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Carpentier begins: "If you told a liberal in 2008 that progressives ought to give Republican Texas Congressman Ron Paul a chance because he was the most anti-war candidate on the ballot, you would have been laughed out of the room - or, more likely, the bar."

Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul, 01/06/12. (photo: Jamie Turner/Guardian UK)
Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul, 01/06/12. (photo: Jamie Turner/Guardian UK)

Ron Paul's Useful Idiots on the Left

By Megan Carpentier, Guardian UK

07 January 12


f you told a liberal in 2008 that progressives ought to give Republican Texas Congressman Ron Paul a chance because he was the most anti-war candidate on the ballot, you would have been laughed out of the room – or, more likely, the bar. But in 2012, some prominent (and white, male) progressives are arguing exactly that. What's changed? Not Ron Paul, that's for certain.

He's still the same guy who thinks the US should withdraw from the WTO and the United Nations, and who wants to eliminate foreign aid and the Department of Commerce and all its trade regulation and promotion activities. But, we are told, since he advocates for a complete, immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan (which military intervention, notably, he voted for), he's a better foreign policy candidate than President Obama.

And, if his newest converts are to be believed, his support for the withdrawal from Afghanistan, his impassioned pleas for a return of Americans' civil liberties from an overreaching government and his opposition to the drug war are reason enough to give the man a chance. After all, they say, President Obama has not delivered on his promises and supporters' expectations in those areas, either. But to the women, minorities and LGBT people (and their supporters) who have paid attention to Paul's record, it comes as little surprise that his most vociferous supporters on the left are pale and male … and their arguments stale.

This is the man who, to trumpet his pro-life agenda in Iowa to social conservatives, released an ad that questions whether repealing Roe v Wade would eliminate women's abortion rights in enough states, since it would create "abortion tourism" (a situation with which the Irish and the British are already familiar). He opposed the Obama administration's decision to declare birth control a preventative medicine, which pressures insurance companies to cover it without co-pays. He has said he would allow states to decide same-sex marriage rights for their citizens but keep the Defense of Marriage Act intact – which restricts federal rights, including immigration and social security survivor benefits (among others) to opposite-sex married couples.

He also opposes the US supreme court decision in Lawrence v Texas that decriminalised consensual sodomy in the United States. He opposes the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He wants to restrict birthright citizenship, denying the children of immigrants legal status in the United States if they are born here, voted to force doctors and hospitals to report undocumented immigrants who seek medical treatment, and sponsored bills to declare English the official language of the United States and restrict government communications to English. And that's just for starters.

Nonetheless, there have been calls by progressives, most notably Glenn Greenwald, to ignore all of that and more, and focus instead on Obama's policy failings to have "an actual debate on issues of America's imperialism". He went on to argue that there are no policy priorities more imperative than those – certainly not abortion, immigration rights, LGBT equality, racial justice or any other aspect of the US's extensive foreign policy. (Greenwald, who is gay, was in the relatively privileged position of being able to travel to Brazil to circumvent Doma.) And so people whose lives, safety, livelihoods and health depend on them should accept that they are trading their concerns for, say, the lives of Muslim children killed by bombs in Afghanistan.

In fact, many of Ron Paul's newest supporters on the left look strikingly like the majority of the ones on the right who have been following him for years: the kinds of people whose lives won't be directly affected by all those pesky social conservative policies Paul would seek to enact as president, either due to their race, class, gender or sexual orientation.

And so, to the women who worry they'd be left without access to reproductive healthcare, immigrants who need to see a doctor or understand a government form (like an immigration form), African Americans who rightly wonder what this country would look like in the absence of a civil rights act, and LGBT people who would like to get married and get access to the rights straight Americans take for granted on a daily basis, all are told, again, to wait: there are more important issues to talk about, more important problems to be solved, more life-or-death situations that we're simply ignoring out of selfishness.

Seems like there's a lot of that going around.

• Guardian UK Editor's Note: Glenn Greenwald has responded in this discussion thread to the specific criticism directed at him in this article your social media marketing partner


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+47 # pernsey 2012-01-07 11:47
People are being drawn to one aspect of Ron Paul to end the wars and hoping for something better. I see a few good things about him, but enough stupidity to not go there.

Hes not going to be better, hes going to bring the repubaggers back into some power. I just cant handle that, they will back him and he will cave as soon as he gets in there. No thank you!
+41 # Nominae 2012-01-07 13:55
@ pernsey

Just so, pernsey, Ron Paul is basically Ross Perot Redux. A few "good" sound bites, but overall, certifiably insane.

These guys are a dime-a-dozen down in Texas. While they make passable 'reality TV', we certainly don't want them in charge of the Nation's nuclear codes.

The only reason people are willing to "paper-over" Paul's transparently illogical rantings is that they are (understandably ) desperate for SOME kind of alternative.

The American voter has been forced into a "box canyon" by the moneyed interests in this country and people are fighting back in desperation, fear and confusion. Not always the best basis from which to thoughtfully consider the obviously repugnant consequences of voting for someone like Paul.

(Side note - Paul, even if elected, would *never* be able to do *half* of the outlandish things that he "promises" his fans anyway.)

Spoiler Alert : Ron Paul is just another politician who will promise whatever it takes to get him where he wants to go.

No matter how all of this "shakes out" the voter will be left with a corporate approved choice between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, just as we have been for the past 30 years. Ron Paul(like any other politician) is far from being a "savior".
+1 # Barbara K 2012-01-07 14:46
I agree with you, Ron Paul is nuts, or maybe senile? Anyway, he makes no real sense and is a real danger to our country.
+2 # Barbara K 2012-01-07 15:42
Glad you mentioned "corporate approved", that explains why so many idiots are running on the Rethug/tbagger side. They don't want thinking people; only puppets. This is one guy that is a danger to the country with his senseless thinking, or is he just senile?
0 # Barbara K 2012-01-07 15:43
Amen to that, Pernsey.
-1 # maddave 2012-01-07 16:55
-86 # Tom Baxter 2012-01-07 11:51
Ron Paul is so evil that his criticisms of US anti-terrorist forces actions at home and abroad must be ignored. Terrorists and their allies have no rights. Along with the bipartisan support of the banks, without which our economy would be in shambles. We must be willing to transfer wasteful Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spending so we can continue the eternal war against anti US forces. Obama will lead us to the promised land.
-8 # Activista 2012-01-07 13:07
sad that Americans do NOT understand irony/sarcasm above.
After couple more years in totality and censorship ... they will understand.
"Our dear leader" Obama will lead us to the promised land .."
+19 # Billy Bob 2012-01-07 20:49
Maybe they understood the sarcasm, but disagreed with his actual opinion.
+1 # Activista 2012-01-08 02:01
Thanks. You could be right - it could be genuine fanaticism of Tom Baxter.
Parody was common to use to criticize in totalitarian society. Dissident writers Vaclav Havel, Milan Kundera used it. It was so extreme, that everybody who read it KNEW that the author meant just opposite. The regime could not do much - these were very slogans they were in media - PRAVDA.
Hope that Tom Baxter answers ...
+1 # mwd870 2012-01-11 07:53
I was surprised by this flurry of negative ratings. It sounds like Tom Baxter's ironic comment above is supportive of Ron Paul. It looks like a number of Ron Paul supporters decided to click on the "thumbs down" icon. That doesn't change the facts about Ron Paul.
-10 # Activista 2012-01-07 13:34
Please Americans - understand Tom parody/irony!
Dear leader "Obama will lead us to the promised land"
+11 # karenvista 2012-01-07 23:00
Regarless of Obama's flaws, and there are many, Ron Paul is certifiably insane and is not the solution to any current U.S. problems.

His economic policies are based on pre-depression Austrian fringe theories. He believes in "supply" but doesn't understand that "demand" must also be present.

In his entire congressional career he has passed one bill, transferring some unused federal property to Galveston county. Very controversial.

He wants to take us back to the 18th. century.

He thinks we have TOO MUCH REGULATION of corporations and financial products. He wants none.

No rational person who actually reads his policies could believe that they would actually work.

Like everyone else, I would be happy if we stopped our aggressive military and economic imperialism but with Ron Paul you can't pick and choose. You have to take the whole insane package.

On balance, it is dangerous and completely unrealistic as well as being extremely racist, sexist and anti almost everything that is not christian male oriented.

