Tag Archives: republican primaries

Trump and the Young Americans: Do You Remember Your President Nixon?

According to the media, the most significant political event of 2015 was the meteoric rise of Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primaries. Trump kicked off 2016 with a new campaign ad that ramped up fearmongering to new levels, featuring his demand to halt entry of all Muslims into the US, together with a mash-up of photos of the San Bernardino killers, Islamic State fighters, a US warship firing cruise missiles, exploding buildings and footage of migrants supposedly crossing a desert border.

Stoking up fear is as central to Trump’s strategy as it is to the Republican leadership’s. It enables him to promote himself as a Bonapartist strongman: too rich to be corrupted, able to overcome Congressional deadlock with his no-nonsense “management” skills, and capable of directing arbitrary acts of military retaliation. US News & World Report’s Mort Zuckerman comments: “He swoops in on his helicopter and proudly asserts, ‘Hey, I’m rich.’ Why pretend? His wealth conveys the impression he is incorruptible and thus above our campaign finance system which now allows politicians to garner unlimited funds from unidentified wealthy donors and corporations. … The public likes Trump’s self-description as a strong leader who will take charge, rip up opponents and make the big problems go away.”

The sensationalist media reporting of terror attacks energizes his supporters’ xenophobic resentment at demographic change that reduces their privileged access to resources and opportunities. And this resonates with the Republican base. The Washington Post found that the threat of terrorism was the most important political issue for 39 percent of Republican voters, outranking by far domestic issues like tax policy or healthcare, and half of all Republicans named Trump as the candidate they would most trust to handle it. Commentator Josh Marshall noted that December’s Republican primary debate was marked by “repeated invocations of fear, the celebration of fear, the demand that people feel and react to their fear. This was logically joined to hyperbolic and ridiculous claims about ISIS as a group that might not simply attack America or kill Americans but might actually destroy the United States or even our entire civilization.”

But it’s not only the Republicans. Since so many Americans live precariously from paycheck to paycheck, the disruption of a symbol of civilizational stability – like Paris – creates the fear of a descent into chaos, a breakdown of order, endangering life and property. Muslims are then demonized by the authorities as the unreasoning, nonhuman embodiment of this scenario. Tom Engelhardt notes that in 2015: “Hoax terror threats or terror imbroglios shut down school systems from Los Angeles to New Hampshire, Indiana to a rural county in Virginia. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, citing terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, cancelled a prospective tour of Europe thanks to terror fears, issuing a statement that ‘orchestra management believes there is an elevated risk to the safety of musicians and their families, guest artists, DSO personnel, and travelling patrons’.”

The other side of this heightened fear is the increased political influence of minorities and women, codified by Trump and other Republican candidates as “political correctness.” One of his supporters, a retired college administrator, explained how her frustration with political correctness connected with her hostility to minorities. “When we wrote things [at her college], we couldn’t even say ‘he’ or ‘she,’ because we had transgender. People of color. I mean, we had to watch every word that came out of our mouth, because we were afraid of offending someone,” she said. “And you look at these people who have never worked and they’re having babies and they’re getting free rent and free food stamps and free medical care. … Something has to be done because we’re shrinking, we’re being taken over by people that want to change what America is. You can’t say it nicely,” she added.

Sometimes political correctness campaigns in colleges can be disproportionate and teachers’ speech needs to be protected; however, as well as sometimes showing a lack of judgment, youth are proving they want to tackle deeply-rooted racism and sexism and insist on real changes in what is socially acceptable. Protests at the University of Missouri over the racial insensitivity of the administration forced the resignation of the president and chancellor in November; the dean of students at Claremont McKenna in California also resigned after an email she sent to a Latina student saying she would try to better serve minority students who “don’t fit our CMC mold” surfaced. At Ithaca College in New York State, protesters accused the college president of responding inadequately to an incident where an African-American graduate was repeatedly called a “savage” by two white male alumni.

The heightened militancy of college students over institutional racism is closely connected to the rise of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. According to Al Jazeera, “Jonathan Butler, the Mizzou graduate student who went on a hunger strike to bring about Wolfe’s resignation, has said that the former college president’s demise started with ‘MU for Mike Brown,’ a Black Lives Matter-affiliated student group formed in solidarity with the uprisings in nearby Ferguson over the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. At Boston College, student organizer Sriya Bhattacharyya has also cited the importance of BLM: ‘At the core of all these [campus] movements is the unifying belief that black lives matter’.”

