Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“That men may rightfully be compelled to submit to, and support, a government that they do not want…No principle … can be more self-evidently false than this; or more self-evidently fatal to all political freedom … a man, thus subjected to a government that he does not want, is a slave. And there is no difference, in principle — but only in degree — between political and chattel slavery. The former, no less than the latter, denies a man's ownership of himself and the products of his labor; and asserts that other men may own him, and dispose of him and his property, for their uses, and at their pleasure.”     Lysander Spooner

November 12, 2007

Monday Open Thread: Well, Isn’t This Interesting

by Doug Mataconis

Why, I’ve got to ask myself, are the left-wing bloggers starting to go after Ron Paul ? After all, he’s still barely registering in the polls, and he’s clearly not within the mainstream of the present-day Republican Party (although I consider that a positive). He probably isn’t going to win the nomination.

So why are we starting to see posts like this and this ?

And it’s not just one blogger either,the meme is being picked up by Crooks and Liars, Liberal Values, MoJoBlog, The American Street, The Impolitic, Making Light, Campaign for America’s Future and The Mahablog.

What is it about this campaign that has the left so nervous ? I have my own ideas, but speculate away.

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24 Comments

  1. I would speculate that these sites have more Statist leaning liberals. And if there is anything Ron Paul is opposed to, its Statism. Unfortunately, if these liberals allowed people like Oprah to spreed there dollar, than the federal government, they would get more for there money.

    Comment by Alex R — November 12, 2007 @ 12:07 pm
  2. The really savvy Dems know that Ron Paul is their worst nightmare. He crushes them on the war and civil liberties — he’s got their positions but takes them more emphatically and clearly. What would Dems be able to run on against him? Tax hikes? They’ll already control Congress and could do it there. If Ron Paul happens to get the nomination he’ll win 40+ states regardless of who the opponent is.

    Comment by Conor — November 12, 2007 @ 12:10 pm
  3. I can explain the reason why.

    Because these poll numbers are out dated and they all know it. They know he is a real threat or they wouldn’t be attacking him like they are now.

    Ron Paul has won more Straw polls than all the other candidates combined : Straw poll : a poll based on actual votes from people that must leave thier home and vote in person.

    He has won 20 of 40 straw polls and placed 2nd or 3rd in 16 more that is 36 of 4 straw polls so far.

    That is first second or 3rd in 36 of straw polls which includes the Nevada GOP straw poll as well as the republicans of NY straw poll.

    here is a list of all the straw poll results :

    http://www.ronpaul2008.com/straw-poll-results/

    He just had over 5,000 people at his rally in PA this weekend.

    Wait untill primary day people and you’ll see.

    Comment by steve — November 12, 2007 @ 12:31 pm
  4. Ron Paul’s biggest problem is simply that nobody’s heard of him, even yet. Or, that is, heard anything about him except that he can’t win, which is what we’d call a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    It’s the easiest grass-roots campaign in history, largely because the times we live in have bent over backwards to make the man appealing. The Iraq disaster, the exponentially inflating dollar (holding steady at 2% inflation? That’s an exponential curve), the deliberate disregard by those who rose to power of both their campaign promises and the rule of law…

    There are two important things in any political candidate. First, his position, and second, how faithfully the man will hold that position when he is elected on its merits. Savvy politicians in this day and age mold the first to their audience (and thus, when the audience is national, end up appearing to have no positions at all) and completely disregard the second. Ron Paul is not only the man the nation needs at this point, but perhaps even more importantly, it is blindingly, glaringly obvious from his 10 terms in Congress that he is perhaps the most principled man on Capitol Hill (not that that’s a huge endorsement, but he’s also probably one of the most principled men in America). Every disaster engendered by the current regime falls right into his lap as his message becomes more and more obvious. All people have to do is tell people about him, and then let his message speak for itself.

    The problem is that this message appeals to small-government advocates in both parties. So you end up with Democrats trying to turn other Democrats into Paulites, and succeeding. Our last presidential election saw the lowest turnout in history, which is often glossed over by people talking about the “core of the party” on both sides. Most of the people in this country didn’t want statist Gore OR statist Bush, so why bother to go cast a vote? And these are the people who are now pushing behind Paul. And there are a LOT MORE of us than there are of them. (Odd definiton of a fringe when it outnumbers the center.)

    Ron Paul only can’t win if the average person hears more often that he can’t win than that he should, and thus fails to hear the message. But the movement is GROWING. That money thermometer on his site keeps accelerating. And a growing movement represents a threat to the status quo. And threats must be dealt with.

    The problem with these bloggers is that while their eager to point out, essentially, that Ron Paul is a conservative (which is usually represented as “libertarian,” as if that were some flaw), they fail to point out that there isn’t a similar liberal candidate with a message even remotely similar. Conservative/liberal still seems a fairly petty distinction weighed against the Republic’s preservation or its destruction.

