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Kindly Old Ron Paul

[ 293 ] January 27, 2012 |

Of course he was fully aware of and approved of the content of his racist newsletters:

But people close to Paul’s operations said he was deeply involved in the company that produced the newsletters, Ron Paul & Associates, and closely monitored its operations, signing off on articles and speaking to staff members virtually every day.

“It was his newsletter, and it was under his name, so he always got to see the final product. . . . He would proof it,’’ said Renae Hathway, a former secretary in Paul’s company and a supporter of the Texas congressman.

But, in fairness, surely we need the essential civil liberties voice of someone who believes that the Bill of Rights shouldn’t constrain state governments.

As a coda, I also recommend this segment of Pollitt’s debate with Greenwald.  It’s true in some sense that Obama vs. Paul would be a “lesser of two evils” contest. But this is a trivial truth indeed — every national election in American history has been a “lesser of two evils” contest.   LBJ escalated a particularly disastrous war and lied repeatedly about it, FDR sent people to concentration camps based on their race and signed off on extremely stingy social welfare legislation that systematically discriminated against African-Americans, Lincoln was a white supremacist who didn’t believe the federal government had the authority to interfere with slavery in the states, etc. etc.   Obama over Paul is at least as easy as LBJ over Goldwater or FDR over Landon, and to think that progressives could be genuinely conflicted over whether to prefer a moderate Democratic president to a guy who wants to restore the Articles of Confederation is absurd.

Comments (293)

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  1. david mizner says:

    I was wrong about Ron Paul. I thought some on the left would be able to use his candidacy to generate discussion about the National Security State and all its killing and oppressing, but the will not to speak about these things is too strong, and Ron Paul is too toxic (and deservedly so) and too easy a device for changing the subject onto Glenn Greenwald and the other people who’re trying to generate discussion about this stuff. Freddie de Boer has it right.

    When confronting establishment progressives with the reality of our conduct and how much it has cost some of the poorest and most defenseless people on earth, the conversation never stays about our victims; it inevitably changes to those attempting to talk about them, a knee-jerk defense that progressives have made an art form. That’s why Ron Paul is so perfect, for establishment liberals. He is an open invitation to change the subject. The United States keeps killing innocent people, keeps propping up horrific regimes, keeps violating international law, keeps trampling on the lives of those who lack the power to defend themselves– but Ron Paul is a racist, and believes in the gold standard, and opposes abortion, and in general supports some of the most odious domestic policies imaginable. What I insist, and what people like Glenn Greenwald keep insisting, is that Ron Paul’s endless failings shouldn’t and can’t exist as an excuse to look away from the dead bodies that we keep on piling up. What I have wanted is to grab a hold of mainstream progressivism and force it to look the dead in the face. But the effort to avoid exactly that is mighty, and what we have on our hands is an epidemic of not seeing.

    http://lhote.blogspot.com/2012/01/its-not-about-ron-paul-its-about-you.html

    • J.W. Hamner says:

      Why on earth would anyone think talking about a guy who “is a racist, and believes in the gold standard, and opposes abortion, and in general supports some of the most odious domestic policies imaginable” would advance a conversation in any way?

      There is just no logic to that position and it really comes of as a post hoc correction for people stupid enough to put Paul out there as some sort of valid alternative to Obama.

      • david mizner says:

        Under the naive belief that establishment progressives cared more about the brown bodies piling up than the need to run interference for the Democratic establishment.

        In fact, though, the effort has not been all for naught. To cite one very small sign of light, the Paul candidacy has sparked much more discussion that usual at Daily Kos about the horror and racism of some of American “defense” policies.

        • StevenAttewell says:

          Did you even read his comment? Why pick a vehicle whose very identity undermines both your argument and your intended audience’s responsiveness?

          My guess? Because you didn’t care about persuading anyone, and preferred to imagine your moral superiority to all those awful racist establishment progressives.

          That’s amazing strategy.

          • firefall says:

            its not about strategy, its about purity

          • My guess? Because you didn’t care about persuading anyone, and preferred to imagine your moral superiority to all those awful racist establishment progressives.

            Let’s go back to the original Greenwald piece about Paul. That wasn’t about the “brown people” david pretends to care so much about. It was about nothing more than accusing people who don’t share exactly his positions of moral impurity and hypocrisy. The only thing that the mention of Ron Paul brought to that column was the ability to hurl the “hypocrisy” charge, the “hold a mirror up to,” the “partisan hack” charge.

            For mizner to come here and pretend that it’s anyone except himself and those like him who want to change the subject from policy and its consequences to the personalities of other liberals is a pretty impressive piece of projection.

            • If there’s on trait that seems universal to wingnuts of all stripes, it’s the ability to project their own neurosis onto their imagined opponents.

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              And I’m still puzzled by what this “mirror” was supposed to be. I already understood that I am well to the left of mainstream Democrats on civil liberties and foreign policy issues. What Ron Paul was supposed to be adding to the discussion was never clear.

              • And I’m still puzzled by what this “mirror” was supposed to be.

                He’s someone who holds left-wing positions on (some tiny segment of) civil liberties and foreign policy issues, who is the subject of denunciation by liberals (because of his racism and other reactionary political stances).

                The same Greenwald and mizner are running is to pretend that liberals are denouncing him because of “mirrors” and Obama’s policies, as opposed to the actual reasons they denounce him.

                Liberals don’t denounce other liberals and leftists who hold left-wing civil liberties and foreign policy positions with any particular vehemence, so Greenwald had to go slumming with Ron Paul.

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  In fairness, I can’t remember a liberal ever saying anything critical about Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney. If only they held up a mirror!

              • david mizner says:

                The “mirror” was supposed to shine a light on the glaring conservatism and militarism of the Democratic Party on foreign policy. Believe it or not, Scott, it actually had nothing to do with you.

                In fact, you have it largely backward.

                On some foreign policy issues — the war in Afghanistan, to cite one example — you’re not well to the left of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is well to the right of Americans as a whole.

                • The “mirror” was supposed to…

                  No, it wasn’t. Go back and read the Greenwald piece.

                  The mirror was supposed to assert that non-Glenn Greenwald people were hypocritical partisan hacks. He said so himself.

                  The mirror wasn’t supposed to reveal policy and its consequences, but the alleged moral and intellectual failings of non-Glenn Greenwald people.

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  Well, I happen to have GG right here, and:

                  Ron Paul’s candidacy is a mirror held up in front of the face of America’s Democratic Party and its progressive wing, and the image that is reflected is an ugly one; more to the point, it’s one they do not want to see because it so violently conflicts with their desired self-perception.

                  So, he’s talking here about the “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party. (I’m not sure why you think I’m not part of this — am I not a Democratic supporter? Am I not a progressive?) Anyway, whether it’s about me or not, 1)progressives understand perfectly well that mainstream Democratic positions on civil liberties are to their right, and 2)they don’t criticize Ron Paul because he “conflicts with their desired self-perception” but because he’s a neoconfederate crank.

                • IM says:

                  The Democratic Party is well to the right of Americans as a whole.

                  If only.

                • david mizner says:

                  ? So now you have actually a problem with GG challenging progressives to be more aggressive — hell, a little aggressive — in speaking out against waronterra abuses, the kind that used to generate much furor in these parts from 2000-2008?

                  I’m starting to sense that this was GG’s real sin, blasting progressives.

                • The great irony here is that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has been kicking the shit out of Obama for almost three years now over his foreign policy and civil liberties record. I know, because they’ve been kicking the shit out of me, too!

                  Greenwald is in love with the image of Democrats as having changed their positions on issues once Obama came to office, but in order to do this, he has to pretend that, say, Dr. Dick and I used to hold Dr. Dick’s positions, and now we hold mine.

                  No, Dr. Dick has held Dr. Dick’s positions for the past ten years, and I’ve held mine. George Bush implemented a lot of policies that we both disagreed with, but now, Obama has moved things far enough to the left that I find his efforts admirable, but not far enough that Dr. Dick does.

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  So now you have actually a problem with GG challenging progressives to be more aggressive — hell, a little aggressive — in speaking out against waronterra abuses, the kind that used to generate much furor in these parts from 2000-2008?

                  It’s like I’ve entered the land of non-sequitur.

                • I’m starting to sense that this was GG’s real sin, blasting progressives.

                  Well, now we’ve at least gotten you to admit what you were denying – that the purpose of bringing up Ron Paul was to “blast progressives,” as opposed to further a conversation about policy.

                  Progress!

                • david mizner says:

                  I don’t understand, Scott. Do you believe progressives have been sufficiently aggressive and persistent in speaking out against War on Terra abuses or not?

                  From where I sit, the only kind of serious opposition to emerge was over the NDAA, and that was largely because of the detain-Americans provision raised to ire of people on the right, including he who shall not be named.

              • gerry says:

                Ron Paul was saying it to a national audience. You generally are preaching to the choir. It’s not about persons…it’s about getting the ideas out there.

        • Craigo says:

          Why am I not surprised that the navel-gazers there need to get burned before they realize the stove is on? That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of the kewl kids for Ron Paul movementl; in fact, it demonstrates how truly fatuous these people are. If they cared so much about the effects of American security policy, they wouldn’t need a racist goldbug to get them talking.

        • J.W. Hamner says:

          Under the naive belief that establishment progressives cared more about the brown bodies piling up than the need to run interference for the Democratic establishment.

          I don’t know what your position on Obama is, but surely you realize there are many progressives of the Greenwald-ilk who reject in toto solely on the basis of his position on civil liberties. So it seems to severely lack introspection to believe putting forth an alternative so mind blowingly unacceptable to liberals on a vast number of issues would somehow draw attention to the “brown bodies” piling up.