Al Jazeera also pointed out that the media has ignored activism at the high school level. After the white police officers responsible for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner were not indicted, “high school students across the country organized solidarity protests in Seattle; New York; Denver; Oakland, California; Minneapolis and Boston. In February, about 250 high school students in Santa Fe, New Mexico left school to protest constant testing and the state’s new mandated exam. In June, Milwaukee high school students walked out of class to protest against the county executive takeover of low-performing schools. And this fall, high school students in Allentown, Pennsylvania, organized a district-wide student walkout demanding the resignation of the superintendent, the inclusion of a student representative on the school board and summer youth employment opportunities. There were also student walkouts in Chicago; Berkeley, California and Philadelphia that occurred this fall.”

Whoever the candidates are in this year’s presidential election, 2016 is going to be all about the growing power of these young Americans and their determination to fight unprosecuted police killings of young people of color. To quote David Bowie: “We live for just these twenty years. Do we have to die for the fifty more?”


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Filed under Black Lives Matter, donald trump, latino americans, police violence, Republicans, Uncategorized, Xenophobia

Bold Expansion of Fight for $15 Campaign as it Challenges Presidential Hopefuls

Fight for 15 protesters outside the Republican primary debate in Milwaukee on Tuesday

Fight for 15 protesters outside the Republican primary debate in Milwaukee on Tuesday

The political process in America has become dominated by a clash between the power of big money in elections on one hand, and a deep-seated public hostility to the sway that corporations and the rich wield over government on the other, a clash intensified by the rampant growth of inequality while wages remain stagnant.

At the same time, the racial hierarchy is challenged by minority youth who are no longer prepared to accept being treated as second-class citizens by the authorities and the police. In the universities, the self-assertion of a new generation of students is an important reflection of this social change. African American students at the University of Missouri this week forced two top officials to resign over their lack of response to racist incidents on campus, and the dean of Claremont McKenna College in California also resigned amid similar protests. At Ithaca College in New York State, thousands of students, faculty and staff walked out demanding the sacking of the college president. The protesters accuse him of responding inadequately to racist incidents, including one where an African-American graduate was repeatedly called a “savage” by two white male alumni.

Meanwhile the Fight for $15 campaign is having an impact on the political dialog as it expresses growing discontent over low wages across the racial divide. Its under-reported day of action on Tuesday mobilized thousands of fast food workers who struck their jobs in 270 cities, joining many thousands more who marched on local city halls to demand that political candidates support an increase in the minimum wage if they want the workers’ votes.

Developments like this disconcert white Republicans, whose anger is driven by resentment at the loss of white privilege as well as distrust of government. But the rise of populism in the electorate coincides with skepticism that the leaders of either party can do anything to halt the slide in living standards or jobs. This is why the Republican rank and file is paradoxically supporting outlier candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson in the presidential primaries rather than the establishment contenders. Nobel prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz noted that “a sense of anger” at the decline of the American middle class is common to both Republicans and Democrats, but “the problem is that on the Republican side there’s anger, but it’s basically inchoate.”

Whether or not Trump continues to lead the polls, he has brought to the fore a major gulf between the Republican establishment’s policies and its ageing constituency. His slogans and demeanor resonate with voters like Steve Trivett, a newspaper editor in Florida. who told the Washington Post: “When America was great, our economy was strong. Our economy’s been shipped off to other countries. Can Donald Trump solve that? Hell, I don’t know. Somebody not as flamboyant or egomaniacal might be more effective, but I’m not sure anybody can bring us back. At least Trump gets things done.”

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich was surprised to find that many Tea Partiers and Republicans he met on a recent book tour of the Southern states agreed with his critique of capitalism. “Most condemned what they called ‘crony capitalism,’ by which they mean big corporations getting sweetheart deals from the government because of lobbying and campaign contributions,” he said. “They see Trump as someone who’ll stand up for them – a countervailing power against the perceived conspiracy of big corporations, Wall Street, and big government.” While conservative leaders want to cut Social Security and Medicare, a majority of Republican voters, along with the rest of the public, wants to keep them funded or even expanded.

