Better Than Obama: Whey the Establishment is Terrified of Ron Paul
It’s fascinating to watch the long knives coming out for Texas
Republican Rep. Ron Paul, now that according to some mainstream polls he
has become the front-running candidate in the Jan. 3 GOP caucus race in
Iowa, and perhaps also in the first primary campaign in New Hampshire.
Remember, we’re talking about a guy who has been in Congress on and
off for 12 terms, dating back to 1976. His views have been pretty
consistent, and because he has run for president several times, also
pretty well known.
A practicing physician who claims to have helped in
the births of over 4000 babies in his career, the 76-year-old Paul is a
free-market advocate, an abortion opponent, an uncompromising defender
of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, an opponent of government
regulation, the Federal Reserve and the IRS, and of big government in
general--especially big federal government.
What’s interesting is what he’s being attacked for: being a racist, being “anti-Israel” and being an isolationist.
The racist bit is funny. After all, if we’re honest, the whole
political infrastructure of the US is riven with racism.
Just check out
the public schools in any urban area, where you’ll find most of the
students are non-white, or check out the schools in rural parts of the
southeast in areas where most of the students are black -- compare the
condition of those schools and the class sizes to schools in the white
Check out the wildly different jobless figures for whites
and for blacks. Check out the (very pale) complexion of the student
bodies at just about any state university, check out the skin tones of
the judges on the US Supreme Court, or for that matter, the whole
Check out the racial breakdown of the nation’s jails,
and especially on the country’s many death rows, where you’ll find a
wildly outsized percentage of people with black or brown skin waiting to
be killed by the state.
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It’s fine to pass laws and push for enforcement actions and “tough”
judges that end up putting most young African-American males in prison
at some point in their lives. It’s okay to promote a “War” on drugs that
ends up creating a whole new slavery in the form of black men locked up
in for-profit prisons. It’s okay to shortchange minority school
districts. You just aren’t supposed to say you’re doing these things on
Ron Paul says he'd end the wars, end the drug "war" and "war" on terror, and respect the Bill of Rights. Who else would do that?
When it comes to Ron Paul, his problem is that he has allowed his
supporters and his newsletters and campaign literature in years past to
actually say things in public that other candidates only say, or think,
in private, or that are the actual result of legislation that they
sponsor or support, though always supposedly without the intent being
the racist thing that is a consequence (wink, wink).
Some of those things Paul has said or allowed in his literature,
like the line in one of his newsletters that the race riots in Los
Angeles only ended when it came time for people to “pick up their
welfare checks,” are truly offensive, and if he wants to be a serious
contender for office, Paul should publicly and forcefully disavow them
and the people who have expressed them in his name or on his behalf, as
he should forcefully denounce any white racists and anti-semites who
offer him support (his statements to date that he "doesn't agree" with
such people, or "doesn't like" their support are far too limp).
it’s worth noting that with all the charges floating around that he
hangs out with white supremacist types, Nelson Linder, president of the
Austin, Texas NAACP, says he has known Ron Paul for 20 years, and
reports that he is “not a racist.” Linder notes that Paul has called
Martin Luther King a “hero,” and adds that he has condemned the police
repression of black communities as well as the mandatory sentencing
rules (supported by Democrats and Republicans over the years) that have
condemned many blacks to long prison terms for minor offenses--concrete
positions that you will not hear coming from either Obama or any of
Paul’s competitors for the GOP nomination.
In fact, if we’re talking racist guilt-by-association, then the
media’s favorite Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, should be hearing
demands that he renounce his Mormon faith, as the Mormon scriptures
state that the “seed of Cain” were made black in what amounts to a
racist curse by the Mormon god. So should fellow Mormon Jon Huntsman.
(Even if the Mormon church “received” blacks in 1978, many of its
adherents remain white supremacists, and many of its priests continue to
oppose inter-racial marriage.) Rick Perry, meanwhile, should have to
sever his ties with white supremacist Christian evangelist David Barton.
As for Newt Gingrich condemning Paul for hanging around with racists,
talk about your pot calling the kettle racist!
