Late Night Open Thread: Heightening the Contradictions

Dave Weigel, at Slate, reports that Ron Paul will announce his presidential exploratory committee tomorrow in Des Moines.

John H. Richardson, at Esquire‘s Political Blog, goes there, full eeyore:

There is something that currently plagues our nation: a kind of irritable grasping after conclusions, the kind that made me stopped blogging regularly for a while, as I fought in myself that lonely battle of the last five or six people in America who still think that life is way too complicated for any summing up that doesn’t involve math. But if someone held a gun to my head and asked me to say what I think about Ron Paul, after interviewing him and following him around for my new profile in the May issue, this is what I would say:
__
Ron Paul is, or seems to be, a very sweet and shockingly naïve man who wants very much to do right by America. But his uncompromising vision of freedom would destroy America, really, by turbo-charging the powerful and the rich, who have shown throughout history that they have (with a few exceptions) zero social conscience and very little concern for the country. Already they’ve grasped most of the wealth and property in the country. Those in the top percentile are perfectly happy to throw Americans out of work and create jobs in China or Mexico if it means more profits, which they then bank overseas to avoid paying the taxes that create the relatively uncorrupted government under which they thrive. Given the nearly unlimited freedom from regulations and taxes that Republicans like Paul dream of, they’d be completely unrestrained. Eventually the desperate peasantry would realize, as they just realized throughout the Middle East, that the system was completely gamed against them. The result would be bloody revolution…

Seriously: Go read the whole post, at least, and if you’ve got the time the earlier posts & the interview excerpt are also worth perusing. Further recommendation, Richardson is the man responsible for last year’s excoriating Newt Gingrich profile. Paul’s not so entertaining (or terrifying) a subject as Gingrich, but that’s the difference between monomania and sociopathy for you.






41 replies
  1. 1
    amk says:

    Yaayyy. The more madder the crowd, merrier it’s gonna be. Go republicans.

  2. 2
    amk says:

    Will there be a libertarian cage fight between rp and gj ? Whose side will gg pick ?

  3. 3
    Yutsano says:

    @amk: Popcorn futures hae never looked brighter. I’m calling my broker in the morning.

  4. 4
    Bruce S says:

    This hits a very important “nail” on the head.

    There is nothing conservative about contemporary so-called conservatism. “Free market” ideologues – aside from being delusional (or deliberately deceptive) about markets themselves – are essentially preaching radicalism. As Richardson notes, these projects tend to end badly. Modern liberalism addresses the concerns of traditional conservatism and which “conservatives” appear to have abandoned – values such as social stability, rejection of messianic political appeals, an appreciation for moderation in means and some attachment to social continuity and community as ends – while “conservatives” are increasingly in the camp of social nihilism.

    Just saying…

  5. 5
    amk says:

    @Yutsano: Heck, I’m gonna order me some genueeen russian vodka and some russian gals to go with it. Next 2 years are gonna blow one’s mind, so might as well enjoy it with an orgy.

  6. 6
    Amir_Khalid says:

    Ron Paul (Rand Paul’s dad, right?) strikes me as a kook emeritus among Republican presidential candidates.

    Aside from that, if it’s your ambition to be a national leader and you fancy your chances, just run for crap’s sake. That’s how people do it everywhere else on the planet.

    I don’t get this thing your American politicians have, of announcing the appointment of a committee to ponder whether they should run for president. Does such a committee ever come back to the candidate and say: “Nope, you don’t stand a chance. Don’t run.”?

  7. 7
    amk says:

    @Amir_Khalid: It’s the first step to rake in the moolah.

    don’t get this thing your American politicians have, of announcing the appointment of a committee to ponder whether they should run for president.

  8. 8
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Amir_Khalid:

    Does such a committee ever come back to the candidate and say: “Nope, you don’t stand a chance. Don’t run.”?

    I can name a few instances where they damn well should have.

  9. 9
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I was with him up to here:

    All that said, I have a lot of sympathy for Ron Paul and the whole Tea Party movement. Like many liberals and radicals on the left, they believe that the rich have gamed the system along with their bought-and-paid-for pet politicians.