Ironically, this is a major plank of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ platform, along with opposition to corporate control of the political process, but while he has succeeded in pushing Hillary Clinton into a more populist position, his message of defending middle class living standards is not reaching many African Americans and Latinos who in the main have historically been excluded from the middle class and instinctively turn to a stronger federal government for protection, which they identify with the Clinton dynasty.

In support of the Fight for 15 day of action, Sanders joined employees of federal contractors who gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday instead of reporting for work and then staged sit-ins at government building cafeterias. Not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton tweeted that low-wage workers’ actions are “changing our country for the better.” Predictably, when Republican politicians were asked if they supported a higher minimum wage during Tuesday’s televised debate, they all replied no. But the fact the question was asked at all was due to the presence of hundreds of Fight for 15 protesters outside the Milwaukee venue. After the debate, the Fight for $15 sent out a text message to supporters: “BREAKING: Donald Trump just said: ‘Wages are too high.’ #Fightfor15 response: See you in Nov 2016.”

The core of the Fight for 15 movement is fast food workers who are overwhelmingly black and Latino, but on Tuesday they were joined by FedEx freight handlers, T-Mobile retail employees, Price Rite retail employees, auto part workers and farm workers, as well as employees of federal contractors, home-care and child-care workers and other low-wage workers.

Significantly, the campaign has expanded further into the anti-union deep South and has taken on board the police killing of African Americans and immigration rights. For the first time, protesters in Selma, Alabama and in Gainesville and Tallahassee, Florida, joined the walkouts, together with workers in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Letisha Irby, who works at a factory making car seats for Hyundai in Selma, Alabama, drove 76 miles after her shift to join a protest in Tuscaloosa. She only makes $12 an hour after working at the plant for 10 years. Irby is a supporter of the United Auto Workers, who have been trying to organize her plant in Selma and have so far not succeeded.

In Chicago, Fight for 15 protesters marched to police headquarters calling for the firing of Dante Servin, the officer who shot and killed 22-year-old Rekia Boyd three years ago. And in Manhattan, Juan Sanchez reported that “leaders of the Black Lives Matter and immigrant rights movements joined ranks in a united front with Fight for 15. Their placards proclaimed the new alliance’s slogan: ‘Economic Justice = Racial Justice = Immigrant Justice.’ ‘Black Lives Matter and Fight for $15 should be united because in both cases it’s largely about minority people,’ Shawnette Richardson, 43, said.” Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, linked the campaign against police abuse to the Fight for 15, noting it was time to “make the politicians pay attention.”

The convergence of the campaign against low wages with the Black Lives Matter and immigrant rights movements has provoked a rethink of the relation between economic and political struggles. In These Times editor David Moberg commented: “Although SEIU, which has helped to finance the Fight for $15, has been a strong advocate of immigrant and black workers’ causes, it has also—like most unions—seen economic issues as a route to solidarity among workers of all racial or ethnic heritages. But the explosion of concern in black communities over police practices—from profiling to abuse of force—has produced pressure on a group like Fight for $15 to take on a broader agenda. It is also prompting SEIU to examine more deeply how to win white workers’ support for these hot-button issues for its black members, whether it’s crime in their neighborhoods or police misconduct.”

Such a project marks a major expansion of the campaign’s horizons. It could form the nucleus of a new political movement that transcends existing racial and cultural divisions.

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Filed under Black Lives Matter, donald trump, Fight for 15, republican primaries, seiu

Despite Republican primaries, most Americans are not insane

Those who rely on the mass media for their information about what is happening in America today most likely think the country has gone crazy. The Republican presidential primaries have produced political comments that have comedians struggling to parody them further. But what is unreported is the huge gap between the discourse of the Washington power elite and mainstream Americans.

E.J. Dionne comments on the primaries in the Washington Post: “Republicans cannot shut down their presidential nominating contest because the party is in the midst of an upheaval wrought by the growing dominance of its right wing, its unresolved attitudes toward George W. Bush’s presidency, and the terror that the GOP rank and file has stirred among the more moderately conservative politicians who once ran things. … Bush’s efforts to craft a ‘compassionate conservatism’ friendlier toward those in the political middle collapsed into ruins years ago. This year’s Republican candidates almost never speak Bush’s name. It is to Santorum’s discredit that he did not dare defend his perfectly defensible vote in favor of Bush’s No Child Left Behind education program. Santorum, too, fears the pitchforks wielded by those who see any exertion of federal authority as leading down a road to serfdom.”