          How can Greenwald, de Boer, et al criticize people for a practice they themselves wantonly engage in? Throwing the baby out with the bath water is what that crowd’s entire raison d’etre. Maybe now some sympathy when an Obot says “But what about…”?

          Let’s just say I’m not betting on it.

        • commie atheist says:

          Under the naive belief that establishment progressives cared more about the brown bodies piling up than the need to run interference for the Democratic establishment.

          Right. So, no comment on the “lesser of two evils” defense, which is actually the point of this post?

          • david mizner says:

            You want me to comment on a straw man?
            I don’t know of a single progressive, prominent or otherwise, who is supporting Ron Paul. Do you?

            • Anonymous says:

              I’ll be supporting Jill Stein and I suppose there is answer for that here too.

            • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

              Paul-supporting progressives are like PUMAs in 2012: they’re apparently so fascinating to discuss that it doesn’t matter whether or not they actually exist.

            • commie atheist says:

              You’re obviously not supporting Obama. I take it you plan on not voting, or voting third party. So, if that’s the case, you’re ignoring the “lesser of two evils” argument and will, through your action or inaction, help a Republican (probably not Ron Paul) become President.

              • Anonymous says:

                Or, you could say through Obama’s action or inaction, he helped to elect a Republican president.

                • Actually, Obama blowing off the foreign policy that Glenn Greenwald and david mizner claim to support is a necessary condition for keeping a Republican from winning the election. If he had actually attempted to implement a foreign policy based on their shallow, childish, let’s-have-a-moment-of-silence-for-the-war-crime-of-shooting-bin-Laden-and-Awlaki foreign policy, he would have guaranteed not just one Republican election victory, but a realignment that would made them the majority party for years.

                  So, no.

                • david mizner says:

                  Damn long-haired peaceniks! Fucking Fucking Jane Fucking Fonda, urrr…

                • Oh, look, pity-party yammmering.

                  When you find yourself in a bad spot, shriek like you’ve been disemboweled, bring up Jane Fonda and rip your shirt.

                • I’m not sure what you find particularly wrong about that. Hell, I’m personally willing to go so far as to say that the war in Afghanistan was an objective mistake and a wasted cost, but I’m clearly the minority in the country and don’t have any particular problem recognizing that 95%+ of the country wouldn’t agree with me.

                • For real, Brien.

                  When did it become passe for left-wingers to conceive of themselves as a vanguard? When did they start insisting that, no, they really do represent mainstream public opinion?

        • So your worry about the “brown bodies…” leads you to want us to seriously consider supporting a guy who would gladly see the Civil Rights Act repealed and doesn’t think the federal government has any authority at all to restrain the ability of state governments to institutionalize racism and all forms of civil rights abuses?

          Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

          • Ah fuck it, why be so indirect?

            I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all that every “progressive” who wants us to take Ron Paul seriously is white, male, college educated, and reasonably well off. Oh, and totally convinced that they’re the base of the party that represents the non-white, women’s interests, and the poor.

            • Erik Loomis says:

              This seems pretty close to true.

              • Anonymous says:

                Just stop. Stop. Does anyone realize how ridiculous this argument comes from, um.. a bunch of white guys?

                • Being white does not prevent you from being sensitive to the interests of the non-white. I’d imagine this is what makes us liberals in the first place (in the general sense). That you think it would is telling.

              • david mizner says:

                Yeah, just like it’s “pretty close to true” that Greenwald has endorsed Paul.” . In fact, the only genuine lefty sort of Paul supporter I know of is Muslim. We work together blog-wise issues related to the Middle East. There’s a not-tiny Muslims for Ron Paul page.

                http://www.facebook.com/pages/Muslims-for-Ron-Paul-2012/220581561289003

                • david mizner says:

                  Here’s a pretty good piece.

                  http://translationexercises.wordpress.com/tag/brown-women/

                  But HERE FOLKS! I am a brown woman (in case my bio didn’t clue you into that), and I am downright livid at policies passed during the Obama administration (which a number of folks will attest that I anticipated before the 2008 election), which are even worse than expected. I am as livid with progressives who affect a casual? studied? indifference to the Administration’s repeated support for warrantless wiretapping (remember Obama’s vote during the 2008 election season when he took a break in campaigning to return to Washington to vote for the renewal of FISA; for his support of the Justice Department’s withholding of evidence (and even habeas corpus) from detainees on grounds of national security; his commitment to indefinite detention (NDAA was not the first time it’s arisen. We saw his support in the gesture to move Gitmo detainees to a federal prison in Illinois—with only a casual suggestion that they might receive civilian trials—only to watch it die quickly under even modest resistance. Guantanamo is still open with detainees languishing); the expansion of troops into Afghanistan in the first part of his term; the unceasing drone attacks in Pakistan, etc.

                  Does that mean that I am a fan of Ron Paul? No. Do I admire the fact that he’s articulating an anti-war platform? Yes, but very cautiously and very sadly, given his other questionable positions. As Corey Robin points out, folks who are anti-war have only Paul to look to. And in part, we have only Paul to look to, because of “white leftish women” like Katha Pollitt, who says,
                  “I, too, would love to see the end of the “war on drugs” and our other wars. I, too, am shocked by the curtailment of civil liberties in pursuit of the “war on terror,” most recently the provision in the NDAA permitting the indefinite detention, without charge, of US citizens suspected of involvement in terrorism. But these are a handful of cherries on a blighted tree.”

                  Really? Half a million Iraqi civilians dead? Dozens of Pakistani children dead because of drones (or more. We are not allowed to know)? The reproductive systems of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi women decimated by decades of US-led chemical warfare ? The curtailment of civil liberties of legal residents (and not merely citizens) in the US? The indefinite detention of tens of thousands of migrants, documented or otherwise? Those migrants include Latinos, South Asians, Arabs, Middle Easterners, Muslims from other parts of the world–detained not just for migrating without papers, but for merely being suspected of terrorism and held without charges, without lawyers, without family knowing, without judicial review–without a way out. These are what an anti-war position would resist. Seriously? Pollitt believes these are cherries on a blighted tree?

                • Well congratufuckinglations I guess. In a nation of 300+ million people, by the end of the day you’ll have found 90% of the non-white Ron Paul supporters on the internet.

                  Next you’ll tell me that there are actually some black people who are registered Republicans.

                • david mizner says:

                  Brien, you still haven’t come up with a single white liberal supporter of Ron Paul. But if I keep asking this question, I figure you can at least make one up.

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  You’re right — GG did not endorse Paul. He’s just egregiously soft-pedaled the radicalism of Paul’s positions and argued that progressives could reasonably prefer either Paul or Obama. Surprisingly, his whitewashing of Paul by omission and tendentious comparisons did not generate further discussions about civil liberties.

                • Also, from that author’s bio:

                  “I’m a philosopher and political theorist/analyst who teaches at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, US. ”

                  So female and non-white, but still college educated and reasonably well off. So even with your best attempt, I’m still batting .500.

                • “Brien, you still haven’t come up with a single white liberal supporter of Ron Paul.”

                  Well I guess I’d say Glenn Greenwald, but I don’t think it’s fair to call him a liberal. Matt Stoller would qualify, I suppose. Or, well, you, assuming that you’re white.

                • david mizner says:

                  Do I have to define “supporter” for you?

                  Still waiting for you to name one — one! — while liberal who support Ron Paul for president.

                  The “horror” that’s launched a thousand blog post here is Greenwald’s “implying” that Obama might be as bad as Paul. Obviously that is Major Problem, one that equals if not surpasses the American imperial presence in the world.

                • fasteddie9318 says:

                  How dare you! Stoller and Mizner don’t “support” Ron Paul! They just spend a lot of time talking about how awesome he is! But really they hate his guts!

                • “Do I have to define “supporter” for you? ”

                  You can protest until this thread is 1,000 posts deep if you like, but I still won’t take that nonsense any more seriously.

                • Scott writes: “He’s just egregiously soft-pedaled the radicalism of Paul’s positions.”

                  And he did so in a column about how Obama supporters are his moral inferiors for, allegedly, soft-pedaling Obama’s positions.

                  Oh, and he accused them of being hypocrites.

                • How dare you! Stoller and Mizner don’t “support” Ron Paul! They just spend a lot of time talking about how awesome he is!

                  And writing columns about the moral depravity of liberals who denounce him.

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              It’s worth noting that is true of nominally lefty third parties in general; you’d have better luck finding an African-American woman at a Rush concert than voting for Nader. Heightening the contradictions, for some reason, is much less appealing to the people upon whom the contradictions will be most heightened.

              • Anonymous says:

                These bloggers support the Greens

                And what is it with white males making such blanket statements?

              • Mostly off topic, but along the same lines, we’re talking about the same people who think the expansion of Medicaid in the ACA was equivalent to nothing. In the sum total, things worth keeping in mind when “the base” gets angry that they aren’t being listened to.

                • StevenAttewell says:

                  Gah! Exactly that thing happens all the time.

                  The right to public health insurance for all within 125% of poverty was established in the ACA, but it’s like it happened in an alternate universe!

                • R Johnston says:

                  It is neither surprising nor inappropriate that flashing red lights screaming inadequacy and lack of care draw attention away from other aspects of the ACA that represent uncontested good policy.

