‘Hell’ in Iowa
Thank you for the editorial “Electoral Dysfunction, 2012” [Jan. 23]. Its only problem is that it’s an understatement of how dysfunctional Iowa’s GOP caucus was this time around. The Christian right made Iowa a figurative hell for any moderate snowball. For many of us, when Robert Vander Plaats, a religious-right leader, boasted in a TV ad that Rick Santorum “is one of us,” it was a condemnation, not an endorsement.
Be Careful Who You Sleep With
We received much mail on Katha Pollitt’s January 23 “Subject to Debate” column, “Ron Paul’s Strange Bedfellows,” all of it from men. Herewith, a sample. —The Editors
Katha Pollitt gives a good reminder that Ron Paul’s views on many critical issues are terrible and quite dangerous. However, she insults our intelligence first by suggesting that anyone (referring only to men) who sees any value in Paul’s stances has a “progressive mancrush.” Beyond that nasty insult she then lumps together and defines anyone who suggests Paul’s views might be worth listening to as “supporting” him. The issue is far more serious and far more challenging.
One does not have to be a “supporter” of Ron Paul to recognize that he alone among the corporate candidates has been consistently calling for an end to foreign wars. It can be argued that any chance that we could end our invasions of other countries opens lots of possibilities for hope. Ending wars opens up possibilities for a fair and “progressive” society.
Paul is not my candidate of choice (neither is Obama). But I like the idea of peace and the incredible opportunities that presents. And that’s the discussion we should be having. Imagine.
Katha Pollitt is too harsh. Paul’s extreme libertarianism is, indeed, antithetical to constitutional general welfare. But putting those “mancrushers” in the same boat as Paul Ryan’s swooning pundits slights some things of value in Paul’s candidacy. Paul’s candidacy provides teachable moments. One such is that our Constitution so parsed power that the presidency alone is nearly devoid of it. “Socialist,” “Muslim” Obama couldn’t even close Gitmo, much less convert anybody to Islam or put private means of production under government ownership. But maybe a Paul presidency could delay or lessen US military aggression against Iran.
Our government’s aggressive wars of choice are a greater evil than the economic exploitation of Americans by our ruling class. Paul’s campaign at least spotlights anti-imperialist themes and the importance of the Federal Reserve as America’s credit mis-allocator. Thus it gives progressives an opportunity to start discussing these.
It’s a male thing… Katha Pollitt’s smart-alecky quip “if there are leftish white women and people of color who admire Paul, they’re keeping pretty quiet” is flatly refuted by Rachel Maddow, who demonstrated respect, if not admiration, by recognizing him as the only Republican candidate to refuse the dictation of US Middle East policy by Israel.