Likewise, when Santorum attacks women’s rights to birth control and denigrates the opportunity for higher education, he is attacking the premises of the chance of a middle-class future for most people. This is central to mainstream American values: yet the media and talk shows find nothing wrong with his statements. In contrast, the Washington Post reports: “a new Bloomberg poll finds that an overwhelming majority, 77 percent, believe birth control should not even be ‘part of the national political debate.’ It also finds that 62 percent think the contraception battle is ‘a matter of women’s health and access to birth control,’ the Dem framing of the issue, while only 33 percent believe it’s about ‘religious liberty.’ Fifty-three percent think Rush Limbaugh should be fired for his ‘slut’ comments.”

And the same disconnect also applies to the Supreme Court. “If Americans were wary of the Supreme Court opening the floodgates of outside election spending with Citizens United two years ago, they like it even less now that they’ve seen what the decision has reaped. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll Tuesday shows 69 percent of Americans think super PACs should be illegal,” comments Talking Points Memo.

A refreshing display of true mainstream opinion was given over the last weekend (March 12) in Wisconsin, where a mass rally at the state Capitol commemorating the fight against governor Walker’s legislative attacks on state worker unions, and the continued push for his recall, confirm that resistance to his implementation of right-wing Republican priorities has continued and is stronger than ever. The rally was estimated to mobilize up to 60,000 people.

Symbolic of the energy of the powerful recall movement is the candidacy of housewife Lori Compas, who organized her own grass-roots drive to recall the GOP Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald. Democratic professionals had not planned to try to unseat him, since he represents a strongly Republican district, but Ms. Compas, one of his constituents, succeeded in collecting enough signatures to force him into an election. When she spoke at the rally, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, she held up a memo from the Government Accountability Board that said four recall elections against GOP senators should move forward. “This is Scott Fitzgerald’s pink slip,” she said.

Walker is a good example of what Republican rhetoric actually means. His onslaught on unions has been accompanied by major cuts in funding for the University of Wisconsin and the state school system, as well as programs for the sick and poor in the state. But what polarized Wisconsinites against him so completely was the way in which he refused any kind of compromise, forcing legislation down the throats of his political opponents.  Although Wisconsin is a politically divided state, he is far enough to the right of mainstream opinion there that even conservatives joined in the campaign for his recall.

The Democratic party leadership and most union leaders present Obama as the best alternative to the crazy Republicans. But he, too, is to the right of U.S. public opinion. He is projecting war with Iran, asserting the right to assassinate political opponents, is in thrall to the big banks (which the corporate Dems have staked the economy on), and has reneged on everything he professed to stand for. Ultimately, he’s a political lightweight who has accepted the status quo and merely seeks a more rational way of smoothing over conflict.

Economist James Crotty comments “what Obama and the Democrats seem to be striving for is a moderate or a less savage attack on social programs [compared to Republicans]. But the narrative is largely the same: we’ve lived beyond our means (which isn’t true), and the solutions therefore are going part of the way with the Republicans but nowhere near all the way. So it’s a kind of a less savage, less intense assault on social democracy, but an assault nevertheless.”

In These Times writer Mike Elk points out: “a few days after the Communications Workers of America (CWA) endorsed President Obama for re-election, the president signed a bill funding the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that, according to CWA President Larry Cohen, makes the organizing rights of airline and rail workers “worse than it’s ever been.” … As president, Obama publicly distanced himself from labor law reform—he didn’t give a single major speech on the subject of workers’ rights, as opposed to immigration and climate change. Likewise … Obama’s most recent State of the Union address did not mention the unprecedented attacks on workers’ rights at the state level, in places like Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.”

Instead of endorsing Obama for president and contributing large sums towards his re-election, unions should be using their resources for on-the-job organizing and grass-roots campaigns to repair the damage caused by the Republican drive to dismantle what union rights still remain. They cannot depend on Obama to defend them.

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Filed under 2012 Election, austerity measures, Obama, political analysis, state unions, We are the 99 percent, Wisconsin

Political opinion polarizes against Republican plutocrats

The announcement that over a million signatures were gathered for recalling Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has met with a deafening silence from the media. It’s remarkable how little has been written about this significant pushback against Walker’s Tea Party policies, compared with the barrage of commentary that has been generated about the relatively inconsequential Republican primaries.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported: “United Wisconsin, the organization formed to recall Walker, turned in a total of 1.9 million signatures, a number than includes 845,000 to recall Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and more than 21,000 signatures apiece for Republican Sens. Pam Galloway of Wausau, Van Wanggaard of Racine and Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls.”

