With Ron Paul placing a respectable second in Iowa we are hearing more talk about his being "ignored" mostly by firebaggers who have been infatuated with Paul for years-some even extend their fascination to his son!
Many so called progressives somehow believe that there is the possibility of a "trans partisan alliance" with the libertarian Right. Intuitively, a libertarian might sound like a good thing if it is understood as a simple demand to "leave me alone." Yet Paul far from desires to leave Americans alone. Listen to what a conservative admirer of his says.
" Ron Paul is fundamentally a cultural conservative. That is how he can simultaneously be libertarian and prolife. To Paul, the two are not just reconcilable but mutually affirming. He believes that rights come from God, not the man-made warfare-welfare state. Liberty is rooted in the right to life, and that right is divinely inspired. Ergo, in order to protect an individual’s liberty we must first safeguard his right to life and outlaw abortion. By such contortions of logic is a paleo-libertarian born."
The author of this piece incidentally is Tim Stanley who is currently working on a biography for Pat Buchanan.
At FDL there is always a requisite piece lauding Paul almost every week and any doubters of his value to progressives is told "this discussion will not be shouted down" though they are the only ones doing the shouting.
So a commentator who calls himself working class declares:
"You mean like your lengthy guilt by association rant against Ron Paul?
Give it your best shot things. But this conversation will not be shouted down."
Any criticism of Ron Paul worship is "shouting down." Indeed workingclass in the past has spoken of a new movement for "blue Republicans."
Glenn Greenwald continues the mythology by claiming, " Aside from the truly disappeared former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (more on him in a moment), Ron Paul is far and away the most anti-war, anti-Surveillance-State, anti-crony-capitalism, and anti-drug-war presidential candidate in either party."
This is quite an overstatement. In what way is he against "crony capitalism" a rather vague and slippery term in any case? As far as anti-war the most anti war politicians are Kucinich and Sanders. If Kucinich nevertheless supports Obama that should tell you something about where the real fault lines are for progressives in 2012-it's not in the fantasies of a Anthony Noel or Metamars of "Dump Obama."
For the most part we are being sold Paul solely on rhetoric: easy to say you're against crony capitalism but what are you planning to do about it. On the other hand his economic policies are largely wrongheaded: "abolish the Fed" may sound great but how many who demand this are aware that in the 40 years prior to the creation of the modern Fed (1913) the US economy was in recession half (20 out of 40) of those years?
As to going back to the gold standard one of the first things FDR did to make the modern international economy on firmer footing was to get us off the gold standard. The true proponents of the gold standard don't have history on their side.
To call Paul committed to civil liberties takes some license. We saw above from his conservative friend Tim Stanley that Paul is a cultural conservative and a paleo-libertarian. In other words there is a lot he doesn't want the government to leave alone in your life.
The main way he wants to leave you alone is by ending SS, Medicare, most other government programs, and put us back on the gold standard-seems Perry with his talk of treason for Bernanke is something of a kindred spirit. The nostalgia for the gold standard is actually quite widespread and even Greenspan has some. Greenspan is someone else who continues to have untoward influence on our political debate and I will have a post calling him out on that soon.
For a contrary view to the "Paul was ignored" narrative see http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/08/16/ron_paul_2012/
As the author Steve Kornacki points out, "The key question about Paul's campaign is one that the straw poll was never going to help answer: Can he build on his sizable (but ultimately limited) base of core supporters and develop mass appeal within the Republican Party?
In his 2008 campaign, he was unable to do this. Think back to the later months of 2007, when Paul stunned the political world by raising more money than any of the other Republican candidates. No one was quite sure what to make of it. Paul was supposed to be a niche candidate with no chance, but he wasn't raising niche candidate money. Was something revolutionary taking place? The answer came when the primary and caucus season began and Paul performed ... like a niche candidate. He grabbed 10 percent in Iowa, good for fifth place, and 8 percent in New Hampshire, another fifth-place showing, and that was pretty much it. The media filed this under lesson learned: Paul's supporters could make a lot of noise -- but it was misleading noise."
Paul is a niche candidate and though his supporters(on right and left) may make some noise he is not someone who is worth taking seriously in terms of his electoral chances.
On the level of his ideas, far less so.