Anyone who supports him is either a bigot,a supply-side dead ender, or has not bothered to find out what he really believes. He's also a Theocrat!

What less could you ask for?
+4 # Activista 2012-01-08 01:48
"Ron Paul is certifiably insane and is not the solution to any CURRENT U.S. problems?"
US is spending $1.3 trillion on militarism/year . Budget is $3.7 trillion. Deficit/yearly debt is like $1.6 trillion - accumulated debt $15 trillion. US competitive edge are BOMBS!
There is NO way US will get out of this recession in a generation. Did you study/predict collapse of the Soviet Union after 1989? Small war in Afghanistan ..
It is/was MILITARISM that is killing USA -
like in triage as it occurs in medical emergencies and disasters - one has to STOP bleeding first.
- the present economic and political system has no solution. There is power of powerless - combine with complexity theory, chaos theory - order at the edge - small kick and the system changes - small chance for emergence of something better? I am NOT optimist.
+7 # Johnny 2012-01-08 18:59
Quoting Billy Bob:
Maybe they understood the sarcasm, but disagreed with his actual opinion.

+3 # Kolea 2012-01-07 22:45
I suspect you could have written your thoughts in a way which didn't provoke so much hostility.

You are right that Paul's criticisms of interventionism , the banks, and government suppression of constitutional protections should not be ignored. Nor, for that matter, his views on the War on Drugs, though I am only prepared to say pot should be legalized, not heroin, crack, etc..
+2 # tclose 2012-01-08 09:27
Tom - your parody of a right winger is so convincing that most have taken it at face value. Stephen Colbert would be proud.

Next time, you need to add some wink of the eye or something to key people onto your line. ;-)
+58 # Dluria 2012-01-07 12:34
No question Paul's a right-wing libertarian, but many of hismpositions that you disparage -- supporting a much smaller military, opposition to the WTO, elimination of the Dept of Commerce's "export promotion" (which is really about keeping the dollar as a reserve currency) -- are perfectly progressive positions. Even opposition to foreign aid is, on balance, progressive, given that the most US aid has gone to Israel and to Mubarak-era Egypt with the unwritten but perfectly plain condition that much of it be used to buy US weapons and aircraft (speaking of export promotion).
+10 # MidwestTom 2012-01-07 12:38
I believe that he wants to deny citizenship to children of ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, NOT LEGAL IMMIGRANTS. This would put us in agreement with most other countries, and eliminate the anchor baby problem. He is the only candidate that would stop the coming war with Iran.
+33 # Activista 2012-01-07 13:01
Just opposite - Ron Paul would get rid of Department of Homeland Security, ICE, Patriot Act, and the new Obama Gestapo law ..
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-01-10 20:36
No one can stop oncoming wars, never have, and greedily, never will
+19 # artful 2012-01-07 12:47
What can you say? Liberals/progre ssives who support Paul are idiots. But then most Americans seem to have given up on thinking. It's just so darn hard . . . get me another beer, hon . . .
+9 # jay84 2012-01-07 13:22
I suppose you, like Megan didn't read a word Glenn had to say. This is a clear jab at Glenn, who does not support Ron.
+3 # Kolea 2012-01-07 22:50
Megan's treatment of Greenwald was grossly dishonest. I recommend people read Greenwald's response, linked above, for themselves.

I believe some progressives are so desperate to hear a clear, anti-imperialis t, anti-statist message from a politician that they downplay the ways in which Paul's views on other issues are a reactionary throwback and destructive of humanistic values.

If a vote, maybe in a GOP primary, we able to send a CLEAR message to the Dems, then I could see the value of such a vote. But I remain unconvinced it would be seen as anything but a rightwing libertarian vote.
+5 # kelly 2012-01-07 12:49
While the author will most likely be lambasted by any and all Paulites who read this andn the disavowal that Greenwald made, the fact remains that in substance she is correct. Too many people are still free to give this nasty little man a free ride because there blinder-like focus disallows them the vision that would give them the ability to understand why we are more than a two issue nation. The diversity of persons doesn't afford any leader here the luxury of resting on any single thing to carry them to the top any more. For the younger ones who have never known or have had to deal with very little of the earlier problems of race or sex discrimination( I've met many who can't understand why it would be a problem because they don't think that fighting for those laws aren't necessary, they are a given...haven't they been there since they were alive?). These are some of the ones who don't get it. Their indifference will lose us our hard won rights. But I met one of those kids this summer who was a Paulite, he was talking like that and I called him on it. I told him his grant would suffer under Paul and he brushed me off; I told him women would lose rights and other things. He lost his grant and is on unemployment. I asked him what he thought of "lazy people on healthcare" now. He didn't say a word. But he is not voting for Paul. Funny how things happen. Oh and did I mention he is a white, upper-middle class kid.
+12 # beeyl 2012-01-07 15:19
How is she correct to attack Greenwald when he made it very clear, twice, that he wasn't saying or implying the arguments she attributes to him? How is that even defensible in someone who calls herself a journalist?
+3 # maddave 2012-01-07 17:20

+18 # maddave 2012-01-07 17:31
There is no doubt that Ron Paul has some interesting and valuable ideas that he could bring to the Oval Office, BUT at what cost? He would be a disaster, because his own party would not allow him to implement the sane portions of his agenda, such as (in part) ending our failed war on drugs or bringing home all US troops presently stationed abroad. The hair-brained rest - like total deregulation of everything - would set loose the dogs of chaos and financial anarchy throughout America & the World.

A little bit of honey DOES NOT make the (poison) go down
+8 # Kolea 2012-01-07 22:57
No, she is not correct "in substance." If Greenwald had the simplistic views she ascribes to him, she would be correct. But she deliberately distorts his views to present her half-truth.

Yes, a lot of Paul supporters are white and male. Yes, white males are OFTEN insensitive to the gains of the civil rights and women's movements. This is true even among progressives.

But she slanders Greenwald and provides her own SIMPLISTIC approach. If she opposes people voting, even tactically, for Paul, she should point to another approach which might be more productive. Instead, she presents no alternative but voting for Obama and, shame on you, you are a racist and a sexist if you criticize him for his corporatist policies.
+2 # Johnny 2012-01-08 19:05
Not to mention Obomber's policy of genocide of the Palestinian, Pakistani, Somali, Afghani, Yemeni, Iranian, Libyan, and Iraqi people. But we good Germans do not pay attention to such trivia. Our Fuehrer never would lie to us.
+70 # Texan 4 Peace 2012-01-07 12:54
As a long-time progressive, I find this article profoundly ignorant. I can't speak for all the "idiots on the left", but personally, I'm aware of Ron Paul's mixture of reasonable & retrograde. But as the only candidate on the right with an anti-imperialis t discourse, he may at least get that position some media attention. I support his rise NOT because I want him to president -- that would clearly be disastrous, but it's irrelevant, because he's not GOING to be president. Given his anti-imperialis t stance, he doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of even getting his party's nomination. But he COULD push Obama to address the isolationist concerns of independent Paul voters, and that could only be a good thing.
And since you mentioned it, most "foreign aid" is in fact military aid (which is why so many people in the recipient countries also oppose it!). Progressives in the U.S. and elsewhere generally oppose the WTO, so why is Paul's opposition to it evidence of his lunacy?
No reasonable person wants to Paul to be president. But there is an important strategic aspect to his support on the left. "Usefulness" cuts both ways.
+21 # jay84 2012-01-07 13:15
Exactly, and that is exactly how Glenn described it too. Why Megan went on some knee-jerk (ad-homs and all) attack is beyond me.
+5 # William Bjornson 2012-01-07 23:53
Hey! A Texan I can agree with. Imagine my surprise... Ron Paul is a message. If he got enough support to win the gop nomination, it would seriously startle some of our parasites and their smugness would take a whack. Paul will NEVER be President for many reasons including the evil side of his policies, but more, because if he got within actual reaching distance of POTUS, either an fbi asset or the mossad would shoot him dead, or he would have a 'sudden heart attack' or his aircraft would lose all of its electrical systems on takeoff or landing or something but he would never become President. We have killed several sitting Presidents and leaders for much less than this guy promises (Huey Long?). But he represents some kind of resistance, a symbol of the anger we all feel, a voice however fractured that says at least some of what we want and will never get from any of the extant sycophants including BHO who touts a b.s. "tax cut" that is in reality creeping destruction of Social Security that is on the table only to hide the pipeline issue hidden beneath it and not mentioned once in the usual suspect media's reports on the bill. BHO is a snake. He gives the parasites everything they want, we get crumbs and his eternal regret that he 'had to' or this terrible thing or that terrible thing would happen. It will be interesting when he regrets launching a full scale invasion of Persia or they would nuke us with their nonexistent arsenal of imaginary nukes. Criky, mate!
+1 # William Bjornson 2012-01-08 00:36

RON PAUL 2012!