                  Doing good in one aspect of legislation doesn’t excuse a complete failure to give a fuck in other aspects of the same legislation, nor does it excuse lying about what the legislation accomplishes. The ACA, whatever its merits, is a piss poor and grossly inadequate way of achieving universal health care coverage and reigning in health care costs. If it were portrayed by its advocates as an expansion of Medicaid and as an expansion of regulation over existing health insurance policies it wouldn’t be attacked from the left nearly as much as it is.

                  The ACA is simply not what its advocates claim it to be. Contortionist spin about what the ACA accomplishes inhibits any possible efforts at accomplishing the goals of quality universal coverage and cost containment.

                • Massachusetts leads the nation in the % of its residents with health care coverage. We’re up to 98%. Among children, the figure is over 99%.

                  Would you care to guess why?

                • “It is neither surprising nor inappropriate that flashing red lights screaming inadequacy and lack of care draw attention away from other aspects of the ACA that represent uncontested good policy.”

                  No, but I’m referring to people who were willing to accept a partial expansion of Medicare as a public option compromise but think Medicaid expansion somehow doesn’t count (I literally had one person explicitly say that Medicaid expansion didn’t count for anything when they were ranting about Lieberman killing the Medicare option).

                  Gee, I wonder what the difference could be?

              • mark f says:

                I imagine a Rush concert to be a rightwing version of Lester Bangs’s description of a Barry White show. The audience and support cast would have to be reversed, with the center of attention doing the least amount of performing possible while being hyped on stage by scantily clad gun-toting women and cheered with fawning passion by conservatively dressed men.

                Wait, you didn’t mean Limbaugh?

              • david mizner says:

                Yup, Scott, cause not-white just means black. Typical.

              • Anonymous says:

                Do you understand just how offensive you sound speaking for an entire race and gencer that is not your own?
                Do you get it?

              • david mizner says:

                Well, Jackson, Cornel West has also praised Paul but he’s also college educated (he might even have a genius IQ) so I guess he doesn’t count either.

          • david mizner says:

            No, No, No, a million times no. I’m a writer. I actually get paid to write. Yet I seem unable to be able to convey my position. Well, here goes again. I’m not supporting Ron Paul, would never support Ron Paul, and have urged the two genuinely (if nameless) Paul-curious progressives I’ve run across not to support him. As Chomsky says, his policies would lead to corporate tyranny.

            But that doesn’t stop me from agreeing with certain of his positions, even if his positions rest on a flawed philosophical platform, as Ta-Nehisi Coats does here in praising Paul’s stance on Iran.

            http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/01/the-radical-imagination/250915/

            One of the depressing things about politics is not simply that elected politicians exist “in the world of the possible” but that those who are about the business of expanding that world are generally denigrated. I wrote about this for the Times, last summer, so I don’t want to repeat the argument. Suffice to say that I don’t think we’ve yet come to terms with the fact that the Iraq War proceeded with the endorsement of “serious people,” while those who dissented were consigned to quackery.

            I have had exactly the same thought Paul offers above–about all nations pursuing nuclear arms. If I were them, wouldn’t I want the bomb? By what philosophy would I conclude that allegedly hyper-moral America and its friends should have a monopoly on the uses of nuclear power?

            But that sort of thinking is not only outside of mainstream political discourse, it’s actually intellectually denigrated. The sense is that our morality should be defined by what seems achievable.

            I strongly suspect that his willingness to ask questions which have been deemed quackery, seemingly because they are “impolite,” fuels a lot of the excitement you see among some progressives (and even Andrew.) The problem arises when there’s actual quackery thrown into the mix. But that’s nothing new for the GOP.

            Now is that so complicated? Coates has been out front in denouncing Paul, calling him out for his racist newsletters, yet still can praise him. As thinking people, we can agree with that, disagree with that.

            Why do some many otherwise intelligent people have trouble getting their heads about this?

            • Well, my answer would be pretty simple in noting that both Paul and Coates are going only halfway in their realism. Yes, it’s true that a nation like Iran would rationally want to pursue nuclear weapons. However, the implication that that means the rest of the world shouldn’t do anything to prevent that from happening is clearly false for a number of reasons and from a number of different ideological perspectives.

            • Murc says:

              Why do some many otherwise intelligent people have trouble getting their heads about this?

              Because you, and others, do not stop with “I hate Ron Paul but agree with some of his positions.” You write long posts about how superior those positions are to those held by others and repeatedly compare Paul favorably to those people, and you know what that is? That’s implied approval. That’s like when the right-wing says things “well, I hate Pinochet, who was a cruel tyrant, but” and then dumps thousands of glowing words about how his economic policies saved Chile.

              Ron Paul is so odious that invoking agreement with him on any issue, regardless of the merit of the issue itself, actually REDUCES the credibility of both yourself and the issue at hand.

              • “Because you, and others, do not stop with “I hate Ron Paul but agree with some of his positions.” You write long posts about how superior those positions are to those held by others and repeatedly compare Paul favorably to those people, and you know what that is? That’s implied approval.”

                Fuck that, it’s just flat out approval. The requisite “I don’t support him” changes nothing, anymore than saying “I don’t support the Klan” before launching into a 15 minute speech about how beneficial the Klan was to the South would lead one to believe you actually thought the Klan was bad.

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                Except, of course, nobody has criticized TNC or Corey Robin, because when they praise individual positions of Paul’s or argue that the few good positions he advocates should have more spokespeople, they don’t lie-by-omission about Paul and they don’t make tendentious comparisons of him to Obama.

    • Bart says:

      “Freddie de Boer has it right.”

      I agree.

    • Craigo says:

      That’s classic. Yes, Ron Paul is a callous, bigoted, conspiracist theocrat who would destroy American society in pursuit of his deranged Randian utopia, but what’s really terrible is that “establishment liberals” point that out.

      • david mizner says:

        He’s running fourth nationally, no prominent progressive has denied he holds odious positions, and no prominent progressive has endorsed him (although Bell-Curve champion and absolutely not-racist Obama-champion Andrew Sullivan endorsed in the GOP primary, calling him a man of character who’s right about entitlement spending.)

        Some of the left have cited certain of his stances in hopes of formulating a critique of certain odious, racist bipartisan policies. They’ve failed, through not fault of their own.

        • StevenAttewell says:

          Yes through fault of their own. They chose an awful example to cite from when they had better examples to hand.

        • Njorl says:

          Why would you want to weaken the case against racist foreign policies by associating opposition to them with Ron Paul?

          Some of the left have cited certain of his stances in hopes of formulating a critique of certain odious, racist bipartisan policies. They’ve failed, through not fault of their own.

          No, they failed through extreme fault of their own. Placing your own moral superiority above the point you are allegely trying to make is a fault.

        • Some of the left have cited certain of his stances in hopes of formulating a critique of certain odious, racist bipartisan policies.

          False. Nobody on the left cited his stances in hopes of formulating a critique of policies. Citing Ron Paul does absolutely nothing to formulate a critique of policies.

          The people on the left who cited Ron Paul did so in the hopes of using the criticism of this reactionary, racist kook by liberals as evidence of those liberals’ moral depravity and hypocrisy, and to make themselves feel morally superior.

          The answer to the question “Why do liberals criticize Ron Paul?” with anything other than “Because he’s a racist reactionary” is a dishonest exercise in self-aggrandizement that has absolutely nothing to do with formulating a policy critique.

        • Bijan Parsia says:

          Some of the left have cited certain of his stances in hopes of formulating a critique of certain odious, racist bipartisan policies. They’ve failed, through not fault of their own.

          Wow, this calls into question your getting paid to write! Or to analyze.

          Who on the left has cited Paulian stances in hope of formulating a critique (rather than raising awareness of a critique) of those policies? The critique has been well formulated for decades and, really, isn’t that hard to formulate.

          And Paul on Iran? He’s not so good nor particularly radical. He agrees that Iran having a nuke is a problem that should be vigorously addressed (cf Farley’s post for an example of a I’m-sad-that-it’s-radical position). Just like everyone else. Unlikely the other Republican’s, he hasn’t been yodelling for Iranian blood, but neither has Obama.

          The anti-nuclear Iran policy has tremendous momentum. Obama actually has been pretty good, at least some of the time, as someone within that consensus. (Frankly, I found his noruz message moving (obviously, that wouldn’t excuse evil). He did pretty well wrt the Green movement. I think he’s open to ways out of military action.)

          (This is putting aside the “fault of their own”. Even if it’s just the “getting the idea out there” version. If it’s the formulation version, then those people just suck.)

    • StevenAttewell says:

      Bullshit. If you really cared about actually challenging progressives on this issue, you would have backed an actual anti-war progressive from a left-wing third party.

      Instead, you decided to back Ron Paul – because he was the flavor of the month, and because upper middle class white dudes who should know better and college students who don’t are a good recruitment base.

      • david mizner says:

        I’m not backing Ron Paul, but thanks for making my point for me.

        • StevenAttewell says:

          Fine. You didn’t explicitly back him. So why use him as an example instead of say, the greens or peace and freedom. Or any of the socialist parties?

          • david mizner says:

            Because I can do more things that at one time. I — and prominent lefties as well — are always trying to use the anti-imperial views of actual lefties to mobilize opposition to some of these policies and we have about as much luck as we’ve had with Paul. It’s pretty funny actually, over at Daily Kos, some of the very same people who’ve put a lot of energy into blasting the likes of Noam Chomsky and Denis Kuncich have chided me for not citing them rather than Paul. One person even recommend Code Pink. Yes, cause establishment Dems just love them!

            Anyway, Greenwald makes the case, persuasively I think, that the presidential race is dominating political discourse for many months, so that it makes sense to advocate withing that framework. There’s no antiwar, anti-imperial, pro-civil liberties candidate on the left, and therein lies part of the problem.

