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Ron Paul should be the Republican Candidate for President

Glenn Greenwald has a fantastic rant in Salon. Go read it now.

It doesn’t matter if you want Ron Paul to be president or not. You should definitely support him as It would be great for him to be the Republican candidate for president. Why? Because he is the only even remotely viable candidate for president (including Obama) who challenges the conventional political wisdom on some very important issues: ending preemptive wars, decriminalizing drug use, and many other issues that are extremely important but almost never part of our dismal political discourse. As Greenwald puts it: “[Paul’s] nomination would mean that it is the Republican candidate — not the Democrat — who would be the anti-war, pro-due-process, pro-transparency, anti-Fed, anti-Wall-Street-bailout, anti-Drug-War advocate.”

But the real irony fueling Greenwald’s rant is the reaction that most progressives have to Ron Paul, because it challenges their denial about some of Obama’s most repulsive policies (his support for CIA assassination, his unprecedented war on government whistleblowers, his shielding of Bush-era war criminals from prosecution, and others listed by Greenwald).

Let me be clear. I would definitely vote for Obama over Paul. But that does not mean that I support all of Obama’s policies (in fact, I strongly dislike some of them). The real problem is that progressives are complicit in not talking about these bad policies, because they are afraid that the American electorate will vote in someone far worse.

We should not be afraid of open discussion. The us-vs-them attitude that pervades American politics is poison.

UPDATE: Maybe a comic will help make this point:

© Matt Bors



  1. The choice for democrats and independents in the early states is wether they will take the time to vote for Ron Paul over his Republican rivals. Obama’s strategy is based on the assumption Ron Paul won’t win the nomination.

    Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink
  2. Jon Schuller wrote:

    I am supporting/voting for Obama. Mr. Paul unfortunately may have some good ideas, may appear to be smart but his statements about certain subjects sound a bit too racist and Anti-Semitic for me. Thanks. Happy New Year

    Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink
  3. Richard wrote:

    I totally agree. Any Tea Partier worth his or her salt should be backing Paul 100%. Same with OWS folks.

    I’m with Jon, I’m backing Obama even though I agree, he’s let us down in a multitude of ways.

    Some of Paul’s ideas scare the shit out of me although if I knew he’d prosecute Bush and Cheney that might swing me.

    Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
  4. BuddyGoodness wrote:

    I would rather see him or Huntsman win the nomination. I plan on voting for him in the caucus, though I would never vote for him in the general election.

    Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  5. Don wrote:

    At our annual new year’s eve bash here on the ranch, we took a survey of all those attending. Two were very much for the discussion of the elements IK has so clearly elucidated in his post. The third was unwilling to cast a vote one way or the other. (Okay, I might have exaggerated when I said “bash.”)

    I could never vote for Ron Paul, but I’ll go so far as to say I may not vote for Obama because of his failings on so many of these issues. He threatened to veto the Defense spending bill because it was removing authorities he wanted that allowed him to incarcerate American citizens on American soil indefinitely without trial on suspicion of some association with terrorism. This coming from a constitutional scholar?

    Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  6. Patricia wrote:

    Couple of thoughts on this matter:

    1. How much could any candidate of any persuasion actually accomplish as President with this poisonous political discourse and polarized Congress?

    2. I used to think it was a cheap shot to say “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know,” but in the current political arena, it’s beginning to make sense!

    Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee — As much as I may want Ron Paul to win the Presidency (or even just the GOP nomination), I don’t enjoy being told who I should be supporting or voting for. I come to Political Irony for the questions it raises about the current state of affairs, not to be ideologically influenced.

    Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    Would you have been happier if I had said “it would be great for Paul to win the Republican nomination”? Because that’s what I was really trying to say. I’ll change the original post if that will help.

    Monday, January 2, 2012 at 12:05 am | Permalink
  9. Duckman wrote:

    Ron Pauls ideas, while they sound decent, are not feasible and his foreign policy is a joke, I’d consult a 5th grader before Paul when it comes to FA

    Monday, January 2, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink
  10. Meh, wasn’t really expecting a retraction or change or anything, just expressing a personal distaste for the tone. But hey, it’s your site, you’re free to write what you like, man…

    Monday, January 2, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink
  11. BTN wrote:

    I like the fafct that Ron Paul’s ideas are creatings more debates. In reality, many of his ideas are completely impractical because (a) they are too simplistic (abolish the FED) and don’t really consider the ramifications and details and (b) Congress wouldn’t pass them anyway.

    CGE, just take this post for what it is: one man’s opinion. Whenever someone write “you should…” stick the words “I think that” in front of it and then you’ll enjoy the internet more.

    Monday, January 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink
  12. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    There are a lot of things I don’t like about Paul. Probably the most significant is the “pass the buck” philosophy when it comes to federal vs state issues.

    It’s as if almost every policy (especially controversial ones) will magically resolve itself once decided at a state level. It smacks of the invisible hand of the free market, which will somehow correct every problem if left alone.

    How can a supposed constitutional expert feel that the Constitution is “replete with references to God”? Seriously, read the paragraph under the Religion heading and tell me it doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies.