Then there is the foreign policy stuff.
Ron Paul is being called anti-American, both by some of his rivals
for the Republican presidential nomination, and increasingly even by
fearful Democrats who are starting to wonder, and apparently worry,
about how Paul might fare against Barack Obama in the 2012 general
election. The basis for this claim is Paul’s argument that the 9-11
attacks on the US were the predictable result of the history of American
imperialist activity in the Middle East, and his claim that President
George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were gleeful after that
attack because it allowed them to go to war against Afghanistan and
The thing is, while you aren’t supposed to say it in polite company,
Ron Paul is right about that. You don’t have to buy into conspiracy
theories claiming that 9-11 was an “inside job” to see that Middle
Eastern terror campaigns against the US were the predictable result --
blow-back if you will -- of a history of US imperialism in the Middle
East and elsewhere, or of what Native American activist Ward Churchill
rightly referred to as “chickens coming home to roost.” And we have it
from a member of Bush’s own cabinet, former Treasury Secretary Paul
O’Neill, that planning for an invasion and occupation of Iraq was in the
works before Bush was even sworn into office in January 2001, while
work on the fine print of the so-called USA PATRIOT Act was underway
well before the first plane hit the first tower.
Paul is being labeled an “isolationist” (a hoary term that is
supposedly a pejorative, dating back to World War I days, but which
these days should actually be considered a compliment). The basis for
this charge is that he calls for an end to America’s endless wars and to
the fraudulent and enormously dangerous and damaging “War” on Terror.
He also says he wants to close down the over 800 military bases that the
US operates all around the world. Again, what has his establishment
critics in high dudgeon is that his perspective is winning over an
increasing number of Americans (including Republicans), who are finally
waking up to the reality that a country that spends more than half of
every tax dollar on its military, its wars, the debt for those wars, and
on its secret spying operations, and that has itself on a permanent war
footing, cannot prosper or even long endure.
Also making Ron Paul a pariah for the establishment is his position
on Israel. He rightly points out and condemns the terrible distortion of
US foreign policy that has occurred because of the unseemly power of
the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S., which has most members of Congress in
the pocket of the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). As he
put it in a 2007 interview:
“The First Amendment grants all citizens the right to petition the U.S.
government, and this applies to AIPAC as much as anyone else. However, I
oppose certain lobbying groups having more of an undue influence than
others, and since one of the main purposes of AIPAC is to lobby for
generous taxpayer subsidies to Israel, that portion of their influence
would end under my administration.”
But the truth is: What other country can you name which is almost
totally dependent upon the US for its military, yet can nonetheless make
threats to use its US-supplied weapons to start a potential global war
(by invading Iran), with Washington left pleading with it not to take
such an action? There is no other such country. Any other country
dependent upon the US for its military weapons has to march to US orders
or else. While we’re at it, what other lobby can you name that has had
spies working for it, including spies in the Pentagon who have gone to
jail for disclosing US military secrets, and which nonetheless remains a
prime venue for presidential candidates to come and speak? Answer:
There is no other such lobby.
Israel can even murder an American citizen, as it did in 2010 in the
case of unarmed 19-year-old humanitarian volunteer Furkan Dogan on the
Turkish Gaza aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, and there isn’t a peep of
protest from Washington (the White House actually tried to bury a report
from the Turkish national forensic medicine body declaring that their
tests showed Dogan had been executed by IDF bullets fired at his head at
close range). Indeed, Israel was able to announce in advance that it
planned to have its IDF thugs board ships of a second aid flotilla
carrying many unarmed American citizens, and instead of warning Israel
not to harm any of those Americans, Washington warned the Americans that
they were putting themselves at risk. Our government even gave Israel
the go-ahead in advance to have its boarding parties use violence
against those US citizens.
What has Paul’s critics, right and left, worried is that a
growing number of Americans agree with his view of Israel, seeing
support of that increasingly isolated irredentist theocracy with its
ongoing illegal occupation and absorption of Palestinian territories,
and its official policy of apartheid towards the Arabs within its
borders as being inimitable to American interests.