In a theatrical move to show that anti-Walker sentiment was not confined to Madison and Milwaukee but was distributed throughout the whole state, “a procession of volunteers from each of the state’s 72 counties hauled boxes of recall signatures from the back of a U-Haul through a path cleared through some 700 chanting volunteers, and up the steps to a room in the state Government Accountability Board offices.”

The number of signatures surprised most observers, but made visible both the extent of hostility to the ALEC-inspired legislative assault on unions and the grass-roots activation of Democratic party supporters against it. The Wisconsin electorate is sharply polarized over an issue which, like the Occupy movement, raises questions of fairness and justice, and won’t be washed away by a flood of campaign money backing Walker. Greg Sargent commented: “… the mere fact that there’s already so much support for the recall suggests that despite the Dem failure to take back the Wisconsin state senate last year, there’s still a tremendous amount of grassroots energy on the ground on the Dem side — nearly a year since the fight in Wisconsin first began — in a key swing state in a presidential election year.”

Ryan Lawler, a board member for United Wisconsin, told the New York Times: “Scott Walker and his supporters tried to demean and marginalize recall circulators, but in Wisconsin winter, an army of more than 30,000 Wisconsin born-and-bred recall volunteers took to street corners, malls, places of worship, dinner tables and sidewalks to take their state back.”

What the Republican primaries express is one extreme political pole, like Walker’s, on a national scale. Romney’s 15 percent tax rate and tone-deaf dismissal of his $370k fees from public speaking as a “small sum” puts him on a different planet from Americans facing poverty and foreclosure. The racist resentment and militaristic name-calling that Gingrich and Santorum have adopted to feed the prejudices of crazed Republican voters is far removed from Main Street America.

The New York Times opined: “[Romney’s] suggestion that it is un-American to talk about rising populist resentment is self-serving and hypocritical. Republicans, in particular, have eagerly stoked such resentments against minorities and the poor. That was the essence of the ‘Southern strategy’ that Republicans, beginning with Richard Nixon, used to urge white voters to defect from a Democratic Party that supported civil rights. It continued for decades with attacks on busing, affirmative action, immigration and welfare, and was sounded most recently by Mr. Gingrich, with his attacks on Mr. Obama as ‘the food stamp president’.”

Social inequality, which the Republicans try to cloud over with wedge issues, is coming to dominate the election narrative. Romney is understandably shy about releasing his tax returns, because, according to Daniel Berman, a former U.S. Treasury deputy international tax counsel and now director of tax at Boston University’s graduate tax program, they could shed light on how Romney and Bain use offshore strategies to avoid taxes. ABC News reports: “In addition to paying the lower tax rate on his investment income, Romney has as much as $8 million invested in at least 12 funds listed on a Cayman Islands registry. Another investment, which Romney reports as being worth between $5 million and $25 million, shows up on securities records as having been domiciled in the Caymans.”

If the Republicans are blatantly the party of the one percenters, the 99 percent have little confidence in the Democratic leadership. U.S. society is as politically polarized as in Wisconsin, and major upheavals are in the offing. Already lawmakers have had to back off from support for SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) laws after internet companies turned to the public, dramatically publicizing their opposition to the legislation by blacking out their sites today.

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Filed under 2012 Election, austerity measures, financiers, marxism, Obama, occupy wall street, political analysis, state unions, We are the 99 percent, Wisconsin

Ron Paul, the Occupy movement, and the crisis of liberal ideology

The Occupy movement’s success in capturing the political imagination of the American public is also a symptom of the fragmentation of the U.S. plutocrat-controlled political system. This is the real context of the 2012 elections – the loss of legitimacy of the political process, manifested in an urge to break out of the Republican-Democrat binary – although you wouldn’t know it from the mainstream media.

The debates at the Republican primaries now resemble a TV reality show. Their aggressiveness can partly be explained by the fact that the candidates who are not Mitt Romney know they’re being stitched up by his well-funded campaign. But it’s also because they consider Romney to be an unreliable conservative who would renege on the extremist social issues they have raised in order to connect to the right-wing Republican base.

