I have one question for the Salon.com blogger who repeatedly states that he does not endorse Ron Paul, and who coyly demurs that his vociferous statements of Ron Paul’s sheer awesome are not endorsement but simply a wistful desire to see certain issues discussed during the campaign: Why the fuck isn’t he endorsing Ron Paul?
He obviously thinks that Ron Paul is the bee’s knees and that Obama is some sort of Muslim baby-killing, drone-happy dictator. There’s a reason the Salon.com blogger refers to Obama as “Dear Leader” and to Obama supporters (85 percent of Democrats, mind you) as cultists (as well as depraved individuals who would defend anything, including Obama raping a nun.) So if he is spending thousands upon thousands of words touting the “really important shit” that Ron Paul brings to the 2012 election while also writing screed after screed (after screed after screed) about all the ways in which President Obama is the worst, and how Obama is a centrist Republican whose fault it is that the current Republican candidates are in a state of sheer clusterfuckery, it seems to me that the Salon.com blogger should saddle up and endorse Ron Paul.
It’s getting ridiculous — really. His non-endorsement endorsement nonsense is positively Clintonian: “It depends on what the definition of ‘endorsement’ is.” Render unto me a break. The Salon.com blogger is fooling no one but his rabid supporters and the feckless media which invites him to speak for progressives, even though he is about as progressive as Gary Johnson, which is not at all. Oh, and don’t you dare mention the Salon.com blogger’s Cato Institute affiliation. He’ll go berserk and deny it (even though, apparently, his ties to Koch/Cato are not as tenuous as he would have you believe.)***
But people are starting to get it. The Greenwald sweater of polemical deceit is unraveling, and I like it. I like it because I find his sort of polemical discourse and rhetorical bomb-throwing to be a reckless distraction from the serious problems that confront us.
I especially like this, from Tim Wise — “Of Broken Clocks, Presidential Candidates, and the Confusion of Certain White Liberals.” It’s a thing of beauty. You should read the whole thing, but I’m going to excerpt what I see as the most salient bit:
I want those of you who are seriously singing Paul’s praises, while calling yourself progressive or left to ask what it signifies — not about Ron Paul, but about you — that you can look the rest of us in the eye, your political colleagues and allies, and say, in effect, “Well, he might be a little racist, but…
How do you think that sounds to black people, without whom no remotely progressive candidate stands a chance of winning shit in this country at a national level? How does it sound to them — a group that has been more loyal to progressive and left politics than any group in this country — when you praise a man who opposes probably the single most important piece of legislation ever passed in this country, and whose position on the right of businesses to discriminate, places him on the side of the segregated lunchcounter owners? And how do you think they take it that you praise this man, or possibly even support him for president, all so as to teach the black guy currently in the office a lesson for failing to live up to your expectations?
How do you think it sounds to them, right now, this week, as we prepare to mark the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, that you claim to be progressive, and yet you are praising or even encouraging support for a man who voted against that holiday, who opposes almost every aspect of King’s public policy agenda, and the crowning achievements of the movement he helped lead?
My guess is that you don’t think about this at all. Because you don’t have to. One guess as to why not.
It’s the same reason you don’t have to think about how it sounds to most women — and damned near all progressive women — when you praise Paul openly despite his views on reproductive freedom, and even sexual harassment, which Paul has said should not even be an issue for the courts. He thinks women who are harassed on the job should just quit. In other words, “Yeah, he might be a little bit sexist, but…”
It’s the same reason you don’t have to really sweat the fact that he would love to cut important social programs for poor people. And you don’t have to worry about how it sounds to them that you would claim to be progressive, while encouraging support for a guy who would pull what minimal safety net still exists from under them, and leave it to private charities to fill the gap. And we all know why you don’t have to worry about it. Because you aren’t them. You aren’t the ones who would be affected. You’ll never be them. I doubt you even know anyone like that. People who are that poor don’t follow you on Twitter.
And please, Glenn Greenwald, spare me the tired shtick about how Paul “raises important issues” that no one on the left is raising, and so even though you’re not endorsing him, it is still helpful to a progressive narrative that his voice be heard. Bullshit. The stronger Paul gets the stronger Paul gets, period. And the stronger Paul gets, the stronger libertarianism gets, and thus, the Libertarian Party as a potential third party: not the Greens, mind you, but the Libertarians. And the stronger Paul gets, the stronger become those voices who worship the free market as though it were an invisible fairy godparent, capable of dispensing all good things to all comers — people like Paul Ryan, for instance, or Scott Walker. In a nation where the dominant narrative has long been anti-tax, anti-regulation, poor-people-bashing and God-bless-capitalism, it would be precisely those aspects of Paul’s ideological grab bag that would become more prominent. And if you don’t know that, you are a fool of such Herculean proportions as to suggest that Salon might wish to consider administering some kind of political-movement-related-cognitive skills test for its columnists, and the setting of a minimum cutoff score, below which you would, for this one stroke of asininity alone, most assuredly fall.
