Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jon Stewart wonders how Ron Paul became the 13th floor in the media's hotel

We do live in a bizarre political universe, don't we?

Ron Paul being ignored isn't new-- this is, basically, the same thing that happened in 2008's presidential election. There's just something extra creepy and ironic about it given that, as Stewart mentions, Paul was the seed of the grassroots movement known as the Tea Party....that is, in the roughly two seconds before it was co-opted by conservatives who were simply bitter that a Democrat became president. Though they yell about small government and wave copies of the Constitution, these have not been Ron Paul's people for a very long time. They are Sarah Palin's people, Michele Bachmann's people, Rick Perry's people....Fox News' people.

Remember the last election when Paul got up on stage in the Republican debates and gobsmacked Romney, McCain, and Giuliani by frankly declaring that the U.S. had no business invading the Middle East and that the entire military enterprise over there is a waste of lives and trillions of dollars that the country can't afford?  He's still doing it, and it still makes his competitors look bad because it draws direct attention to the fact that the military industrial complex is the single biggest waste of government funding and no one who can supports it can pretend to support small government, let alone decreasing the national debt.  That remains true today, only it's doubly odd given that Paul's competitors are people who claim to belong to the ideological movement he founded. The crazy, kooky, small-government-at-any-cost folks whom people like Bachmann now claim to represent.

So it's no wonder that people are ignoring Paul, as they did before. It sure isn't because he's crazy-- not with people like Bachmann, Santorum, and Perry on the stage. And it sure isn't because he's comparatively marginal, given his performance in the straw polls. It's because he's an embarrassment to people who pretend to subscribe to the ideals to which he actually subscribes.  He is, for the most part, bullshit-free....whereas everyone else is full of it.

Am I a Ron Paul supporter? Nope. Being a non-bullshitter doesn't mean that you're consistent, let alone about principles that are worth having. Paul is not even a consistent states' rights advocate, and I would not support a states' rights advocate. He claims to want to leave things up to the states, but has tried repeatedly to get abortion banned at a national level and has supported DOMA. The best things about him are his stalwart condemnation of the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq and all of the civil liberties violations that followed 9/11 in the name of security, and his firm belief that the federal war on drugs is a mistake which should be brought to an end as soon as possible. I will cheer for those causes regardless of who will carry their banners, and Paul has carried them dedicatedly for a very long time. But if you're going to run on principle and ask people to trust your consistency, by golly you had better live up to those...and Paul doesn't.

Still, Jon Stewart is absolutely right-- this pretending that Paul doesn't exist is simultaneously laughable and abhorrent, and is a shocking display of bias on the part of all media involved.

1 comment:

  1. There are two related questions that I constantly trip over. 1) Why does Ron Paul still caucus with the Republicans? and 2) If he named himself an Independent in the House, wouldn't he be in a better position to bring about the changes he wants both there, and as a Presidential candidate?

    Ross Perot got to take part in several debates, you know.


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