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The Inevtiability of Romney, An Ongoing Series

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Things are breaking especially well for Mittens, but it is indeed just a question of how long the media can pretend there’s a race, not whether there is a race. (I also, of course, agree with Ed Kilgore that his inevitability was not inevitable, but was a series of incredibly lucky breaks.)

Meanwhile, on the deeply puzzling question of why progressives prefer LBJ to Goldwater Obama to Paul, see Edroso, ABL, Barbara O’Brien, Tom Hilton, Tom Watson, Echidne and Steve M.

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  • Obama to Paul

    This was a serious consideration??

    • Malaclypse

      Has been for years.

      • Well, yea, but so has the Mayan apocalypse but I don’t know anyone who’s storing guns except for crackpots.

    • I’m sure there are hand-wringing pieces from the left of 1936 about whether one should actually support Gerald L.K. Smith’s Union Party, because of his connections to Huey Long’s radical Share Our Wealth plans.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Links?

        I’ve worked on this period and have honestly never come across a single example of someone on the left support Gerald L.K. Smith.

        Hippie punching, even gussied up pseudo-historical hippie punching, is still hippie punching.

        • I have an ancient copy from undergraduate days of Demagogues in the Depression:
          American Radicals and the Union Party,
          1932-1936, by David Harry Bennett.

          It’s out of print, but Brinkley couldn’t have done his better-known 1983 Voices of Protest without it.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks

            We may just be talking past each other here. AFAIK, Smith’s involvement with the Union Party was one of the reasons the effort failed to attract many on the left. Other figures involved in the party who had more appeal to radicals (even Father Coughlin, in ’36, retained some such appeal).

            So yes, there was left support for the Union Party. And, yes, Smith was involved in it. But that doesn’t mean that Smith himself attracted those on the left (needless to say, the Democratic Party in ’36 was also chockablock with white supremacists…but they weren’t why most on the left voted Democratic in ’36).

  • c u n d gulag

    The MSM will pretend there’s a race until they absolutely can’t deny that it’s over.

    Their paychecks depend on it.

    • Until the convention, they will deny reality. “Delegates can change their minds!”

  • Jesse Levine

    It’s pretty clear to me that Glenn wasn’t advocating supporting Paul over Obama. It’s very clear to me as one who enthusiatically supported Obama based on his promise to restore the rule of law and apply applicable constitutional principles in his administration is that he scores F- in that regard. The fact is that the right wing nut job is better than Obama on these issues, and as Glenn points out, liberals who overlook Obama’s institutionalizing genuinely horrible procedures will rue the day the next overtly authoritarian Republican sits in the White House. If we don’t pressure him now, the game is lost for generations to come. If those issues don’t matter to you, sleep easy. I can’t.

    • david mizner

      Greenwald has to be the most frequently lied about and misrepresented blogger. All he’s saying, essentially, is that Paul opposes horrific, racist policies that President Obama supports, and for that reason, it’s a good thing he’s in the race. This is controversial or even debatable, why?

      • david mizner

        What would be interesting is if we had a reverse election between Paul and Obama in which everyone in the world except Americans were permitted to vote. Who do you think would win? I honestly don’t know, but I’m pretty sure I know would dominate the area stretching from North Africa to Southeast Asia.

        • Malaclypse

          Someone not endorsed by Stormfront?

        • You actually mean Ron Paul, don’t you?

          I wish there was a way to frame comments for future generations.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        And, in fact, Scott himself said the same thing at the end of his last post on Paul:

        But I’m still glad he’s using his platform to make a case against the drug war and American imperialism.

        The biggest difference between Scott’s view of Paul and Greenwald’s is that Greenwald much more explicitly associates the drug war and American imperialism with the Obama administration.

        This isn’t a disagreement about Paul.

        This is a disagreement about how impolitely progressives ought to speak about our President.

        • DocAmazing

          Nothin’ new there, IB.

        • Scott Lemieux

          This is a disagreement about how impolitely progressives ought to speak about our President.

          No, it’s not. It’s a question of whether Paul and Obama are comparably good choices for progressives or not. Greenwald strongly implies that they are,and his comparison of the two is 1)tendentious in the extreme 2)in a way that makes Paul seem much less malignant than he is.

          If Greenwald was just arguing that it’s good that Paul saying these things, or that on these issues he’s better than Obama, the post wouldn’t be remotely controversial.

          • Incontinentia Buttocks

            If Greenwald was just arguing that it’s good that Paul saying these things, or that on these issues he’s better than Obama, the post wouldn’t be remotely controversial.

            This isn’t quite what I said.

            I said that what makes Greenwald’s post controversial are the intemperate things he says about Obama, not the kind things he says about Paul. Because, in fact, he doesn’t say kind things about Paul on the whole:

            I wish there were someone who did not have Ron Paul’s substantial baggage to achieve this. Before Paul announced his candidacy, I expressed hope in an Out Magazine profile that Gary Johnson would run for President and be the standard-bearer for these views, in the process scrambling bipartisan stasis on these questions. I did that not because I was endorsing his candidacy (as some low-level Democratic Party operative dishonestly tried to claim), but because, as a popular two-term Governor of New Mexico free of Paul’s disturbing history and associations, he seemed to me well-suited to force these debates to be had. But alas, Paul decided to run again, and Johnson — for reasons still very unclear — was forcibly excluded from media debates and rendered a non-person. Since then, Paul’s handling of the very legitimate questions surrounding those rancid newsletters has been disappointing in the extreme, and that has only served to obscure these vital debates and severely dilute the discourse-enhancing benefits of his candidacy.