    The Tea Party is the first political movement in our history that has achieved the once-noble label of “populist” without holding a single populist position. It might not be fair to say that Paul et al. want the rich to control everything, but they would certainly have no problems if that’s the way things ended up. It’s like saying you’re an environmentalist who doesn’t really care if the earth lives or dies.

  10. 10
    Amir_Khalid says:

    I see that Slate’s Mark Oppenheimer is all het up over Americans getting excited about Prince William’s wedding. I wonder why. Everyone obsesses on celebrities. The British royal family were pioneers in the professional celebrity business, and are still the all-time champions at it. Surely that deserves American recognition.

  11. 11
    MonkeyBoy says:

    The human brain is the most complex organ in the body. It has very many facilities and they are usually redundant enough that if some normal facilities fail to develop it is usually not fatal – other facilities can somewhat approximate what is missing.

    Psychopaths and Aspergers/Libertarians actually seem to be missing parts of their brain that have to do with “empathy” like things. They can no more directly understand what is missing than someone who is fully color blind can understand colors.

    People who lack “the milk of human kindness” sometimes compensate by clawing themselves up into a position of dominance in bar-fights, politics or business. Others who still contain some “milk” but envy the “success” of the amoral work to actively suppress their better qualities.

    A few hundred years ago baldness was seen as a shameful deficit of hair and virility, so the rich and bald started wearing wigs. Lesser people could not mock such vanity because they would be punished. Instead they wound up trying to ingratiate themselves by wearing wigs even if they didn’t need to – endorsing that lack of real hair or virility was nothing to be noticed even while it was actively being covered up.

    It is hard to tell how much of Conservatism/Libertarianism actually involves lack of brain functioning and how much involves people wearing “wigs” to collectively hide that such lacks actually exist.

  12. 12
    drkrick says:

    @MonkeyBoy: You clearly know nothing about Asperberger’s Syndrome. In fact, one of the things that makes it hard for Asperbergians to fit into society is an expectation of fairness for themselves and others that strikes the neurotypical as monumentally naive. A post decrying someone else’s lack of empathy while equating psychopathy and Asperger’s is just shameful. Please take your ignorance and bigotry with you on your way straight to hell. Thanks.

  13. 13
    4tehlulz says:

    OT, but not satisfied with making birtherism mainstream, Trump has decided to go where even many racists don’t go:

    Trump: Obama wasn’t qualified for Ivy League

  14. 14
    Shalimar says:

    @Amir_Khalid: I doubt the candidates even ask their committees. The committees are a way of beginning fund-raising, nothing else. But, Haley Barbour is an example of a candidate who has been given at least some chance of competing who dropped out after announcing a committee but before anyone actually got to vote. So, it does happen.

  15. 15

    Ron Paul is yet another radical str8 Caucasian male ideologue who gets away with his crazy shit because he wears a suit and has no (visible) tattoos. Fuck him.

  16. 16

    @4tehlulz: If nothing else I thank Mr. 11-Dimensional Comb Over for giving America a free tour of the bullshit black people have to put up with every fucking day.

    Post-racial America?

    Ha ha ha ha! Whooo! Ha ha ha haa! Ow, my sides.

  17. 17
    alwhite says:

    I have been thinking for some time that the Koch Boys & their ilk are really communist saboteurs. Their real goal is to make things so terrible here that the many people will believe a bloody revolution is the only solution.

    When enough people have nothing to left lose and see no advantage from a capitalist system they will be ripe for the next Trotsky and Lenin. This is the direction Paul is pushing us in.

  18. 18
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Think of him as the anti-Lieberman. He’s not with us on everything except the war.

  19. 19
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @MonkeyBoy: I am an aspie and I hate libertarians with the fire of a thousand suns. Libertarians are anti-empirical. They all seem to profess fervent belief in an economics system that has horribly and repeatedly failed in America.
    @drkrick:

    In fact, one of the things that makes it hard for Asperbergians to fit into society is an expectation of fairness for themselves and others that strikes the neurotypical as monumentally naive.

    shukran. I not only expect fairness but I expect it to be simple for others to recognize lies and obfustication where it is clearly apparent to me.

  20. 20

    And I’m relocating right into the middle of this circus this summer. I have to say, I’m looking forward to it. Des Moines, here I come!