RON PAUL 2012!

With our current sycophants, we are creeping slowly under cover of horseshit into all of the things that the dark side of Rand Paul espouses anyway. When the fascism of our deranged psychopathic elite finally fully ripens in America, the people who regard money over people will roll back any advances we have made in tolerance, will promote even more hatred so that we fight each other and do not exterminate them as they deserve. If Paul even approached being POTUS, he would be executed by some fbi asset or the mossad. There is no real possibility if his being allowed to wield authority. He would be shot or suffer a sudden 'unexpected' heart attack or his aircraft would lose all electrical systems on landing or takeoff. He would never become POTUS, no matter what. But he could be the note that wakes the 'sleeping bear' of America. The political process in America is no longer ours nor will it be again until we physically remove our current elite, lock, stock, and poison asset. Paul may be the catalyst. More blather will just kill us. Who else holds any promise of anything but more and more creeping fascism? BHO is a fraud. The others are tools as well. Ron Paul in 2012 to jump start the American Restoration.
+44 # Activista 2012-01-07 12:57
"he was the most anti-war candidate on the ballot, you would have been laughed out of the room – or, more likely, the bar."

he is the ONLY anti-war candidate on the ballot ... the rest is coffee money
+35 # jay84 2012-01-07 12:59
Wow, Glenn never said he supports Ron Paul, just that he brings something important to the table (A mirror that some liberals don't like). This is a pathetic hit piece on Glenn. Learn to read before you ascribe to him motives, he was clear about in the article. Some people.
+5 # cadan 2012-01-07 16:37
Jay84, i think you're exactly correct. Carpentier is misrepresenting Greenwald's position. In fact, she's doing the very thing he was warning about.

So thank you very much for pointing this out, because i'm sure i wouldn't have read the Greenwald's original article otherwise.

But, on the other hand, i think RSN's decision about whether to carry the piece is trickier, because the news is not just what's in the piece, but the piece itself. It does reflect the place where a lot of progressives are. (I guess it also reflects how far we have to go :(.)
+6 # Kolea 2012-01-07 23:01
I am glad RSN posted this commentary. It is stupid and dishonest, but it does articulate an argument which has some currency among liberals,

The best response to bad ideas is good ideas. Suppressing bad ideas does not present an opportunity for us to develop a critical understanding of those ideas when we encounter them.

Obviously, RSN has to decide which commentaries are worth bringing to the attention of their readers. But in this case, I think it was a good choice.
-8 # jay84 2012-01-07 13:00
And if RSN keeps posting this kind of propagandic non-sense, I won't be sending a dime their way.
+13 # maddave 2012-01-07 17:36
THat's a great position Jay; Don't add anything to the discussion. Just "shoot the messenger" for not censoring the message.

Do you plan on visiting this planet anytime soon?
+12 # David Starr 2012-01-07 13:01
This article proves that focusing on one-issue politics-in this case, ONLY seeing U.S. imperialism as THE danger while disregarding other important issues-can be potentially dangerous. Yes, opposing U.S. imperialism is obviously neccessary; it has to be stopped. But other issues mentioned in the article coincide w/ this & are at the least indirectly related. It should be clear by now, as well as in the past, that the Repubs are hopeless (And the Dems dissapointing). Despite SOUNDING progressive-lik e on certain issues, Paul has shown he's just another demented Repub who would advocate 19th century-like policies regarding government, economics & a disdain for international accountability (e.g., his opposition to the UN).

NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN. Hold your nose & vote Democratic. It sickens me to says this. I'd like to say oppose both parties outright. But right now there's no strong, popular, clear alternative of a party or coalition that can simply take power, as well as to oppose the Repubs. But eventually there must be.
+8 # jay84 2012-01-07 13:08
It isn't the only issue focused on, because there is ZERO focus on it all.
0 # Kolea 2012-01-07 23:03
Is this the Dave Starr formerly of Hawaii?

If so, Howzit and Aloha!
+9 # Peggy Winkel 2012-01-07 13:07
We need to get out of Afghanistan and find more humane ways to resolve our differences with other nations and cultures. Ron Paul would be doing the elite an enormous service in bringing poor women back into womb slavery and withdrawing the civil rights of minorities. A nation where everyone for himself (and I do mean "him")where whoever already has will also have every advantage that is denied to others, is a prime breeding ground for manipulation and exploitation by the 'elite.' And when a disaster strikes in your region, be prepared to return to the amenities of the Third World in line with his FEMA policy. If you are willing to sell out minorities and don't see the value in illegal immigrants and how we help set up the desparation that brings them here to line our coffers with various taxes they benefit little from and labor we don't want to do, maybe RP is a good representative for you and your wild west/plantation fantasy world.
+45 # Momarlani 2012-01-07 13:19
You really all miss the point of Glenn Greenwald's discussion of the importance of Ron Paul. As Greenwald clearly recognizes and indicates in his recent commentary in Salon, Paul is a foul man with foul principles. However, he is the only "major" candidate discussing what ought to be critical issues for Progressives: wars-without-en d, some now prosecuted without declaration or Congressional consent; illegal detentions of both non-citizens and citizens; the actual murder of citizens without due process; the bizarre and largely racist "war on drugs;" the theft of our national treasure by Wall Street criminals without a single prosecution...a nd on and on. President Obama, for all his accomplishments ...which Greenwald recognizes and gives credit, has supported the Imperial Presidency and the various desecrations of our Constitution to an even greater extent than the criminal Bush regime before him. And yet no so-called Democrat calls him to task for this. As offensive as he is, Paul's policy prescriptions need to remain part of the debate in this presidential election. Elsewise we run the risk of codifying for once and for all the destruction of our democracy, to which Barack Obama, for all his lofty words, has played a major role. Stop giving Obama a pass and demand he live up to and follow constitutional principles.
+3 # Kolea 2012-01-07 23:10
"no so-called Democrat calls [Obama} to task for this."???

Have you never been to the DailyKos or Firedoglake? Are you unfamiliar with the Progressive Democrats of America?

A LOT of Democrats are extremely unhappy with Obama's mediocre, centrist non-leadership and are not afraid to say so publicly. The trick is to figure an effective strategy for dealing with that without succumbing to third party fantasies or helping the Republicans.

My only problem with progressives voting for Paul is my skepticism over whether it actually send the message they think it does. Provided they don't shut their eyes to his other, foul ideas, I got no problem. I would hate to build his credibility among the young, obsessed and sophomoric "Paulistas" who swallow all his Ayn Randian nonsense.
+5 # droth1952 2012-01-08 09:26
The DailyKos blasted Kucinch for (rightfully) challeging Obama's pussying out on healthcare. Firedoglake, MoveOn, and PDA are Dem lackeys who contribute NOTHING to the problem of Dem corporatism. As long as these groups - as well as all you "hold my nose Democrats" - continue to vote Democratic, NOTHING will change and, as we've seen on so many issues it will get WORSE. It is no longer the lesser of two evils, folks. They are all evil and destroying America. Vote Green, Nader, somebody, ANYBODY else, while you still have that option.
+30 # Richard Raznikov 2012-01-07 13:27
The Carpentier column illustrates a central cause of America's hard-right politics today. While some social issues have been addressed after years of struggle, notably a woman's right to choose abortion, the main political currents have become quite sinister.
Yes, I'm a white male. But I'm not a 'liberal' –– I'm a radical. And I am interested in Paul not only because he's against America's brutal, arrogant foreign policy but because he's the only candidate even talking about the domestic police state we're seeing ushered in by Bush and Obama. Evisceration of the Bill of Rights, notably the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments, is FAR more dangerous and far more important than whether abortion is left to the states. I don't agree with Paul on that issue but he is consistent in his philisophy, which makes him credible as a candidate for me.
He is also the only candidate to take on the banking criminals who are Obama's major supporters, the phony foreign 'aid' which is really a subsidy for U.S. arms manufacturers, and the war on drugs, which is a war on black people since, although blacks use of drugs is 14% of the population, they wind up being 60% of those imprisoned for it.
Ron Paul also has the guts to defend Bradley Manning, an American hero, tortured by the Obama regime and whose incarceration and even death is called for by Republican 'leaders.'
+3 # droth1952 2012-01-08 19:26
So very well put!