    Comment by David — November 12, 2007 @ 12:32 pm
  5. It’s in part from jealousy that a “extreme right” (yeah, sure!) candidate has co-opted the “extreme left” anti-war position (to their uneducated minds because they can’t tell the difference between anti-war and anti-unjust-war), and in part that they know what we’ve been saying all along, that he’s the only GOP candidate that can outflank and beat the DP nominee, so they’re scared.

    (I put the “yeah, sure!” comment up there because Dr. Paul’s social views are actually in the middle except for abortion, and most people who stick libertarian thought or close resemblances of them like Dr. Paul tend to ignore the social policies and focus on the fiscal.)

    Some blogs (like here) are substantive. Others (like Redstate?) are B.L.O.G.s: Big Loads Of Garbage.

    Comment by Tannim — November 12, 2007 @ 1:09 pm
  6. Don’t forget fearmongering on DailyKos

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/11/11/20482/514

    Comment by Shii — November 12, 2007 @ 1:12 pm
  7. It’s not exactly fear-mongering. Ron Paul and the far left are arguing very different arguments, and so the left has started to demonize the positions where there is substantive differences in proposed policy.

    This is definitely a turf war because the people on the left are realizing that Ron Paul is undermining their support, too.

    But the left are spineless, corrupt, or tools of special interests. “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions,” and those good intentions are those of the far left. They are unwilling to look beyond their good intentions and see the destructive consequences of minimum wage, social security, and commerce regulations.

    Just like for foreign policy for Republicans, Ron Paul’s arguments on economics is revolutionary in not arguing against good intentions, but driving home the myriads of unintended consequences.

    Comment by TanGeng — November 12, 2007 @ 1:25 pm
  8. It’s where his support is coming from. It certainly isn’t mainstream Republicans. He is pulling support from old-school Republicans but also from disenchanted anti-war Democrats and the most prized of electoral constituents, the 40%+ of American voters that consider themselves Independent or unaffiliated. If and it’s a very big if, he gets past the Republicans in the primaries, they have a potential disaster on their hands.

    Comment by Larry — November 12, 2007 @ 1:33 pm
  9. Why? Because after listening to Dr. Paul speak, the average person recognizes the disease that is politics, and can see that it can only get worse due to their support of the fallacy of Socialism (whether left or right). What Dr. Paul does is to change the question from “What should be done to fulfill human needs?” to “Who can fulfill this human need, the free individual, or the criminals collectively known as the state?”

    Deep down the lefty activists know that there is no true support for any ‘electable’ Dem. Their real problems are displayed when Dr. Paul makes it obvious that there is also no true support for “charity from the barrel of a gun.” Which means that Rep. Kucinich cannot share the spotlight with Dr. Paul. Their savior fails to make the grade, thus they are pissed for looking so incoherent.

    Funny how the “lets save everyone from themselves” faction cannot exist without the threat of violence against me, or my children, to be used as a tool of social improvement, regardless of my beliefs. Yet they believe they “do good?”

    Dr. Paul offers us the chance of a voluntary society in the future. The Dems, along with any other socialists, only offer a future of perpetual war, as they fail to understand that peace is a lack of warfare, not “fighting the good fight,” or “being a winter-soldier” as they like to say.

    Of course, these are the same people who champion the incoherent ideology of “non-violent confrontation.”

    But what else would you expect from any group that endorses pragmatism over principle?

    Comment by NobodySpecial — November 12, 2007 @ 1:46 pm
  10. This piece has been up ever since the night of Ron Paul’s battle royale with Rudy at the SC presidential debate.

    It’s nothing new, really. He represents opposition to statism, which is why the left and the right generally hate him.

    Comment by Brian T. Traylor — November 12, 2007 @ 2:24 pm
  11. There are two main reasons why the Lefties are suddenly against Dr. Paul:

    One is that he truly believes in smaller, less expensive, and less intrusive government. This is anathema to the Left.

    The other is that it is neve enough to simply side with the Left on an issue, one must also agree unquestioningly and unwaveringly with their reasons for holding a position.

    Comment by Doh-San — November 12, 2007 @ 3:49 pm
  12. Larry,

    You say Ron Paul’s support isn’t from mainstream Republicans. But what is mainstream? Most recent? Most similar to the sitting President? Most like some standard-bearer (Reagan, Goldwater?) Most similar to the GOP platform?

    A Republican is merely a voter who registers with their state election board and attends the local county meetings. Nothing more, nothing less.

    There isn’t a blood test for Republican. It’s not an inherited title of nobility. There are no “real Republicans” or “fake Republicans”. Michael Moore, Rosie O’Donnell and Ted Kennedy could find themselves Republicans at the stroke of a pen tommorrow if they got into some bad doughnuts.