            • StevenAttewell says:

              Love them, no. But respect them more than Ron Paul, yes.

              Which is why I don’t buy your “walk and chew bubble gum” defense. Because there clearly are anti-war candidates on the left, and you didn’t pick them…because of expediency.

              Wonderful work you’re doing for the cause.

        • rea says:

          If you are not backing Ron Paul then why all the blog comments from you in his support? Really, you insult our intelligence.

          • david mizner says:

            “If you are not backing Ron Paul then why all the blog comments from you in his support?”

            You’re the 4th person in this thread to reinforce my point while imagining that you’re refuting it. So, thanks.

      • If you really cared about actually challenging progressives on this issue, you would have backed an actual anti-war progressive from a left-wing third party.

        But, of course, liberals who disagree with Glenn Greenwald and david mizner don’t vehemently denounce actual anti-war progressives from left-wing third parties. We respectfully disagree with them.

        mizner’s little Superior Dance requires a figure that liberals vehemently denounce, so that he pretend we’re vehemently denouncing him because of his anti-imperialism, civil liberties (narrowly defined), and “mirrors.”

        • R Johnston says:

          This is spot on, as is most of what you’ve had to say in this thread.

          Ron Paul is invoked by people ostensibly of the left precisely because he’s a racist and thoroughly crazy little fuck whose invocation will derail whatever discussion is ongoing. When Greenwald and mizner invoke Paul they are showing their true selves as advocates for aggressive war. They have no desire to persuade, only a desire to see themselves as better than people on the left.

    • fasteddie9318 says:

      At the risk of beating a dead horse, since you haven’t been able to answer this question any other time it’s been asked, why can’t “some on the left” generate discussion on these issues without relying on a racist, misogynist, isolationist throwback, a literal walking, breathing anachronism who honestly would go back to the Articles of Confederation in a heartbeat (Scott was not being hyperbolic there)? Is it really so difficult to generate discussion on civil liberties and foreign interventionism that we have to co-opt the message of a political Neanderthal whose broader policy outlook is toxic to “most on the left” in order to get it done?

      • david mizner says:

        They can and they do. Next question?

        • david mizner says:

          Besides which, if there’s a Democratic candidate running an ad that targets American exceptionalism and asks Americans to place themselves in the shoes of occupied and tortured Muslims, please let me know.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbL1MdmIjiY

        • fasteddie9318 says:

          Then why are you and Freddie (I consider Greenwald to be too far around the bend at this point) STILL talking about Paul as though his candidacy were some mythical missed opportunity that was frittered away by impure lefties who refuse to focus on The Important Issues and simply deflect attention onto Minor Distractions like the man’s obvious to-the-bone racism and potentially catastrophic policy program? Instead of continuing to “[insist]…that Ron Paul’s endless failings shouldn’t and can’t exist as an excuse to look away from the dead bodies that we keep on piling up,” just stop fucking talking about Ron Paul already! I’m firmly in the camp that opposes the ongoing piling up of those dead bodies, but I’m tired of being told that I’m impure and unworthy because I look at Ron Paul and don’t see that he’s a Holy Warrior for All That Is Right and Good.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      This sub-thread is proving the absolute, 100% correctness of your comment, david.

      Discussing Paul does NOTHING to advance serious criticisms of the Obama administration. Paul is–and should be–too toxic.

      The answer, however, is simply to stop discussing Paul…especially when you’d rather be discussing actual problems confronting our country.

  2. AnnPW says:

    In fairness, don’t we need a voice on civil liberties, period? I’ve always thought that that was Greenwald’s point – not that progressives should be “conflicted” about who to support, but that it’s simply intolerable that the only person even talking about civil liberties at all is…Ron effing Paul, who is an odious person.

    • cer says:

      This assumes Paul is a voice for civil liberties in the first place. This presumes that there is no connection between his state’s rights advocacy, his courting of racists, opposition to reproductive rights, and his other positions. Underneath all of these is a position that is deeply antithetical to many basic human rights.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        Right. Ron Paul isn’t a “pro-civil liberties” candidate either.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

        No it doesn’t assume that Ron Paul is a voice for civil liberties. AnnPW says:

        1) We need a voice for civil liberties.

        2) Ron Paul is talking about civil liberties.

        These are both obviously true statements.

        I agree that Ron Paul isn’t a voice for civil liberties, because his understanding of “civil liberties” is not remotely progressive.

        But the reason we’re even having this discussion is that no other national political figure is even talking about them.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Well, actually, I was able to talk about civil liberties without Ron Paul (as was GG), and the broader conversations about civil liberties that Paul was allegedly supposed to generating haven’t happened for reasons that should have been blindingly obvious to anyone.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

            Well, you’re not a national political figure Scott (and GG isn’t, either).

            As I say upthread (and have said repeatedly in other threads) Paul’s talking (disingenuously) about civil liberties quite clearly DOESN’T generate meaningful conversations about civil liberties. About that much we entirely agree.

          • david mizner says:

            Because those “broader discussions” never happen.

            Speaking of, there’s nothing stopping you from writing any of the issues supposedly obscured by GG”s praise for Ron Paul. Instead you can’t seem to stop writing about…GG’s praise for Ron Paul.

            • Malaclypse says:

              Yea, Scott never writes about the failures of our judicial system. That’s one of the reasons this blog sucks.

              • david mizner says:

                Well those sorts of civil liberties questions are mostly different. He can write about what he wants. If he wants to write his 20th post about Ron Paul’s odiousness to people who know he’s odious, that’s his business. He doesn’t have to write about imperialism or war or the national security state or Israel, but it’s strange to ignore those things then blame Greenwald’s praising Paul for the lack of discussion about those things.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  He doesn’t have to write about imperialism or war or the national security state or Israel, but it’s strange to ignore those things then blame Greenwald’s praising Paul for the lack of discussion about those things.

                  Do you actually read this blog?

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Nothing on the national security state at all, for example.

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  Well, you can’t expect people to read that, and certainly not the linked articles; they’re too busy in comment threads to Ron Paul and Tebow posts bitching about how this blog never writes about civil liberties.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Let’s face it – things have been all downhill ever since you stopped writing about the twin evils of Mickey Kaus and Jewel.

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              Speaking of, there’s nothing stopping you from writing any of the issues supposedly obscured by GG”s praise for Ron Paul.

              You’re right! Which is why I write far, far more about civil liberties than about Ron Paul. (Although one suspects that you don’t really want more posts about civil liberties — you apparently don’t notice, let alone read them — you want more posts about how Obama sucks.)

              • david mizner says:

                Do you really want me count to see if you’ve written more posts about Ron Paul or civil liberties over the last months?

                Didn’t think so.

                As for this atrociousness:

                Although one suspects that you don’t really want more posts about civil liberties — you apparently don’t notice, let alone read them — you want more posts about how Obama sucks.)

                Does one suspect that, Scott? One suspect that you’re embarrassed by your Paul fixation, and should be.

                • Do you really want me count to see if you’ve written more posts about Ron Paul or civil liberties over the last months?

                  I’m interested in you counting that.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  I agree with Subby. Will you be counting posts, words, or comments? Could you do all three, for the sake of completeness?

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  Do you really want me count to see if you’ve written more posts about Ron Paul or civil liberties over the last months

                  Go right ahead! It would be nice for you to notice the primary focus of my writing here since this blog’s inception for the first time. And make sure you have a methodology that places a lot more weight on the 1,000 word articles you don’t click through to read than on posts than involve a link and three sentences.

              • david mizner says:

                Hilarious, Scott. You don’t want me to just count the number of posts but to count the words. Wonder why.

                If I can attempt to take a step back from this increasingly silly debate, I’m well are of your primary areas of focus, and respect you for it. I recently piggy-backed on your piece on Sotormayor’s dissent to write a post.

                More broadly, your position is pretty much the mirror image of Greenwald’s. You don’t think he’s sufficiently horrified by Paul’s racism, and he doesn’t think (people like) you are sufficiently horrified by drone strikes and the like. This is really an esoteric, nitpickly debate between civil libertarians who agree on a lot. Please help it stop.

                • Scott Lemieux says:

                  Look, use whatever metric you want. You’ll find I write far more about civil liberties than about Ron Paul. This is silly.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  First, mizner you just completely discredited yourself (er…more; I’m still “formulating” an opinion). It’s not hard to count the posts and it’s not hard to provide weighted and unweighted values. Insinuating that the results are so obviously supportive of your line while resisting gathering the easily available evidence is, well, obviously bad.

                  But, I live to serve! And to count things! I’ve played this game before!

                  First, note the simple prima facie check: The tag cloud to the right. Lots of civil liberty oriented terms (but also, e.g., McCain!). No Paul. Clicking on the appropriate tags reveals lots of Scott posts.

                  Hypothesis: Scott posts far more on civil liberties than on Ron Paul.

                  Notes: There’s some coding issues as it’s very possible for a post on Rob Paul to also be about civil liberties and not because “Paul brought it up”. Also, clearly there are exogenous events which bias any recent sample toward Paul, even aside the campaign, e.g., Greenwald bun throwing.

                  However, I think even if we don’t take a random sample or select several random time periods to sample from, that Scott still comes out ahead. If we examine a Paul heavy duration and Scott comes out ahead, that’s at least prima facie strong evidence overall.

                  Study design:

                  Count total number of posts by Scott from Jan 1, 2012 to Jan 28 (today). Code each as about Paul (P), about civil liberties (C), Tebow (T),or neither (N). These are mutual exclusive categories for the purposes of our study.