As you allude to, the Dems are no better than the GOP when it comes to its focus on social issues. While important, America's problems run far deeper than abortion and legalized gay marriage. On the major issues - foreign policy, the "[E]visceration of the Bill of Rights" (something Obama has made far worse than even Bush did), and not a single banker in this country doing the perp walk - there is simply no substantial difference between the two major political parties. Why ANY progressive would continue to support the Democratic Party - or to criticize those Ron Paul positions that progressives have long supported - is simply amazing.

Let me say this again: Firedoglake, DailyKos, and MoveOn ARE NOT PROGRESSIVE. They all supported Obama and are going to urge you to vote for him again. How is that progressive?
+24 # Johnny 2012-01-07 13:41
The only "idiots on the left" are those carrying the Zionist flag to discredit the only antiwar candidate in either the Democratic or Republican Party. And those idiots are not "useful" to anybody except the fascist elite that continues to concentrate wealth and power in its own hands through endless wars for Israel. Carpentier knows Paul has no chance to become president, but she also knows that if she and her ilk cannot paint him as a complete fool some people may begin to think seriously about the squandering for imperialist genocide of resources that could provide health care, education, and a decent life for the rest of us.
+18 # grandma lynn 2012-01-07 13:44
Hey, I'm a white woman and support Ron Paul. Today's (online you can read it) Jan. 7 Concord Monitor gives him the front pate and more inside. Hear is own words, and more, which we can do here in NH, be in his presence. You understand quickly that the media is in a shaft-him-habit they don't usually break. Holding my nose and voting Democratic party is what I did last time. This time I'm recognizing the candidate who, as he said in Laconia on Dec.1, thinks the Golden Rule should guide foreign policy. Why not do unto other countries as we'd have them do unto us? It's a tenet in every religion of the world, but up close and personal. Why should he be marginalized for saying, "Apply it to foreign policy?"
+2 # JohnnyK 2012-01-07 13:46
Ron Paul is the least evil of all the republican contenders. I still wouldn't vote for him.
+10 # Zagreus 2012-01-07 13:47
Tearing down the government is not going to work. There's folks with automatic weapons out there just waiting for that to happen (look at the supporters in this photo). We can't fix the problem by tearing everything down that FDR put in place to get us out of the Great Depression. We're in a new Depression now. The New Deal worked. We just need a NEWER deal, and that is what I am offering. I am all for getting rid of the Federal Reserve, and tying the value of our currency to the strength of our working nation, and not to the speculations of vested interests on Wall Street. I am all for disconnecting with Wall Street. They ARE the problem, but we need to rebuild from within, and to do that we need to break the gridlock in Washington.

For all Ron Paul's talk, he is a libertarian and a disciple of Ayn Rand, who also mentored Alan Greenspan, who was the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. So Paul is linked philosophically to the Federal Reserve, the very institution he CLAIMS to want to tear down. Funny, huh? But not so funny when you realize that Paul is a Republican, so all you Paul supporters, in order to vote for your Janus-faced hero, are going to have become registered Republicans.

Come se me on facebook at Nicholas Pierotti for President 2012
+15 # Spence 2012-01-07 13:53
The progressives are looking for a place to go after being doublecrossed by Obama. Who deserves their sopport?
+8 # Billy Bob 2012-01-07 14:42
Rocky Anderson.
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-01-07 20:46
Although I should add that if you Google Rocky Anderson, Google will auto-complete your phrase (by the time you get to rocky and) with "Rocky and Bullwinkle", "Rocky and CeCe Dolls" and "Rocky and Maggies" BEFORE it ever gets to Rocky Anderson.

So much for the progressive 3rd party ticket at this point. Unless he increases his visibility by about 10,000% immediately, I'd be surprised if he generates 1% of the vote this November.
-5 # Billy Bob 2012-01-07 14:05
I agree with the article completely. Of course it leaves out so much more. I wouldn't vote for ron paul if you care about the environment either, for instance. I'm sure the tar sands proposal will go through without a hitch under president paul.

Not to worry. Atleast he's against the Afghanistan War that he voted FOR.

I'd bet paul will be the 3rd party candidate in this election. He'll come in a distant third, but atleast president ROMNEY will put things back in order, right?
+1 # Kolea 2012-01-07 23:18
If Paul runs a third party, it would help draw more Republican votes than progressive. Though a progressive in a securely pro-Obama "blue state" or in a securely pro-GOP "red state," could safely vote for Paul without increasing the chances of a GOP victory.

But those who hope to see a sustained third party effort, should recognize a Paulist third party would be solidly under the control of the rightwing libertarians. Except on small, tactical matters, I see no basis for ongoing alliances with those folks.

But we can debate the wisdom of voting for Paul as a third party candidate only i he chooses to run that way. And I think he prefers to remain a GOP gadfly.
+10 # anarchteacher 2012-01-07 14:10
Find out the factual truth for yourself:

"Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies," by progressive Glenn Greenwald

"Democratic Party Priorities," by progressive Glenn Greenwald

"The Ron Paul Precedent," by Justin Raimondo of
+21 # RMDC 2012-01-07 14:12
I guess I'm one of those useful idiots on the left that Megan writes about. But what kind of an idiot would write something like this:

"And so people whose lives, safety, livelihoods and health depend on them should accept that they are trading their concerns for, say, the lives of Muslim children killed by bombs in Afghanistan."

Well, by any reasonable guess the US war on terror has killed 5 million people worldwide, made another 10 million homeless, poisoned with depleted uranium and other cancer-causing chemicals 20 million people, left 5 million children parentless, and so on. And how many LBGTs, women, and minorities in the US have suffered the same fate over the last 10 years. A few hundred probably.

The movement for equal rights for women, racial minorities, and LBGTs is strong in the US. Ron Paul is not going to change any of that. As a libertarian, he would probably end up supporting most of the agenda of these groups.

Ron Paul is far from perfect. But the number one crisis facing the earth right now is the murderous US imperialism. I also know Paul as president could not do anything about it. The CIA and Pentagon run US foreign policy. Paul would get the same lecture that Obama did -- do it our way or you'll end up dead, just like JFK.

The case Megan Carpentier is just silly and irrational.
+16 # Cambridgemac 2012-01-07 17:41
Quoting RMDC:

... the number one crisis facing the earth right now is the murderous US imperialism...

It is astonishing and depressing that even on a liberal/progres sive/radical site like this I have to wade through a dozen comments before I get to a simple truth like this. And, as an LGBT person, I thank you for doing some math that keeps things in perspective. I want to keep the planet habitable for humans and contribute to the advancement and spread of liberal civilization. I live in the country which is the largest threat to both of these.
+4 # colvictoria 2012-01-07 22:16
Thanks RMDC for hitting us with these numbers.
I think no matter what race, social economic status or social orientation one belongs to the slaughter of millions should be our concern.
Unfortunately like you say no matter who becomes president in 2012 they must follow the protocol of the CIA and the Pentagon or risk the prospect of death.
Any suggestions on how we stop US Imperialism?
+12 # head out the window 2012-01-07 14:30
I wouldnt vote for ron paul, but he is the only candidate willing to talk about the big issues. American Empire being one that no other candidate in either party will even mention, meanwhile obama is offering up cuts in medicare and social security even if the republicans dont suggest it!
-3 # LloydJ 2012-01-07 14:35
The same Megan Carpentier that was on the RealNewsNetwork segment with Matt Welch? Good viewing, I must say...
+17 # Michael_K 2012-01-07 14:56
I'm well aware of some of the more distasteful and problematic aspects of Ron Paul's political philosophy, but this article's author is an effing ignorant baboon. The US should definitely unilaterally tell the WTO to go reproduce with itself and void any and all "Free Trade" treaties, to be re-negotiated as "Fair Trade" treaties. All so-called "Foreign Aid" should be discontinued unless it can be proven beyond any possible argument that it is - in fact - real "Aid" and not simply bribes to dictatorships to ensure favourable treatment of nominally-Ameri can companies exploiting natural resources and dodging the "Foreign Corrupt Practices" Act. Etc.. etc.. etc... Ron Paul has a nasty dark side, but this author condemns his laudable and necessary policies that are sine qua non conditions to re-floating the US economy and image overseas.
+20 # spellbinder 2012-01-07 15:12
It is obviously clear that most viewers of RSN, and many on the left dislike Ron Paul, mainly because he is Republican I would guess. But he is the only one who is running for president who is willing to speak truth over what people just want to hear. Who is talking about ending the wars on either side? Who talks about following the US Constitution? Who is talking about our foreign policies? who is talking about the loss of our civil liberties? Who is talking about cutting spending? Who is talking about ending the billions of dollars that have been spent on the "war on drugs" that is a failure? Who is talking about the corruption in government? Who is talking about the hand outs given to corporations? Who is talking about the incompetence in government? Who is talking about the corruption of the banks and the Federal Reserve? Who is supporting Occupy Wall Street? Obama is not, nor are the Republicans. They talk about change, but never are specific in what that change is. Ron Paul is the only one talking about these things. Whether one agrees with everything Ron Paul represents, at least he is the only one who represents the people and not corporations. He is the only one with enough guts to speak the truth and he will be the only one who is willing to take us in a new direction.
+5 # Kolea 2012-01-07 23:21
One point for telling the WTO "to go reproduce with itself"!

