No, it wasn’t another anonymous message board critic writing about yours truly. Those were the words Arthur Levitt – the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – used to describe Ron Paul yesterday on Bloomberg’s radio show.
According to Levitt, Americans should not take Paul seriously, because, among other things, he walked out of an interview on CNN this week. That “indicates a level of instability… a kind of semi-madness.” Levitt is also warning that if he’s elected, even worse things will happen: “buying into an odd-ball like this, you’re getting hateful, dangerous stuff.” Given a chance to temper his words, Levitt tells the hosts: “I use those words specifically.”
Strangely, on the same day Levitt was attacking Paul on the radio, the Wall Street Journal was attacking him in print. Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote a wonderfully slanted and scathing attack against Paul: “He is the best-known of our homegrown propagandists for our chief enemies in the world. One who has made himself a leading spokesman for, and recycler of, the long and familiar litany of charges that point to the United States as a leading agent of evil and injustice, the militarist victimizer of millions who want only to live in peace.”
What, you might wonder, has these critics so exercised? Ron Paul says that the Bush administration used 9/11 as an “excuse” to invade Iraq, a war he opposed and voted against. Paul has explained, repeatedly, that he doesn’t think the U.S. should be the world’s police department. He believes putting our troops in harm’s way all around the world causes us a lot more trouble than it is worth.
These ideas have a long and noble history in America, dating back to George Washington, who warned his successors not to become entangled in foreign alliances. Most Americans share Paul’s view on this issue, according to opinion polls. But to the two Jewish commentators (Levitt and Rabinowitz), Paul’s view – that we shouldn’t guarantee Israel’s defense (or any other country’s) – is “madness.” Do these detractors have the integrity to explain why their view is so slanted? Of course not. In fact, having any principles at all seems offensive to Arthur Levitt, who says of the Tea Party: “It’s a piece of insanity for them to hold to their so-called principles.”