget because they thought it didn't go far enough in curtailing and cutting entitlements.

Values: Paul, who by his own count delivered over 4,000 babies as a doctor, is adamantly pro-life. Like many abortion opponents, he can even trace the exact moment of his conversion—as he explained in a recent campaign ad, he found an aborted fetus sticking out of a trash can at his hospital one day: "Who are we to decide that we pick and throw one away and…[we] struggle to save the other ones?" But he's gone on record as saying that, once Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion should be left to the states. He's taken the same stance on gay marriage, stating that he opposes it, but that the federal government shouldn't even be in the business of marriage.

This, essentially, means the end of pro-Choice for a large number of states. In many, it will mean the end of legal contraceptives as well. And the advancement of personhood. Ron Paul voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and he voted against the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act. Leave it to the states, he says. Got that, hipsters? Ron Paul's all for giving you the means to get high legally; he couldn't give a shit about weighing in on a woman's right to choose; and even though he said he'd leave the ultimate choice of how to address this down to the individual states, know ye that he's pro-Life (and virulently so) and anti-same sex marriage.

And he'd let the states decide about reinstating prayer in schools too.

How about this one?-

Let Markets Care for the Disabled: "The ADA should have never been passed," Paul says. The treatment of the handicapped should be determined by the free market.

Say what? Rand Paul addressed this in that infamous interview with Rachel Maddow, asserting that private industry should not be compelled by government regulation to provide special services for disabled employees. His silly suggestion was that disabled employees should be given ground floor offices.

I would also say that anytime you involve the free market in what is, arguably, an unrequired act of charity, you pretty much get jack shit. Ron Paul's advice to the disabled? Hard cheese; you're fucked.

Here's another little titbit about Ron Paul. We all know how he's opposed to FEMA, how he railed in the interview with Chris Matthews cited above about people who live in areas at high risk of a natural disaster ought to have extra private insurance and not grovel to the government to help them out in the event of a disaster, but, obviously Paul exempts the citizens of his Galveston constituency from that:-

On a gritty street in Galveston, Texas, a few blocks from the Gulf of Mexico, stands a prime example of the largesse of Republican Rep. Ron Paul. Workers here are putting the finishing touches on a new home, one of about 180 that will be built, at taxpayer's expense, for residents who lost their abodes to Hurricane Ike back in 2008.

The money for this project came from a federal Community Development Block Grant that the libertarian-leaning congressman helped direct to Galveston, the seat of Galveston County, and the most populous part of Paul's district. "Federal dollars are key," city spokeswoman Alicia Cahill tells me as a trailer arrives with boxes of new appliances. "Not only to help rebuild these homes, but also for so many infrastructure projects."

As a libertarian, Paul says he opposes federal disaster relief, but one of Paul's staffers told me that his office has shepherded hundreds of FEMA claims, ensured the reconstruction of the county's seawall, and won federal funding for an extensive beach nourishment project. Indeed, between 1999 and 2009 (the most recent year available), federal spending in Galveston County quadrupled to more than $4 billion. In 2009, the county received $14,707 per resident, topping average per capita federal spending in 46 of the 50 states. Paul earmarked some $60 million for projects in and around the city that year.

These local projects illustrate a central irony of Ron Paul's career: Even as the 12-term congressman has become the Cassandra of governmental overreach, he has enabled a deepening dependence on the federal government at home.

So the man who continuously fights against frivolous and needless government spending (his views, not mine) is a real Porkmeister.

Finally, there's this:-

Wants to end birthright citizenship. Believes that emergency rooms should have the right to turn away illegal immigrants.

So Ron Paul, like Rep Louis Gomer Pyle Gomert, has an "anchor baby" fetish as well. He's particular about exactly who is entitled to claim birthright citizenship; and whilst he'd have no qualms about turning seriously ill illegal immigrants away from medical care, he's not to fussed about his own citizens, especially those of the uninsured variety. They'd have to depend on the kindness of neighbouts, churches and vaguely nebulous charitable organisations.

Those are Ron Paul's issues and ideals, folks. You can't vote for a man who'll let you get high but deny you the right to choose when to have a child. You can't vote for a man who wants to end the Fed, but who doesn't flinch in channelling thousands of tax-payers dollars into his own constituency. You can't vote for a man who says he'll end the so-called American Empire only to deploy the troops to the Mexican border to "engage" with illegal immigrants.

You take the racist comments and history, the curmudgeonly mysogyny and his constant wish to turn the country into a real monochromed version of Pleasantville, and you fucking think about what you're turning away from if you seriously think you'd prefer this man at the helm rather than the brilliant pragmatic who's guiding our country now.

Think about it. And think about this: you pick and eat too many cherries, and you get overrun by the runs.


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