I mean, seriously, if “raising important issues” is all it takes to get some kind words from liberal authors, bloggers and activists, and maybe even votes from some progressives, just so as to “shake things up,” then why not support David Duke? With the exception of his views on the drug war, David shares every single view of Paul’s that can be considered progressive or left in orientation. Every single one. So where do you draw the line? Must one have actually donned a Klan hood and lit a cross before his handful of liberal stands prove to be insufficient? Must one actually, as Duke has been known to do, light candles on a birthday cake for Hitler on April 20, before it no longer proves adequate to want to limit the overzealous reach of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms? Exactly when does one become too much of an evil fuck even for you? Inquiring minds seriously want to know.
Yes — to all of it. I seriously want to know, because it makes absolutely no sense to me.
And you know what? Sometimes it takes a little whitesplanation for people to get it. Indeed, I think even the Salon.com blogger may have gotten it, since his weak attempt at a response was as follows:
Oh yes. Suffer the handful of RonPaulogists of color. The few; the voiceless.
Again, render unto me a break, pal.
The bottom line is this: Glenn Greenwald is always right… at least in his mind. And if you don’t buy the Greenwald narrative and wholly agree with his thinking, then you are wrong, evil, not worthy of good faith debate. Greenwald cannot fathom that those of us who have decided to flip Ron Paul the middle finger have already made the calculus: drone strikes vs. reproductive rights; wireless tapping vs. stripping of environmental, safety, and every other regulation you can conceive; an anti-war message borne of isolationism vs. whatever the fuck President Obama is doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan and wherever else; President Obama’s Racist Drug War™ vs. what would amount to stripping black people of their civil rights.
I’ve made my calculation. And I’m not going to listen to some rapacious raconteur make spurious claims about how my support of President Obama generally necessarily means that I support the murder of Muslim babies specifically, when that same raconteur placed his trust in the Bush Administration and supported the Iraq War when I never did.
During the lead-up to the invasion, I was concerned that the hell-bent focus on invading Iraq was being driven by agendas and strategic objectives that had nothing to do with terrorism or the 9/11 attacks. The overt rationale for the invasion was exceedingly weak, particularly given that it would lead to an open-ended, incalculably costly, and intensely risky preemptive war. Around the same time, it was revealed that an invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein had been high on the agenda of various senior administration officials long before September 11. Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.
See how it works? It’s okay for Greenwald to give the Bush administration the benefit of the doubt; let me repeat that — HE GAVE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT — when most of us whom he now maligns as Obama cultists never supported the Iraq War, and never put our trust in the Bush administration. If Bush was Greenwald’s guy, then fine. To each his own. Bush wasn’t my guy and I sure as fuck didn’t trust him or give him the benefit of anything.
Ultimately, if Greenwald is going to argue that the blood of dead Muslim children is on my hands because of the calculus I have made and the issues that I have prioritized, then, logically, the blood of half million dead Iraqis is on Greenwald’s hands. That’s just how it is. I think his argument to that effect is specious and outright ridiculous, but I didn’t make the rules.
In fact, I don’t begrudge the Greenwald’s late political awakening. Lots of people have them. But, it’s one thing to have a late political awakening as Greenwald seems to have done. It’s quite another to emerge from that awakening a churlish and sanctimonious zealot. (One who, by the way, has yet to debate me substantively on any of the issues I’ve raised with him ranging from Libya, to the “due-process-free killing of al-Awlaki,” to the so-called indefinite detention bill.)
Glenn, you have had a political crush on Ron Paul since 2007. Just come out and endorse him. You know you want to.
***The point is not that Greenwald has affiliations with Cato, it’s that he dodges and downplays his affiliations while simultaneously castigating President Obama for, by way of example, appointing Jack “ZOMG! CITIGROUP!” Lew as his chief of staff. Put it this way: Greenwald’s affiliation with Cato is precisely the sort of thing that would send Greenwald into a rage, if Greenwald weren’t Greenwald. Get my meaning?