    This is a guy who thinks that if you are the victim of sexual harassment at your job, it is your responsibility to quit and not make a big fuss about it. See, you have every right to leave and go somewhere else! Maybe he’ll have Herman Cain as his VP…

    Monday, January 2, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink
  13. Iron Knee wrote:

    1032, you’re missing the point. I do not want Ron Paul to be president. I want him to be the Republican nominee (and then lose). But I want the discussion that would happen between Paul and Obama. Read Glenn Greenwald’s rant — you are doing exactly what he is talking about. Yes, there are odious things about Paul. But does that mean you should be in denial about some of the things that Obama has supported (even if they are less odious)?

    Secondly, if Obama is running against someone other than Paul, it will probably push him further to the right in order to avoid what happened during the 2010 midterms. Wouldn’t you prefer if Paul pushed Obama a little toward some libertarian positions, like more civil liberties?

    Monday, January 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink
  14. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    And what if you and Mr. Greenwald get your wish? What if Ron Paul gets the nomination? And what if, after a few debates, a lot of progressives get blinded by his light and jump ship?

    What if he actually wins? Will you still be happy to have supported his candidacy in order to bring important issues to the forefront of national discussion and push Obama to the left? Both of which I feel are fantasies…

    Ron Paul is the only GOP candidate with a snowball’s chance in Hell of winning because of liberals who support him ONLY for his war and drug policies. Any article which highlights this is, in my mind, dangerous. It has nothing to do with me being an Obama robot. It has to do with me not wanting to live in a nation run by Ron Paul.

    Do you know that Paul’s economic policies would almost certainly devastate our country? Probably irrecoverably? Do you know that he has acknowledged this devastation (‘it will be bad for a while, but then it will get better after the self-correction!’)?

    Allow me a moment to Godwin this discussion in hopes of using hyperbole to demonstrate *my* point. If Hitler was running for the GOP nomination, and Hitler was anti-war and anti-drug, but pro-Jew annihilating, would you and Mr. Greenwald support him too? (and no, I’m not comparing Ron Paul to Hitler)

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink
  15. Iron Filing wrote:

    I’m with IK in wanting an honest discussion of endless war, preemptive war, drug war, due-process and transparency in government but I think 1032 would welcome that debate as well.

    Like 1032, I question whether promoting Ron Paul for the Republican nomination is the way to do that. Yes, Paul as the Republican nominee definitely would bring these issues to the front but it would have an ugly side too. A Ron Paul candidacy would further legitimize the John Birch extremist views which were marginalized by Ike so many years ago. I think a Paul nomination would more likely move the public to greater acceptance of wacko-right fantasies than towards consideration of reasonable progressive policies.

    The fourth-estate has sadly abandoned it’s role of holding government and corporate powers accountable. With fact-based journalism nearly dead, corporate voices will dominate the discussion. With those dollars supporting Paul, even his most vile positions will become glossy baubles for low information voters.

    However, I do appreciate IK adding the “Partisan Civil Liberties Disorder Cartoon”. The spread of PCLD is a very legitimate concern with serious outbreaks on the Left and Right. I printed out a copy and taped it to my bathroom mirror as a daily warning to myself for the upcoming partisan flu season.

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 7:36 am | Permalink
  16. Hassan wrote:

    1032, I understand your argument, and I think I am saying this, in past few posts as well, everyone has his/her own priority. I see you want Ron Paul not to be nominee because for people whose top priorities would be civil liberties, would then have to vote for Obama (as second choice). I mean I would love to have single payer healthcare system, and Ron Paul is against it (under Obama there is chance of that happening). But to me it becomes lower priority compared to civil liberties. So I would vote Ron Paul over Obama. Now if Ron Paul is not there, and we have Mitt Romney, then ofcourse Obama seems better. So you want people like me not to have chance of voting Ron Paul in general election. Fair enough..

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink
  17. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    “So you want people like me not to have chance of voting Ron Paul in general election. Fair enough..”

    Absolutely not. I want you to have the opportunity to vote for anyone you like. I want your voice to be heard.

    I’m speaking about Paul’s unique positions on war and drugs which appeal to a lot of progressives who don’t fully understand his positions on anything else.

    I would also argue that Paul isn’t the person you want defending your civil liberties. Against indefinite detention, probably yes. But if every business in your town decided that because of your race or ethnicity, they would no longer serve you, what would Ron Paul want to do about that? I believe the answer is…nothing. He would say that all those businesses have every right to discriminate against you.

    One good thing I can say about Paul is that he sticks to his guns, and is ideologically committed. Ironically this is why I am more scared of him as president than Mitt. Mitt has flip flopped and enacted progressive policies in the past. I feel like he could be convinced to move to the middle. I don’t feel like the same could ever happen with Paul.

    I.F. stated my position pretty accurately and better than I can. I would also add that because the corporate run media for the most part controls the discussion not only in the news stream, but in the debates as well, I have little faith that those stated issues would move to the forefront whether the GOP nominee was Romney or Paul. Or Hitler. 🙂

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink
  18. Iron Knee wrote:

    I love this discussion. Thanks. I just wish there were more discussions like this in other places.

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink
  19. Thank you. I appreciate your honest and straight forward assessment of the current dire situation we are facing as Americans. I voted for President Obama in 2008 and thought for certain I would be voting for him again…

    Then I stumbled upon the Good Doctor. I thought Barack was going to end the wars. I voted for Barack because of this. He clearly lied. Dr. Paul will end the wars. He will bring our troops home. This man deserves the Noble Peace Prize. I will be voting for Congressman Paul in the Republican Primary and in the 2012 general election and I will have a clear conscience.

    Friday, January 6, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink