Sunday, January 20, 2008

POLITICS- Ron Who? Takes Second Place in NV

Almost as interesting as watching the political races or trying to parse the platforms lately has been watching the media scurry around trying to simultaneously predict, report, and interpret the elections. Clinton and Guliani were almost a forgone conclusion before the first elections. Then Huckabee and Obama were just as favored. Now McCain and Romney are back in the thick of it. But through all of this there remains one candidate who, while having been interviewed on numerous talk shows and having done well in every election so far, is never mentioned in the same sentence with a possible win. In fact he could almost run on the slogan “You know you can’t win” because it seems to be the one thing every interviewer says to him right away.

Suppressing and ignoring Ron Paul has been a national pastime for months now. He won the online polls after the first debates, which only obliged pollsters to omit him from later polls. He amassed the most campaign donations in the months leading up to the first primary, which prompted television pundits to grow suddenly quiet about how important money was to the campaign. He’s beat “front runner” Guliani in EVERY SINGLE PRIMARY so far and was second only to Romney in Nevada, and the only mention anywhere except the actual number spreadsheet on the CNN page was to say in one line that he “edged out” McCain there. Edged out the man who won in two other states. Routienly bests Thompson and the other second tier candidates. But who do you hear more about? If I didn’t know better I’d say that the people who really run America are afraid of Ron Paul.

I’m not usually the conspiracy minded type but I’ve always been quick to say that people with the same goals have a confluence of interests. Reuters omitted Paul in their headline “2008 Republicans back war”. ABC news neglected Paul in their online polls and then was caught actually deleting posts mentioning Paul from their online debate forum. MSNBC ignored Paul in their post-debate coverage in spite of the fact that he was 2nd or 3rd in each of their online debate poll questions. Yahoo failed to mention Paul in their Republican candidate round-up and, when called on it, lied that he wasn’t an announced candidate at all. The Washington Post suggested denying Paul a spot in future debates. Pajamas Media grew so frustrated with Paul’s winning of their online polls that they simply deleted him from contention. Fox has banned him from their televised debates. All of this in spite of the fact that the web site TECHNORATI shows that politically minded web surfers are doing more searches for “Ron Paul” than for YouTube, MySpace, American Idol, or even Paris Hilton!

Ironically, several liberal publications, such as the Nation and the Keene Free Press, cannot help but notice Paul as a defender of individual liberty even if they don’t agree with his free market policies.

Who is Ron Paul and why is he so frightening to the established powers? Well, He is a doctor, an OB/GYN who has delivered over 4000 babies. He writes his own speeches. He has written several books, most recent of which is “The Foreign Policy of Freedom”. He has won numerous awards from the American Taxpayers Union. Rated by CNET as the legislator most favorable to the Internet.

Ron Paul believes in small government, favors a non-interventionist foreign policy which uses trade rather than the military to further democracy, champions lower taxes and the abolition of the IRS as too broken to fix, supports true laissez-faire market reforms, and is so poor a target for special interest lobbyists that most don’t waste their time with him. He has earned the nickname Dr. No from special interest groups because he is so immune to being purchased by them. He thinks that 60 years after the Second World War that perhaps the billions of dollars we spend keeping military bases in Europe would be better spent here at home.

The media seems bent on portraying the upcoming presidential race as black vs. white, red state vs. blue state, hard headed warmongering conservatives vs. fuzzy headed commie-pinko liberals, in spite of the fact that the vast majority of people I talk to aren’t really that divided in their opinions. Most of us say we want smaller rather than larger government, less rather than more war, lower rather than higher taxes, more rather than less personal freedom. Most Americans seem to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. We want a government that spends less and meddles less. So why do we find both parties and the media ignoring the one candidate who embodies these qualities? Why has the biggest coverage of Paul lately been about “bigoted” articles in a publication he edited years ago? (Which many people say were not bigoted at all but rather just defenses of state’s rights and doing away with race based preferences, both usual planks of the republican platform.)

The simple answer is that neither the political parties, theocratic influence groups, or big corporations and their associated media empires have any real use for the type of freedom that the constitution describes. You don’t attain and exert power by leaving people alone and simply doing the job of government (which Ronald Reagan described as paving the roads and delivering the mail). You gain and exert power in the time honored fashion that tyrants and dictators have since time immemorial- you get people stirred up to fix something that somebody else is doing wrong. A new book about Liberal Fascism has unleashed a lot of blogk (blog talk- pronounce it as if you are retching) but it does bring up one basic truth without realizing it- both the political parties in America today are basically fascist. They both wish to interfere with free market economics, dictate personal behavior, sustain a militarily interventionist policy around the globe, and intervene in even the most personal and arbitrary decisions of their citizens. There is no party of individual freedom and minding your own business because there isn’t any big money or media interested in that.

But Ron Paul’s campaign proves that there are still Americans that are.

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