                  I do my usual thing of biasing tricky coding choices against the hypothesis.

                  I did not weight by word or comment count.

                  Note: A proper database of posts (or more inclusive RSS feeds) would make this far less tedious. I guess I should start archiving the feed….

                  Results (the spreadsheet is available):

                  First, in enacting the protocol, I found the key post by Scott on Paul (that started the current round) occurred (to my surprise) on Dec. 31, so, in order to bias further against the hypothesis, I extended the time window by that day.)

                  Total Posts: 95 (Scott, you post too much (for my coding happiness; for my reading happiness, post more!)

                  N(either) = 56
                  P(aul) = 10
                  C(ivil Libs) = 26
                  T(ebow) = 3

                  So Scott is 2.6 times more likely to write about Civil Liberties than Paul over this period. Considering that several (all?) of the Paul posts are linked (i.e., several are clear follow ups; there were other responses in the blogosphere; thus, not entirely independent), I’d say that this understates things a bit.

                  So, if mizner would like to recover from the extremely amusing hackiness of these past few comments, I’d strongly suggest that he begin by retracting his insinuations.

    • Ed says:

      ……that it’s simply intolerable that the only person even talking about civil liberties at all is…Ron effing Paul, who is an odious person.

      Yes, exactly.

      Maybe now some sympathy when an Obot says “But what about…”?

      No need for sympathy for people who get that emotionally invested in a politician, although I do feel for some of Obama’s more naive followers. Certainly not all Obama followers fit the description but enough of them did and do, enough so the Administration can rely on such people to defend decisions that would have had them screaming bloody murder if a Republican (or indeed any other Democrat) had made them.

    • If your idea of a person who’s “good on civil liberties” is someone who opposes the existence of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, you have one awfully fucked up perspective on civil liberties.

  3. Downpuppy says:

    While Burt Shotton was much like Nixon* as a player, as a manager he had most of his success with the early Jackie Robinson Dodgers.

    *Otis

  4. Lee says:

    Can any politician be completely “good” and effective? Democratic politics requires a lot of compromise and negotiation, especially in Madisonian or Presidential systems. This means that certain actions that aren’t strictly good might be made in order to further any agenda. FDR had to make his social welfare legislation agenda shitty and discrimatory against African-Americans to prevent the Dixiecrats from killing it entirely. If FDR decided to be “good” rather than the “lesser of two evils” than there would be no Social Security. There are things that are completley bad and shouldn’t be dismissed but necessary compromise to further a good shouldn’t make a politician evil. Expecting purity is expecting repeated failure.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      Hmmm…is this a defense of Obama? Or of Paul?

      Interestingly, it really could be spun either way.

      [NB: For the umpteenth time, I'm not remotely Paul curious and would have no trouble whatsoever deciding that Barack Obama is clearly the lesser evil than Ron Paul.]

      • Lee says:

        In my case Obama but it all depends on what you mean by “good”. If you think that Paul’s vision is “good” than it can also be a defense of Paul. Many people seem to define a good politician as one that never compromises from the ideal vision in anyway or engages in any compromised or ethically questionable action. My position is that this isn’t really possible in most democratic political systems, especially the American one which is designed to force compromise. This makes every politician, the “lesser of the two evils” from every point of view.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

          I’m relieved that it was intended as a defense of Obama because Obama is more defensible than Paul. It’s more plausible as a defense of Obama than Paul precisely because Obama has done more good.

          The point I was making was simply that I honestly couldn’t tell which it was intended to be, because the structure of the defense really has been used to defend both.

      • Hmmm…is this a defense of Obama? Or of Paul?

        The one who has actually done something to advance the good.

  5. StevenAttewell says:

    The article actually makes it worse. He’s not even a genuine racist, according to this source. He did it to make a buck, and as part of a general trend of libertarians to recruit racists who share their anti-government agenda.

    A racist at least thinks he’s right; if this article is right, Ron Paul knew he was doing something evil and did it anyway for filthy lucre and foot soldiers for the cause.

    Which absolutely rings true, given the history of supposedly principled libertarians running for office. Goldwater did the same damn thing on a wider scale.

    So tell me again how principled an anti-war advocate this man is.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      I actually think a strategic racist is a little less bad than a dyed-in-the-wool racist, but they’re both plenty odious in my book.

      I also don’t see how Paul’s willingness to adopt certain positions for purely strategic reasons proves that all his positions are truly strategic.

      At any rate, the totally unsurprising fact that Paul, of course, oversaw those newsletters is bad enough.

      • DrDick says:

        I disagree. In my mind, Paul is worse than a died-in-the-wool racist. He is willing to inflict massive misery on millions of people, against whom he has no personal animosity, for personal gain.

      • As to the first paragraph, I think that kind of depends on the circumstances. I can at least hear out the case for, say, George Wallace, who was supposedly trying to do good things with public policy in a time and place where one couldn’t win without being a racist. I’m not inclined to sympathize, but I’ll at least consider the possibility.

        But someone who’s just trying to turn a buck by playing to a racist audience? Nope.

  6. c u n d gulag says:

    Look, I care very, very deeply about civil liberties.

    But when Little Boots & Dastardly Dick threw civil liberties out the window after 9/11 in their desperate power grab after they were made to look like the careless, simpering morons that they were, I think it’s a tad unrealistic to expect a Democratic President, and the first black one at that, to undo all of the damage.

    The Conservatives in this country pray every fucking day for another 9/11.
    On a Democrat’s watch.
    Want to see a “Kristalnacht” for Progressives and Liberals?
    Just wait to see if there’s another massive terrorist attack in this country.
    THAT’S what Obama has to deal with.

    I guarantee you, Conservatives won’t rally ’round the President, like we held our noses and did with W.
    We didn’t think Little Boots and Dastardly Dick were as hell-bent on seizing and holding power, and going to the extremes that they did both here and internationally.
    Of course, they had help – they couldn’t have come close to doing what they did without a cowardly, complicit, and compliant MSM and Congress.
    And I remember being called a treasonous traitor for questioning and protesting what they were doing. And they did the same to any-and-everyone who did so in the MSM and DC. All around the country, as a matter of fact.

    They pray that something horrible happens, so they can blame Obama and the Democrats.

    Hell, they’d happily lynch the Nigra President right now, and he’s closer to Nixon than to FDR, LBJ, or even Teddy Roosevelt.

    His life is in constant danger. Can you imagine what they would be like if he took us back to when we were a saner nation?
    He’s already accused of being a KenyanSocialistCommunistFascistAtheistMuslim-HeathenUsurper.

    I wish he had the courage to return the civil liberties was had, too. I mean, if they think you’re all of that, you may as well be all of that. But, just being who he is is already a near suicide-pact.

    You really can’t blame a guy with a young family if he doesn’t want to, or can’t, be as courageous as MLK.

    People like that, who know that they’re potential martyrs, are rare.

    Obama ain’t one of them. He’s taking a big enough risk already.
    And I’m still shocked, some days, to see no one’s got close enough to take a shot at him yet.

    I don’t think we’ll every have the level of civil liberties that we had before.

    Sure we pine for the days from 1965 – 2001. But, if you think that was some sort of period of purity regarding civil liberties, you’re delusional.
    Because, let’s not kid ourselves either – it wasn’t George W. Bush who exactly started this, either.
    This shit was going on from Day 1.

    And if we ever had any real halcyon days of civil liberties, it was when blacks and women were not considered citizens, or barely so, in the case of the latter.

    If you were male, and white – you were all right.

    That’s Ron Paul’s idea of civil liberties.
    And people like Glenn need to wake-up about that.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      You’re absolutely right about the right’s attitudes and about the fact that the chipping away at civil liberties began long before 9/11 (see, for example, the decades-old trend toward “civil forfeiture” of property in criminal cases).

      Two things that I disagree about:

      1) Your fatalism that this just has to continue.

      2) Your discounting of the political usefulness of (some) romanticized views of the civil libertarian past.

      I totally agree that there are those–e.g. Ron Paul–who really do want to return to a world in which white, straight men have civil liberties and every else…not so much. These views are dangerous and should be called out.

      But myths about the American past have been an important part of organizing progressive opinion in the past. For example, Gunnar Myrdal’s notion of an “American Creed” that might promote racial equality was a critical part of rallying support for the end of Jim Crow.

    • Glenn says:

      To be fair, the criticism of Obama is not merely that he has failed to roll back the national security state, he has embraced it and expanded it. You may disagree with that, but GG and others’ criticism, well-founded in my view, is not merely that he hasn’t done enough to restore civil liberties.

      And there’s always some very good reason to deny civil liberties. There’s always a Goldstein to keep vigil against. I’m sure you genuinely believe what you say and you genuinely believe Obama is threatened, both politically and physically. But your rationalizations are just as much a part of the problem as those who cite Bin Laden, or Al-Awlaki, or Ahmedinejad, or whomever the latest bogeyman is.

      • jeer9 says:

        There is no way to move the Dems left and a vote for Obama endorses his outrageous policies which are of course much less vile than the Republican chucklehead so while I don’t endorse his policies (which I do as I vote for him) I prefer the lesser evil and look forward to a repeat of this argument in 2016 when Cuomo/Durbin (anyone to the left will be considered unelectable) face off against Petraeus/Rubio.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, lesser of two evils is a fantastic long term strategy isn’t it?

          • Lesser of two evils is neither intended to be a long-term strategy, nor inconsistent with the implementation of a parallel long-term strategy.

            Less of two evils is, and has always been, merely tactical, and merely short-term. I don’t think anyone who supports it as a guide to voting in a particular election would disagree with the observation that it is inadequate as a long-term strategy.

