17 December 2011

Andrew Sullivan endorses Ron Paul

Some excerpts from a longer essay full of cautions and caveats, by long-time conservative Andrew Sullivan:
What we are talking about here is who to support in a primary dominated by extremes, resentment, absence of ideas and Obama-hatred.

And I see in Paul none of the resentment that burns in Gingrich or the fakeness that defines Romney or the fascistic strains in Perry's buffoonery. He has yet to show the Obama-derangement of his peers, even though he differs with him. He has now gone through two primary elections without compromising an inch of his character or his philosophy... When he answers a question, you can see that he is genuinely listening to it and responding - rather than searching, Bachmann-like, for the one-liner to rouse the base. He is, in other words, a decent fellow, and that's an adjective I don't use lightly. We need more decency among Republicans.

And on some core issues, he is right. He is right that spending - especially on entitlements and defense - is way out of control. Unlike his peers, he had the balls to say so when Bush and Cheney were wrecking the country's finances, and rendering us close to helpless when the Great Recession came bearing down. Alas, he lacks the kind of skills at compromise, moderation and restraint that once defined conservatism...

What Paul understands - and it's why he has so much young support - is that the world has changed. Seeking global hegemony in a world of growing regional powers among developing nations is a fool's game, destined to provoke as much backlash as lash, and financially disastrous as every failed empire in history has shown.

We do not need tens of thousands of troops in Europe. We do not need to prevent China's rise, but to accommodate it as prudently as possible. We do need to get out of the Middle East to the maximum extent and return our relationship with Israel to one between individual nations, with different interests and common ideals, not some divine compact between two Zions. We do need a lighter, more focused, more lethal war against Jihadism - but this cannot ever again mean occupying countries we do not understand and cannot control. I suspect every other Republican would launch a war against Iran. Paul wouldn't. That alone makes a vote for him worthwhile...

Just as vitally, no other Republican (or Democrat) would end the war on drugs, one of the most counter-productive, authoritarian campaigns against individual liberty this country has known since Prohibition.

He could also begin to unwind the imperial presidency. We would no longer go to war without a full Congressional vote and approval. Torture would not return under Paul...

But Paul's libertarianism may be the next best thing available in the GOP. It would ensure real pressure to make real cuts in entitlements and defense; it would extricate America from the religious wars of the Middle East, where we do not belong. It would challenge the statist, liberal and progressive delusion that for every problem there is a solution, let alone a solution devised by government. As part of offering the world a decent, tolerant conservatism, these instincts are welcome. As an antidote - and a very strong one - to the fiscal recklessness and lawless belligerence of Bush-Cheney, it is hard to beat. The Tea Party, for all their flaws, are right about spending and the crony capitalism it foments. So is Paul.

I regard this primary campaign as the beginning of a process to save conservatism from itself.
More at the link.


  1. I'm British but I do have a great interest in American politics and would most likely vote Democrat but I'm really impressed with Ron Paul. I do hope he wins.

  2. I am an independent (normally voting for conservative candidates). I think Paul would make a very good President. I don't agree with all of his positions, but I do believe all of his positions are real.

    Too often you have candidates simply telling others what they want to hear, and then doing their own thing in the oval office. I am confident that Ron Paul as a candidate and Ron Paul, President would be the same person.

  3. I really like Paul's integrity and common sense. I don't agree with him on all issues. But I feel that he is even keeled enough to consider that others many not think as he does, and be ok with that.

    Here is my problem...

    The US President does NOT make the laws. He does not make the budgets. The mess we have in this country is 90% the fault of Congress, who is bought and paid for by corporations.

    I feel if Paul was president, all he could do is veto stupid laws presented by congress. This would end up as an unworkable government that would grind to a halt.

    Minnesota tried this with governor Jesse Ventura. It turned out to be a disaster. He was the results of general "Throw all the bums out" disgust of the MN voters.

    Paul can do more working in Congress. I would like to see him run for senater from Texas. From that position, he could craft laws the unwind some of these messes. And he could beat up his fellow senators who come up with these stupid laws in the first place.