    The wrong question is often asked: “Can Ron Paul get enough votes from Republicans to win the primary?” as if the universe of Republican voters was somehow fixed in quantity and temperment. The reality is that the number of people marking ballots in the Republican primary (or the general election for that matter) is in constant flux.

    The right question (that is not being asked) is: will Frudy McRompson’s (or Hillary’s) supporters actually show up to vote? (maybe, maybe not) Will Ron Paul’s supporters show up to vote? (answer left as an exercise for the student.)

    In a strange way, the Plain Old Telephone Surveys (POTS) will help Ron Paul. Some percentage of Giuliani supporters will think “Rudy is so far ahead, that it won’t really matter if I don’t vote”.

    A whole lot of people who were rabid “W” supporters in 2000 and 2004 are very disaffected right now. They are demoralized, and generally disgusted with a party that has repeatedly stabbed them in the back on their core issues. They might prefer Giuliani because they think he can beat Hillary, but they themselves won’t go vote for a pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-amnesty, anti-gun RINO.

    The strange part of this election cycle is that many rabid Gore/Kerry supporters feel exactly the same way. They might prefer Hillary, over some pro-Bush Republican, but will they really vote for pro-war, pro-big business, globalist LINO?

    That is why Dr. Paul is getting anti-war Democrats to register Republican, and this is what has the Dems so panicked.

    The problem is that both parties have been playing the “demon” card(1) for so long, that they have been taking their base for granted. Since this is the only card they know how to play, it is no surprise that we have seen it being used against Dr. Paul. First they (both Dems and Reps) tried to demonize him personally (he’s a rascist… he’s nutjob… he only has the support of losers camped out in their mom’s basement, etc.) and since that hasn’t worked, they are now trying to demonize his positions (he wants to outlaw abortion and abolish social security and your local elementary school too; he’s a pacifist who will just let terroists waltz in here, and force you to convert to islam.)

    It is in this environment that Ron Paul can easily bring people together under the “peace and freedom” banner. The fact that he won’t go negative is a huge plus when everyone has Google and youtube at their fingertips. The other candidates are living in glass houses and daren’t throw stones.

    Later.

    (1) Demon card – “You have to vote for our crappy candidate, even though he won’t really support your pet issues, because the other guy is a total demon who hates your issue and will force his way of life on you at the point of a gun.”

    Comment by Kevin Houston — November 12, 2007 @ 4:13 pm
  13. I can think of two reasons.

    1. Ron Paul makes the Democratic front runners look weak and ineffective in comparison, on opposing the war and protecting civil liberties. Heck, if a Republican candidate can strongly denounce the war and domestic spying, why can’t Hillary and Obama?

    2. It’s a war of ideas, not just an election. Ron Paul is winning over young people, many of whom accepted the entire liberal orthodoxy before this year. I’ve heard from dozens of liberal Ron Paul supporters who have said he has changed their mind about Constitutionally limited government, for the better. (My wife being one of them.)

    Both are good reasons for Republicans who want to win to nominate Ron Paul, even if they don’t agree with him on everything. He could pry anti-war and pro-civil liberties voters away from Hillary or Obama, and he could advance the ideas of Constitutionally limited government better than any of the other candidates.

    Comment by Craig — November 12, 2007 @ 4:52 pm
  14. “he’s still barely registering in the polls”

    Actually, Doug, as you know, he’s at 5% nationally in the latest CNN poll and 6% in the latest Rasmussen — and those polls don’t fully include the effect of his big Nov. 5 $4.3 million day.

    Update your language.

    Comment by Buckwheat — November 12, 2007 @ 6:00 pm
  15. Ron Paul’s aideas about freedom really does bring people together. Democrats and republicans. But ofcourse that means that the democrats will lose in the general election if he is nominated. It’s ironic that all the candidates always talk about how they will bring people together, but of course they never do but as soon as someone who comes along and actually does bring both parties together he/she is slandered and attacked by both sides!

    Comment by Chris — November 12, 2007 @ 6:04 pm
  16. There’s a group of blogs on the left and a group of blogs on the right that seem to post the same smear pieces every few hours. You name the lefties here and I think you know who the righties are.

    Isn’t it disturbing to see “pro-choice” lefties attack Ron Paul for that $500 Nazi donation while praising and demanding federal government Eugenics policies in the next paragraph?

    Comment by Curtis — November 12, 2007 @ 6:13 pm
  17. Q: Why are we starting to see posts like this?

    A: Because Paul is picking up steam. He’s crossed the 5% benchmark in the polls. Soon, he’ll be in the double digits. At that point, unless someone like Kucinich gets similar numbers on the Democratic side, you may see a lot of anti-war voters who would not normally vote Republican put their financial and emotional support behind Congressman Paul. This cannot be allowed, so preventative measures are being actived.