            • Incontinentia Buttocks

              Part of the problem is that Greenwald is typically prolix and shrill (I’m actually pretty sympathetic with the latter, but not at all with the former), which makes it less likely that people are actually bothering to read his post. Especially if one is not prone to agree with him in the first place, it’s understandable that one wants to say TL;DR

              • Incontinentia Buttocks

                Here, incidentally, is some of what Greenwald writes about Obama in this post (apologies for the length):

                The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested. He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with drones, cluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has waged an unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth. He rendered permanently irrelevant the War Powers Resolution, a crown jewel in the list of post-Vietnam liberal accomplishments, and thus enshrined the power of Presidents to wage war even in the face of a Congressional vote against it. His obsession with secrecy is so extreme that it has become darkly laughable in its manifestations, and he even worked to amend the Freedom of Information Act (another crown jewel of liberal legislative successes) when compliance became inconvenient.

                He has entrenched for a generation the once-reviled, once-radical Bush/Cheney Terrorism powers of indefinite detention, military commissions, and the state secret privilege as a weapon to immunize political leaders from the rule of law. He has shielded Bush era criminals from every last form of accountability. He has vigorously prosecuted the cruel and supremely racist War on Drugs, including those parts he vowed during the campaign to relinquish — a war which devastates minority communities and encages and converts into felons huge numbers of minority youth for no good reason. He has empowered thieving bankers through the Wall Street bailout, Fed secrecy, efforts to shield mortgage defrauders from prosecution, and the appointment of an endless roster of former Goldman, Sachs executives and lobbyists. He’s brought the nation to a full-on Cold War and a covert hot war with Iran, on the brink of far greater hostilities. He has made the U.S. as subservient as ever to the destructive agenda of the right-wing Israeli government. His support for some of the Arab world’s most repressive regimes is as strong as ever.

                Most of all, America’s National Security State, its Surveillance State, and its posture of endless war is more robust than ever before. The nation suffers from what National Journal‘s Michael Hirsh just christened “Obama’s Romance with the CIA.” He has created what The Washington Post just dubbed “a vast drone/killing operation,” all behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy and without a shred of oversight. Obama’s steadfast devotion to what Dana Priest and William Arkin called “Top Secret America” has severe domestic repercussions as well, building up vast debt and deficits in the name of militarism that create the pretext for the “austerity” measures which the Washington class (including Obama) is plotting to impose on America’s middle and lower classes.

                The simple fact is that progressives are supporting a candidate for President who has done all of that — things liberalism has long held to be pernicious. I know it’s annoying and miserable to hear. Progressives like to think of themselves as the faction that stands for peace, opposes wars, believes in due process and civil liberties, distrusts the military-industrial complex, supports candidates who are devoted to individual rights, transparency and economic equality. All of these facts — like the history laid out by Stoller in that essay — negate that desired self-perception. These facts demonstrate that the leader progressives have empowered and will empower again has worked in direct opposition to those values and engaged in conduct that is nothing short of horrific. So there is an eagerness to avoid hearing about them, to pretend they don’t exist. And there’s a corresponding hostility toward those who point them out, who insist that they not be ignored.

                It’s these passages that are actually controversial. And it would be more productive to argue about them than to try to turn his very ambivalent–and substantially briefer–statements about Paul into support.

                • Rarely Posts

                  This is just incorrect. Greenwald publishes extremely negative discussions of Obama all the time, and it doesn’t get much response from the Left, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes he’s right and there isn’t anything to say, and sometimes he’s factually incorrect or arguing in bad faith but it’s exhausting to deal with it. Finally, it’s boring.

                  The actually controversial issue in this post is that he expressed significant support for Paul (without having the guts to actually endorse him).

                • Halloween Jack

                  In other words, R.P., Greenwald has become like just about every other Salon contributor: he framed his argument in a way that detracted from his personal reputation, but maximized page hits. It’s sad.

            • Scott Lemieux

              But, from a progressive standpoint, he has “baggage” that goes far beyond the newsletters. There’s stuff like the fact that he opposes federal civil rights protection and federal regulation, for example, which somehow manages to not be mentioned in the section where he compares Paul to Obama. Again, he presents Paul in a far more benign matter, and while he stops short of endorsing Paul he does very strongly imply that a rational progressive could support Paul.

              • timb

                You know, like the fact that Ron Paul wouldn’t mind if it people like Barrack Obama couldn’t vote, since the VRA and CRA are unconstitutional and thus states can oppress whomever they wish, i.e. America under Jim Crow

                • Or that he’d repeal Social Security, Medicare, and the FDA.

