The Political Establishment’s Nightmare: Ron Paul
The republican primary has taken some twists and turns since the exit of Herman Cain a couple of weeks ago. At first, it seemed that Newt Gingrich was the main beneficiary of Cain’s exit, but now it seems that he’s taken a dive in the polls as Ron Paul ascends the top of the heap. Paul’s ascendency has the potential to herald in some rather interesting debates going forward on topics that are tacitly agreed to among both republicans and democrats as areas not to delve into. This is particularly the case with Paul’s views on foreign policy. For most part, there’s very little practical difference between the positions held by the two parties as far as foreign policies are concerned and this is why defense spending bills are never characterized by the sort of partisan rancor as one might see on something like the payroll tax cut extension. A case is point is the National Defense Authorization Act, a $ 662 billion piece of legislation which included a provision to detain US citizens indefinitely without trial, was passed quickly with the overwhelming support of both parties while a fight broke out over a two month extension of the payroll tax cut/unemployment benefit extension. So, ideological rancor is limited to certain domestic issues that pale in comparison to the significance of foreign and economic policies supported by both parties. Hence, it’s the things that they both agree on that are the root causes behind the economic and political crises the nation faces. Everything else is a staged side show and that includes the “panties in a bunch” act that the house republicans were engaged in over the payroll tax cut/unemployment benefit extension. Honest debate on real issues is not something that occurs nor is it welcomed. Ron Paul’s leap in the polls potentially threatens that.
Paul has two positions that line up with this blogger’s views. He believes that there are two millstones around this nation’s neck that need to be removed– an interventionist foreign policy and an out of control monetary policy. Both of these are largely beneficial to and controlled by private businesses who feed at the public trough. In the case of monetary policy, it’s private banks that control and benefit from it. In the case of foreign policy, it’s generally the military industrial complex, the energy sector and the banks who benefit and control it. These two systems reinforce and feed each other while robbing the citizens blind. At a bare minimum, we need to have an urgent discussion about both and at a maximum, we need to ditch both systems to save this country from a certain fiscal and economic train wreck. (Although some believe we’ve already reached to point of no return and it may be too late for that). I have reservations about Paul’s views of free unfettered market solutions as laissez faire is just another name for “free for all” absent sensible government regulation, but I agree totally with his positions on monetary and foreign policies being the ruination of the country and this view has broad appeal among a number of people across the political spectrum.
Less appealing, however, are the thinly veiled racist statements that were published in a newsletter under his name 20 years ago and the fact that some of his support comes from KKK types. Paul disavows the sentiments and says he didn’t personally write them. He also claims that he can’t control who gives to his campaign and vehemently denies he’s a racist. He uses his advocacy of repeal of drug laws that disproportionately result in African-Americans being in jail as prima facie evidence that he’s not a racist. I do think the congressman has some explaining to do about the newsletter comments and the statement that he never read the newsletters even though they went out under his name just isn’t cutting it. But I’d like to see him given an opportunity to air and defend his beliefs about our foreign and monetary policies as well.
It’s not my intent to minimize the issue with the Paul’s newsletter, but it’s clear to me that this issue is not being used to address racism, but to further the agenda of the power elite. The same press who seemingly can’t report any real news, has suddenly cast itself in the role of public watch dog here and is pretending to be so concerned about racism that it has to go after Paul on the newsletter first. But the truth is that the main thing the press cares about is Paul’s polling in Iowa and unlike the recently deposed Herman Cain who had little to offer other than slogans, Paul is far more substantive. Moreover, the power elite doesn’t want any discussion of foreign and monetary policies to see light of day other than in the form of simple slogans.
The clear beneficiary of Paul’s demise would be Romney and the power elite wants to ensure that he winds up being the nominee. If they’re successful, and I’ve little doubt that they will be, the debate over foreign policies will be about the differences between the traditional ping pong of “conservative” and “liberal” tactics while the strategic question of whether we should be doing what we’re doing to begin with will continue to go unaddressed— and monetary policy won’t even be discussed. That will continue into the general election even though these are hugely important issues that affect the country. This election is to be a contest between establishment approved candidates and that means there’s effectively no choice.
I first became familiar with Paul from his positions against the Iraq war and the militarist role that our nation frequently takes as evidenced most recently by events in Libya and now in Syria. I happen to believe that what goes on in other nations is really none of our business and if we want to cheerlead, that’s fine but to do anything other than that is problematic. As far as I can see, Paul is the only legislator willing to speak this sort of truth, but the truth is that even if he were to prevail in his quest for the presidency, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that he’d be able to execute on changing much of anything—at least not by himself. But for now, he’d do the country ample service by merely forcing a debate on these issues.