  21. 21
    Glen Tomkins says:

    Heightening the Contradictions

    The Teahadists are really Marxist agents provocateurs. Aging boomers who failed to bring about revolution in their youth because they went at it the wrong way, head on against the powers-that-be, have learend with age a better way. The right way is enticing the powers-that-be to mad overreach by creating the illusion that there is a mass movement behind the “Let them eat cake.” ideology.

  22. 22
    Chris says:

    @alwhite:

    I have been thinking for some time that the Koch Boys & their ilk are really communist saboteurs. Their real goal is to make things so terrible here that the many people will believe a bloody revolution is the only solution.

    and

    @Glen Tomkins:

    The Teahadists are really Marxist agents provocateurs.

    More like “they’re doing what they think Marxists would do.”

    When has communism ever actually come to power this way, with the infiltration and the sabotage and the agent provocateurism? Russia, China, Cuba, Vietnam were straightforward revolutions – the commies never “sabotaged” the system, the system just collapsed under the weight of its own incompetence. Then there’s the times (North Korea, Eastern Europe) when it was imposed by a foreign power.

    But the idea of communists infiltrating the system, manipulating it and making it fail so they could take power, seems to be much less real life communism and much more 1950s Bircher paranoid fantasies (the object of which wasn’t to fight communism but to attack the parts of the system they didn’t like by accusing them of being under communist control).

  23. 23
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Glen Tomkins: Intriguing, but I think that many of them are just racist dipshits. Occam’s Razor.

  24. 24
    NonyNony says:

    @Glen Tomkins:

    I really wish I could believe this, but the boomers who were trying to bring about revolution and the boomers who are waving the “Keep the Government Out of my Medicare” signs are two different groups from the same generation.

    In retrospect the revolutionary boomers were a minority fringe of the overall generation – they got a lot of play because the older generations were scared of radicalism of any kind and that fear caused them to over-estimate the significance of the truly revolutionary elements of the boomer generation.

    A majority of the boomer generation voted for Ronald Reagan – about half-and-half in 1980 and overwhelmingly in 1984. The boomer generation voted for George Bush in ’88. And while the boomer generation did back Clinton (slim margin in ’92, larger in ’96), they split their vote between Gore and Bush in ’00 and increased their vote for W in ’04. That half-or-more of boomers who have been consistently voting for Republicans and conservative Dems all their lives are the ones who are out there waving the signs and voting for Republicans today.

    It would be nice to think of them as some kind of Fifth Column of secret Marxists, but the idea that the boomer generation as a generation was some kind of radical liberal generation is just a myth – one based out of the fears of their parents generation for the most part.

  25. 25
    rikryah says:

    Ron Paul is against the Civil Rights Act. Therefore, I am against Ron Paul, and nothing else he says matters to me. WHen faced with the REALITY, not Libertarian Fantasty that was JIM CROW for nearly 100 years in this country, this mofo has stated repeatedly that he is against the Civil Rights Act. Like the other libertarian clown, this is a non-starter for me, and everything else they say is just noise.

  26. 26
    DPirate says:

    He’s got my vote. If he’s worse, then so be it. At least we’ll get it over with. I’d prefer a quick resolution rather than the slow, dismal slide we have now.

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @rikryah: Normally, I would say that picking a single issue as a way of judging a candidate is a mistake, but, in this case, the Civil Rights Act is a marker for so many thing that I think you have a point. More or less, if you are against the Civil Rights Act, you are a racist or a Tenther. If you are either of those things, there is no way you should be under consideration as a presidential candidate.

  28. 28
    Continental Op says:

    Ninety percent of the time, Ron Paul is as crazy as a loon. The other ten percent, he has an insight worth listening to. This doesn’t mean he should be allowed anywhere near political power.

  29. 29
    DPirate says:

    @Bruce S: Modern liberalism as opposed to what? Ancient liberalism? Who on the scene is a modern liberal?

    @Amir_Khalid: It’s about money. They need people to explore how well they’ll be able to raise money. Also, whether or not the media will embarrass them right out of politics entirely. Yes, I bet the answer has been negative quite often.

    @Spaghetti Lee: False. The tea party stems from the public reaction over bonuses provided wall street after the feds bailed them out. They were marginalized by the left, and corrupted by the right.