              • Incontinentia Buttocks

                As I’ve said on a previous thread, Scott, I share your view of Paul. And I agree that Greenwald is not as rhetorically hard on him as he might be. But in that passage comparing Paul and Obama he does in fact mention environmental regulation and civil rights enforcement among the reasons to oppose Paul. I really don’t think he presents Paul in a benign manner.

                His point is not to suggest that progressives should endorse Paul, but rather to insist that progressives acknowledge that, in supporting Obama, there’s a trade-off, that both Paul and Obama support evil, and that voting for Obama is simply supporting the lesser evil.

                Now there are those who insist that Paul really isn’t better on war-and-piece and civil liberties issues (see Bijan Parsia below). But you’ve already said that that’s not your position.

                • I don’t insist on it, per se. I’m just saying that there’s evidence that he’s wobbly and he is clearly both dishonest and a kook. A public official who writes about paper money the way he does is pretty out there even by the current Republican field’s standards.

                  Thus, when taking Paul as serious candidate, i.e., asking whether in a hypothetical two person match up between Paul and Obama, I think it’s very unclear that, in that circumstance, Paul would be as relentless a champion for the good views as he claims now.

                  And I think you are underestimating the benignity that Greenwald bestows upon Paul, disclaimers aside. (Greenwald doesn’t seem to understand that disclaimers don’t, by themselves, change what you do. To say that you are not insulting someone when you call them an asshole is wrong even if you have a personal theory about how asshole is a purely descriptive term.) Failing to acknowledge how Paul’s worldview works, demonizing progressives who dislike Paul, comparing Paper Cherry Picked Paul with Constrained Negatively Cherry Picked and Slanted Obama…these all legitimize Paul, and far beyond his merit.

                  Compare again to Ampersand at Alas: He basically says that, as a progressive, he feels he might have to make the terrible, to his mind, choice to vote for Paul essentially because of Iran. I think he underestimates the forces that would press on Paul if he were prez, but at least this is him wrestling with the choice directly. Greenwald could have done that, but didn’t. Instead we have fantasies spun out about how progressives forgive Obama his sins and are against Paul because he’s Republican and so throw core commitments under the bus. Paul is in the running, on Greenwald’s view, to being a near evil with Obama. That seems to benign up Paul quite a bit (even taking into account Greenwald’s extreme debenigning of Obama).

          • david mizner

            Ah, the old “strongly implies” argument. GG isn’t one for implying anything; he tends to state things, so I’d appreciate a block quote of his “strongly implying” that Paul and Obama are equally good choices for progressives. I suspect you’re misreading the part where he says Paul’s good positions are nopt nullified by his odious ones, and cites Obama’s odious positions to make his case.

            • Before demanding evidence, I think it behooves you to supply some. I find it pretty absurd that you would claim that Greenwald doesn’t imply, indeed, insinuate things.

              But, I’ll give first. For “ablock quote of his “strongly implying” that Paul and Obama are equally good choices for progressives.”:

              Progressives would feel much better about themselves, their Party and their candidate if they only had to oppose, say, Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann. That’s because the standard GOP candidate agrees with Obama on many of these issues and is even worse on these others, so progressives can feel good about themselves for supporting Obama: his right-wing opponent is a warmonger, a servant to Wall Street, a neocon, a devotee of harsh and racist criminal justice policies, etc. etc. Paul scrambles the comfortable ideological and partisan categories and forces progressives to confront and account for the policies they are working to protect. His nomination would mean that it is the Republican candidate — not the Democrat — who would be the anti-war, pro-due-process, pro-transparency, anti-Fed, anti-Wall-Street-bailout, anti-Drug-War advocate (which is why some neocons are expressly arguing they’d vote for Obama over Paul). Is it really hard to see why Democrats hate his candidacy and anyone who touts its benefits

              Coupled with all the stuff about partisanship, this certainly implies that Paul is a reasonable choice for progressives. Now, let’s go to the fake out:

              It’s perfectly rational and reasonable for progressives to decide that the evils of their candidate are outweighed by the evils of the GOP candidate, whether Ron Paul or anyone else. An honest line of reasoning in this regard would go as follows:

              Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason, and the CIA able to run rampant with no checks or transparency, and privacy eroded further by the unchecked Surveillance State, and American citizens targeted by the President for assassination with no due process, and whistleblowers threatened with life imprisonment for “espionage,” and the Fed able to dole out trillions to bankers in secret, and a substantially higher risk of war with Iran (fought by the U.S. or by Israel with U.S. support) in exchange for less severe cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, the preservation of the Education and Energy Departments, more stringent environmental regulations, broader health care coverage, defense of reproductive rights for women, stronger enforcement of civil rights for America’s minorities, a President with no associations with racist views in a newsletter, and a more progressive Supreme Court.

              Of course, there are loads of other honest lines (I’ve articulated a few). This one implies that the honest progressive should find the choice of Obama vs. Paul to be a knife edged one at best.