            • R Johnston says:

              There is an argument to be made that voting for Obama as the lesser of two evils does enough medium-to-long term damage to override the short term benefits of the vote. That Obama might be acceptable as a caretaker President but is incompetent in times calling for actual leadership, and that his continued Presidency weakens the Democratic party, prevents the deradicalization of the Republican party, and makes the years following his Presidency likely to be worse than they’d be if he lost this year. It’s a speculative argument that’s far from ironclad, but it can be made in good faith.

              People invoking Ron Paul as a peacenik or lover of civil liberties are not making that argument. Rather, they’re lying. They are attempting to suppress meaningful discussion of anti-war and pro-civil-liberties positions.

              • jeer9 says:

                The Paul discussions are emblematic of the Left’s desperation. As long as “progressives” like Lemieux argue that a primary challenge from, say, a Feingold or Udall should be ruled out as destructive rather than the appropriate forum in which to discuss what really constitutes Democratic policy, I don’t see how the ball even begins to roll in the right (er, left) direction. The only other option seems to be a STFU, lesser evil, purity troll rhetoric that literally rubberstamps the status quo while hyperbolizing the most modest of accomplishments (which were the best that could ever have been achieved).

                • Has the ball ever, in this country’s history, rolled in the right direction as a result of a primary challenge to a Democratic president?

                  No.

                  So, when has it?

                • “As long as “progressives” like Lemieux argue that a primary challenge from, say, a Feingold or Udall should be ruled out as destructive…”

                  I think the word you’re looking for here is “irrelevant.” Or perhaps “never going to happen.”

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  Yeah, I think primarying a sitting pres is likely to be counterproductive.

                  During sitting pres elections I’d suggest focusing on the rest of the ticket. Win with a median democrat in a red districts. Get some more state houses and executives. Build up the active bench.

                  The pres is a good prize, but it’s not the only thing. If we’re playing a long game, it’s good to remember that.

                • jeer9 says:

                  That’s what I love about the Dems. Using a primary as the appropriate forum to air one’s griefs about the record of a Dem president is irrelevant or ridiculously unrealistic. While I certainly don’t believe there’s anyone in the back benches capable of defeating Obama, I’m also not terribly worried that he’s going to lose to Mittens or Newtie. So how is one supposed to express one’s disapproval of a Dem president’s performance or take issue with his stance on various issues in a way that gets his attention? The last twenty years pretty clearly show the Dems understand the lesser evil game plan very well and know there is little they could do policy-wise to undermine this strategy as long as the other choice is a crazy Republican. It feels like 1996 all over again, except that the economy isn’t booming, our welfare system isn’t what it should be, and the desire to punish financial malfeasance and military crime no longer exists. Good times. Fortunately, the government is cracking down on whistleblowers.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  jeer9, I’m not sure wtf would satisfy you. Support a primary challenge all you want. Go for it. Be the awesome you want us to be.

                  But I don’t particularly care about airing my problems with Obama per se, I care primarily about getting better outcomes. At this point in history, I think primaries of Democratic presidents running for re-election is not a good use of resources esp. in an unfavorable election season. It’s just dumb for all the reasons articulated.

                  I also articulated a different strategy. Feel free to bash it.

                • That’s what I love about the Dems.

                  That we use actual historical evidence to determine whether a particular strategy works, instead of our feelings?

                • Ah, I see your problem:

                  air one’s griefs

                  Go cry to your mommy to air your griefs.

                • You can always check the “none of the above” box on your primary ballot. Of course, that wouldn’t do it for you, because you aren’t really trying to lodge a protest vote, you’re desperately fantasizing for some candidacy that would actually defeat an incumbent President in a primary, and you’re getting viscerally angry that everyone else won’t join in your delusion.

                  I mean this with no snark whatsoever: go join the Green Party. You obviously don’t fit in with the Democratic Party, and your personality clearly doesn’t lend itself to being in the deep minority of a larger group. So if you want to vote for leftists, go actually vote for leftists and work within a real leftist party. Not that that will make you any happier, because it won’t magically make everyone else agree with you, but it might give you a little bit of catharsis for awhile anyway.

                • jeer9 says:

                  But I don’t particularly care about airing my problems with Obama per se, I care primarily about getting better outcomes.

                  They only listen to votes. They’ve got yours, regardless of what shitty policy decision they make. Then provide me with a solution for the senate filibuster in which the Dems are complicit. Electing median Dems in red districts doesn’t change that, although it apparently makes voters like you feel progress is being made.

                  you’re desperately fantasizing for some candidacy that would actually defeat an incumbent President in a primary, and you’re getting viscerally angry that everyone else won’t join in your delusion.

                  Again, no strategy for moving the Dems left. Primaries are out of the question. Ludicrous comparisons to Ron Paul are in fact ludicrous. Reform from within overlooks the bottleneck at the DSCC. Perhaps a sternly worded letter will do the trick.

                  I vote Green quite often and support Green causes. Thanks for the advice. What I don’t do is vote Republican, even when the choice is between a moderate and a crazy one.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  But I don’t particularly care about airing my problems with Obama per se, I care primarily about getting better outcomes.

                  They only listen to votes. They’ve got yours, regardless of what shitty policy decision they make. Then provide me with a solution for the senate filibuster in which the Dems are complicit. Electing median Dems in red districts doesn’t change that, although it apparently makes voters like you feel progress is being made.

                  I think you overstate matters. My particular vote quite literally doesn’t make a whit of difference, so that’s not a huge vector of action.

                  I never said contesting a primary was never worth doing, just that it doesn’t seem worth doing against a sitting prez. If I had the comparable resources, I would try for a Senate seat or a state house or some other such position. Formal power helps. I would think that median Dems in red districts would help a hell of a lot. A house or senate vote is a big deal and it’s clear that the leadership is willing to provide cover for red state dems (as they should).

                  I like that you can so blithely wave off the effects of a median red state Dem, while positing, well, miracles for primary challenges.

                  And this is why your comments are fairly worthless, alas. You aren’t articulating a strategy for shared ends that we can discuss, you are making strategy agreement the litmus test for shared ends unto being the ends themselves. And thus, you fail.

                • Primaries are out of the question.

                  You just elided “primary challenges against incumbent Presidents” to “primaries.”

                  You should totally vote for leftist candidates in open primaries, at whatever level.

                  You should totally vote for leftist candidates who primary sitting Democrats in Congress who are to the right of their districts.

                  Done well, these things can move both the party and the country to the left.

                • “Primaries are out of the question.”

                  Well, no, primaries against incumbent Presidents in which no viable candidate would actually run are out of the question, for the simple fact that they aren’t feasible in the real world. Primaries in other cases, particularly for open seats are, of course, perfectly viable options to getting more progressive Democrats in positions of influence.

                  But your obsession with the Presidency makes it abundantly clear that this isn’t actually the real goal for you.

                • jeer9 says:

                  Primary challenges to sitting Dem presidents are not miracles but a means to express dissent and an attempt to move the party left. The fact that no one was willing to rise to the occasion, even as Obama’s economic and foreign policy decisions mirror those of a moderate Republican, shows you how broken (rigged) the system is – which is why the unrepresented have taken to occupying public spaces in protest. That you continue to think a red state Dem is a leap forward (without addressing the DSCC filibuster issue nor the DSCC’s support of corporate hacks in the primaries) is why your comments are fairly worthless, alas. And if you think your strategy of reform from within over the past twenty years hasn’t been an enormous FAIL, you’re not paying enough attention to the corporate-driven agenda of the party.

                • Then cast your vote for “none of the above” in the Democratic primary and shut up already, if that’s all you care about.

                  And yes, the fact that no anmbitious professional politician wants to ruin his career over a hopeless race merely to make you feel warm inside is totally proof that everyone is corrupt. Jesus Christ.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  Primary challenges to sitting Dem presidents are not miracles but a means to express dissent and an attempt to move the party left.

                  The first perhaps, but they are not plausibly the latter.

                  The fact that no one was willing to rise to the occasion, even as Obama’s economic and foreign policy decisions mirror those of a moderate Republican, shows you how broken (rigged) the system is – which is why the unrepresented have taken to occupying public spaces in protest.

                  This is confused. We’re supposed to support something that wasn’t going to happen?

                  That you continue to think a red state Dem is a leap forward (without addressing the DSCC filibuster issue nor the DSCC’s support of corporate hacks in the primaries) is why your comments are fairly worthless, alas.

                  Per usual, you elide critical details (primaries in general vs. specific primaries; red state Dem with median dem from red states; and yes, having even conservative Dems shifts actual policy to the left; not a lot, but enough to make some difference).

                  Seriously, since none of us have power or influence it’s not like there’s much at stake, but could you at least make a rudimentary attempt at 1) responding to what is actually written and 2) providing some sort of proper analysis?

                  And if you think your strategy of reform from within over the past twenty years hasn’t been an enormous FAIL, you’re not paying enough attention to the corporate-driven agenda of the party.

                  As opposed to your strategies?

                  Strangely enough, my strategy encompasses e.g., protest. I’m quite happy to have lots and lots of protest. OWS is a good thing, but there’s still the problem of translating it into actual leftward movement. (I had high hopes for Seattle style action, but that really didn’t work out.)

                  Joe and everyone is quite happy to have all sorts of primarying. I think most everyone thinks Lamont was a worthwhile shot, for example.

                  Similarly, I think gay marriage activists did a pretty good job of applying (solicited!!) pressure. Emulating them seems wise.

