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IPFS News Link • Politics: Republican Campaigns

Can Ron Paul Be Tamed? by Justin Raimondo


Can Ron Paul Be Tamed?

No – but his campaign can

by , February 03, 2012

You know you’ve hit the big time when the Establishment comes knocking on your door with an offer to sell out. It means you’re drawing blood: that your campaign, or whatever, is having an effect — and not one that pleases the Powers That Be. They want to defang you, if not shut you up, and they’re willing to offer you what Satan offered Jesus up there on that mountain:  

"Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." 

If Ron Paul isn’t exactly Jesus, many of his supporters treat him as if he is indeed the incarnation of Liberty in human flesh: the media routinely describes them as "fanatical" – or, more charitably, "devoted" – and I don’t blame them for their enthusiasm (indeed, I share it). Paul is undoubtedly a messianic figure, although he is the last one to give himself that kind of aura, and that’s because we are indeed living in a time of woe, from whence a great many people are seeking deliverance. Ron is their one hope, a bright spot in an ever-darkening and increasingly scary world – and our elites don’t like that one bit. 

What they especially don’t like are his foreign policy views, which are routinely described in the lame-stream media as "isolationist" – as if minding our own damned business and not trying to dominate the world would be an isolating act. And of course none of these geniuses ever described, say, Eugene McCarthy, or George McGovern as an "isolationist" – they were "antiwar" candidates because they were on the left, and because no one on the right can ever be against wars of aggression for moral reasons. Yet the 76-year-old country doctor and presidential candidate defies those stereotypes – and, in the process, delegitimizes them as standards of the American political lexicon. He has succeeded in creating a movement that truly transcends the tired old categories of "left" and "right." 

This false left-right dichotomy, which does nothing to accurately map the landscape of 21st century American politics, is one of the main weapons in the War Party’s well-stocked arsenal. Because whatever liberals and conservatives disagree about, when it comes time to unleash the dogs of war both the "left" and the "right" have been equal in their bloodthirstiness. To keep up the illusion of conflict, these two wings of the War Party alternate their warmongering schedules: during the Vietnam war era, it was the right that wanted to obliterate the Soviets militarily and the "left" that took up the anti-interventionist banner – although liberal support for the war made the occupation of Vietnam possible, at least initially. In the1930s, their positions were reversed, with conservatives making the case for "isolationism" (i.e. opposition to empire-building): the warmongering was left to the liberals and the extreme left, notably the American Communist Party

In both cases, the War Party was able to take advantage of the left-right split. In the Thirties, it was the Eastern seaboard Republicans, the Wendell Wilkie group, that absconded with the GOP presidential nomination and sold out the anti-interventionist cause on the campaign trail, never pushing the issue of FDR’s ill-disguised enthusiasm for getting us into the European war. After the election, Wilkie went over to the enemy completely, becoming one of FDR’s biggest supporters, and a tireless advocate of "internationalism," i.e. an American empire on which the sun never sets. His book, One World, is a veritable manifesto of left-sounding globaloney. Behind Wilkie were the big investment banks, the Anglophile elite whose cultural loyalties – and investments in the bonds of European governments – naturally led them into the pro-war camp. 

In the 1960s, pro-war Democrats played the key role in getting us into Vietnam and keeping us there long after that disaster had begun to unfold. Back then, we were all chanting "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?!" That was what antiwar protesters were shouting in the streets as they demanded the withdrawal of US troops from Southeast Asia. Pro-war liberals, known today as neoconservatives, were an ideological bulwark protecting a Democratic administration against a massive and growing antiwar movement – a role that earned them the well-deserved animus of the New Left. The little group around Senator Henry Jackson (D-Boeing) which organized the "Committee for the Free World," provided most of the intellectual firepower behind this rearguard action. After the victory of the McGovernites, they threw up their hands and joined the Republicans: today, we know them as the neoconservatives. 

The left-right mindset has another key advantage for the War Party: it keeps anti-interventionists out of the GOP. If the right is inherently warlike, and conservatives have a war gene, then anti-interventionists have no place else to go other than the Democratic party. Which means not only that they must buy into the party’s domestic agenda, but also be reduced to pleading when it comes to, say, reducing the "defense" budget, or refraining from intervening to plant the flag of "democracy" in some godforsaken wilderness. Opponents of our foreign policy of global intervention are entirely dependent on the Democratic leadership to implement their agenda, and keeping these people out of the GOP has been one of the key tasks of the neocons, a job they did with some efficiency until the Ron Paul movement came along.

Paul and his movement are onto the War Party’s games, and they are consciously fighting this left-right illusion — with amazing success. The time is right for it: the nation faces a crisis on a scale not seen since the 1930s. Once again we face the twin specters of an economy in collapse and a world at war. Paul cuts through the ideological fog and in doing so breaks with all the conventions, the worn and now useless political labels that have misled us for so long. 

Smearing him hasn’t worked, mockery has just added to his fame, and ignoring him has seriously backfired on the mainstream media, which has made itself more hated by the Republican rank-and-file than it already is — no mean feat. Their last hope is to co-opt him – or, at least, co-opt his movement. And we are seeing the first signs of such an attempt in a front page story in the Washington Post, which posits the existence of a "strategic alliance" between Mitt Romney and Paul.  

Let’s get this out of the way before we get to the really disturbing stuff: there is no such "alliance," strategic or otherwise. Reporter Amy Gardner states categorically that "Mitt Romney and Ron Paul haven’t laid a hand on each other." This is demonstrably and even brazenly untrue. How does Ms. Gardner explain this, and this, and this, and especially this? I could go on, but you see my point.