              Note that the language is hugely biased here. The negatives in the first are unqualified, while the positives are all grudging or tend to give undue credit to Paul (“stronger” enforcement of civil rights? shouldn’t that be any enforcement?; it’s pretty obvious that the “association with a racists newsletter” is only one aspect of Paul’s racism — voting against the civil rights act anyone!?!).

              Frankly, I don’t care if Greenwald wants to support Paul. Heck if he wants to go single issue on it or tactical, great! He’s wrong, but at least that would be an honest line to present.

              Enough to get you started?

              • david mizner

                Nope. He’s merely pointing out that we should acknowledge the odious position of each, not just of Paul — to acknowledge that in supporting Obama, we’re supporting someone who, for example, pushes policies that lead to deaths of Muslim children. Perhaps you wish that GG would point out that Paul advocates policies that would devastate the US (and lead to the deaths of Americans) — that’s a fair criticism even if GG tends not to write about domestic policies, but I’m still looking for evidence that he thinks Paul is just as good a choice for progressives. Maybe he does believe this, but he hasn’t said so nor implied so, strongly or otherwise.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  He doesn’t quite say that Paul would be a “good choice” for progressives, which is why I didn’t say he did. He does, especially in the remarkably tendentious summary comparison, essentially say that Paul and Obama are similarly reasonable choices, which is indefensible.

                • Let me grant that he doesn’t explicitly say this. And let me grant that it doesn’t syllogistically follow from what he writes (except, in so far as what he writes has some contradictory tensions).

                  Is this the standard we’re using? We’re straying deeply into “I didn’t say or imply you’ve beaten your child, I just was wondering if you’ve stopped” territory.

                  By eliminating the space where progressives (like me, and everyone criticizing Greenwald in these threads) both 1) dislike important swaths of Obama’s record and 2) think Paul is off the table worse AND cherry picking the good for Paul and the bad for Obama, he certainly suggests or insinuates that Paul is at least “worth a look” by progressives. Perhaps only instrumentally to “raise the issues”; perhaps for reals in a fantasy election.

                  He’s wrong about the value of having Paul in the race. He is wrong (as is Stoller) about the relationship between Paul and progressives. (I mean, Stoller’s “genuinely brilliant” essay starts, “The most perplexing character in Congress, ideologically speaking, is Ron Paul.” This is obviously bonkers. There’s even an existing term for Paul like views: Paleo-con. Pat Buchanan is the examplar.) He is wrong to so insinuate that progressives are giving up on core values by dismissing or attacking Paul or that Paul is in any way worth a look.

                  Perhaps you wish that GG would point out that Paul advocates policies that would devastate the US (and lead to the deaths of Americans) — that’s a fair criticism even if GG tends not to write about domestic policies

                  On the merits, I’d like acknowledgement that Paul might be a net negative for the message. Also, that Paul is evidently squishy on some key parts (vote to authorize AUMF anyone? recent squishiness on Iran). Etc.

                  I’m confused as to what you think all the rhetoric is his posts is supposed to be doing? Or actually does.

        • timb

          and, also too, GG’s predilection for maintaining the President is basically personally murdering Muslim everyday.

          Like either Paul or Obama is capable of making everything they believe possible

          • Incontinentia Buttocks

            GG’s predilection for maintaining the President is basically personally murdering Muslim everyday.

            I think this is a much more fair accusation against GG than the notion that he’s somehow endorsing Paul.

      • You may want to read the prior thread.

        Heck, you may even want to read Greenwald’s post. Your “essentially” really doesn’t capture what Greenwald wrote. For example, a huge chunk of it is devoted to the idea that progressives who are highly critical of Paul are critical of him because he is a Republican and it’s most distressing to us that he a Republican championing views that progressive “profess” to hold dear. (In other words, you just misrepresented his article.)

        Putting that aside, it’s easy to see how your contention is debatable by considering that the good bits that Paul espouses are not all that he espouses and that it is at least possible that he will do more overall good than harm to those causes. Or, one could (correctly) believe that Paul’s advocacy of such views will put exactly zero pressure on anyone (Republican or Obama) to move in the right direction of such views, thus it’s not a net gain to have them raised in this way. Given that, on that view, there’s no benefit, the fact that Paul is espousing evil otherwise is worth bemoaning.

        (BTW, except tactically, I’m pretty unhappy with the whole set of Republican kooks. It isn’t happy to have essentially the whole field championing horrible policy.)

        And, of course, Paul is an unreliable kook, as his recent softening on attacking Iran shows.

        This is just a small tour of the positions from which one might debate whether having Paul being the one saying things one might want to be said is a good thing.

        As many noted in the prior thread, Greenwald’s post is a pure hack job. All the progressives he actually quotes are pro-Paul-being-in-the-race for precisely the reasons he’d like them too. All the other progressives he’s critiquing are presented by word picture and bald assertion alone. He doesn’t consider any of the sensible progressive reasons for opposing Paul. He makes a cherry picking hash of how to compare Obama vs. Paul, etc. etc.