  4. I too think Paul would do a more effective job in the Senate. The problem, however, is that the one sensible politician who has not been bought and sold by corporate interests would be shouted down/outvoted/marginalized by the other ones who have and don't want to lose their privileges.
    They certainly need someone to wield a good stiff-bristled broom and sweep out the chaff, but it's never going to happen from the inside.
    I don't agree with everything Paul espouses either - not by a long shot - but who ever agrees with anyone about absolutely EVERYTHING? No-one with a brain in their head does, and it's absurd to think people need to in order to vote for someone.

  5. I'd honestly like to see him win, even though I do find him a bit dense on certain issues, and find the Libertarian ideal of a self-regulated economy bloody hilarious.

    Even so, he'd shake the place up good and proper, and it isn't like the place can get any more broken if it turns out he's bad at it.

    Just remember that corporations are not your friends and want to continue drilling you into the slavery bracket.

  6. The only reason you have the luxury of not agreeing with Ron Paul on any given topic is because he's actually telling you where he stands. No one.. no one.. else does that. The man actually has morals and strong beliefs. I know he'd do a good job as president. I'm not sure he could cut through the crap of congress, but he would try his hardest.

    I'm a solid supporter of his politics... and really tried to drum up support for him in 08. Talk about black out in the media; it's shameful.

  7. While I agree that Ron Paul is a man of great integrity, I think the Libertarian view of almost no government is untenable. It reminds me of Candide and "the best of all possible worlds". We don't have that, and won't as long as there are human beings around.
    I think a Libertarian regime would open the way for even more control by the .01%, and the middle class would disappear completely. Paul is an idealist who would be eaten alive by reality.

  8. "While I agree that Barack Obama is a man of great integrity, I think the Progressive view of strong government is untenable. It reminds me of Candide and "the best of all possible worlds". We don't have that, and won't as long as there are human beings around.
    I think a Progressive regime would open the way for even more control by the .01%, and the middle class would disappear completely. Obama is an idealist who would be eaten alive by reality."

    Sound like the last three years a bit? I find claims of runaway idealism from progressives to be laughable, but I think it really comes from misunderstanding libertarianism (or the Ron Paul brand of conservatism). The idea is not to maximize utility. Very few small government supporters think the world is going to be some perfect utopia under limited rule. Instead, it's a reaction to thousands of years of empirical data: giving some group of randomly selected humans control over another group of humans always ends poorly. Even the best-intentioned ruler can end up doing more harm than good. Ron Paul gets this and that's why his fallback position is consistent: don't meddle. This is as true for domestic trade as it is for foreign policy.

  9. I find it hard to trust someone who named his son after Ayn Rand.

  10. Maybe it's wise to look into this Mr. Sullivan a bit before regarding his drooling over Ron Paul

  11. Ron Paul is OK if you think that the majority should be allowed to vote away the rights of the minority, unless those rights are those "enshrined" in the constitution. For many US states this would mean: The right to marry outside your race? Gone. The right to have an abortion, even after rape or incest? Gone. The right to be judged on your capabilities and not your skin color when applying for a job? Gone. Hormonal birth control? Gone. Support for education of poor children? Gone. Protection against pollution? Gone.

    Of course, the rich will still have all these "rights", as they can afford lawyers, and they can go move to another state or abroad when needed. The rest of the population will basically just be serfs.

    But hey, it is all in the name of "freedom"..

  12. "Sound like the last three years a bit?"

    Not at all. To even suggest that there's anything remotely progressive about the Obama admin is lunacy. Unless of course you think rule by Goldman Sachs and policies not that much different (and in cases worse) than The Bush admin's is "progressive". If you want to see what progressive policy looks like in practice, take a look over at the extremely successful countries of Scandinavia.

    Ron Paul = Neo-confederacy

  13. "Andrew Sullivan endorses Ron Paul"

    Not really, he's still an Obama man.
    This is just:

    "But all this is why a conservative like me is for Obama. What we are talking about here is who to support in a primary dominated by extremes, resentment, absence of ideas and Obama-hatred."

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  15. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57345702-503544/ron-paul-disavows-racist-newsletters-under-his-name/

    Of course, the good doctor now disavows all the racist rantings (which he takes great pains to tell us he neither wrote nor edited) in the newsletter that bore his name.

    That's the epitome of Libertarianism- let the chips fall where they may, and whatever happens, happens. I got mines, you deal with the crumbs whichever way you want... The Plausible Deniability Party.


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