                  But, I guess there really is no discussion to be had. Pity.

                • jeer9 says:

                  Yes, I think we should both stop banging our heads against the wall. Moving the Dems left is a strategy suffused with confusion and elision of critical details.

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                There is an argument to be made that voting for Obama as the lesser of two evils does enough medium-to-long term damage to override the short term benefits of the vote.

                I mean, I suppose this is literally true. A really, really, really terrible argument, but an argument.

              • thebewilderness says:

                I do not see how anyone could say that with a straight face after experiencing the GW Bush administration with a Republican Congress.

        • Ah yes, the well documented phenomenon by which inflicting enough electoral losses on Democrats results in them running as far to the left as they possibly can. What sort of dunderhead could fail to account for this, what with the hundreds of examples of it all over the country and what not.

          • DrDick says:

            Yeah, I have been waiting for that to happen for 40 years now.

            • Which isn’t to say that I’m not sympathetic to jeer on some level, but the obvious answer to this is that you do what Buckley advised the wingnuts to do: vote for the most conservative (or liberal, in this case) candidate with a chance of winning in the primary.

              But, of course, the real problem here is that Jeer is in the minority of the party in terms of whom he supports, and this creates an obvious cognitive dissonance with his deeply held belief that he and people like him are “the base” of the party. It’s not exactly surprising that such a deep psychological contradiction results in paranoia and anger.

              • jeer9 says:

                Who is the base? Why has OWS arisen? Surely not because their political needs are being met? I’m happy to be lumped in with the angry paranoids. Just remember that when the California Progressive Caucus voted to primary Obama, they had their funding removed. And unless you’ve got a solution for the senate bottleneck created by the filibuster in which the Dems are complicit, the 1%ers find your long-range reform plans highly amusing.

              • DrDick says:

                Which is mostly what I have been doing for the past 40 years.

      • Holden Pattern says:

        It’s interesting that in this model the Goldstein that justifies the continued gutting of civil liberties is actually the Republicans who would be even more vicious in their gutting of civil liberties.

        • Not that there isn’t a morsel of substance there, but for Christ sake can we at least acknowledge that this supposed golden age of civil liberties in America never fucking happened? I mean railing of lesser-of-two-evilism is one thing, but god damn don’t bring outright utopianism to the party too.

          • Holden Pattern says:

            Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. No, there was never a golden age, but we’re actually going in reverse, and that suits our rulers, of both parties just fine, and they’ve made common cause to that effect.

            • Yeah, I mean compared to the time when black people had no legal protections in most of the country and women were seen as de facto property of their family’s patriarch, we’ve really gone in reverse on the civil rights front.

              Anyway, my point wasn’t about hypocrisy, or even a complaint about working towards a perfect system, but just an admonition against imagining that civil rights in America has ever been anything but an imperfect game of trade offs and glaring defects.

          • Holden Pattern says:

            Also, good times — note that the current rule-by-secrecy regime endorsed by our ruling classes is a bad thing, get called “utopian”. Also, too, naive, unrealistic, purist.

            Believing in things (even possible things, that don’t assume away human nature) without making the ritual obeisance toward “political reality” is of course worthy of ridicule.

            • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

              On the plus side, when and if the GOP retakes the White House, these will all instantly become vital issues again.

              Fiscal Conservatism : GOP :: Unions, Civil Liberties, and Peace : Democratic Party

              • Your analogy fails, but I get the point you’re trying to make.

                • R Johnston says:

                  The analogy doesn’t fail; it’s just that it’s only partially true.

                  There are no significant constituencies at all within the Republican party that actually care about fiscal conservatism under any circumstances; it’s all just a cudgel to beat the ill-informed into submission, and it’s forgotten entirely once submission is achieved. There are, on the other hand, Democrats who actually care about unions, civil liberties, and peace, even while the bulk of the party apparatus doesn’t really give a flying fuck.

                  The Republican party is incompatible with truth telling; the Democratic party is compatible with truth telling, but doesn’t generally see truth telling as a particular virtue.

      • To be fair, the criticism of Obama is not merely that he has failed to roll back the national security state, he has embraced it and expanded it. You may disagree with that, but GG and others’ criticism, well-founded in my view, is not merely that he hasn’t done enough to restore civil liberties.

        But in order to claim that Obama has expanded the national security state, you have to willfully ignore the evidence and engage in a rather appalling exercise in goalpost-moving.

        You have to pretend that a President who closed the black sites is worse than the one who opened them – while claiming to oppose black sites.

        You have to pretend that a President who forbade torture is worse than one who ordered it – while claiming to oppose torture.

        You have to pretend that a President who has never put any terrorism suspects into indefinite military detention, and who has waged big, bloody public fights against public and Congressional opinion in order to do so, is worse than one who created the military detention and trial system in the first place – while claiming to oppose military detention.

        You have to pretend that a President who took a beating for trying to close Gitmo is worse than on who opened it – while claiming to oppose Gitmo.

        You have to pretend that a President who took a beating for attempting to try KSM in a civilian court – and who actually spent the political capital to wage a big, public fight over that – is worse than one who wanted to give him no trial, or perhaps a military kangaroo court, and led the public messaging effort to support those kangaroo courts.

        I can respect “not good enough” as a criticism of Obama, but those who claim he’s as bad as or worse than the torturer-in-chief on civil liberties are either misinformed or dishonest.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          I can respect “not good enough” as a criticism of Obama, but those who claim he’s as bad as or worse than the torturer-in-chief on civil liberties are either misinformed or dishonest.

          Well, the first part is understated — Obama has clearly been not good enough in absolute terms — but obviously the argument that Obama is as bad or worse than Bush on civil liberties is ludicrous.

          • Obama has clearly been not good enough in absolute terms

            The only absolute terms that serve as a valid measure of a President’s performance is how far he’s moved things on the graph, not the coordinates of where he ended up.

            After all, isn’t that why we respect that white supremacist Abe Lincoln? He baredly ended up recognizing black voting rights.

            If Barack Obama had taken over at the end of the Carter administration and moved policy to where it is now, he’d be a great villain. But taking over at the end of the Bush administration and moving things to where they are now makes his record quite respectable.

  7. wengler says:

    Was there ever any question that he approved these?

    I’m just surprised that he ever denied it.

  8. DrDick says:

    There is also this little gem from a radio interview he did last August (my bolding):

    “So the welfare system doesn’t work and in truth, pure democracy is very dangerous.”

    This sure sounds like a champion of human rights to me.

    • Murc says:

      Er… your highlighted segment is, in fact, incredibly true. Was this supposed to be an example of something Paul said that was outrageous? Because there’s enough of those things to fill a book. You picked the one statement that’s actually true?

      Pure democracy IS very dangerous and, in fact, nearly unworkable as a political system. It’s essentially legitimated mob rule. This is why we live under a republican form of government and why, say, the Bill of Rights, needs a supermajority (an explicitly undemocratic requirement) to change it.

      • I’m going to go out on a limb and assume Paul was making some reference to that old “democracy only works until people realize they can vote themselves money from the treasury” quip.

        And to nitpick, you’re confusing liberal democracy and direct democracy. There’s no reason for them to be inherently mutually exclusive, and the problem with direct democracy is mostly that it’s inefficient.

  9. Mike Schilling says:

    I’m still croggled that the Washington Post did a piece of real reporting.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      Paul really is a candidate that everyone connected with the WaPo can despise. Those vaguely on the left hate his racism, his aversion to federal power, and his goldbuggery; those on the right hate his rejection of neoconservative foreign policy goals. Both hate his complaining about the destruction of civil liberties.

  10. Christopher says:

    LBJ escalated a particularly disastrous war and lied repeatedly about it, FDR sent people to concentration camps based on their race and signed off on extremely stingy social welfare legislation that systematically discriminated against African-Americans, Lincoln was a white supremacist who didn’t believe the federal government had the authority to interfere with slavery in the states, etc.

    Isn’t this more an argument for staying out of Presidential politics entirely?

    Gotta be honest, I’ve never been a fan of lesser-evilism. Not so much because I think that supporting a lesser evil is a wrong strategy, but because in practice lesser-evilists tend to think that their particular rating of evils is an inarguable, scientific listing and the only reason somebody could disagree with them about it is if those people were deranged.

    • Before anyone bites on this, remember that lesser-evilism is really neither here nor there with Ron Paul since he does NOT, in fact, have “good” views on foreign policy and the war on drugs.

      • Christopher says:

        It’s true in some sense that Obama vs. Paul would be a “lesser of two evils” contest.

        Bro, I was responding to the OP, which clearly talks about lesser evilism and says that it’s part of every election in the US.

        You don’t gotta go around assuming everybody who disagrees with you is a troll. If Scott wanted to argue that Paul has no good policies, he’s perfectly free to do that, but he chose not to, and it’s not my job to make arguments for him.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

          I think the rule is: if the main point of your comment is not that progressive supporters of Ron Paul are deluded, you’re probably a progressive supporter of Ron Paul.

    • mark f says:

      As Pollitt says in the video, if you want to go to Heaven with a pure heart then you don’t vote at all. If you want to get involved, then it’s lesser-evil voting no matter what. There are no pure candidates and there are no pure votes, and those are truths even if you’re casting a third-party protest ballot.

      • Christopher says:

        Word. That said, there’s sure a lot of evil in the world, and Obama’s a pretty evil guy.

        I get annoyed at people who are absolutely certain that their particular ranking of the world’s evils is self-evidently correct, and nobody could possibly believe a different candidate is the least evil without being deranged.

