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Welcome to the Big-Time Ron Paul: You’re consistency is what disqualifies you.

with 9 comments

The line on Presidential Candidate and GOP Rep. Ron Paul is, essentially, ‘hey, I may not agree with him on everything, but at least he’s consistent.’ That’s it. Consistency. He’s consistent in his libertarian philosophy, so consistent that he wins supporters because he has backbone, people know where he stands, the man is, if nothing else, consistent.

But here’s the thing, people. Ron Paul is consistently BATSHIT CRAZY.

It’s one thing to be consistent in his ideals if his ideals are, you know, compassion and honesty, libertarian independence, etc. But there are reasons that human thinking is nuanced, and that complexity should be prized in our intellectual capacity. Shouldn’t we weigh individual circumstances and come to independent conclusions? Isn’t that what the human brain is capable of doing at its height, recognizing nuanced change and adapting our perceptions as circumstances demand? Thus we can see that, though legalizing marijuana may be a reasonable political position, consistency alone should not move us to support legalizing heroin.

Or, for example, being consistently racist and homophobic over a career is not consistency to be celebrated. It has been said that Ron Paul’s libertarian consistency trumps his personal feelings about the gays or the blacks. That refusing to use a gay man’s bathroom isn’t a big deal, because he supports the right of gay and lesbian individuals to do what they want. Not only is that bullshit but it points out that he’s also apparently consistently a douche-bag.

Having a foreign policy that is consistently “lunacy” should worry people. Here’s an update Ron Paul: shit is complicated. A simple policy that fits a slogan is not going to cut it. Your opposition to the Iraq War was just and reasonable. I get that, and think it’s great. You’re opposition to Israel is a little harder to understand. But following your deity of consistency to oppose engaging Hitler is absurd. You’re desire to shrink government makes sense in your political worldview, your plan to end all aid to all nations does not. Your commitment to state’s rights is easy to understand, but extending that to opposition to the Civil Rights Act makes you appear far outside maintaining the compassion that we should all strive for in our lives.

Whether TRC is oversimplifying these issues doesn’t change the fact that consistency is a virtue, but only to a point. Ron Paul and his supporters need to accept that, sometimes, consistency can lead us down a road to chaos, isolation, or indefensible alienation.

There is of course one area in which Ron Paul is more than happy to break with his consistency: in taking responsibility for the Ron Paul Survival Report, the newsletter causing his campaign so many headaches. You either wrote it or you didn’t, either way, it has your name on it, it’s your responsibility, and it is hideous. Reaching out to the far fringe elements of American discontent, the white supremacists and the anti-Semites and anti-government militias, and then denying you knew it was happening now that they support you, that’s just the kind of nuance we are looking for in a President.

Welcome to the Big Time Ron Paul. You wanted the media to take you seriously, well, this is what it looks like.  From top-left, counter-clockwise: Huffington Post, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Washington Post, New Civil Rights, Mediate New York Times via Herald Tribune.

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Written by Christopher ZF

December 27, 2011 at 11:30

9 Responses

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  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Fucking Libertarians.

    Evan

    December 27, 2011 at 12:15

  2. I agree that Paul should have to answer for these newsletters. They should make even his most ardent supporters very uncomfortable. But Somin draws an interesting parallel (I mean, who is more racist and anti-semitic than President Obama’s own former pastor?):
    http://www.politico.com/arena/perm/Ilya_Somin_10F5388A-D210-4745-8EEA-09224D78DC04.html
    Now, there is a difference between the communications of associates and those that go out under the auspices of your own name, but Somin’s point is solid:
    “Despite their respective efforts at damage control, it is entirely legitimate to hold these past associations against Obama and Paul. While they were not bigots or terrorists themselves, they clearly were willing to ally themselves with people who are.”
    So, should these kind of things disqualify candidates? Hopefully less so, as Somin points out, the poitical philosophies of such candidates.

    Brandon

    December 28, 2011 at 11:19

    • I see the point being made, Brandon, but I do have to question the equal responsibility of Ron Paul to the Ron Paul Survival Report and the Ron Paul Political Report Newsletters, and Jeremiah Wright’s statements to President Obama.

      Wright has some nasty opinions, but Obama never published those opinions under his own name. Obama can say: I disagree with these things, and they do not represent me. I have no reason not to believe him. And Obama does not wed himself to the notion that his political opinion is unchanging on almost every notion, which is the very thing that Paul prides himself on. If Paul’s “Decades of Consistency” (http://www.ronpaul2012.com/2011/04/25/ron-paul-decades-of-consistency/) is the foundation of his presidential run, then he needs to better account for the things he has said (not just in the newsletters) in the past.

