So over the course of the past few days a sort of story arc has unfolded, where on the arc we are at now is anyone's guess, but here is my take.
Due to the absolutely terrible field that developed in response to Romney's candidacy, Ron Paul, one of the principal actors in our drama, snuck under the radar up until it became obvious he might take Iowa and gain a lot more exposure.
Now we're all a bunch of good liberals/progressives/communists/americans here, and every single one of us knows that the establishment it terribly corrupt.
You do not ever see national press coverage dedicated to ending abuses of power. Sure, you have to catch a predator, but you never see Chris Hansen busting a business cartel for conspiring to dump toxic waste into poor neighborhoods to generate a profit. Our media is deferential to power, this is not controversial.
A slew of media attention has focused on racist things that Paul has said, or written, or allowed to be written. I do not disagree with this, but I am surprised by the level of vitriol that Paul's alleged racism inspires.
Mitt Romney is about 1 million times more racist than Paul, if only because Romney see's no problem with the police state and its racist motivations, whereas Ron Paul - to quote another counterpunch article:
"has called for ending the drug war and said he would pardon non-violent offenders, which would be the single greatest reform a president could make in the domestic sphere, equivalent in magnitude to ending Jim Crow."
So I just want to say that by default I am much more offended by Romney's racism than I am Paul's, though that is not to say I am not concerned, I would however prefer that so many minorities were not in jail. That sentiment however, gets no such visceral reaction in the media or even in the blogs where everyone already knows that Romney is racist.
All of this is happening under a backdrop of absolutely unprecedented coverage given to Republican candidates on the Dailykos. I will not link to everything, but during the debates vast amounts of bandwidth became dedicated to covering every inane moment and ever banal scene. After the debates, even more diaries and posts have been written about the ideology of all of the 'serious' candidates, with Ron Paul receiving about equal coverage as everyone else in the batshit field.
So what makes the reaction, such as in Bob Johnson's post about the recent explosion in Ron Paul posts.
It is really puzzling to me why anyone who calls her/himself a progressive would do anything, in any way to promote Ron Paul and his worldview because his world view is an anathema to progressive thinking:
He is sick, racist, anti-Semitic lunatic. He's a John Bircher, and for those too young to remember the heyday of that sick, sad, racist organization, I can only say, "SNAP OUT OF IT!"
This is not because of Ron Paul, but because someone is talking about and criticizing Ron Paul:
Although Ron Paul has argued that racism is at the heart of the war on drugs, in practice his radical federalism would still allow states to wage it. As Robin points out, only about 10% of the 2 million prisoners in this country are in federal prisons. What is rhetorical opposition to racist polices worth if it's trumped by a Thurmond-like devotion to States Rights? More than nothing but not much -- not nearly as much as left-liberal opposition to the drug war.
Yes, that is what Bob Johnson claims is 'promoting/highlighting' Ron Paul.
The latest round seems concerned with Ron Paul's views on women, as Vyan's diary illustrates.
From that diary is the money quote, a transcript from Ron Paul being interviewed by Chris Wallace:
You wrote this, “Why don’t” — this is about the victims of sexual harassment. “Why don’t they quit once the so-called harassment starts? Obviously, the morals of the harasser cannot be defended, but how can the harassee escape some responsibility for the problem?”
Clearly, Ron Paul has an ancient view on sexual harassment. Also AIDS.
That being said... when you have the President blowing up innocent people in foreign countries, is it appropriate to ask which is worse?
It's easy to say that since its a difference between foreign policy and domestic social policy, that we have to weigh things differently. The visceral outrage unleashed by the President signing the NDAA bill and enshrining indefinite detention into law, however proves that foreign policy directly affects domestic policy even if indirectly.
Now this is where we are: given all this it is apparent that the people reacting to liberal discussion about Ron Paul, such asDavid Atkins, do not have a fundamental grasp of civil liberties.
I make this assertion based on this: the democratic base, ever since regaining congressional power in 2006, has slowly but surely embraced and eaten from the apple of executive power.
The drone campaign receives no denunciations from Obama supporters, and in fact diaries condemning drones usually devolve into 'pie fights' over the President at the very best.
To the democratic/obama base, civil liberties issues are as equal in importance as environmentalism (little based on the political implications), consumer protection, veteran's affairs, and women's rights - all malleable to political compromise though not totally expendable.
This is a wrongheaded approach to understanding civil liberties, just as understanding healthcare as an economic good is a wrongheaded way to understand healthcare period.
If you properly understand civil liberties, then you properly understand the following:
Bombs in the sky
If you properly understand civil liberties, you will understand that America, under the direction of President Obama andthe acclaim of Dick Cheney, has imposed a social order of violence upon sovereign societies in Middle Eastern countries.
The national security state is almost irrelevant: it only exists, and the abuses it spawns because it exists, because of America's foreign policy decisions ie violence.
If a Pakistani family loses several loved ones to drone attacks, and you were confronted with them right there, you cannot tell me that you would be able to credibility defend your decision to support Obama's use of drones with feeling a part of your heart die in the process.
So for Stoller, Greenwald,Young, Scheer, and Sullivan, who DO understand, in various degrees, the implications of an American foreign policy whose primary instrument is brutal, swift violence, they cannot simply fold their 'issue' away as if it can be subordinated to electoral victory.
Reacting as if the civil liberties folks - in the words of Atkins vaguely paraphrased, have a mania for their 'issue' is ignoring the fundamental importance of civil liberties to American society.
Having no civil liberties makes us Korea on a bad day and Iran on a good one.
So where we are now is trying to understand how President Barack Obama - the man who sank the candidacy of Hillary Clinton based on the Iraq War, can so aggressively pursue the neocon agenda of endless war in foreign countries, and why all of a sudden a libertarian of all folks is making more foreign policy sense that our nobel prize winning President.
Clearly, Greenwald is not going to vote for Paul. Neither is Stoller or Scheer, or I or anyone here.
For that reason alone, trying to shut people down for partisan 'disloyalty' is inappropriate. For that reason alone people should be allowed to discuss alternatives to Obama is only because that's the only kind of talk that ever moves politicians.
But even if you disagree with that, it's clear that Ron Paul's greatest strength is that he reveals Obama's greatest weakness: is deference to power, and open embrace of endless war.
12:24 AM PT: And here come the HR's...