Why Ron Paul Annoys Liberals/Progressives

Glenn Greenwald nails it:

The parallel reality — the undeniable fact — is that all of these listed heinous views and actions from Barack Obama have been vehemently opposed and condemned by Ron Paul: and among the major GOP candidates, only by Ron Paul. For that reason, Paul’s candidacy forces progressives to face the hideous positions and actions of their candidate, of the person they want to empower for another four years. If Paul were not in the race or were not receiving attention, none of these issues would receive any attention because all the other major GOP candidates either agree with Obama on these matters or hold even worse views.

Progressives would feel much better about themselves, their Party and their candidate if they only had to oppose, say, Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann. That’s because the standard GOP candidate agrees with Obama on many of these issues and is even worse on these others, so progressives can feel good about themselves for supporting Obama: his right-wing opponent is a warmonger, a servant to Wall Street, a neocon, a devotee of harsh and racist criminal justice policies, etc. etc. 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). Is it really hard to see why Democrats hate his candidacy and anyone who touts its benefits?

Full post can be found here.

7 Responses to “Why Ron Paul Annoys Liberals/Progressives”


  • I like Glenn Greenwald but he really jumps the shark here.

    Let’s consider for a moment the things that might “annoy Progressives” regarding Ron Paul:

    Ron Paul is essentially opposed to pretty much all social programs. That doesn’t just mean Obamacare. It means Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He would be content to abolish the FDA, the EPA, and school lunch programs. That seems like it might annoy Progressives, doesn’t it?

    In fact pretty much the only government programs Ron Paul favors are those that involve restricting what pregnant women may do. Notably, on the “social” issues of abortion, the teaching of creationism, and homosexuality Paul is a plain vanilla conservative Republican. No different than Romney. That kind of sounds like it might annoy Progressives.

    Paul thinks the income tax is tyranny and would abolish the FRB and return the U.S. to the gold standard. Hmmm… Yep, that’s “annoying”.

    And then there are the newsletters. I’ll bet a lot progressives – especially the black ones – just might find those annoying.

    Oh, and he is also an advocate for the kinds of civil rights that Greenwald and most progressives favor. And this is the Paul position that Greeenwald claims Progressives find annoying?

    Ok. Whatever.

  • Completely valid points. Greenwald addresses that as well (I left it out).

    He mentioned that a perfectly reasonable train of thought for progressives to hold is such:

    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.

    Which, he says, is a hard position to swallow. Hence the uncomfortableness.

  • I will just note that in his comparison of Obama and Paul above, Greenwald has not really done justice to the extremism of Paul’s views. Paul doesn’t just favor the abolition of the Departments of Energy and Education, for instance. And the most extreme of Paul’s views on economics go completely unmentioned by Greenwald.

    So his comparison of Paul vs. Obama from a liberal’s point of view is wildly flawed.

  • I hasten to add that Greenwald would be on sold, firm ground if he would just limit himself to saying “Progressives would prefer that Obama were much more liberal than he is on many issues, including the issue I discuss in my book.”

    Obama, after all, has bailed out banks, increased deportations, cut taxes, cut medicare funding, ramped up one war, tried hard (and failed) not to end another one, then started a third one, failed to turn back civil liberties excesses of the Bush administration, failed to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the rich, pursued a highly questionable strategy of ramped up drone attacks in the War on Terror with complete disregard for international laws and treaties, and most recently, over-ruled the FDA on the sale of emergency contraceptives.

    He is definitely not the ideal Progressive candidate. And if that is Greenwald’s only point, we are in perfect agreement.

  • And now I will hasten to add that for liberals, and for myself, Obama is still a whole heck of a lot better than Ron Paul (or the inevitable Romney) would be.

  • LawrenceB, it’s not clear to me that you object to anything Greenwald said. Notice that “Why Ron Paul Annoys Liberals” is HP’s headline, not Greenwald’s. Greenwald would agree with every criticism you made of Paul. What he objects to is that discussion of extremely important issues, such as due process free assassination or imprisonment, war on whistle blowers, or an expansion of wars throughout the world are treated as if they should be out of court by the progressive punditry class. Instead of addressing the issues the progressives say “But have you seen the newsletters? Do you want Ron Paul to win?” The newsletters are deplorable and in fact Greenwald can respect the view that an Obama presidency is preferred to a Paul presidency (though he hasn’t said one way or the other what he thinks about that). But these issues need a hearing, and thank God for Ron Paul because if he wasn’t there there would be no discussion of these issues.

    Ron Paul can’t win. That’s a fact. So be grateful that he’s out there so at least we’re talking about how the 5th amendment is gone. That’s a huge deal. It wouldn’t be discussed in debates at all if not for Paul. And the newsletters are a huge stain, but so are extra-judicial executions. Who’s the real extremist?

  • Yes, it’s true that I disagree more with HP’s characterization of what Greenwald is saying than I disagree with Greenwald. But I also disagree a bit with Greenwald. I think Greenwald is both overstating the animosity of Democrat’s towards Paul, and understating his downside.

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