Love it!
+3 # kyzipster 2012-01-09 07:56
He's not disliked by the left mainly because "he is a Republican". He's a Republican who disagrees with Lawrence vs Texas, the SCOTUS decision of 2003 that finally made it legal to be a homosexual in all 50 states. This is just one example of his extremism, one of many. I think Paul shakes up the debate in a very good way and I wish many more members of Congress had the courage to speak against their party but I could never vote for a rightwing extremist. He could do massive damage as president.
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-01-10 20:50
Unfortunately that is a set up of GOP to see what issues will get them to side with whomever.
Personally I do not believe he gives a crap, if he is intelligent, he knows he can do absolutely nothing to get his dreams come true with all the other factors around him...ask Carter, OB, and anyone in Politics who try on local, state or fed level with everyone else's agenda first.
As far as Pentagon/CIA, they are as disposable as we are..they should have a president remind them.
Would be interesting seeing someone dismantle the USA as we know it, but even if he would...he could not. Bravo if he is keeping those in GOP who are waking up, dreams alive again.
I would love a Knight in Shining Armor to appear. It could...but we have to be part of the Assault to make it happen.
+5 # beeyl 2012-01-07 15:13
In order to argue on January 7 that Glenn Greenwald is a uselful idiot for his writing these two articles - on December 31 ( and January 5 ( - Megan Carpentier must have a profound deficiency in intellect and/or honesty. I hope RSN will refuse to publish her tripe again, at least until she apologizes for this embarrassingly asinine article.
-6 # wfalco 2012-01-07 15:19
Seems like alot of progressives are sucked in to Paul's brand of libertarianism. They love the anti-imperialis t philosophy combined with the libertarian stance of "hands off" our personal freedoms.
I have known such people who(I am going off on a bit of a generalization) are lost in the 60's or 70's and sugar coat the libertarians as open minded, anti regulation types that will benefit their interests....he re we go....NO FOREIGN WARS (a good thing)and legalization of( or at least decriminalizati on of) the hippie lettuce. Face it folks-the marijuana issue is a big deal to these people. To me it is a very minor "wedge" issue hardly worth the time of day...but then I stopped smoking that stuff when I was about 20 years old. I think there are many old progressives out there who are a bit dazed and confused.
+6 # Kolea 2012-01-07 23:26
I stopped smoking dope in high school. But I don't think its a minor issue. I think people have a right to smoke and, more worse, I think the law enforcements against pot have led to horrible consequences which cannot be dismissed as minor either.

having said that, I would not vote for Ron Paul because i disagree so strongly with him on issues which are important to me, either as I am grateful he is speaking so clearly and forcefully on a few issues. I would LOVE for a progressive Democrat to be saying the same things to a national audience. But this year, it is not happening.

So if other folks see a way to use Paul's campaign to "send a message" to other politicians, particularly Obama nd the Dems, I wish them luck. And hope they consider carefully what and how they are doing it.

But to dismiss them as pot-addled is unfair for them and diminishing to you.
+2 # Richard Raznikov 2012-01-08 17:24
wflaco, I am not sure I understand what you are saying. Perhaps you are a bit dazed and confused. Are you in support of imperialism? If so, say so. Then Obama or Romney or any of the other regulation Republicans will work for you. If not, why so dismissive of Paul's clear anti-imperialis t sentiment? Is the issue not important?
Second, what's with the 'lost in the '60s or '70s' comment? Those of us who were around then may retain with some justification the open-hearted spirit of the time along with a well-earned suspicion of liars at the top of the food chain.
Perhaps you stopped smoking pot too soon at 20. Or maybe you started smoking it too early at whatever age you were, before your brain had a chance to develop critical faculties.
Presumably I am one of the 'old progressives' to which you refer. I can say that smoking pot has been a thoroughly positive experience which has enriched my life in many respects, not the least of these being the ability to function at a very high level.
Barack Obama reportedly quit smoking pot when he was about 20 and look at what a mess he's making of things now.
-2 # wfalco 2012-01-08 20:31
[quote name="Richard Raznikov"]wflac o, I am not sure I understand what you are saying.

You pretty much made my point, Richard.I just feel so many radicals/progre ssives are admirers of Paul because of the libertarian ideal of "keep government off my back."I used the marijuana issue sarcastically since I know of people who are open minded "liberals" who have the same "live and let live" philosophy as I do.
I would consider myself a Kucinich Democrat or a Sanders Independent. But I also do not minimize the importance of what occurred in 2008-the election of an African-America n. I am sure you realize he has no choice but to be perceived as one who is willing to work across the aisle. For Obama to pursue a radical agenda from the get go would have served no purpose. He is obviously going for incremental change (see Health care legislation)bef ore he pursues any loftier goals-which will never occur without re-election. I am willing to give him a chance since the alternative is so dreadful. Libertarianism would be disastrous- resulting in minimal regulation of industry and of Wall Street. Back to your pot-of course people should not be locked up for possession. But if one is honest with themself it serves no useful purpose other than to intoxicate. And I am sorry sir, but sucking hot smoke in your lungs for many years is not healthy. But do as you wish -as long as you don't drive.
0 # Johnny 2012-01-08 19:21
I suspect that wfalco does not consider the US imperialist Holocaust a big deal because he is not one of the victims. Yet.
0 # KittatinyHawk 2012-01-10 20:58
No many of us are tired of the Profits being used to kill people, and powders being brought in. Time we grow up and put the important things in focus and let go of the stupid bs.
If we spent half the money and time on busting criminals, powder heads as we do pot heads There would be no cartels. If we allowed Medical MJ, there would be people with lot less pain, longer life than on phony chemicals/Pharms.
If we legalized drugs, took oxy off market, less killing. Less cost of prisons, better control of keeping rapists, serial killers in jail.
I believe we are over regulated and every year I see football becoming over regulated. We love being manipulated...I cannot fault anyone for wanting to save money. Too bad you got nothing for the years you did smoke but then you probably started to early and that is why you have no smarts now. Most of the hippies that actually stayed they mental hippie not the abuser Yuppie have life their way, and own their own businesses. Powder heads and Yuppies well their family life, their kids...Scary
+19 # Stephanie Remington 2012-01-07 15:33
It's interesting that the author feels free to sling the label "idiot" when she is apparently unable to distinguish between arguments calling for Ron Paul to be heard because his views are unique among the major presidential candidates on certain topics important to progressives, and arguments calling for supporting him for president.
+15 # chuckvw 2012-01-07 16:40
This is a stupid mischaracteriza tion of Greenwald's position.

The real question here is whether the obtuseness is intentional or organic.
+12 # CandH 2012-01-07 17:19
This attack piece on Greenwald is so unconscionable that it calls into question what exactly would prompt someone to write such vile malarkey which is intended to clearly smear him so viciously and personally?