    @MonkeyBoy: Don’t leave out democrats, marxists or whateverists. You can say all that about anyone who holds reason above emotion in the political realm. Now that I think about it, I’d say that blue-collar conservatives need to be removed from the list. They surely follow emotion over reason.

    BTW, baldness still is seen as a shameful lack of virility.

    @rikryah: Why are you so hurtful toward people with asperger’s syndrome?!?

  30. 30
    eyelessgame says:

    Eventually the desperate peasantry would realize, as they just realized throughout the Middle East, that the system was completely gamed against them. The result would be bloody revolution…

    Every time I consider the obvious implications of full-on Randroidism, or read about someone else doing so, it strengthens the position that Ayn Rand was a deep-cover Communist agent out to destroy American capitalism by encouraging the conditions that would lead to revolution by the proletariat. It makes me wonder if any of her followers are as well.

  31. 31
    piratedan says:

    shorter Ron Paul: I came to save the government by destroying it

  32. 32
    Chris says:

    @eyelessgame:

    Every time I consider the obvious implications of full-on Randroidism, or read about someone else doing so, it strengthens the position that Ayn Rand was a deep-cover Communist agent out to destroy American capitalism by encouraging the conditions that would lead to revolution by the proletariat. It makes me wonder if any of her followers are as well.

    Popular theme for Cold War fiction, that was. The Manchurian Candidate was the most blatantly political rendition, but the theme of the capitalist enemy within colluding with the communist enemy without to destroy American democracy was reused quite a few times afterwards.

    Patriotic, anticapitalist Cold War fiction: I wonder how the Bircher crowd explained that.

  33. 33
    Paul in KY says:

    @MonkeyBoy: Interesting post. Liked the analogy to wigs.

  34. 34
    Bruce S says:

    DPirate – uh….Huh!

  35. 35
    catclub says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: “It’s like saying you’re an environmentalist who doesn’t really care if the earth lives or dies.”

    I think it is more like saying you are an environmentalist who wants a clean environment, but also wants the coal companies to be in charge.

  36. 36
    catclub says:

    @rikryah: I was about to post that Ron Paul has made some ( apparently sane politician type) moves to slide over the fact that he has some serious racism issues.

    Never mind.

  37. 37
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: And GaJo is both a tenther and a racist. Remind us why EDK fluffed him for three posts and then changed his mind when enough people called him on his bulshytt?

  38. 38
    Rihilism says:

    Open thread, so apropos of nothing, I found this absurd.

  39. 39

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen: Goddamn it. This a million zillion times over. For fuck sake. Seriously. All this fucking fapping ever Ron Paul and Gary Johnson is disgusting. And, I couldn’t make it past the first page of that article. The fucking Lipton Tea ‘baggers do not give a damn about the monied taking over the country. If they did, they would be out there protesting Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio (not to mention Florida) on a motherfucking daily basis. Bullshit.

    If liberals want to masturbate to libertarian fantasies, fine. Just don’t fucking do it in public.

  40. 40
    Amir_Khalid says:

    As always, thank you for providing enlightenment to this foreigner. I do understand that “exploratory” committees exist to
    (a)announce, without a formal declaration and all the onerous requirements that it entails, that the candidate wants to run
    (b)shake the political-donation tree; and
    (c)give the candidate a face-saving out should he realize, early enough, that his candidacy is not viable “I was just exploring the idea of running!”).

    I was just wondering if they ever did what their name implies they do. From the answers I got, I guess the answer is mostly no, the name is just the usual political humbug.

  41. 41
    DPirate says:

    @Bruce S: I guess that means no one?

    @asiangrrlMN: Well, unlike public-sector union employees who cannot be so easily fired, most workers cannot afford to lose their jobs protesting. Still, tea party folks probably do not care. No one much cares, actually, and neither the apathy nor the moneyed interests “taking over” is anything new.

    The real fantasy is thinking anything is going to change by voting for people with slogans and fancy rhetoric promising change.

    Ron Paul couldn’t effect much systemic change as president. I do believe he would resist the changes for the worse one hell of a lot better than any “normal” republican or democrat.

    But go on and vote for democrats some more, as they inexorably turn into the fascist right. I suppose the PNF is marginally better than the NSDAP.

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