There are plenty of things wrong with Ron Paul, but the charge of
racism doesn’t hold up very well, and in any case, it's a charge that
can be leveled equally against most of the rest of the nation’s white
political leaders, and is hardly a disqualifier, judging by the people
who currently hold high office in Washington, not to mention state
governments. As for his anti-Israel stance and his isolationist foreign
policy, these are both positives and could end up winning him votes in
an honest national presidential race--if we still have such things here
Where I part company with Paul is in the area of economics. His
Libertarian philosophy may be right on when it comes to support for
individual rights, and to a belief in strict adherence to the
Constitution. We desperately need a radical pull-back from the
unconstitutional policies of the Bush and Obama administrations, which
have made the president into a virtual dictator, relegated Congress to
the role of a debating society, gutted at least nine of the 10 articles
in the Bill of Rights, and overseen the creation of a police state where
it is now possible for American citizens to be captured and hauled away
from their homes in secret, to be locked up and held indefinitely
without trial on some military base on the basis of unproven rumors and
trumped-up charges, with no right to see family members or even a
But Libertarianism is not so great when it calls for an end to
federal regulation of corporations, however large and powerful, or when
it says the federal government should do nothing when the entire
planetary biosphere is threatened by rampaging climate change caused by
the rapacious and unbridled pursuit of profit and growth by those same
It’s not so great either when it opposes, as Paul does, legislation
like the Civil Rights Act on the grounds that private employers and
owners of private shops and restaurants should have the right to
discriminate on the basis of race if they wish, free of government
Libertarianism is at its core an ugly anti-social philosophy of
selfishness carried to the extreme. It is the antithesis of all that has
been good in human social evolution -- the creation of philosophies of
caring and of societies in which suffering and want are addressed and,
where possible, ameliorated.
Interestingly though, Paul is not being pilloried by his
establishment critics in the GOP or the Democratic Party, or in the
media, for his Libertarian economic theories or even his far-out
property-rights theories. These are, after all, also quietly shared by
most people in both of the major parties, and of course are wildly
popular among the ranks of the corporate elite, who know they can always
get all the favors they want or need from politicians by buying them,
and who are happy to spout the gospel of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman
when it comes to government regulation of their businesses or taxation
of their personal hoards. Unfettered capitalism is also an article of
faith in the corporate media.
That said, sometimes it all comes down to a couple of big issues,
and in the unlikely chance that the election next November were to end
up being the choice between Barack Obama and Ron Paul (and assuming no
emergence of a viable Third Party progressive candidate like Rocky Anderson and his Justice Party),
while I might have a hard time pulling the lever for Paul unless he can
really make it clear he has no truck with White Supremacists and their
ilk, it would be easier than pulling a lever for Obama.
Why? Because with President Obama we would get more war, increased
military spending, and at the rate he’s been going stripping away our
Constitutional rights, there wouldn’t be any of those after another four
years. We would also be electing someone who we now know lies through
his teeth, who takes money from some of the biggest corporate thieves in
human history, and who has appointed some of those very criminals to
most or all of the key economic policy positions in his administration.
With Ron Paul as president, at least we’d be done with all the wars,
the people of the rest of the world would be finally free of US
military interference, including attacks by US drones. The
long-suffering Constitution and its Bill of Rights would mean something
again. We might even get a Supreme Court justice or two who actually
believed that Congress should declare any future wars before we could
fight them, and that citizens who were arrested had an absolute right to
a speedy trial by a jury of peers. And we’d be electing someone who
appears, especially for a politician, to be that rare thing: an honest
man who says what he means and means what he says -- and who doesn’t
seem to be owned by the banksters.
We’d have a hell of a fight on our hands in a Ron Paul presidency,
defending Social Security and Medicare, promoting economic equality,
fighting climate change and pollution, defending abortion rights and
maybe fighting a resurgence of Jim Crow in some parts of the country,
but at least we wouldn’t have to worry about being spied upon, beaten
and arrested and then perhaps shipped off to Guantanamo for doing it.