Greenwald responds BTW:

"The paragraph that purports to describe what I wrote is an absolute, 100% pure fabrication - so reckless and false that it is inexcusable."
-1 # Activista 2012-01-08 02:05
RSN ows us the:
+1 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-01-07 18:33
To me it made no sense that all of you above condemning a man more who you disagree with 80% more than one you disagree with 100%. However elsewhere, WSH explained that he was afraid Ron Paul would run as a third party candidate,

It's not the smears hear that stop Paul from running 3rd part. In 1888 he was the Libertarian Party candidate for President and very upset that he caused a spit in that party. Libertarians are skirmish about arrests for family matters, a mother locking a baby in a car while shopping or a husband beating up his wife, and dread the idea of the federal government anyway involved. Paul doesn't want an argument over abortion splitting the Libertarian Party, and Libertarians think it distracts from the more important issues.

So unless those who are members of People for the American Way and Libertarian Party at the same time or other vocal pro-choice libertarians ask him to, he won't run as a Libertarian and won't run in the Constitutional Party because doing so would weaken the Libertarian Party.
+1 # kelly 2012-01-08 15:01
The year 1888 couldn't have been a more appropriate gaffe...Freudia n, perhaps?
+7 # 2012-01-07 18:34
Comment space is limited so I will address only Ron Paul's position on abortion which was mangled badly by this author.

My feminist organization board interviewed Ron Paul for several hours while he was running for the Libertarian Party nomination. His position then is precisely his position today.

He is personally pro-life. However, as President he would not enact any legislation that would modify or curtail abortion rights since such authority is not granted in the constitution.

This position seems just fine to me. I hate guns but I support the rights of inner city residents to own them in order to defend themselves. I don't smoke weed but I support the rights of adults to indulge.

The author in this case is confusing personal preference positions with principled policy positions. Ron Paul would probably never perform an abortion unless a woman's life were threatened but that is far different from acting to prevent others from performing or getting abortions.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+2 # sokolowmus 2012-01-07 19:01
Ron Paul doesn't want to restore glass/steagall or hold wall street accountable or regulate banks, corporations and wall street...and those are the main issues of our times, because banks, corporations and wall street are robbing everybody blind.
-2 # 2012-01-08 21:39
Progressives may appropriately disagree with Paul on some economic issues.

Yes, Paul would eliminate Dodd Frank and would not reinstitute Glass Steagall. Austrian economists argue that financial crises are caused not by the greed of businessmen (after all, greed is ubiquitous -- blaming greed is like blaming gravity for airplane crashes) but by the well-intentione d efforts to support certain markets -- in the present case, the feds dumped about 8 Trillion Dollars into the housing market in the decade before the bust. Does anyone with a brain think that that kind of money thrown at a market wouldn't always create a bubble? Had the feds not attempted to make home ownership universal, increasing demand for housing and increasing prices beyond what could reasonably be justified given the housing stock, the bubble and bust could not have happened.

But you are correct that our financial institutions are robbing us blind. How are they doing this? Simply because the feds give them oligopolies and small competitors are prohibited from competing. Regulations, albeit well-intentione d, are tantamount to crony capitalism. The bailouts, which only went to the large, favored financial institutions, are similar.

Only by doing away with federal power over financial institutions can we hope to allow a customer-respon sive industry to develop.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
-1 # old cynic 2012-01-07 20:46
There is not a perfect candidate for President. The more and the louder the Republican contenders speak, the worse they seem. The author of this article failed to note Ron Paul's long association with the John Birch Society. Any progressive who is tempted to vote for Paul please check out the videos on U Tube. Paul is delusional regarding the aims of the UN to take over the US government and install a one world government that will stamp out Christianity.

I have been disappointed with much about Obama. But at least the man is not delusional and is living on planet earth. He has my vote in November.
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-01-07 21:50
Rationality is not as much fun as emotionalism. Thanks for being rational anyway.
+1 # 2012-01-08 21:48
This allegation is just plain weird. Ron Paul has never been a member of the John Birch Society.

Ron Paul does believe that we should not cede national sovereignty to the United Nations or any other supranational organization but that does not imply that he is paranoid.

Paul's positions are frequently being criticized from both the left and the right but the criticism usually depend on a simplistic and exaggerated sense of his actual positions.

Listen to him directly instead of the mischaracteriza tions of his detractors. You may still disagree with him but you will stop accusing him of all of the nonsense that has arisen in response to his growing popularity.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
0 # Billy Bob 2012-01-08 23:08
It's ok lee. When facts get in your way, just fill in the blanks with your own. Yes, paul was in fact a member of the john birch society. Take it up with paul. Don't blame the messenger.
+7 # Dion Giles 2012-01-07 20:51
The American Revolution, and the nation which grew from it, is for all its historical faults arguably THE most morally and historically significant nation building project in thousands of years, maybe ever. The Enlightenment coming to fruition. And here is this mighty republic teetering on the brink of self-destructio n - degenerating into an empire driven to fight perpetual war to maintain its unsustainable world military dominance, ruled by police-state fascism on its own turf, Treasury stripped by thieves. The USA is toying with “game over”. One would hope people calling themselves “progressives” would be defending the republic at all costs. Yet here is someone in the political forefront calling a halt to the unending military slaughter of the brown coloured poor through large swathes of the earth (racism anyone?), to the ballooning threat to freedom at home, and many “progressives” are brushing the survival of the USA aside as “oh yeah, that too I guess, but look at what someone wrote about coloured people in Paul's newsletter 20 years ago”.

People serious about the issues would do very well indeed to set aside an hour or two, select “Go to Original” at the top of this page, and read carefully through the Guardian readers’ comments (many of them American) and THINK. Support Ron Paul or not, but at least get the issues into perspective.
+9 # karenvista 2012-01-08 00:03
Why will none of you people read Ron Paul's official website. You instead read everyone's opinions and youtube diatribes about him but refuse to actually let HIM tell you what his policies are.

I have heard so much misinformation here and I don't understand why you persist in it.

When I first started to ask you to look at his website he had three years of budgets posted. They showed that he will reduce the tax base to zero within 3 years so there would be no income to perform any government services. He will let people "opt out" of paying Social Security and since it is an inter-generatio nal compact where each generation provides assistance to the previous generation, that would destroy it. Any normal person could see that what he said he would do was all lies so he removed the budgets.

When he said, while in Iowa, "We are all Austrians now!" He was referring to the extreme Hayek/Mises school which believes in no government, no economic intervention and no regulation.

You'd better educate yourselves and be careful what you wish for.
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-01-08 14:24
The useful idiots are willing to overlook the truth for the same reasons voters are always disillusioned after the election is over.
+4 # Kolea 2012-01-07 22:41
There are also "Useful Idiots" for the corporatist, imperialist wing of the Democratic Party. Those who want to convince voters we must suppress our criticisms of Obama in the interests of "party unity." The author is clearly such an "idiot."

I say any of the Republican candidates will be worse than Obama. If we had a parliamentary system, we could vote for a third party and force Obama's Dems to form a coalition government. But the US system is not designed that way. Voting third party under SOME conditions, serves to increase chances of a Republican victory. This is NOT true in a state where we can know in advance Obama will win or the GOP candidate will win, guaranteed. Under THOSE specific conditions, voting third party CAN send a message.

Some progressives want to vote for Ron Paul in states where the GOP primary is open. I see nothing in that tactic which would help a GOP victory in the fall. Especially if it becomes publicly known some of Paul's support is coming from progressives angry at Obama's policies on specific issues.

But progressives should not allow their frustrations with Obama lead them into the infantile view there is "no difference" between Obama and the GOP. I will concede "there is not ENOUGH difference" to make me happy. But there IS enough difference so I will hope for an Obama victory in the Fall, even while I continue to criticize him for all his sellout, corporatist-- and IMPERIALIST --policies.
0 # Richard Raznikov 2012-01-08 17:33
Kolea: perhaps you could specify what these "enough difference(s)" are. I am a lifelong Democrat who feels utterly betrayed by Obama on every issue and will not vote for him again. That doesn't mean I'd vote for any of the bozos the GOP is likely to nominate, only that I see virtually no difference in policies (just rhetoric) and do not wish to feel dirty, which I surely would if I voted for that fake again. I mean, what's Obama's 2012 slogan? "This time I really mean it"?
+1 # Patch 2012-01-07 22:59
I am watching "The BBC History of World War II" at this time and the first episodes dealing with the rise of Hitler share scary similarities to what is happening today in the U.S. Hitler enacted many good things, helped a very ailing economy, etc. It was his "social" restrictions that gave rise to the horrors of the Second World War. Not just eliminating Jews, but also anyone who didn't "fit in" as well as the killing of mentally retarded, homosexuals, and more.

