In An Asylum Full of Napoleons, He’s the One Convinced He’s Joan of Arc

Over at Making Light, I’ve been taking part in a spirited discussion of the Ron Paul Phenomenon. It’s good to know I’m not the only person baffled by the popularity of this Libertarian Kook (and among otherwise liberal folk, too!) Seriously, do we need another religious nut from Texas with a hard on for an unrestrained Free Market in the White House? Just because he’s ostensibly against the Iraq War doesn’t make him sane. It just makes him the most lucid weirdo in the GOP.*

I was all set to let it go– after all, Ron Paul hasn’t got a chance of winning the GOP nod, since he’s not for torture or inventing a time machine for the sole purpose of nuking Iran last Tuesday (all positions espoused by the likely candidate, Rudy Giuliani). But then Glen Greenwald had to jump in and defend Ron Paul’s honor:

It has become fashionable among certain commentators to hurl insults at Ron Paul such as ” huge weirdo,” “ fruitcake,” and the like. Interestingly, the same thing was done to another anti-war medical doctor/politician, Howard Dean, back in 2003, as Charles Krauthammer infamously pronounced with regard to Dean that “it’s time to check on thorazine supplies.” Krauthammer subsequently said that “[i]t looks as if Al Gore has gone off his lithium again.” For a long time now, I’ve heard a lot of people ask: “where are the principled conservatives?” — meaning those on the Right who are willing to oppose the constitutional transgressions and abuses of the Bush administration without regard to party loyalty. A “principled conservative” isn’t someone who agrees with liberals on most issues; that would make them a “principled liberal.” A “principled conservative” is someone who aggressively objects to the radicalism of the neocons and the Bush/Cheney assault on our constitution and embraces a conservative political ideology. That’s what Ron Paul is, and it’s hardly a surprise that he holds many views anathema to most liberals. That hardly makes him a “fruitcake.”

You’re right Glen. What makes Ron Paul a fruitcake is his desire to shut down the Department of Education, revoke Civil Rights, return us to the Gold Standard and use Letters of Marque and Reprisal to catch terrorists. His bid to defend the right to burn flags by proposing an amendment to make burning flags illegal and then arguing against his own amendment is just… no that’s nutty, too. Never mind.

I can disagree with a principled conservative. I’ve had civil discussions with reasonable pro-lifers, advocates of small government and even Hawks of a sensible nature. But no one in the current Republican Party is a principled conservative. Torture Porn enthusiast? You bet! Belligerent Jesus freak? Most of them. Closeted homosexual? very likely. Reasonable does not describe Ron Paul and conservative does only because it’s devalued into a catchall phrase for the assorted group of crazies and drooling fiends that define themselves primarily by being against evolution. Not the concept, but the practice. The GOP wants us to become static individuals, living in some fantasy Beaver Cleaver world of their own feverish devising. And Ron Paul is right htere, playing the friendly family doctor who only stays friendly so long as you shut up and do as your betters tell you.

Ron Paul views women as baby making machines. He wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. He wants to put us back on the fucking Gold standard! The Gold standard! And just because misogyny, sex-phobia and Jesus are planks of the GOP platform doesn’t make them reasonable areas of dispute. That we accept it as such just illustrates how far around the bend we’ve slid when it comes to acceptable discourse in politics.

Ron Paul may not be genuine Presidential material. But he does serve a useful purpose: dragging the boundaries of discourse way off into Cloud Cuckoo Land, where it becomes acceptable and even normal to debate the definition of torture, how much we hate and fear Muslims and whether or not we should revoke women’s rights to vote and control their own reproductive systems, or just banish them outright to the kitchen, along with minorities, so they can make the Good Doctor a home cooked meal and let him talk Man Talk with brandy and cigars, like he thinks he should.

25 thoughts on “In An Asylum Full of Napoleons, He’s the One Convinced He’s Joan of Arc”

  1. It is hard to tell among those posting on the internet who should be the inmate; for example the person who wrote this little essay.

    As a pro choice supporter of Ron Paul, I suggest you consider that eventually the federal government may criminalize abortion nationwide, while with Ron Paul you have the federal government out of the equation totally with the net result that some states would be legal and some illegal, keeping choice only a round trip ticket away.

    If you do not understand the difference between commodity money like gold and silver, and easily inflatable printing press money like federal reserve notes, then you are beyond even what could be done for you at the asylum, and deserve to be paying ever increasing prices with ever depreciating money for the necessities of your life.

  2. “He wants to put us back on the fucking Gold standard! The Gold standard!”

    Do you even know anything about the gold standard?

    And for the record the abortion issue is still a 50/50 split in this country, you even state that you’ve “had civil discussions with reasonable pro-lifers”, but then go to say that “Ron Paul views women as baby making machines. He wants to overturn Roe v. Wade”. So are all of us pro-lifers loons then?

    How does advocating the relegalizing gold and silver crazy? I was watching CNBC the other day and 1/2 of them were on board, what’s your problem?

  3. …with the net result that some states would be legal and some illegal, keeping choice only a round trip ticket away.

    Because women who need abortions can always afford round trip tickets to… were, exactly?

    In the days before Roe v Wade, women had to go to Canada, Europe or Mexico or if they couldn’t afford to travel, would get cheep, back alley abortions. So Paul is not so much anti abortion as pro coat hanger. Awesome! Sign me up for his newsletter!

