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Saturday, January 14, 2012

On PORPs, PUERPs and Redneck Country Preachers

I am pleased to see progressives begin to talk seriously about supporting Ron Paul. As we do, there seem to be two groups. One stands for Paul because of his stand on civil liberties, war, militarism and empire, drug war, the federal reserve's bailout of banks, etc. This group is not thrilled about Ron Paul's desire to end federal intervention in the economy. The second groups thinks his desire is so hideous that it disqualifies him from any consideration, especially as he has also opposed the Civil Rights Act and tolerated racist elements within his entourage and among his newsletters.

Neither group thinks that Ron Paul is wrong on all matters, and neither endorses all that he advocates. Progressive opponents of Ron Paul (hereafter PORPs) make a good  point. If progressives support Ron Paul unconditionally and he wins, he is under no obligation to listen to our concerns over his economic policy. He truly longs for the day when we are all Austrians. Progressives unconditionally endorsing Ron Paul (hereafter PUERPs) are  running a fool's errand, which might end wars abroad but start thousands in ever city, village and hamlet. (Think about who owns the guns.)

I am not sure that PUERPs actually exist. Some Democrats are actually libertarians who previously could not make a deal with coporatists, militarists and conservative cultural imperialists like their Republican counterparts. Now with Ron Paul not concerned with their legal sexual status or pot smoking, they have migrated to their homeland. Other progressives like myself, no longer disillusioned but realistic about the process of lowest common denominator politics, see in Paul a way to set Republican corporatism back by giving them a dose of their own divide and conquer medicine back.

We had more than 50 reliably progressive Democratic Senators on our side in 2009-10 with a huge majority in the House and a real progressive in the White House. Whether or not he was or is a progressive is meaningless. If Obama suddenly became George McGovern, we would still face the 60 Senator hurdle for the next 5 years, with several less than 50 reliable progressives.

Let's be optimistic and say we get the House back. The Senate is still too far gone and Democrats will be very lucky to hang on to 51 seats.The only way the Senate gets 60 anti-empire advocates is to turn 15 Republicans  libertarian. This will not happen without Ron Paul in the general election debate.

I'm guessing that if a 3 way race were held today he would get 20% of the vote with a fourth coming from progressive Democrats. He would insure an Obama victory. If he does not do well, finishing 3rd in the Republican primaries, he will probably endorse Gary Johnson. I think he might change his mind if he manages to get above 30% of the Republican votes and beats Rick Santorum for 2nd place. He would be a fool not to go 3rd party if he edged out Romney for first and forced the convention to reject him.

The only way for Paul to place 2nd or 1st in the Republican race is through a large influx of progressives.  Most of us being labelled PUERPs are totally on board with Ron Paul for the primary but are holding out on supporting him in the general election. We would like to see if he decides to go coalition or stick to his one winged message. I have yet to see any major progressive spell out why they reject this strategy. Could it be they have no sensible argument? I would encourage anyone reading this to pass the question on to Rachel Maddow, The Nation, Mother Jones, The Young Turks, Democracy Now etc..... Surely they have an answer to shut this redneck country preacher up.

Since, I'm guessing they want to keep their Democratic credentials, they ain't touching this, and as long as nobody important mentions it, they are probably safe. So I'll plow this lonely field by myself for now and pray that someone smarter and wiser than I will either show me the light or finally admit the redneck ain't so dumb after all. Until then, PORPs please pile on.


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  2. A few weeks ago I had occur to me what seemed a literally fantastically funny idea, which I proceeded to post on the FB page of a politically aware friend of mine who is a professional comedian.

    The funny idea occurred to me after watching a number of Youtube clips featuring interviews with a pair of cordial, even friendly, politicians, one from either *far side* of the aisle. Their names were, of course, Paul and Kucinich. They agreed on what was, until I learned more from further interviews, a surprising number of important issues which impact us morally (or ethically, if that feels better) and economically.

    The idea expressed itself roughly thus, "Why don't we figure out a way to get these two elected formally as President and Vice President, but have them serve in the same manner as Roman consuls ?" Since consuls each held a veto power over the other, no executive decision or order would take effect without the signatures of both.
    This would give us a nearly immediate end to the war on drugs and a quick start toward bringing home all non-essential military forces. A better opening chapter than any presidency we have seen recently, and one that would give libertarians, progressives, and nearly everyone else in the country reason to celebrate as well as reason to start thinking and talking about what other areas they might either agree on or compromise on.

    Then, in reading and writing comments to The Nation's online column about Ron Paul, I found your suggestion.
    As The Scarlet Pimpernel might say, "Sink me, sir, but thanks to you, we have the requisite technology under our precious noses and at our very fingertips...crossover voting rocks!"
    (Okay, Sir Percival wouldn't have uttered those last three words.)


    For a number of reasons, I am stuck in retirement in Costa Rica, but I will try to persuade as many friends and relatives as I can to read your blog and follow your lead. Perhaps on or more of them will even contact you directly to coordinate efforts.

  3. Hey infanttyrone,
    Thanks for your kind words and assistance in this sometimes lonely cause. I am kinda dumbfounded that smarter people than I have not come up with this strategy by now. It is so obvious to me that this is the way to make the non-violent coup we so desperately need. Maybe there is still time. Blessings on you down in Costa Rica.

  4. Cornelius,

    I first started dreaming about this kind of synthesis/merger between thoughtful left and right wingers in about 1972. Details maybe later.
    It seemed like a no-brainer at the time, but there was always some red-meat issue or two that kept driving the right wingers into the lovingly hateful arms of the Republican party. Or so it seemed from my perspective as a relatively young adult from a Democratic-leaning household...probably our libertarian friends can give us plenty of examples of how we were scared back into the all-knowing arms of cynical Uncle Demo. When Lee Atwater came on the scene, he sewed up the game for a good 20 years, paving the way as he did for for Karl Rove's triumphant debacle of the past dozen years.

    I suspect if it weren't for the way that Wall Street went so far into deranged and depraved territory (see Matt Taibbi's work if you aren't already following him) Ron Paul would still be being marginalized by Rove (or one of his proteges) and a corresponding figure on 'the left' (using quotes because it doesn't seem very left any more) and we'd be stuck with (maybe) someone capable of self-funding a 3rd party run like Ross Perot to act as our every-four-years steam-vent/safety valve.
    Although, come to think of it...whose safety is that valve designed for ? Maybe that wasn't a feature aimed at protecting the 99%

    If you're not familiar with Joe Bageant, I highly recommend his writing & analysis. He died last March, but his stuff is still up at www.joebageant.com and you can usually pick up copies of his books at half.com (recommend Deer Hunting with Jesus for an analysis of how the white underclass has been persuaded to vote against their own interests pretty much since they got to America).

    Gotta run for now, but keep up the good work...if not this time, maybe 2016, eh wot ? And if not then, well, as Beyond the Fringe taught us, maybe the time after that...must have a winner one day.


  5. infantyrone,
    love the video. got a glimpse of Bageant...will have to read more. Hope you're doing well and maybe our paths cross sometime. Trying to catch up on replies. This campaign is about over. I need it to be so I can move on to another distraction/obsession. I can't figure out if I am just insane or the rest of the world as well. American politics is hopelessly prefabricated.