        • Oh! More than the squishiness, Paul is hardly a big antiwar dude after all! ABL writes:

          Bob Cesca reminds us that Ron Paul’s “anti-war history” and his “principled stance against targeted assassinations” is bullshit, mainly because he did vote for the AUMF for Afghanistan in 2001 and then sponsored a bill that would have given the country the ability to issue letters of marque and reprisal against terrorists

          So, I find it every increasingly unlikely that one can think that Paul would be better as president on these issues than Obama.

          • Malaclypse

            a bill that would have given the country the ability to issue letters of marque and reprisal against terrorists

            What could possibly go wrong?

          • Correction, it was Zandar not ABL per se.

        • Your “essentially” really doesn’t capture what Greenwald wrote. For example, a huge chunk of it is devoted to the idea that progressives who are highly critical of Paul are critical of him because he is a Republican and it’s most distressing to us that he a Republican championing views that progressive “profess” to hold dear.

          Holy crap, Greenwald is ripping off Herman Cain.

  • Anderson

    see Edroso, ABL, Barbara O’Brien, Tom Hilton, and Steve M.

    Geez, and how many links should I follow to figure out why I should prefer water to hemlock?

    • david mizner

      I feel as though I should be compensated for clicking over to ABL, which is like the OFA site but with profanity. Apparently Scott feels compelled to link to anyone, even a hack, who links to him. Thoughtful but come on.

      • Wannabe Speechwriter

        I think someone is artifice projecting big time!

      • timb

        +1

      • I just want to point out that ABL’s post was far more correct, useful, and informative than your comments in this thread.

        So, I’d recommend being a bit more judicious with hack accusations (in both readings of the phrase).

        • Timb

          God love her, but she’s a hack

          • Whether ABL is or not is irrelevant to the merit of any given post.

            Also, this post was written by someone else.

            Also, it seems like Yet Another Crap Argumentative move by mizner in this thread.

      • imani gandy is reason enough to vote present instead of pulling the old lever for obama.

        • Hmm. Well, I’m a pretty casual reader of hers (mostly via Balloon Juice), but this pile on (esp. when divorced from particular content) makes me uncomfortable. Esp. when the linked article isn’t by ABL!

          Reading, say, this article, doesn’t reveal any hackery on this issue.

          Reading this Twitter exchange doesn’t make ABL seem hacky. On the other hand, we have someone tweeting:

          DrDawg
          @AngryBlackLady @g_p_g @ggreenwald @emptywheel ABL, Obama could rape a nun live on NBC and you’d say we weren’t seeing what we were seeing

          and Greenwald following up with:

          Glenn Greenwald
          @DrDawg @AngryBlackLady @g_p_g @emptywheel No – she’d say it was justified & noble- that he only did it to teach us about the evils of rape.

          This is both repellent and counterproductive. Even if we pretend that Paul would be a Mighty Libertarian Hero, it’s pretty clear that the real choice is not between Obama and Paul, but Obama and Mitt (or, some similarly standard modern Republican). I fail to see the useful coalition building accomplished by throwing blacks, women, immigrants, gays, poor people, etc. under the bus. Aside from it being just wrong, it’s tactically dumb. Then piling on a black women who supports Obama with an over the top “She’d celebrate rape if Obama did it” line? Really?

          WTF? Talk about “degraded discourse”.

          I think this is a key problem of the “left-right”, “trans-partisan” line: it very often involves stabbing key allies in the back.

          • Halloween Jack

            …and if there are certain things that put certain political candidates beyond the pale for an individual, no matter what else they have done or stand for (the original topic of GG’s post), well, that tweet did it for me as far as GG is concerned.

            And to think that I used to qualify my dismissal of Salon and its pagehit-whoring writers with “except for Glenn Greenwald, even though I disagree with him often.” Sic transit gloria blogger.

  • Anderson

    The fact is that the right wing nut job is better than Obama on these issues

    Oh brother. You’ve managed to figure out that Obama didn’t live up to his press, but Ron Paul talks a good game and you’re all “YES, this will DEFINITELY happen in a Ron Paul presidency”? With what Congress?

    Experience: you *can* learn from it.

    • Tom Allen

      But you can’t, apparently. You don’t want bad press for Obama — even when it’s ENTIRELY JUSTIFIED. Go ahead, ignore indefinite detention, drone assassinations, ramped up deportations, covert surveillance, a heightened drug war, and on and on. President-elect Romney will thank you all for abandoning your principles when he takes office in 2013 with a Republican House and Senate and uses all these tools against you.

      • timb

        Because President Romney wouldn’t have used these tools if Obama had not?

        Color me perplexed.

      • This is bot behavior.

        There isn’t even the slightest indication in your comment of any sort of response to anything Anderson wrote.

        It’s like you saw some keywords, and ran a script.

        Bot behavior.