  4. The author of this piece is wildly off-base in lumping Ron Paul in with all of the other Republican presidential candidates and their Neocon-Christo-Fascist demagogery. “Revoke civil rights”? That’s what we have NOW, and is exactly what Ron Paul wants to change and restore! And regarding torture, Ron Paul was the only one to completely renounce and condemn it as unAmerican.

    Please, educate yourself a bit better about the man before casually dismissing him. You may just like what you find.

  5. Oh, well, if CNBC is on board…

    If we switch to a precious metals based economy, it would bankrupt the country as the dollar, currently in it’s devalued state, would loose real value, causing massive inflation and a recession, if not a second Depression. The only reason we haven’t entered a recession yet is because the Fed keeps interest rates down. On the Gold Standard, there would be no Fed and no control over rates. If the dollar falls in value, it just falls, Canadians laugh at us and then we all get in the bread line. So yeah, sounds like fun.

  6. Hey Keith, ‘grats on getting the RonPaulers to run out of the woodwork.

    As a female, still gotta wonder WTF is up with men obsessed with abortions. As far as that subject goes, I figure if you don’t got a uterus, you better shut up.

  7. What I find bemusing at times is how many claims are made of the “Ron Paul is the only one who does X” variety by his supporters that not only aren’t true, they don’t require very much effort to disprove. Ron Paul isn’t the only candidate who’s consistently been against the Iraq War: Kucinich was to start with, Gravel was to start with, Obama has been from the time he’s been in national politics (which was post-war, remember). Ron Paul certainly isn’t the only one who’s stridently spoken out against torture: McCain frequently does; Obama called it a “betrayal of American values.” Paul isn’t even the only candidate who carries around a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution (Chris Dodd does).

    I’m not advocating either a for or against position on Paul, per se, but… as I said, it’s bemusing. The positions that seem to attract non-libertarians to him are ones that *aren’t* unique to Paul; the positions that truly *are* unique to Paul — advocacy of the gold standard, fear that continental trade agreements are a precursor to an EU-like common currency, championing of state power over federal power even in cases when the state power may be used to oppress individual rights — are, well, positions I’m not sure most people really look for in a president.

    (And, anyone who wants to lecture me on how I just don’t understand the gold standard: first, tell me what deflation is, why ‘commodity’ money like a fully gold-backed bill encourages it, and why it’s something we want to avoid. If you don’t understand the genuine arguments for *not* being on the gold standard, you don’t understand it either, bubka.)

  8. Unfortunately, the one unifying factor that unites Ron Paul supporters is their fascination with his uniqueness as an anti-war Republican. That and the alas, unfortunate shallowness of the American voting public means no one looks below the surface to see what flavor of crazy lies underneath.

  9. I’d add that being called ‘loony’ by Krauthammer is an honor shared by many people; it’s just his way of saying ‘poopy head’. Krauthammer is an incredible example of freudian projection.

  10. I will vote for the candidate who promises this:

    “Our current electoral process is, due to a number of factors that have magnified greatly since the days of the Founding Fathers, trundled towards a dangerous precipice. One where “compromise” and “listening to the opposition” are considered offenses worthy of stoning.”

    “I propose to change that. If I win the election, I promise my opponent that he will have access to the White House, and access to Executive Office funds to create a team of advisors, mirroring the Presidential Cabinet. On every substantial issue that comes before me as President, he will be asked to provide a reasoned opinion. Where doing so does not compromise the security of the nation, he will have access to information he might not otherwise get.”

    “Every second Wednesday that I’m in office, there will be a two hour block of time for my opponent, with his staff of advisors, to bring me up to speed on issues of concern to their side of the political aisle.”

    “The Presidency of the United States is too important for partisanship. I urge my opponent to make the reciprocal pledge, in the event that he wins.”

  11. We already have this, Ken. It’s called Congress. At least, in theory that’s how it’s supposed to work. But somewhere along the line the GOP decided that they could rig the system by being partisan all the time and the Dems decided to go along with it, so they could keep their place as Princes and princesses of their little fiefdoms. So long as they don’t loose any power, they don’t care how vile, despicable and backhanded the republicans are, or how much they destroy in their bid for power.

    Bipartisanship is an agreement to share power. neither side is willing to do that so, no compromise.

  12. We are somewhere between 0 and 4 presidential election cycles from a set of circumstances where, to leave office is to open oneself up for hounding on charges, imprisonment and worse.

    (Think of how many people you know who’d pay good money to be in the witness box to see George Bush or Dick Cheney hauled up on Nuremburg charges).

    The line will be crossed in the name of justice. It always is.

    The end result will be single party rule, followed by a tyranny, followed by a revolution.

    I’m a moderate Republican by my own biases. The sort who understands that the power to tax and the power to fund is also the power to destroy, who believes firmly in local controls and small government for the people, by the people, with a minimal load of federal intrusion.

    I don’t have words to describe how outraged I have become by the GOP during the last 12 years – this problem started back in ’95-’96.

    I keep wishing that I could get a small government candidate without the zealotry. I keep wishing I could get a SCOTUS that understands that the Commerce Clause is a restriction against states enacting tarriffs against each other, not an open door for creeping federal influence.

  13. I think you’re right, Ken. And at this point, I’d settle for a moderate conservative, if just to have someone who wasn’t fucking nuts in the white house. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening any time soon. It’s a shame though.

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