Wednesday, May 16, 2007

St. Paul the Apostate

Ron Paul doesn't dare to play by the Culture of Countermand rules, and man it irritates Bush-mold Republicans.

Here are two of the aggressive questions Paul was asked in the last GOP debate, brought to you by two different anchors of the ever-balanced Fox News:

(1) Congressman Paul, you're one of six House Republicans who back in 2002 voted against authorizing President Bush to use force in Iraq... Now you say we should pull our troops out. A recent poll found that 77 percent of Republicans disapprove of the idea of setting a timetable for withdrawal. Are you running for the nomination of the wrong party?

(2) Congressman Paul, I believe you are the only man on the stage who opposes the war in Iraq, who would bring the troops home as quickly as -- almost immediately, sir. Are you out of step with your party? Is your party out of step with the rest of the world? If either of those is the case, why are you seeking its nomination?

Where to begin?

Most of the GOP debate analysis has revolved around the deeply misguided display of 9/11 rage from "America's Masquerader" Rudy Giuliani in response to Paul's answer to question (2) above. Paul essentially said American interventionist policies in the Middle East, going back tens of years (and probably more) helped to create deep resentment in that region against the U.S., a grudge of pure hatred, that undeniably led to 9/11. Rudy basically replied, "How dare you! 9/11 was not our fault! I was there! Take that back!" Ron Paul bravely and correctly wouldn't take it back (and he subsequently pointed to portions of the 9/11 Commission Report that completely supported his debate statements). Now some GOP folks want Paul out of the debates entirely.

The Republicans, as Paul Krugman writes so succinctly in his column for Friday, are all living in the "Bush bubble," and the party's negative reaction to Ron Paul's factual realism (and even the media's general negative reaction to Paul) reflects this horrible isolationism from reality (have you noticed that in the mainstream media Democratic nutcase Mike Gravel is just a sweet old guy bringing hard truths to his party, but Ron Paul is deemed out-of-hand crazy and not a real Republican?).

Listening to Paul in the GOP debate, and watching his treatment at the hands of Fox and the GOP (a team which Jon Stewart correctly called "redundant") it's easy to be convinced that it's definitely mourning in America. A recent Vanity Fair article claimed that the United States is quickly headed the way of Rome, thanks to our broad, thoughtless privatization that mirrors rigid quid pro quo governing of the ancient times, but it also seems that the unverified factual spin of Rome has bled into our modern discourse as well. Why have media at all if it allows the fight over Paul's mention of "blowback" and Rudy's subsequent attack to overcome any talk of the truth in Paul's words? It's not about blame, it is about accepting the consequences of history, and fighting enemies with hard truths on your side.

Paul Krugman writes today:

What we need to realize is that the infamous "Bush bubble," the administration's no-reality zone, extends a long way beyond the White House. Millions of Americans believe that patriotic torturers are keeping us safe, that there's a vast Islamic axis of evil, that victory in Iraq is just around the corner, that Bush appointees are doing a heckuva job -- and that news reports contradicting these beliefs reflect liberal media bias. And the Republican nomination will go either to someone who shares these beliefs, and would therefore run the country the same way Mr. Bush has, or to a very, very good liar.

This is why I haven't written much on the blog this week--between NPR's sickening Iraq reporting during my morning commute every day, the Robert Dallek "Nixon and Kissinger" book I read at night, and the general state of how the 2008 campaign is being reported--all image and cash, my friends--it's hard to imagine hope is on the way.

We've been here before. How did we get here again?

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