    Comment by Willem de Wit — November 12, 2007 @ 6:15 pm
  18. “the left are spineless, corrupt, or tools of special interests. ”

    Tangeng, are you suggesting the mainstream conservatives are anything but those things? Oh, you’d have to add “perverts.”

    I do respect Paul’s international relations stance, but I won’t be voting for a Republican anytime soon.

    Comment by JP — November 12, 2007 @ 7:41 pm
  19. Glenn Greenwald absolutely p0wned Neiwert in this rebuttal. You usually wouldn’t think of Greenwald to be the type to stick up for libertarians after that blistering piece, I would recommend Neiwart pick up his toys and go home.

    Comment by Kaligula — November 12, 2007 @ 8:17 pm
  20. For one, I think that there are blogs on both the left and right that do get their talking points from common sources.

    However, Dr. Paul is doing something that nobody on either side has been able to do – credibly present a set of counter-arguments to the status quo in a positive way.

    He’s not attacking anyone. He’s presenting ideas and educating those who come to find out what he’s all about.

    On the Democratic positions, he’s outflanked them. He’s anti mercantilism and corporate welfare, but rather than giving lip-service to these things as if they were merely catchy slogans, he presents a solution.

    He doesn’t offer protectionist government policies. He suggests that corporations should be left to compete and shouldn’t be given handouts. And he has a real plan to save social security.

    Finally, he treats democrats in this country as if they were intelligent humans. Whereas the conservatives for years have attacked “libruls” – kicking them while they were down – Ron Paul simply gives them an alternative. And he has befriended Dennis Kucinich and voted along side him on several occasions. This hasn’t gone un-noticed.

    Hillary, Obama and other leaders from the Democrat party, don’t treat their constituents with as much respect as Ron Paul has treated them.

    Fact is, they’re not stupid. The blog activity from Kos and others is borne of frustration. Has anyone seen Hillary, Obama or Edwards draw the same sized crowds at their rallies? Have any republicans shown up at their rallies?

    No to both. Democrats, independents, Republicans and anarchists are flocking to Ron Paul from all over the world.

    Some people in the media may ignore this and claim nothing is going on but it is quite obvious that the excitement being generated by this campaign is unprecedented. To those who believed they had the repudiation of conservative ideas locked down, Raun Paul’s is a very disconcerting campaign.

    Comment by Rick Fisk — November 12, 2007 @ 8:28 pm
  21. I agree that this is more about “Statism versus Liberty” than left or right. Advocates of statism have the most to lose in a Ron Paul victory. Statist rags on both sides have been quick to see the danger to them and have been on the attack from the outset.

    We were once the “Land of the free and home of the brave.” Lately we’ve been the “Land of the regulated and home of the terrified.” In a time when “left” or “right” only defines which set of rights and constitutional limits you’re willing to relinquish, the prospect of liberty can be pretty threatening for the groups that currently attempt to define our fears and fads for us. Conversely, it can be pretty heady stuff for the newly-awakened.

    Comment by Akston — November 12, 2007 @ 9:38 pm
  22. JP,

    I’d say that many Republicans are corrupt. Some might be outright evil. But reserve my contempt for Democrats. They can’t stand up to Bush on their principles and defend civil liberties. They can’t hold the administration accountable even after being in the majority for 10 months.

    Finally, I say that they’re the tool of the special interests in the worst way possible. They don’t even know that they’re being used. When they pass minimum wage laws and all the rest of social welfare package, they’re hurting the very people they profess to help.

    The benefactors are the union bosses (not even the union workers), some client corporations, and some professional guilds(the AMA and trial lawyers, etc).

    Comment by TanGeng — November 12, 2007 @ 10:30 pm
  23. Partisan politics is a trap and a distraction.

    Comment by Akston — November 12, 2007 @ 10:52 pm
  24. Freedom is Very Popular. More popular than hate or fear. Ron Paul is the only one out there that will allow us to be free. Watch what the people do this election. It will be as clear as the Republicans getting washed away in 2006. The people that are putting up the signs all over the place are just the ones that have heard the message. I think he will win the republican nomination and then go on to beat the Neomorons…
    the reason the polls don’t reflect the people is because they are put out by liars, white or black lies, what’s the difference. The peasants don’t have thier hand in the cookie jar and only the people that do will oppose him. That ought to be most americans…freedom of religion…check,freedom of speech..check,privacy..check, freedom freedom freedom…we are not the country bumpkins we use to be where the carnival guys could come in and trick the uninformed I mean look at this blog we is communicatin…lol

    Comment by badunit — November 12, 2007 @ 11:24 pm

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