  • Daragh McDowell

    I’m 90% there on the inevitability of Mittens (who I believe, FWIW, is actually the scariest prospective GOP President) but lets consider for a moment that Iowa/NH may not be the one two punch again this year. First off – despite overwhelming advantages in every conceivable category, Romney is struggling to best Ron Paul and Rick Santorum in Iowa. That doesn’t say much for him. Also, Perry’s got by all accounts a fantastic Iowa ground game that is vitally important in the caucuses, and Gingrich’s numbers haven’t entirely flatlined. There’s a realistic scenario to be spun where Iowa goes Paul, Santorum, Perry, Romney, Gingrich with the top four all around 20 per cent, leading to a serious dent in Mittens NH numbers that see him just scraping the win there (with Paul in second – again maybe not likely but possible given current polling and Gingrich’s promise to Kamikaze Romney next week.) That leaves either Gingrich or Perry the last anti-Romney standing, both able to pick up that state’s strong bigot vote by virtue of their shared non-Mormoness, Perry’s willingness to gay-bash and Newt’s endorsement of D’Souza’s view that Obama is entirely too black to be president. A win there gives either the momentum to carry through to Florida. Plus, Paul seems to have enough organisational clout to keep the ball in the air long enough to make it hard for Mittens to lock the whole thing down, without drawing too many votes from the Tea-bagger crowd. That could leave Mittens in the same position in Feb 2012 he was in Feb 2008 – a couple of half-wins in states nobody else bothered to contest leading him to pander more desperately than usual and handing the race to Perry or Gingrich.

    Now do I think this WILL happen? I have to say, probably not. But its far from outside the bounds of possibility. Plus, lets face it, the GOP electorate combines mind-boggling ignorance, credulity and sheer batshit insanity in such massive doses it really wouldn’t surprise me if Zombie Ronald Reagan won the Nevada Caucus as a write in candidate.

    • One big problem. Zombie Ronald Reagan might do well in the general, but he’s simply not conservative enough for Nevada GOP voters, especially not in a caucus context.

  • As I’ve said elsewhere, Romney is Schrödinger’s nominee, simultaneously inevitable and impossible. You’ve got the inevitable part covered; for the impossible part, consider his trendline in Iowa (and elsewhere), which I reproduce in graphic form here: __________________________. After months of carpet-bombing Iowa Romney still has less support there than he had in 2008. Maybe (probably) nobody can unify the non-Romney vote enough to defeat him, but I sure wouldn’t say it’s impossible.

    As for the lunatic notion that Ron Paul has anything at all to recommend him to liberals, the important thing to remember is that his [ironicairquote]progressive[/ironicairquote] positions are inseparable from his most odious positions, because they proceed from the same premises (premises that are inimical to pretty much everything liberals value).

    On Greenwald’s criticism of Obama on “civil liberties”, keep in mind that a) Greenwald tilts the playing field by using an extremely narrow (Libertarian-friendly) definition of the term that excludes a whole lot of stuff on which Obama is actually really good and Paul is absolutely terrible (hint: think about what the ACLU does); and b) Greenwald blends legitimate criticism with completely deranged hysterical misinformation to a degree that makes it useless and unreliable (except for those determined to attack the President whatever the cause). For real, fact-based criticism of the President on these issues, look to someone like Dahlia Lithwick or Dawn Johnsen (who actually know what they’re talking about), and ignore the all-drama anti-Obama Greenwald.

    • DocAmazing

      Again: Greenwald’s got a history with the Cato Institute; it’s not surprising that he would feel some tribal affiliation with the Paul family. Remember also, Greenwald has written approvingly of Americans United. His love of pure democracy is not absolute.

      • I don’t know that his involvement with Cato (which he represents as pretty minimal) is determinative in itself, but yes, everything else corroborates it: he’s clearly Libertarian, not liberal.

        Which wouldn’t be so bad if he were writing at Reason for other Libertardians. What makes Greenwald dishonest and (potentially) dangerous is that he calibrates his rhetoric specifically to appeal to lefties. He’s a false-flag operation, and the depressing thing is that he’s actually had some success with it.

        • Manju

          Huh? Really? The critical issue is where he stands economically. Does he go the property rights route?

          If no, then he’s just boilerplate ACLU-liberalism.

        • timb

          Yeah, I remember when he loved President Bush.

          Since when is hating the President for doing things you consider terrible a black mark. He has a position (sometimes wrong-headed), but a position nonetheless, and he hews to it, no matter who is President.

          • Ed

            It’s not hating the President that brings all this on Greenwald’s head. It’s hating on this particular President.

        • John

          I’ve never seen any particular evidence that Greenwald is a libertarian on economic issues. Wasn’t he attacking Obama from the left over health care two years ago, talking about him selling out the public option and so forth?

          But really, so far as I can gather, Greenwald just doesn’t really care about economic issues at all. He’s happy to take up liberal economic arguments to beat up Obama (or Bush, to be air) when it’s convenient, and he’s never shown any particular hostility to the welfare or regulatory state that I’m aware of, but these issues simply aren’t important to him in any way. Nor, so far as I can tell, are most of the other issues in American politics – including even the vast majority of civil liberties related issues.

          Greenwald seems, to me, to be rather close to being a monomaniac – the only issue he really cares about is executive power. Any time he talks about virtually any other issue, it’s basically a tactical pose that he judges best suited to attack the president (whoever the president of the moment may be) and presidential power.

    • John

      On Obama’s civil liberties record, I think it’s worth noting that even on the issues where Greenwald is constantly whacking him, Obama is still probably somewhat to the left of the median congressional Democrat. Remember when he wanted to shut down Guantanamo and Reid and Pelosi basically turned on him?