Like Hitler, Ron Paul does have some good ideas but his desire to do away with civil rights for Blacks, Women, LGBT and others who don't "fit in" makes him a dangerous man.
+5 # Kolea 2012-01-07 23:52
I think you strayed a bit too close to equating Paul to Hitler, but held back slightly.

I agree with you the left should be cautious about making common cause with the right simply because we share some criticisms of the current corporate-domin ated system.

While I do not see Paul as being anywhere near a fascist, some of his supporters do strike me that way. There is a real danger in the US of a strong, fascistic response to our current crisis. And SOME support for such a movement could slide away from those currently supporting Paul. I have been stunned by the cult-like attitude I have seen in the eyes of his young, white male true believers.

Is there anything in his views which would safely inoculate them from the fascist temptation? Not enough, I fear.
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-01-08 14:28
As I stated in a previous article, I believe the cult-like status among young white male paul supporters stems from the fact that many of them have liberal tendencies, but due to their family or neighborhood, haven't come to terms with it.

He's the perfect candidate for closetted liberals who'd rather find something palatable in a repug than openly admit they're too liberal to make their parents happy.
+4 # Activista 2012-01-08 02:20
Why not use analogy of "illegal" immigrants in USA and Jews in Germany?
Obama "deported" over million of immigrants - south of border. Thousands of children were separated form their parents, young students deported to place they do not know - even language (Spanish).
This is CRIME of present US government.
+1 # Richard Raznikov 2012-01-08 17:35
Paul, in contrast with Obama and the 'acceptable' GOP candidates, is strongly supportive of the Bill of Rights and against the Patriot Act and other policies which mimic the pre-Hitler Germany. It's not Paul who's dangerous; it's Obama, Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, and the rest of those clowns.
-1 # Johnny 2012-01-08 19:35
Duh, it is Obomber, not Ron Paul, who advocates and is carrying out the Holocaust. Who signed the bill authorizing the military to arrest and imprison you indefinitely, without charges, without trial, without the slightest evidence of wrongdoing? Not even Hitler's 1934 "Enabling Act" went that far.
0 # 2012-01-08 21:52

Ron Paul does not want to do away with civil rights for blacks, women, LGBT and others who don't fit in. Where ever did you get such a notion?

He supported the repeal of Jim Crow laws and he supports the rights of people to marry anyone they please. He believes that the federal government is prohibited by the constitution from discriminating against any citizen on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference, or marital status.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
0 # Billy Bob 2012-01-08 23:12
"Ron Paul does not want to do away with civil rights for blacks, women, LGBT and others who don't fit in."

He just wants to take away the laws that guarantee those rights and let the chips fall where they may - like in the good ol' days before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 he opposes.

He doesn't mind state governments or private companies discriminating against people though, does he?

It's fun when you leave out stuff, huh? Sorry for calling you out on your selective use of "facts".
+1 # Reyn 2012-01-09 12:08
That is absolutely not true. He is on the public record supporting DOMA, which discriminates against LGBT people, even if their states do not. He is also on the record saying "Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment "right to privacy". Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution." Finally he has clearly stated his opposition to equal protection laws for any minority.

Your position simply doesn't wash with reality.
-1 # Sophie 2012-01-08 01:34
How interesting to see "progressives," slamming this article as well as the ad hominem attacks against the author. However, Megan Carpentier is very correct. Judging by most of the ignorant Paulbots' opinions, she is right on target when she writes about:
"to the women who worry they'd be left without access to reproductive healthcare, African Americans who rightly wonder what this country would look like in the absence of a civil rights act, etc." Not to mention his virulent anti-gay stance. Do any of these important and hard won freedoms matter to so called Paul supporters? NO.
Just completely ignore Paul's stated positions, and voting record.
As far as Greenwald is concerned, there is simply one point that matters overall: Greenwald's support of Citizens United forced me to wake up regarding his supposed "fairness," and expertise on all things concerning the law. There is nothing he could say or write from that point on--he lost all credibility. If faux progressive readers want to disregard his twisted legalese logic, than they are as delusional as Greenwald. He's doing it again with Paul--leaving out the facts regarding Paul's voting record on many issues progressives have championed: environmental laws, endangered species legislation, reproductive rights for women, equal pay, civil rights, (Paul would undo the 1964 civil rights act, if he could.) I have been watching Paul's voting record for a long time. He is NOT the man people want him to be.
-3 # Johnny 2012-01-08 19:38
Megan Carpintier is not a useful idiot. Megan Carpintier is a useless idiot.
-2 # Gary Austin 2012-01-08 02:44
This is a thoughtful and informative article. Thank you Megan Carpentier.

However there is no such word as "preventative."

"He opposed the Obama administration' s decision to declare birth control a preventative medicine, which pressures insurance companies to cover it without co-pays."
0 # fobsub 2012-01-08 03:51
I was wondering why Ron Paul is running as a republican and not an independent of some kind but its beginning to make sense. While there's no chance he could win the presidency or even be nominated by his own party, running as a major party candidate does give him a little more credibility and has contributed to his popular position and media attention. I think, however, at some point, while still popular, he should break away from the republican party, hopefully creating disaster at the poles for the republicans. I'll vote for him either way, knowing he couldn't win. In any event I hope he stays in the race and popular because he would at least keep a number of votes away from whoever the republicans nominate.
+2 # fobsub 2012-01-08 04:07
Ron Paul does have some pretty radical opinions as well as being the only one in the running that is right on the money and willing to rant about it as to the views of most of the 99% Americans, he's able to create front line attention to those issues like no one else can or will at present, so in that sense he's a blessing. I say lets encourage him and don't throw him out with the bath water just yet. He's here at the right time and in the right place.
+1 # Wargolem 2012-01-08 04:47
Funny thing about Ron Paul is that people who have put their lives on the line to serve in our endless state of war - like myself - consider that getting our troops home and ending our imperialism more important than the issues that he is horrible on.

Also several people have pointed out he would not be able to do half of the things he wants to do just as Obama has not been able to complete a lot of his promises he made to us. I.E. Gitmo. I detest intolerance on both sides more than anything and when you would not see that out of the republican field he is the least bat shit crazy it seems like your article is nothing more than a GOP hit piece written by a liberal.

My first choice is Obama and if he does not get it I would rather have Ron Paul and any of the other choices out there.
+2 # RMDC 2012-01-08 08:36
I just marvel at the right wing establishment media like Megan Carpentier trying to paint Ron Paul as an extremist because he is anti-imperialis t, against the FED or private ownership of US money supply, and against many US social programs. That seems pretty mainstream, to me.

The other republican candidates are saying things like they'd murder Iranian scientists, bomb nuclear sites in Iran. That seems like extremism to me.

I also think the mass media is telling people Paul is not electable with the hope of driving them away from Paul. But all of the republicans are not electable. Paul actually has a better chance than the rest. Romney will never get the independent, libertarian, hard right wing vote. He'll never get above 25%. Obama will waste him is a few minutes. Paul actually could beat Obama because he'd get progressives, anti-war left and right, veterans, and economic conservatives. Paul has the broadest coalition of supporters probably ever in US history.

That's why journalists like Megan have been given the assignment by their owners to take Paul down at any cost.

I've become a sort of single issue voter. Ending the Global War on Terror is the only thing that matters. Once that is ended, we can fix the rest of the world's problems. There's very much to dislike about Paul but he's the only one who is right on this single issue. However, the president does not set imperial policy. The CIA does.
+4 # Activista 2012-01-08 11:41
"I've become a sort of single issue voter. Ending the Global War on Terror is the only thing that matters."
US is spending $1.3 trillion on militarism/year . Budget is $3.7 trillion. Deficit/yearly debt is like $1.6 trillion - accumulated debt $15 trillion. US competitive edge are BOMBS!
There is NO way US will get out of this recession in a generation. Did you study/predict collapse of the Soviet Union after 1989? Small war in Afghanistan ..
It is/was MILITARISM that is killing USA -
like in triage as it occurs in medical emergencies and disasters - one has to STOP bleeding first.
Young people do not wan to spend rest in the totalitarian state of USA. Become another lost generation.
+1 # Reyn 2012-01-09 11:55
Leaving Afghanistan will not reduce the military budget one bit. What is it that causes American Leftists to become blind to one part of the picture or another?

