I decided to tune out the GOP primary coverage and return to Hockey Night In Canada once it became clear that Ron Paul’s speech would consist of reciting the entire first side of 2112 with extended solos. (I did like the warm-up line about how people accuse his monetary policy of being “too complex,” which can safely be said to have never been said by anybody with the possible exception of Jonah Goldberg.) However, the speech could have been even worse:
Tag: "2012 Republican Primary"
Hopefully Paul-curious progressives heard the bit where kindly old Ron Paul noted that “South Carolina is known for their respect for liberty.” This is a good summation of the kinds of liberty paleocons value — the liberty to secede and kill to protect the liberty to own human property, the liberty to disenfranchise African-Americans and deny them access to state services…
It’s still great that we have Newt around as a moralizing blowhard working to keep America’s traditional values sacrosanct by ensuring that marriage is between one man, one woman, his congressional aides, his geometry teachers, someone he just met at a wine&cheese social….
Also, I’m pretty sure that asking for an “open marriage” retroactively doesn’t count.
I understand that I have been admonished to not write about such trivialities, but having come across Larry Johnson interrupting his search for the Whitey Tape to give his reaction to the news that GOP sixth-stringer Jon Hunstman is dropping out, I can’t resist quoting:
What do you think? Is this a “game changer?”
Clearly, Matt Bai notwithstanding, Huntsman failed to “close the deal” with the Republican electorate, which thew him “under the bus.” On “steroids”! I’m sure Hunstman’s six remaining supporters will really “bite the bullet” and “give 110%” to Mittens.
This is the kind of thing I’m referring to when I say that it’s absurd to deny that Romney is a mortal lock, whether he narrowly wins or loses South Carolina. There are serious campaigns for the Republican nomination, and there are campaigns that fail to get on the ballot in major states, and there’s certainly no overlap in these categories.
A new group that hopes to tap into a rising appetite for a third-party presidential challenger has discovered that $30 million in secret cash can buy ballot access and attention, but not necessarily a dream candidate.
The group, Americans Elect, failed to generate interest in possible campaigns from Sens. Joe Lieberman and Lamar [! -- ed.] Alexander, and its intensive outreach to a host of other prospective candidates, including former Nebraska Sens. Chuck Hagel and Bob Kerrey, hasn’t yielded much public enthusiasm for its efforts.
We know Huntsman’s place in the political universe now: to be mentioned every four years among other conservative hacks with no constituency by whatever Broderite or PUMA is trying to start up a Pain Caucus third party candidacy.
It’s a little strange to see people who inveigh against Obama’s healthcare compromises wave away, as a detail, Paul’s opposition to any government involvement in healthcare. In Ron Paul’s America, if you weren’t prudent enough or wealthy enough to buy private insurance—and the exact policy that covers what’s ailing you now—you find a charity or die. And if civil liberties are so important, how can Paul’s progressive fans overlook his opposition to abortion and his signing of the personhood pledge, which could ban many birth control methods? Last time I checked, women were half the population (the less important half, apparently). Technically, Paul would overturn Roe and let states make their own laws regulating women’s bodies, up to and including prosecuting abortion as murder. Add in his opposition to basic civil rights law—he maintains his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and opposes restrictions on the “freedom” of business owners to refuse service to blacks—and his hostility to the federal government starts looking more and more like old-fashioned Southern-style states’ rights. No wonder they love him over at Stormfront, a white-supremacist website with neo-Nazi tendencies. In a multiple-choice poll of possible effects of a Paul presidency, the most popular answer by far was “Paul will implement reforms that increase liberty which will indirectly benefit White Nationalists.” And let’s not forget his other unsavory fan base, Christian extremists who want to execute gays, adulterers and “insubordinate children.” Paul’s many connections with the Reconstructionist movement, going back decades, are laid out on AlterNet by Adele Stan, who sees him as a faux libertarian whose real agenda is not individualism but to prevent the federal government from restraining the darker impulses at work at the state and local levels.
His foreign policy has the same problem; “nothing should be done” will produce more good outcomes when applied to foreign policy than applied to domestic policy, but a monomaniacal isolationism that would end foreign aid and pull the U.S. out of multilateral organizations isn’t a desirable approach by any means. And, yes, yes, since several commenters ignored this when I said it the first time, a hypothetical President Paul would not in fact succeed in fully realizing his vision of restoring the Articles of Confederation. But then he wouldn’t succeed in ending the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs either. Most drug prosecutions are state, not federal — abuses would get worse under the supervision of the neoconfederate cranks Paul would appoint to the federal bench — and Jon Walker’s argument notwithstanding if he tried to use power delegated by Congress to the executive branch to unilaterally end the WoSCoPWUSD, Congress would end the delegation by veto-proof majorities posthaste. Its incidental arrival at a few good positions notwithstanding, Ron Paul’s worldview exceptionally dangerous and reactionary.
it turns out he’s somewhat opposed, if we can interpret “social programs led to the collapse of the British Empire” and “the British National Healthcare system is a devastating program that makes it dependent” as opposition. A couple summers ago I wrote a post here about the NHS, including notes comparing the per-capita GDP spent on health care (hint: it’s higher in the US), comparing outcome metrics (hint: better in the UK), and my own personal experience with the Health Service. All of which, charitably, is somewhat in disagreement with Santorum’s observations.
I love it when desperate politicians make shit up. Especially the line about how Thatcher lamented that the Health Service proved to be the reason that she “was never able to do what Reagan did to this country”.
Speaking of making shit up, I’m live on BBC radio within the hour. I wonder what they want?
David Brooks has an argument that the co-winner of yesterday’s caucuses is a different type of conservatism. Unlike that upper-class swell Mitt Romney, you see, Santorum offers a frothy agenda directed towards the white working class. He cares about poverty, really! This may seem like an odd argument to make about a candidate who compares Medicaid and food stamps to fascism, and indeed it is. I would refute it, only that Brooks conveniently refutes it himself:
He is not a representative of the corporate or financial wing of the party. Santorum certainly wants to reduce government spending (faster even than Representative Paul Ryan). He certainly wants tax reform. But he goes out of his way in his speeches to pick fights with the “supply-siders.” He scorns the Wall Street bailouts. His economic arguments are couched as values arguments: If you want to enhance long-term competitiveness, you need to strengthen families. If companies want productive workers, they need to be embedded in wholesome communities.
So Santorum is even more reactionary on economic issues than Paul ‘throw grandma from the train” Ryan, wanting to do even more to shred America’s already threadbare safety net. When you hear a Republican use the “tax reform” euphemism you know they’re talking about massive upper-class tax cuts (very partially) funded by spending cuts piled on the working class, and this is indeed exactly what Santorum supports. So how on earth can Brooks argue that Santorum is the representative of the working class? Well, while your ordinary Chamber of Commerce type might be inclined to leave the sex lives of his impoverished and servile workers alone, Santorum wants the government less involved in the social welfare business but much more involved in the imposing reactionary cultural values business. Oh.
As Ed Kilgore says, the idea that Santorum is too much of a bleeding heart might be the excuse that GOP elites use as they act to suppress his candidacy, but substantively it’s a massive fraud. It’s the old Michael Gerson routine — dressing up bog-standard supply-side Republican economics with alleged concern about the poor. Alas, empty rhetoric won’t put food on anyone’s table or pay their medical bills.