      This is more of a demonstration of how worthless congressional Democrats often are than it is a substantive defense of Obama, but so long as we live in a country where something like 90% of the legislature doesn’t care about civil liberties, I think it’s fairly clear that Obama isn’t really the problem.

      As to Greenwald, I think your point “b” is really the most important thing. Greenwald doesn’t argue in good faith, and I have no reason to trust anything he says. There’s a lot of people who seem to have the idea that Greenwald used to be good, but has gone off the deep end. I think that’s absolutely wrong. Greenwald has always been terrible, we just didn’t really notice it as much when he was on “our side” attacking the Republicans. We looked the other way – he was an asshole, but he was our asshole, I guess. But he’s always basically been compulsively dishonest in the way he presents his arguments. People have always complained about the length of his posts, but that’s a key element in the way he misleads. His length not only convinces the stupid that he is somehow a great thinker, it also makes it very hard to grapple with him – most of his argument comes out of tendentious summaries of links that he knows 90% of his readers will never read, or citing as evidence a previous tendentious summary in a previous post he wrote – once again, knowing nobody will actually click through. The length also serves to confuse potential enemies, because he almost always has some saving clause that allows him to deny the clear import of his enormous screeds. The whole thing is clever, but nobody should view it as a useful source of information on anything but misleading rhetorical strategies.

      • Greenwald has always been terrible, we just didn’t really notice it as much when he was on “our side” attacking the Republicans.

        I agree with this, with one (self-serving) qualification: I actually figured out that he was terrible back in 2006 or 2007, when I saw him in some comment thread misrepresenting the content of someone else’s comment in the same thread. (Seriously, how fucking stupid or sociopathic do you have to be to lie about something everyone reading your comment can check without even having to go anywhere else?) From that point on, I started checking his links to see if they said what he claimed they said. SPOILER: often, they didn’t.

        It was around this time that some right-wing bloggers accused him of using sock puppets in comment threads. The liberal blogosphere, in general, rallied around him. I didn’t. The evidence the wingnuts presented looked pretty convincing; more to the point, Greenwald’s excuses looked terminally lame; so I stayed out of it altogether. In retrospect, having seen much more of Greenwald’s execrable behavior, I think the rightists were probably right (stopped clock, and all that).

        As for Ron Paul, we’ve danced this dance before. Greenwald was saying nice things about Paul in 2007-2008, and got some well-deserved shit for it from people who attach some importance to reproductive rights. This ain’t nuthin’ new; besides being dishonest, Greenwald is too much of a dumbfuck to learn any new tricks.

        • John

          I’ve never really cared for Greenwald either, although I can’t pinpoint a moment of realization that he was awful. My initial opinion was “Jesus, this guy is totally humorless and his posts are unbelievably wrong; I am not going to read him.” And then people I did read would always be linking him and I’d occasionally try to read it and find it turgid and awful. Realization of his compulsive dishonesty came only later.

          I do remember that sock puppet thing, although only vaguely. Is there a good summary (preferably not by either a wingnut or a Greenwald apologist) somewhere?

          • Warren Terra

            I’ve never found Greenwald readable, even when he was attacking Bush, and I’ve never followed him very closely. But on the sockpuppet thing, my recollection is that it was proven a lot of comments (on his own blog, iirc) that purported to be from someone else backing GG’s position and berating his critics were coming from GG’s own computer. GG claimed that the comments were posted by his partner (husband? life partner? boyfriend? mere housemate?) – but being GG, rather than acknowledge the appearance of a conflict of interest (even if the claim the comments were from his computer but not from him were true, which obviously isn’t testable), he denounced any criticism of his in-house cheering section as being an illiberal offense against the freedom of speech.

            • Daragh McDowell

              +1. Also echoing Farley’s Twitter account I’ve always thought the worst thing about GG wasn’t his politics etc. but just how incredibly fucking BORING his writing is….

            • That’s a good summary, and consistent with my own recollection of it. And yeah, he had exactly the same how-dare-you reaction he has today if anyone questions him on anything (say, his artifice). Shorter Greenwald: IOKIYGG.

            • John

              Yeah, that sounds about right. Was looking through old right wing blog posts on the subject – Patterico’s post seems fairly comprehensive on the actual details of the sock puppet accusations. He presents a pretty good case that Greenwald is the puppet master. The sock puppets commented in threads that Greenwald himself did not, wrote in lucid, idiomatic English (Greenwald’s partner, as I understand it, is Brazilian), only ever wrote to defend Greenwald, and sometimes used arguments that Greenwald himself later used in posts.

    • On Greenwald’s criticism of Obama on “civil liberties”, keep in mind that a) Greenwald tilts the playing field by using an extremely narrow (Libertarian-friendly) definition of the term that excludes a whole lot of stuff on which Obama is actually really good and Paul is absolutely terrible (hint: think about what the ACLU does)

      It’s worse than that. Much like Ron Paul, his “libertarian-friendly” definition of civil liberties is incredibly racially skewed, and he’s been at this a long time. In this case, he manages to define the term in a way that would exclude basically the entirety of the “tough on crime,” Darryl Gates style policing, racial profiling genre of racist thug cop civil liberties violations.

