ELIZABETHTOWN, PA — Listening to Charles Krauthammer on TV explaining
the surging popularity of Ron Paul, I was deeply impressed by the prudence
displayed by this usually partisan commentator. Unlike other neoconservatives,
Krauthammer recognizes that the Paul-phenomenon is not about to go
away. Least of all can it be made to disappear by dumping toxic waste
on the congressman’s reputation, a tactic being pursued by National
Review, The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, and predictably
assisted by the liberal national press.
The controversial statements cherry-picked from the Ron Paul Political
Report, going back more than twenty years, tells nothing about Paul’s current positions.
Most of these comments came from contributors to a publication that Paul did
not always read — and when he did not always with care. Perhaps he should
have been more attentive to these texts but it’s not clear that
what offends his critics was quite as wicked as they suggest.
Am I supposed to be horrified that during the Los Angeles riots in
1992 a comment in the Political Report mentioned that the rioters would
stop rioting as soon as they had to collect their welfare checks? I
heard similar quips during the riots coming from otherwise impeccably
PC academic colleagues. I also discovered, from an undocumented assertion
in The Weekly Standard (December 26, 2011), that Paul is the “favorite candidate” of people who believe in “conspiratorial
theories.” What the denouncer, James Kirchik, a longtime Paul-detester,
really means is that those who doubt the openness of the media are likely to
support Paul. Almost all of those who are screaming about Paul’s
conspiratorial outlook write for the same publications and appear on
the same news programs.
It is also laughable to read in neoconservative publications that although Paul
is tolerant of gays, he is uncomfortable with their lifestyle. I would urge neoconservative
activists to go back and read the tracts dealing with homosexuals produced by
their movement throughout the 1980s. As Gary Dorrien in his massive study The
Neoconservative Mind (1993) shows, his subjects acquired influence on the Religious
Right because of their passionate crusade against homosexual activism. The mild
personal objections ascribed to the seventy-four-year old Paul pale into insignificance
next to the indignant assaults on the gay movement that abounded in Commentary and other neoconservative publications, until it became politically useful to
change direction in the 1990s.
As for Paul’s remark quoted by The Weekly
Standard that the Martin Luther
King holiday might be turned into a “hate whitey day,” this observation
is all too true. I notice anger being vented every January when the collective
sins of white Americans are trotted out (usually by whites). But even if this
prediction weren’t true, why does the fact that someone made it over twenty
years ago prove that he’s hateful? Ronald Reagan said similar things when
the proposal for a King-holiday came up in 1986. The most that could be said
against these reservations is that they are no longer fashionable. I’ve
no idea why they should disqualify someone from becoming president.
One might further ask why the personal scruples about homosexuality
expressed by Paul, a devoutly Protestant septuagenarian, are more controversial
than the open opposition to the gay movement that comes from Gingrich,
Bachmann and Santorum. Why are the neoconservatives more shocked by
Paul’s personal discomfort
with gays than with the impassioned campaign against gay rights being
waged by other Republican presidential candidates?
Allow me to guess. Unlike these other candidates, Paul is against
the global democratic, pro-Zionist foreign policy that is the trademark
of other GOP candidates. That is the sticking point, not a medley of
twenty-year-old remarks on social subjects that are attributed to Paul
by way of his Political Report. Were it not for two problems, Paul’s
foreign policy isolationism and his determination to close down government
agencies that provide neoconservatives and GOP hangers-on with patronage,
no one would be screaming over his alleged faux pas.
These hypocritical outbursts may be taking their toll. Paul’s disappointing
third-place finish in the Iowa Caucuses, after leading in the polls, came after
two-weeks of pounding from the mostly Republican press. If the GOP regulars and
their neoconservative idea-people believe that Paul’s supporters will accept
this abuse and then once he’s eliminated, vote for Romney, they are profoundly
deluded. After the recent barrage, Paul’s enemies can be sure of two things:
there will be a third-party bid and it will help Obama get reelected. While others
have been blithely firing away at the “the company Paul keeps,” the
far brainier Krauthammer has tried to limit the damage. Krauthammer
has recognized that Paul is a force to be reckoned with and a focal
point for those on the right who feel alienated from the GOP and its
approach to international relations.
Although Krauthammer does not
suggest how his side can avert the storm, he nonetheless grasps what
he and his persuasion are up against.
The Ornery Observer archives
The Ornery Observer is copyright © 2012,
by Paul Gottfried and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. All rights
Paul Gottfried, Ph.D., is the Raffensperger professor of Humanities
at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.
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