WHAT I HAVE, DAVID, IS GILDED AGE DERANGEMENT SYNDROME
This David Sirota post about Ron Paul starts bad and eventually gets much, much worse:
It’s rather sad that nearly every article written by a non-libertarian about Ron Paul begins with a disclaimer that the writer is not endorsing Paul for president. Yet, with a virulent case of Ron Paul Derangement Syndrome plaguing partisan Obama loyalists, it bears repeating if only to preempt future mischaracterizations and slander: I am not endorsing Ron Paul for president.
Does every strong disagreement have to be turned into a "derangement syndrome"? Is it just not acceptable to say that certain people's ideas are abhorrent? I think the complete evisceration of the Great Society, the New Deal, and the Progressive Era would be utterly cataclysmic for this country. Am I not supposed to say that because it hurts the feelings of Glenn Greenwald and David Sirota?
Sirota has one reasonable point to make:
... In seeing Paul's economic views, positions on a woman's right to choose, regulatory ideas and ties to racist newsletters as disqualifying factors for their electoral support, many self-identified liberal Obama supporters are essentially deciding that, for purposes of voting, those set of issues are simply more important to them than the issues of war, foreign policy, militarism, Wall Street bailouts, surveillance, police power and civil liberties -- that is, issues in which Paul is far more progressive than the sitting president....
By contrast, Paul's progressive-minded supporters are simply taking the other position -- they are basically saying that, for purposes of voting, President Obama's record on militarism, civil liberties, foreign policy, defense budgets and bailouts are more disqualifying than Paul's newsletter, economics and regulatory positions.... And just as Obama supporters shouldn’t pretend they aren't expressing their preferences, Paul’s supporters shouldn't do that either. Their support of the Republican congressman is a statement of personal priorities within the larger progressive agenda.
Fine. I am expressing a preference for liberal economics, even in damaged, vestigial form, because economic inequality is the most important issue for me. Democrats may not be reducing inequality, but Republicanism will cause it to metastasize rapidly, and Paulism would make it increase so fast we wouldn't know what hit us.
But Sirota loses me completely when he writes this:
... in terms of realpolitik, there's a strong case to be made that Paul's progressive-minded supporters understand something that Obama's supporters either can't or don't want to: namely, that a presidential election is a vote for president, not a vote to elect the entire federal government. As such, when faced with candidates whom you agree with on some issues and totally disagree with on other issues, it's perfectly rational -- and wholly pragmatic -- to consider one's own multifaceted policy preferences in the context of what a prospective president will have the most unilateral power to actually enact.
With Paul, it just so happens that most of the ultra-progressive parts of his platform (and legislative career) correspond to the presidential powers that are most unilateral in nature....
By contrast, the policy areas where Paul is most at odds with progressives are the areas Congress has far more control over — specifically, budgets and regulatory statutes....
Is Sirota nuts? We're almost certain to elect two GOP-majority houses of Congress in 2012 and he thinks Ron Paul, as president, would have a harder time getting his economic policies enacted?
If Paul somehow got elected president, Republican extremists in Congress would gleefully join with him in dismantling the government and poking holes in the social safety net. It would be post-2010 Wisconsin or Florida or Ohio on a national scale, except with a full-on libertarian rather than a semi-libertarian in the Walker/Scott/Kasich role. Do you really want to find out how much damage the teabaggers in Congress can do with Ron Paul giving them cover? Is legal dope and the curtailment of wars and surveillance really worth so much to you that you're willing to risk that? That you're willing to risk the nuclear option in the war against the middle class and the poor?
I make no apologies for arguing against that.
SEE ALSO: BooMan on Ron Paul, Glenn Greenwald, and Matt Stoller. A brief excerpt:
If you look at Ron Paul's political philosophy in toto, you'll realize that Paul basically opposes every progressive accomplishment since about 1913. I've never heard him oppose female suffrage, but he'd like to roll back just about every other thing the federal government has done since the creation of the Federal Reserve. The only way a progressive can reach the point where their beliefs converge with Ron Paul's is if they've basically given up on this country and on progressivism.