The Guardian reports that: “The GOP debate in Concord, New Hampshire, and another held just 10 hours earlier in Manchester, was marked by personal, abusive and frequently petty exchanges that highlighted the fractured nature of the modern Republican party, and raised President Barack Obama’s hopes for re-election in November. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, out for revenge after being on the receiving end of a $4m (£2.6m) advertising battering from Romney in Iowa, did not hold back, accusing him of lying, being unelectable and, in a phrase likely to be remembered long after the campaign is over, of talking ‘pious baloney’.”

The heat of the rhetoric is in marked contrast to the Republican voters’ lack of enthusiasm. E.J. Dionne comments: “The ideological fervor in the party might have overcome the frailties of its candidates and mobilized the faithful anyway. But so far, this hasn’t happened. The crowds at rallies and events have been far from exceptional, and at least in the Iowa caucuses, turnout almost certainly would have been down from 2008 but for the independents and young people brought into the caucuses by Ron Paul. Many of these libertarians and peace activists will not naturally fit into the GOP, and can’t be counted on to support the party’s nominee.”

Faced with his impending defeat by the Romney steamroller, Newt Gingrich is now making a wedge issue out of Romney’s record with Bain Capital.  “You have to ask the question, is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of people and then walk off with the money?” Gingrich said in New Hampshire on Monday. This does not mean that Gingrich is a closet liberal, but it does mean that liberal attacks on corporate raiders are not incompatible with the political establishment’s ascendancy: the intensification of the social divide created by rapacious debt manipulation undermines its legitimacy.

Liberal and conservative ideologies are in agreement insofar as they both rationalize support for the military-industrial-government complex. That’s what makes Ron Paul’s candidacy so interesting, because he is the only one in either party challenging this agglomerate, and he appears to be attracting support from the kind of younger voters who in 2008 would have supported Obama.

Matt Stoller launched an important discussion in Naked Capitalism about how Paul’s libertarian opposition to foreign wars and the bailout role of the Fed uncovers the position of liberalism today. “The basic thesis was that the same financing structures that are used to finance mass industrial warfare were used to create a liberal national economy and social safety.  Liberals supported national mobilization in favor of warfare and the social safety net during the New Deal and World War II (and before that, during the Civil War and WWI), but splintered when confronted with wars like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  The corruption of the financial channels and the destruction of the social safety net now challenges this 20th century conception of liberalism at its core (which is heavily related to the end of cheap oil).”

And in his initial post: “Liberalism doesn’t really exist much within the Democratic Party so much anymore, but it also has a profound challenge insofar as the rudiments of liberalism going back to the 1930s don’t work. This is why Ron Paul can critique the Federal Reserve and American empire, and why liberals have essentially no answer to his ideas, arguing instead over Paul having character defects. ….  Now of course, Ron Paul pandered to racists, and there is no doubt that this is a legitimate political issue in the Presidential race. But the intellectual challenge that Ron Paul presents ultimately has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with contradictions within modern liberalism.”

Glenn Greenwald took the argument further in Salon. He pointed out that the presidential candidate favored by most progressives – Obama – has used his power to extend the slaughter of civilians in Asia with drones and cluster bombs, institutionalize the secret targeting of individuals for assassination, entrench the policy of indefinite detention and state secrecy, and shield mortgage fraud. “Whatever else one wants to say, it is indisputably true that Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform — certainly the only major presidential candidate in either party — who advocates policy views on issues that liberals and progressives have long flamboyantly claimed are both compelling and crucial. The converse is equally true: the candidate supported by liberals and progressives and for whom most will vote — Barack Obama — advocates views on these issues (indeed, has taken action on these issues) that liberals and progressives have long claimed to find repellent, even evil. … Paul scrambles the comfortable ideological and partisan categories and forces progressives to confront and account for the policies they are working to protect. His nomination would mean that it is the Republican candidate — not the Democrat — who would be the anti-war, pro-due-process, pro-transparency, anti-Fed, anti-Wall-Street-bailout, anti-Drug-War advocate (which is why some neocons are expressly arguing they’d vote for Obama over Paul).”

Both Stoller and Greenwald have taken a barrage of criticism from liberal sources for voicing these opinions – but this itself is a sign of the fragility of liberal ideology in face of a Democratic administration that is working to protect the assets of the one percent from collapse by accepting the pauperization of most Americans.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Obama, occupy wall street, political analysis, poverty, Ron Paul, US policy, We are the 99 percent