      Whether or not one believes Obama or Paul in their political distancing is a whole other problem, but I don’t think that Obama has quite as much work to do. Otherwise, Ron Paul needs to better protect his name, if he wants us to believe he did not know he was publicly courting the support of racists and fringe-militia-type crazies.

      czfinke

      December 28, 2011 at 11:35

      • Yeah, that’s a fair distinction between Paul/Obama and fair criticism of Paul. I think that it’s very likely these statements should disqualify Paul from being considered a serious candidate for president (as much as it pains me to say it, because I think he has fresh ideas and his political philosophy is much more robust than most other candidates, Republican or Democrat), and I fully support transparency/coverage related to the issues the newsletters raise. You’re right– Paul does have to do a lot more work than Obama did, especially given his special claims to consistency. But– and it’s easy for me to say this, given that I wouldn’t have supported Obama anyway– I think it’s reasonable for someone to have argued that Obama’s membership in such a church for 20 years (and much looser connection to someone who detonated bombs in the Capitol buidling and Pentagon) should have disqualified him as well. I think it’s highly unlikely Paul and Obama, both intelligent men, could have been that aloof in their respective situations.

        Brandon

        December 28, 2011 at 13:23

  3. “your”

    Here is a question, though, Brandon (and others). I agree that Paul has a refreshingly robust policy, but it makes me think about the current congressional problems. We can’t get anything done. Anything. To me that is the fault of an unwillingness to bend principles for pragmatism. Now, bending and compromising creates its own problems, but I think many would agree that a rabid zealots are preventing anything from going through Congress. That’s the set up…
    So, is Paul different? Sure, I think the Tea Party has principles but absolutely no policy, whereas Paul has both. I think the lack of realistic policy from the tea party is why no one can get a lead for the Republicans: they simply cannot live up to unrealistic expectations (e.g. Bachmann saying that no one should have to pay taxes). So would Paul becoming President (which all of us think is impossible, right?) change anything?

    whb

    December 28, 2011 at 13:59

    • Wes: I changed the title without changing the conjunction. oops.

      Brandon: I have to dispute the equal culpability you’re arguing here. Barack Obama’s “loose connection to someone who detonated bombs in the Capitol building and Pentagon” doesn’t concern me anymore than my very close connections to people who hold opinions that I absolutely ABHOR. This does not mean that I should be held responsible for things they have said or done. Even if I love them dearly, let alone “associated” with them in at my workplace or in the neighborhood. That is a preposterous standard. And Ron Paul should not be held accountable to the racist White-Supremacist groups that he has loose ties to.

      I never quite understood this associative guilt part of politics. Obama is not required to believe everything that people he knows, loves, or cares about believe.

      Ron Paul, however, is responsible for what is written under his name.

      czfinke

      December 28, 2011 at 14:35

      • CZF: Yes, that’s fair. And perhaps I would read into such associations, both on the right and on the left, more than you do.

        Brandon

        December 30, 2011 at 13:50

    • Wes, your question brings up many interesting issues. First, for the sake of discussion, let’s pretend the Paul newsletters don’t exist. I would vote all day long for Ron Paul as my congressman– I agree mostly with his philosophy and policy preferences. What I’m very much questioning is whether he is an executive, where (theoretically) he is not primarily engaged in the creation of laws/policy, but rather representing our country to foreign nations, serving as a unifying figurehead domestically, and facilitating the execution of laws. One of my biggest criticism of Obama was/is that he had very little executive experience, and to be fair, I’m not sure if Paul has run anything either. And I don’t know if I can see Paul having the demeanor to be that chief executive. Now, you and I both know that this day in age, the president is primarily looked upon to drive the legislative agenda, but from a pure constitutional standpoint, I doubt I could support Paul, although somewhat ironically, I agree with Ron Paul’s interpretations of the constitution themselves profoundly.
      But because the modern-day president has so much rule-making authority and controls the executive bureaucracy, I would say that Paul would change a lot of things, if only by eliminating entire cabinet departments. And as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, one would have to admit that he would change a lot of military policy (and frankly, you would think that most liberals would LOVE his foreign policy. I admire Ron Paul for going after the sacred cows of liberals, but I admire him more for being consistent with his principles by also saying in similar veins that the military also should be cut, because he knows that will be unpopular with many of his would-be GOP supporters). So yes, a Ron Paul presidency would shake things up a lot. The way things are (unfortunately) structured, a radical president can get a lot more done than a radical Congress. And on that– I understand what you are saying, that the Tea Party has made it hard to pass new laws. But you understand that’s by design—I think it is an important thesis of the Tea Party platform that we’re drowning in debt, beholden to crony capitalism, and our laws are subject to such inconsistency precisely because of the compromise that goes on in Washington—i.e., the vote-buying, special favors, exemptions and regulatory capture. That’s how we got into this mess: because both parties were willing to basically vote themselves power by selling out long-term interests in favor of political expediency. It might be easy to “get things done” if we raise the debt ceiling again and spend more money we don’t have, which is what we’ve been doing for decades, but the Tea Party wants to draw a line in the sand. That’s going to be obstructionary, at least at first, until the Tea Party gains (if it can) more representatives and influence in Congress (when it then can change policy). And I hope and pray that if that does happen, most of those representatives won’t look like Michelle Bachmann and sacrifice the common sense that can mark the movement for political soundbytes like the one of hers you cite.

      Brandon

      December 30, 2011 at 13:48

  4. […] is terrible, (really, just awful, have you heard him?), so it won’t matter if he wins. Ron Paul is bat-shit, so, essentially that won’t matter […]


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