Our enemies, and by our enemies I mean those who do genuinely oppose freedom (and many do) - whether religious fundamentalists of ANY FAITH GROUP or criminals such as the drug gangs in Mexico, or any other groups -- all want nothing less than an uninvolved, inward turned US.

Ron Paul (so well exemplified by his son's name - Rand Paul) will not offer more freedom, he will offer FAR less freedom given power. Your final two sentences will become his reversed legacy. A nation with no Civil Rights guarantee, no Department of Education, no funding for Higher Education, no controls at all on corporations, no rights, say nothing about equal marriage, for LGBT persons, and so forth.

And that helps the Left how?

Think about it, please.

+2 # Linda 2012-01-08 09:57
Kolea I think you gave one of the best reasons not to vote for Ron Paul even as a message to Obama when you said this :
My only problem with progressives voting for Paul is my skepticism over whether it actually send the message they think it does. Provided they don't shut their eyes to his other, foul ideas, I got no problem. I would hate to build his credibility among the young, obsessed and sophomoric "Paulistas" who swallow all his Ayn Randian nonsense.

I really don't think it will send a message other than the country has gone insane .
I do however believe as Kolea mentioned that the young and impressionable might very well get the wrong message and think Ron Paul and his Ayn Rand phylosophy is cool .
I think we have enough hate in this country directed at the poor ,elderly and disabled from the right ,we don't need any more !
Don't vote Ron Paul to send a message to Obama because the message you send might not reach the one you intended, it could have a very negative effect.
Not to mention, god forbid Ron Paul did get elected because you unintentionally encouraged young people to vote for him .
Republican's want the white house so bad I think they very well might take advantage of Ron Paul winning an election rather than having him silenced they would use him to finally end all the programs they have always wanted to end including Social Security and Medicare& Medicaid and oppose him on the ones you want changed .
-3 # Martintfre 2012-01-08 12:29
It is understandable that a media outlet dedicated to destroying .. excuse me collectivizing rights would be annoyed at best with Congressman Ron Paul.

Collectivist think that rights come from government that to get more rights you simply need a strong enough gang to run government to get what you want - and like the genie in the lamp their wishes are granted by the magical government.

Some of the The intellectual problems the collectivist must side step is that how these 'rights' are to be paid for. That argument must be either avoided or acceptance of slavery of those with the ability to provide for those 'rights' to satisfy the needs of their followers is glossed over in so many ways - traditional collectivist democrats and their slave holding brethren had generations to work out a host of self serving excuses.

I like Dr Paul because he is a messenger of individual freedom.
The message of Freedom IS popular.... Unless you can live better at some one elses expense and that does not bother you.
+2 # Reyn 2012-01-09 11:58
That is a bizarre post, whether or not you realize it.

I am a professional, and solidly in the top 20% (though not the top 1%) in terms of income. I hold a terminal degree in a science related field. My job is not going to go anywhere, and the investments we make are largely protected from loss (though their gains are not meteoric, I know that they will be there with some profits, barring a complete economic collapse).

All of that said -- I do not see freedom coming from anything but government. The idea of a free nation is that your freedom ends at my nose, so to speak. I'm sorry, Ron Paul does NOT support that idea. When you talk about not just reducing opportunity, but removing equality for groups of people (for example LGBT folk) you are NOT a supporter of individual freedom, no matter what you say you are.


+3 # futhark 2012-01-08 14:35
Funny, I heard Ralph Nader last night on NPR talking about a coalition of Ron Paul libertarians and progressives to coordinate efforts to stop overseas military intervention and protect citizen's rights in this country. I'm for it. We can squabble about our differences after we have addressed the most critical questions or we can stay divided and get steamrollered by Wall Street and the Military-Indust rial Complex.
+1 # kyzipster 2012-01-09 07:46
I agree but this article is about progressives supporting Ron Paul as a presidential candidate, not about Ron Paul Libertarians.

Ron Paul will never win the election and there are plenty of anti-war figures on the left to get behind. I think Nader has the right idea. We can look for common ground on a few issues but this is not the same as supporting a far right Libertarian as a presidential candidate.
+1 # Linda 2012-01-09 11:30
What are the most critical issues to the majority of us is the big question .
I see jobs ,homelessness and economic inequality in this country as the most pressing issues we have but you see the most important issues as the wars.
Sense we don't have a draft any more wars can be addressed by simply encouraging our young not to enter the military . Whose making our young go and fight these wars ? Change your beliefs that wars are necessary and you change your childrens beliefs that its patriotic to joing the military and go to war ! Problem solved and you didn't have to elect Ron Paul with all his other disasterous agenda that would most certainly distroy our country !

If your not elderly, disabled or poor then I guess the wars are your only concern ,but if your in any one of these catagories the wars are the least of your problem when someone like Ron Paul would seriously effect your life and survival if he were ever elected .
His every man for himself phylosophy would kill people ,that is reality !
Maybe you don't think the lives of these people are important enough ?
-2 # Martintfre 2012-01-09 10:43
The true useful idiots are the brainless puppets who stick their fingers in their ears have their eyes shut and

scream their party is great and the other party is evil.

Your masters appreciate your unearned loyalty.
+2 # lloydapianoman 2012-01-09 17:48
Liberals/Progre ssives for Ron Paul? Idiotic. I hear kids are flocking to him because of his anti-war stance. Paul is as naive as his kid supporters if he believes his own nonsense. But if liberals are voting for him, they would get a nasty surprise if he ever got to the White House. Wake up! What we need is for thd right wing conservative nutcases to split the party. Then a REAL liberal agend would get passed through. That is what we need, not mealy-mouthed Yello Dog Democrats.
+1 # acomfort 2012-01-09 18:34
If Ron Paul gets his way on foreign policy . . . it will be a chance for many countries to live without the terror of bombs falling on civilians.

If Ron Paul gets his way on domestic issues . . . US citizens will live in fear of death that could have been prevented.
0 # chessmaniac 2012-01-09 18:50
So this article's logic would look something like this..."Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason, and the CIA able to run rampant with no checks or transparency, and privacy eroded further by the unchecked Surveillance State, and American citizens targeted by the President for assassination with no due process, and whistleblowers threatened with life imprisonment for “espionage,” and the Fed able to dole out trillions to bankers in secret, and a substantially higher risk of war with Iran (fought by the U.S. or by Israel with U.S. support) in exchange for less severe cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, the preservation of the Education and Energy Departments, more stringent environmental regulations, broader health care coverage, defense of reproductive rights for women, stronger enforcement of civil rights for America’s minorities, a President with no associations with racist views in a newsletter, and a more progressive Supreme Court."
0 # derekthered 2012-01-10 08:28
the other commenters have just about covered it, i would have one addition.
if ron paul is so objectionable, then the democratic party should adopt his various positions on war, drug laws et al. ron paul would have no traction whatsoever if bho and the donkey were doing their job which is to stand up for the rights of americans. what megan's essay basically says is "as long as i have mine, i don't give a good goddamn about anyone else", thereby undercutting her own position. once more, it is extremely easy to undercut ron paul, why are the dems not doing it? do they think it's fine to fight undeclared wars? to keep arresting people for marijuana possession? etc. etc? one can only conclude that they do. if ron paul is able to garner support for these positions? then why are the democrats not doing the same?
0 # Linda 2012-01-10 09:37
derekthered: There is an easy answer to your question . No we don't think its fine to have undeclared wars etc but we don't see Ron Paul as the answer to all our problems either as you obviously do !
I do however think its important to not have another Republican President in the white house who would pack the Supreme Court with more Republican justices to make more laws that would take away more of our rights as citizens .
0 # derekthered 2012-01-10 13:47
please, that's not what i said. i am registered democrat, i voted for bho, but instead of griping about paul, why aren't the dems just stealing his support by advocating these quite reasonable positions? i hardly want to be a flamethrower, or get into a back and forth, but when i look at this? paul is getting support because he is advocating some policies that the democrats should have taken care of decades ago.

come on, vietnam, 68,000 dead. panama, grenada, libya. we have been throwing our weight around for a hundred years.

hemp, 25,000 uses (or so i have heard)including diesel fuel, but it is out the window because of it's botanic brother. how many people locked up, lives ruined, over a substance that there is not one recorded case of death by overdose? unlike alcohol.

there are certain paul positions that undercut the democrats, besides being right. it has bothered me for decades that the dems folded on these things. i did not just fall off the turnip truck, i was born at night, just not last night.

regrettably i have cast the only vote i ever will for barack obama.

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