      In the recent past, we have seen him pick up and drop issues (which fall most heavily upon minorities) like police brutality and solitary confinement, only when they could brought into the service of two white-progressives-against-the-world causes (Wikileaks and OWS). In both cases, he blamed the developments not on the existing criminal justice system that has long been carrying out these actions, but on secret conspiracies implicating the Oval Office, and thereby writing out of the story the actual, existing, racist provenance of those much-more-widespread problems.

      It’s kind of a clueless, insular, white suburban bubble understanding of civil liberties.

      • John

        As I said before, all Greenwald cares about is executive power. Pretty much any other posture he takes is a cynical, tactical posture designed to be most rhetorically effective at attacking Obama (or, in earlier times, Bush).

        • Warren Terra

          Well, Presidential power rather than executive power. Scott Walker could implement fascism on the state level, and GG would hardly utter a peep.

          • Manju

            GG doesn’t believe the Bill of Rights is incorporated now?

            • If by “incorporated” you mean applies to created entities, I think the SCOTUS was pretty clear on that point

  • Manju

    O c’mon! Santorum’s looking frothy, no? Push that meme. It ain’t over till its over.

    He was a Senator, so he can pass for serious. He looks like he hasn’t had sex in years, so no worries there. He’s a straight up Teabagger, enough to make him unelectable in a general but not so much so that he looks loony to the Bankers, like Paul and Bachmann do. In a just world, the nom is his.

    What you all should do is attack him like you’re panicking. The RWing will notice and naturally stand behind him…Pavlov’s dog style.

    Teabagger’s should love Santorum.

  • “…why progressives prefer LBJ to Goldwater…”

    Since no one registers as “progressive” it’s hard to say; but mark my word, there are swing-voters who would have a hard time deciding between these two. Very abstract people those swing-voters— they vacillate, for instance, between voting for George H.W. Bush or voting for Jessie Jackson. It’s as if vacillating between two choices, based only on arbitrary qualities and loose impressions is a lifestyle for them.

    • Manju

      If these swingers existed, they were tucked away in a safe state. At the end of the day, Barry G’s electoral map is almost a carbon copy of Adlai Stevenson’s.

      I suspect the majority of folks who voted for both of them, at least in the States they won, did so for the same reason.

      • Halloween Jack

        If these swingers existed

        [obligatory Inigo Montoya quote]

    • Very abstract people those swing-voters— they vacillate, for instance, between voting for George H.W. Bush or voting for Jessie Jackson.

      “Because, gosh, I just really like them both!”

      How does that happen? Who are these people?

  • kth

    Many of the criticisms Greenwald et al level against Obama are perfectly valid. For the life of me, I can’t see how Ron Paul pertains to them in any way. That’s all.

    • Well Ron Paul does say that he will end the drug war and the various other wars we are engaged in, all of which Obama will definately continue.

    • paul the elder is held up by many good, kind-hearted and thoughtful people as the man who will end the imperial adventures and random mass killings that obama so lovingly embraces. personally i find that hard to believe because ron paul is as much of a careerist politician as any of ’em including obama. what pisses me off is that a nasty little troll like ron paul is as good as a counterpoint to a potential vote for obama in 2012 as those good people can find. that’s bad mojo.

  • Rarely Posts

    Kevin Drum has the ultimate take-down of Paul:

    http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/01/crackpots-messengers

    I strongly recommend it because (1) it more thoroughly runs through all of Paul’s crazy positions and (2) it explains that he’s hurting his causes because association with him makes them look like crank causes.

  • Jesse Levine

    The attacks on GG are really bizarre. I have yet to see a serious attempt to refute his analysis of Obama’s record on fundamental concepts regarding the government’s right to encroach on civil liberties in the name of the War on Terror. Moreover he has repeatedly attacked the drug war as racist in effect and intent. On economic issues, as Paul Krugman has pointed out, he has governed like a moderate Republican. It was Obama who put the “Grand Bargain” on the table,which if the GOP was smart enough to take it, would hasten the demise of the middle and working classes as important components of the economic life of the Country. The hysteria in this comment section reinforces Glenn’s point that some liberals can’t believe their king is in the altogether on many critical issues. You may love Obama or, like me, will hold your nose and vote for him, but you should know what you’re getting.

    • You’re just not reading what’s actually been written.

      Few need Greenwald to make these points. They are easily made and, here at least, common to the point of banality.

      I, at least, have a problem with being condescendingly told that my dislike of Paul is because I can’t bear to have Obama criticised by a Republican.

      That’s just wrong.

      I also really dislike treating key elements of the progressive coalition like crap by flirting with a racists, sexist (etc) kook. I don’t see how that advances the antiwar and antidrugwar, etc. cause.

      This all has been carefully discussed.

  • "You live in a world of dolisuen, self-dolisuen."Actually, I do believe he lives in a world of fistfuls of quualudes washed down with quarts of Everclear.

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