        Assassinating American citizens is a pretty big time evil, and if you want to go around thinking that it’s the biggest evil then I think that’s at least semi-reasonable.

  11. Christopher says:

    Also, the current attack on Ron Paul is that, even if he might be sort of kind of right on one or two issues, the rest of what he believes is so odious that it taints everything he says and does about anything.

    In other words, if a racist goldbug is against the war on drugs and the war on terror, that just makes the people who agree with him look bad.

    If a nutbar President who thinks he has the authority to declare war and assassinate his own citizens is also for a good health plan and stimulus, that’s good, because at least he’ll help on those issues and that’s something.

    I still don’t really fully understand why Paul’s odious views taint everything he says and does, while Obama’s odious views are compartmentalized and only discredit him on those specific issues.

    I can’t say Paul’s views are forgivable, but I can’t say Obama’s views are forgivable either.

    • Murc says:

      In other words, if a racist goldbug is against the war on drugs and the war on terror, that just makes the people who agree with him look bad.

      Ron Paul is against neither of those things. He’s against the federal government being involved in them.

      • Christopher says:

        Fair enough.

        Your feeling is that Paul has no good policies, so I guess I’m not really talking about you.

        I’m not clear on why getting the federal government out of the war on drugs wouldn’t still be a significant step up, though?

        • Malaclypse says:

          Agreed. Small-town cops will definitely do a better job.

          • fasteddie9318 says:

            Not to mention all the private mercenaries to whom we’ll be giving letters of marque and reprisal so that they can go hunt terrorists for us. Definitely no risk of anything bad happening there.

          • Anonymous says:

            The drug war is raging in other countries.

          • DrDick says:

            Much more repressive and regressive, for certain. Also the NYPD, LAPD, and Chicago PD would instantly stop detaining and arresting black and Hispanic teens for drug possession immediately if the feds bowed out. You really do not want to think about what it would be like in Texas and Oklahoma.

          • Christopher says:

            I feel stupid because I don’t know what this means.

            Don’t small town cops already enforce local drug laws?

            At least some states are more lenient then the federal government; Cali has medical marijuana, at least.

            Are there states that want to be even harsher on drug offenses than the federales, but can’t because the feds are restraining them?

            I’m actually asking, not being rhetorical.

            • The point is, taking the federal government out of the equation wouldn’t end the abuses of local cops (and indeed would probably make it worse), and in the context of Paul, a President Paul’s Justice Department would do nothing to protect people from abuse of their rights by state governments, because Paul doesn’t think they have any such authority.

              • Christopher says:

                The point is, taking the federal government out of the equation wouldn’t end the abuses of local cops…

                So? Obama didn’t go for single payer. If we were going to demand purity and perfection from our politicians, we’d never vote for anybody. You’ve made that argument often.

                That Paul won’t fix everything just the way we want it can’t be an argument against him if it’s not an argument against Obama.

                (and indeed would probably make it worse)

                By what mechanism, specifically?

                • DrDick says:

                  It is not that Paul wouldn’t fix everything (indeed, he would fix nothing), it is that he would make these situations significantly worse.

                • “That Paul won’t fix everything just the way we want it can’t be an argument against him if it’s not an argument against Obama.”

                  You miss the point. Removing the federal government from the equation would likely exacerbate the abuses of local authorities, thereby making the matter a net negative for the legal rights of the targets, particularly minorities in your more racist jurisdictions.

                • Karate Bearfighter says:

                  By what mechanism, specifically?

                  By ending USDOJ enforcement of consent decrees. By closing the federal courts to s. 1983 cases. By eliminating federal habeas petitions for prisoners.

                • Christopher, did you read any of the Ron Paul Newsletters’ commentary on the LA riots?

                  Did you ever see anything in there criticizing the LAPD’s policing efforts?

                  Do you think President Ron Paul’s Attorney General would have brought civil rights charges against the cops who were acquitted by the California courts?

                  This is the type of thing, btw, that makes people’s blood boil when they see assertions that civil liberties issues have gotten worse, or that Ron Paul is better on civil liberties issues. No matter what you think about the strike on the AQAP leaders in Yemen, it is a couple orders of magnitude less significant than the changes in police practices just in LA over the past 20 years.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Did you ever see anything in there criticizing the LAPD’s policing efforts?

                  Funny you should mention the LAPD.

            • rea says:

              But according to Paul the Bill of Rights does not constrain the actions of state governments–so, yeah, in a Paul universe, state governments would be worse on the drug war than the feds are now.

            • bemused says:

              Google Joe Arpaio.

        • See pretty much all of American history for examples of why lessening federal involvement with state governments is a net minus for civil legal protections.

  12. Jim Lynch says:

    The ‘lesser-of-two-evils, where-else-they-gonna -go’ crowd stand on firm ground in common sense terms. But voters unprepared to draw a line with a politician or political party, to the point of being unwilling to withhold support on election day No Matter What, aren’t doing themselves or the country any favors in the long run. Witness the decades old, rightward drift of the democratic party.

    • This seems like it should be intuitive to me. It’s like any other relationship; if you get all pissy and bail on your partner anytime things aren’t going just your way, your partner probably isn’t going to be all that interested in catering to you for very long. If you’re going to bail on a political party if you don’t get exactly what you want, that party isn’t likely to be particularly responsive to your opinions, because they just can’t count on you.

      • Murc says:

        That’s an entirely legitimate point, Brien, but to extend the analogy, in a relationship you usually assume that the other party cares about your views because they care about your views and about YOU, and if you begin to get the impression that they really don’t and are just doing the bare minimum required to keep you from storming out and taking the kids, you’re going to be justifiably pissed off.

        • Malaclypse says:

          Except for this analogy to work, the voter must get married, to one of only two possibilities. One potential marriage partner may not ever help with housework, or the kids, and may have a crappy job, but the other potential partner will regularly beat everybody in the house, and has the bad habit of setting the house on fire. And the voter can’t choose nobody – the rules of the game are such that s/he must pick one of these two.

        • Well…then leave. Don’t hang around moaning about it.

          • Murc says:

            … what the fuck, dude?

            It’s one thing to tell me that the Democratic Party is jacked up, but that I ought to accept it anyway because the Republicans are worse.

            It’s another thing to tell me that I actually shouldn’t do anything about it, which is basically what ‘don’t hang around moaning it’ boils down to. If I don’t speak up about problems, it doesn’t mean they go away.

      • Jim Lynch says:

        B. Jackson: Of course, disenchantment with a political party can amount to no more than momentary pissy behavior. But, as you must surely grant, such disenchantment can also run far deeper, and over the course of decades. In the past twenty years alone, the democratic party has passed NAFTA, refused to veto the repeal of Glass-Steagall, and then disgraced itself with the notorious declaration, “impeachment is off the table”. And that’s only three examples where outright collaboration with the GOP has furthered the goals of fascist Americans. It’s hardly petulance that led millions to reassess their allegiance to the democratic party, with some wiping their hands of it altogether for excellent reason.

        • Malaclypse says:

          And that worked so well 12 years ago.

        • Well, then like I said…leave the party. I mean, if you just can’t handle being in the minority, go find a minor party that agrees with you on most of the issues, I guess.

          Not that that’s meant to be profound or anything, it just is what it is. You can either deal with the fact that most people don’t agree with you and hope that more people come around to your view sooner or later or you can’t. And if you can’t deal with it, you should go elsewhere.

  13. Dave says:

    Sometimes, it seems like the best thing to do with US politics would be a hard reset.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Brien Jackson says:
    January 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Being white does not prevent you from being sensitive to the interests of the non-white. I’d imagine this is what makes us liberals in the first place (in the general sense). That you think it would is telling.

    Do you see the difference between bolstering your argument by speaking for an entire class of people and being sensitive to the interests of the “non-white”.

  15. [...] Daily Kos, Hot Air, YID With LID, Outside the Beltway, The Daily Dish, The PJ Tatler, GOP 12, Lawyers, Guns & Money, Political Mojo and Shakesville, National Review, Riehl World View, Guardian, Big Journalism, The [...]

  16. Pinko Punko says:

    This thread is an awesome old school war. I mean like DK or something before the purges or whatever it was.

    I mean it has got everything.

  17. John says:

    Was Lincoln wrong to believe that the federal government couldn’t interfere with slavery in the states? Didn’t he agree with, e.g., Garrison on that? It seems to me that there’s no real question that the original constitution granted Congress no power to interfere with slavery in the tates. This is more of a condemtnion of the Constitution than it suggests anything particularly wrong with Lincoln’s judgment.

  18. [...] (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}Evidently, Bijan’s sophisticated empirical analysis in a dying thread merits front-page coverage. Although I certainly hope that in keeping with the [...]

  19. scott says:

    Jesus Christ. Either Scott L is the dumbest smart guy anyone will ever run across, or he’s one of the best at disingenuously building straw men and tearing them down. The point was never fanboy crushing over Paul as a person or a candidate. It was that, whatever the source, it was worthwhile to have any presidential candidate talk about limits on state power to imprison people at whim and conduct reckless foreign adventures. Whose fault is it that the only one talking about it isn’t the “progressive” president (the one either continuing or improving on these abuses) but the racist asshole? But, yeah, continue with your tribalist fantasy that the only issue here is a bunch of civil rights purists revering Ron Paul and selling all they have to follow him like Jesus. Whatever.

  20. [...] is a totally unwavering supporter of the Civil Rights Act.   Speaking of the Paul family, I have never wavered from my conviction that any progressive could plausibly prefer restoring the Articles of Confederation to a moderate [...]

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    Kindly Old Ron Paul – Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money

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