Below this email to Greenwald are some additional facts and thoughts about Left cheerleading for Ron Paul.
RE:Progressives and Ron Paul Fallacies
I enjoyed your piece on Ron Paul even though I disagree with important
parts of it. I liked when you highlighted that lesser of evil arguments should
"that both sides are ;evil;: meaning it is not a Good v. Evil contest but a
More Evil v. Less Evil contest."
Much of the praise that is being voiced for Ron Paul by leftists doesn't
include this crucial point. Perhaps because RP is seen as such a long shot to
win, such a maligned underdog, it is tempting to ignore (as I think you
did in this article) what a profound evil his proposals represent.
People have praised Ron Paul without thinking through what the full
implications of his policies would be – especially on those issues where he has
an understandable appeal to writers like yourself.
Ron Paul proposes to massively cut the Federal budget by 1/3. He proposes
only a 15% cut to the Pentagon while proposing cuts of 44% to child health
insurance , a 35% cut to Medicaid, and a 63% cut to Food Stamps that are
relied on by 50 million US citizens If that were not draconian enough, he
also wants to further weaken unions and eliminate the jobs of about 1/2
million federal employees.
In short, RP wants to kick US workers and the poor in face harder than most
Republicans and Democrats would ever dare suggest.
That's extremely immoral in its own right, but also the exact opposite of
what you need to do to dismantle empire and police repression at home.
Dismantling empire requires mobilizing the people who would be Ron Paul's
primary victims. Ron Paul's domestic polices would require even more police
repression and the distraction of foreign enemies. That's a glaring
contradiction in his polices that you and other progressives don't seem to
acknowledge. In an Ron Paul presidency, either the policies you like would have to go,
or his brutal economic assault on the most vulnerable US citizens would
have to go. You could not have both.
Perhaps even worse, RP – even as a candidate – allows war mongering
politicians to pose (with plausibility) as defenders of the poor and working
people. The fact that Neocons are, as you indicated, already saying they would
prefer Obama to Ron Paul is significant evidence of that danger.
Best wishes in the new year,
The accuracy of the anlysis provided in the KPFA link above can be verified by look at RP's proposals
To understand how paltry RP's proposed 15% cut to the military is, consider that it would take a 50% cut just to put the USA military budget in line with what other imperial countries like France and the UK spend.
To look at it another way, the USA has roughly 4% of the world's population but accounts for 40% of its arms purchases. So even as a candiate with a very remote chance to win, RP still proposes major concessions to the military industrial complex. Proposing to maintain 85% of the US militray's outrageously bloated budget is also major contradiction to RP's anti war rhetoric. I don't see how the fact that he is a marginal candidate justifies Leftists ignoring it.
[UPDATE Jan 12, 2012. RP's website has been updated to say that his proposed cuts to both baseline and "off budget" military spending are about 30%. Fact remains that he proposes over $500 billion in annual military sepnding - surpasing what at least the next 9 big spenders in the world spend combined.]
Another Ron Paul talking point that some leftists have echoed is that he proposes to end the "war on drugs" that very disproportinoately incarcerates poor black males.
I showed Ron Paul's policy proposals to Dean Baker – one of the tiny percentage of professional economists in the world who has a good track record.
According to Dean Baker, Ron Paul's proposed budget cuts would add 5 percentage points to US unemployment rate in the near term. To be clear, if the unemployment rate in the USA is now roughly 9%, Ron Paul's proposed austerity measures would increase it to 14%.
That woud swamp any benefits from eliminating the wars on drugs. Years ago, I read a scholarly study from the 1990s that estimated the impact of the huge US prison population as reducing unemployment by roughly 1 percentage point.
Ron Paul would not only impose massive unemployment but also gut programs that make unemployment far less painful. That would leave greatly increased repression as a counter measure to keep control. The "war on drugs" woud have to be re-invented in some way. If not drug crimes then some other pretext woud have to be found to imprison poor people.
I could also have mentioned to Glenn that it appears Ron Paul's position on global warming is even worse than I thought.
I had read some statements in which he at least took the science seriously though he opposed government action – a disastrous enough stance. However, since 2009, after all that Climategate nonsense, he has been making ludicrous remarks like saying that global warming is ""the greatest hoax I think that has been around for many, many years," Inaction on Climate change, I would hope it is unnecessary to stress to leftists, amounts to imposing a death sentence on the world's most vulnerable people – and potentially all of us.
Competing for the prize of dumbest statement about Ron Paul made by a leftist would be Ron Jacobs' on Counterpunch:
"With Ron Paul as president, at least we’d be done with all the wars, the people of the rest of the world would be finally free of US military interference, including attacks by US drones. The long-suffering Constitution and its Bill of Rights would mean something again. We might even get a Supreme Court justice or two who actually believed that Congress should declare any future wars before we could fight them, and that citizens who were arrested had an absolute right to a speedy trial by a jury of peers. And we’d be electing someone who appears, especially for a politician, to be that rare thing: an honest man who says what he means and means what he says — and who doesn’t seem to be owned by the banksters.
We’d have a hell of a fight on our hands in a Ron Paul presidency, defending Social Security and Medicare, promoting economic equality, fighting climate change and pollution, defending abortion rights and maybe fighting a resurgence of Jim Crow in some parts of the country, but at least we wouldn’t have to worry about being spied upon, beaten and arrested and then perhaps shipped off to Guantanamo for doing it."
However I think the prize still goes to Whitney who wrote
"Let’s say Paul tries to strangle Social Security from Day 1. Isn’t that still infinitely better than another Falluja, another Haditha, another Abu Ghraib, another bombed-out wedding party?
Yes, it’s wrong to deprive the sick and elderly of some pittance so they can eek by, but is it as wrong as blowing women and children to bits in their own country, in their own cities, in their own homes?
It’s a question of priorities, right? So, what’s more important; ending the bloodletting or some potential threat to Social Security?
Paul will stop the killing. We should use our vote to do the same."
If I worked for the CIA, I'd be delighted to plant people within the anti-war movement to say things like this – to accept an utterly fraudulent choice between justice at home and killing abroad.