Today in my twitter stream was someone ranting about Glenn Greenwald and Katrina vanden Heuvel writing nice things about Ron Paul. In fact the person said both were RWNJs for supporting Paul. Of course the tweeter was wrong. Neither was supporting Paul only pointing out the ideas that Paul has that liberals usually support. I agree with most of what Greenwald writes but when talking about Ron Paul I disagree with his unstated conclusion.
Whatever else one wants to say, it is indisputably true that Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform — certainly the only major presidential candidate in either party — who advocates policy views on issues that liberals and progressives have long flamboyantly claimed are both compelling and crucial. The converse is equally true: the candidate supported by liberals and progressives and for whom most will vote — Barack Obama — advocates views on these issues (indeed, has taken action on these issues) that liberals and progressives have long claimed to find repellent, even evil.
From a civil libertarian stand point Ron Paul holds views opposite of President Obama and yes I read and hear a lot of liberals looking the other way. Greenwald has a valid point.
So potent is this poison that no inoculation against it exists. No matter how expressly you repudiate the distortions in advance, they will freely flow. Hence: I’m about to discuss the candidacies of Barack Obama and Ron Paul, and no matter how many times I say that I am not “endorsing” or expressing support for anyone’s candidacy, the simple-minded Manicheans and the lying partisan enforcers will claim the opposite. But since it’s always inadvisable to refrain from expressing ideas in deference to the confusion and deceit of the lowest elements, I’m going to proceed to make a couple of important points about both candidacies even knowing in advance how wildly they will be distorted.
It reminds me when Ralph Nader claimed in the 2000 election that the Democratic and Republican parties were too similar – which in the Occupy Wall Street era people now except that both parties are bought and paid for by the bankers – but in 2000 Nader was raked over the coals and blamed for Al Gore losing the election.
However Greenwald and others who point out this difference – that Ron Paul’s civil rights views are closer to liberal’s views than their supported candidate brings up an unstated conclusion.
Are the attacks on civil liberties more important than either voting for the bigot GOP party or Ron Paul who holds some major fringe views and conspiracies. Or the other choice is to stay home in November 2012 and we get the GOP anyway.
I know President Obama has a poor record on civil libertarian issues like maintaining President Bush’s terror policies and still signing the National Defense Authorization Act that still doesn’t explicitly prohibit indefinite detention of US citizens, his re-election is still the better result than letting a President Romney get a shot at the job.
I thank Glenn Greenwald for keeping these issues out in the open and some liberals need to relax and layoff of the party purity kick like the person on twitter I mentioned at the start.
However you feel about these issues Ron Paul is wrong on too many other issues to support and voting for him or trying a third party or staying home in 2012 won’t solve these issues and it will be worse for us in the long run.
The focus should be on Congress where the laws are made – even the ones that take away our rights. We need to vote in more members of Congress who will protect all of our rights and not give in to the terrorism scare machine.