Insiders talk about Huckabee as the Frankenstein’s monster the Republicans created with their strategy of stirring up religious strife. They worked so hard to divide us along religious lines to get votes – but then a candidate shows up who is an actual right-wing Christian, not just a vote-pandering corporatist, and they don’t know what to do about it. It’s fun, in a way, to watch the right’s machine — Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing blogs. etc. — in total panic, trying to get their audience to pull back from voting the way they’ve been telling them to vote for so many years.
I think the DC Democratic leadership has made the same mistake with their cautious, pander-to-the-so-called-center strategy (as conservatives move that “center” ever rightward). Like the Republicans, they thought they owned their base. They paid lip service to get progressive votes but then engaged in the kind of strategerizing and “afraid Rush Limbaugh will say something bad about them” approach we have had to endure rather than just doing what is right. (The point being that Rush will say something bad about you anyway, no matter what you do.) They let the war go on, took impeachment “off the table,” wouldn’t force Republicans to actually filibuster (thereby requiring 60 Senate votes for Democratic interests but only 50 for Republican), let Bush continue to violate the law and Constitution with impunity – even refusing to enforce their own Congressional subpoenas! They think their “base” has to stick with them no matter what.
So then along comes Ron Paul. HE says the war is wrong and illegal and must be stopped. HE says we have to enforce the Constitution above all. And surprise of surprises, he is drawing support. A letter in Tuesday’s San Jose Mercury News illustrates my point:
Ron Paul stands up to examination
For the first time I can remember, we have a presidential candidate who is actually saying elected officials should keep their oaths and follow the Constitution. I was vacillating between choices, but after a closer look at Ron Paul, all doubts are put to bed. As commander in chief, he would end this financially ruinous war for the right reason: because it is illegal. He would also restore sound monetary policy and stop the “inflation tax” that nobody talks about. It is amazing how many of our problems would be mitigated if officials simply lived up to their oaths. For me, voting has always been selecting the best bad apple, but this is the first time I’ve actually been inspired. Google Ron Paul and be convinced.
Ron Paul is this year’s Howard Dean. You can’t go to a farmer’s market around here without encountering a Ron Paul volunteer. In their enthusiasm to help fix the country many new voters are being drawn into the Ron Paul sphere.
Bringing in new voters is always a good thing. And opposing illegal aggressive war. torture, and demanding that the Constitution and laws be followed are to be praised no matter who is doing it. Heck, listening to Paul talk about these things almost makes me want to support him!
But then these recruits are then subjected to the other side of the far-right libertarian agenda. First there is the lunatic “Secret NAFTA Superhighway” conspiracy stuff. It’s a catchy phrase that seems to affect people’s brains, but it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just nut stuff. People’s understandable concerns about trade deals that practically require the destruction of jobs and the environment are used by Paul as a way to mainstream far-right “black helicopter” thinking.
Then comes a dose of really bad economics. There’s the “get rid of the IRS” and gold-standard nonsense. And the talk that the Federal Reserve is some kind of secret internationalist cabal has a hint of the old-time antisemitism of those who say that Jews have a secret conspiracy to control all the money.
And I don’t fault a candidate based on who supports him or her, but Ron Paul sure does have a lot of militia, white supremacist, etc. groups endorsing him. So I do have get a bit suspicious about where he is coming from.
Unfortunately he is also a possible Ralph Nader whose independent run could siphon off enough votes that would otherwise have gone to Democrats to throw the election to the right. Anti-war, pro-Constitution support draws votes away from the Democrats, not Republicans. That guarantees the war continues and the shredding of the Constitution is completed.