“…Ron Paul now has national visibility, courtesy of last Tuesday’s “debate” down in Columbia—much to the chagrin of mainstream media and Republican Party elites. His poll numbers are sufficiently high that a struggle to suppress them is underway. We are seeing what we might call a Ron Paul rebellion. Whether it will have staying power remains to be seen…”
The Ron Paul Rebellion
May 28, 2007
By Steven Yates,
Ron Paul now has national visibility, courtesy of last Tuesday’s “debate” down in Columbia—much to the chagrin of mainstream media and Republican Party elites. His poll numbers are sufficiently high that a struggle to suppress them is underway. We are seeing what we might call a Ron Paul rebellion. Whether it will have staying power remains to be seen.
This was the exchange that opened the door. Fox New’s Wendell Goler addressed Paul and asked, “I believe you are the only man on the stage who opposes the war in Iraq, who would bring the troops home as quickly as— almost immediately, sir. Are you out of step with your Party? Is your Party out of step with the rest of the world? If either of those is the case, why are you seeking its nomination?”
Ron Paul articulated, “Well, I think the Party has lost its way, because the conservative wing of the Republican Party always advocated a non-interventionist foreign policy. Senator Robert Taft didn’t even want to be in NATO. George Bush won the election in the year 2000 campaigning on a humble foreign policy—no nation-building, no policing of the world. Republicans were elected to end the Korean War. The Republicans were elected to end the Vietnam War. There’s a strong tradition of being anti-war in the Republican Party. It is the Constitutional position. It is the advice of the Founders to follow a non-interventionist foreign policy, stay out of entangling alliances, be friends with countries, negotiate and talk with them and trade with them…. [T]here’s a lot of merit to the advice of the Founders and following the Constitution. And my argument is that we shouldn’t go to war so carelessly.”
Goler followed up with, “Congressman, you don’t think that changed with the 9/11 attacks, sir?”
His response: our foreign policy was a “major contributing factor. Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we’ve been over there; we’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We’ve been in the Middle East—I think Reagan was right. We don’t understand the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics. So right now we’re building an embassy in Iraq that’s bigger than the Vatican. We’ve building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting. We need to look at what we do from the perspective of what would happen if somebody else did it to us.”
Goler: “Are you suggested we invited the 9/11 attacks, sir?”
“I’m suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it, and they are delighted that we’re over there because Osama bin Laden has said, ‘I am glad you’re over on our sand because we can target you so much easier.’ They have already now since that time have killed 3,400 of our men, and I don’t think it was necessary.”
That was when Rudy Giuliani blew his top—giving this writer the best reason I’ve seen not to vote for him and to urge others not to support him. Giuliani jumped in with, “That’s really an extraordinary statement. As someone who lived through the attack of September 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don’t think I’ve heard that before, and I’ve heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th. I would ask the Congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn’t really mean that.” Delivered with the tone of a true authoritarian. An overwhelmingly neocon audience cheered.
Paul hadn’t said we invited 9/11, of course. He used the phrase contributing factor, which implies there were other contributing factors. When asked to reply, he elaborated:
“I believe very sincerely that the CIA is correct when they teach and talk about blowback. When we went into Iran in 1953 and installed the Shah, yes, there was blowback. A reaction to that was the taking of our hostages and that persists. And if we ignore that, we ignore that at our own risk. If we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred, then we have a problem. They don’t come here to attack us because we’re rich and we’re free. They come and they attack us because we’re over there. I mean, what would we think if we were—if other foreign countries were doing that to us?”
We saw, dramatized on national television and in ensuing media discussion, the two worldviews that may battle it out over the next year or so for control of the Republican Party—and possibly the country itself—with ramifications well beyond Election 2008. The one Rudy Giuliani represents (which is that of the Bush clan, the neocons, and the corporatist elite generally): the U.S. is an empire obliged or destined to rule the world, capable of building “democracies” in the Middle East and perhaps elsewhere, relying on a value system based on money and power. Power does not necessarily corrupt. We peons should fall in line behind our leaders.
The second, which Ron Paul represents, sees the U.S. as a Constitutional republic with a limited government, believes that sound economics requires sound money (not our present fiat dollar), would distinguish genuine free enterprise from corporatism, and advocate a foreign policy of trade with all but entangling alliances with none—i.e., a foreign policy rooted in respect for other nations’ sovereignty and their right to self-determination. Other nations’ internal affairs are not our business unless we are explicitly invited in.
This is not simply a clash between “left” and “right,” or between “liberal” and “conservative.” We may be approaching a major dust-up between those who want freedom and those who want power, between those who believe society must be aggressively centralized and those who wish to see power dispersed. We may see a struggle between those who want policies that allow the common man to live as he sees fit if he isn’t bothering anyone else, and a cadre of oligarchs who view the world as theirs, and who see themselves as unaccountable.
The Republican National Committee and its talk-show fellow travelers are all on the side of power. The latter immediately went into attack-dog mode. After the debate, Paul appeared on Fox News’s Hannity & Colmes show. Sean Hannity spluttered incoherently against Paul to the point where Paul had difficulty getting a word in edgewise; to his credit, he did not get flustered and refused to back down. He stood his ground the next day when Wolf Blitzer on CNN asked if he wanted to apologize for his statements. He retorted that Rudy Giuliani ought to apologize to him. He told Blitzer that Americans have the right to disagree with bad policy. Interventionism is bad foreign policy, he said, and ought to be challenged. Fox News anchor John Gibson tried to associate Paul with the 9/11 Truth movement by crediting Paul with saying “the U.S. actually had a hand in the terrorist attacks.” Paul, of course, had said nothing of the sort. Glenn Beck, yet another neocon talk-show host and Rush Limbaugh wannabe, has repeatedly smeared Paul on his show, calling him “crazy” after the first debate and a “dope” after this one.
Michigan Republican Party Chair Saul Anuzis proposed barring Ron Paul from future debates. After the RNC and the Michigan GOP received thousands of phone calls and several online petitions totaling over 20,000 signatures, they scrapped that idea. We may thank the growing number of people who get their news over the uncensored Internet, where Ron Paul is now practically the frontrunner, for protecting free speech from Republican Party elites.
Ron Paul’s point of view is gaining an audience whether the neocons like it or not. Major CNN contributing writer Roland S. Martin has said that his thinking on U.S. foreign policy should at least be discussed. Paul, after all, is hardly the first to say that our policies in the Middle East might have contributed to our being attacked. Jacob G. Hornberger, of the Future of Freedom Foundation, in fact has a detailed timeline of our interventions in the region going back to 1953, the year a CIA-backed coup in Iran ousted democratically elected Mohammed Mosadegh and instilled the Shah. As the Shah proceeded to butcher the Iranian people for the next quarter-century, the Islamic terror underground formed and began to ferment (see Hornberger’s article “Iraq, Iran and September 11: A Chronology,”
But more generally, the Ron Paul candidacy is exposing how the power system in this country is gutting the Constitution. This is very good news! Ron Paul has arguably won two national debates now—won in the sense that he came from the incredible disadvantage of a media blackout and has reached the point of having a message that is resonating with that growing segment of the public that is fed up with government lies, whether the topic is Iraq, illegal immigration, the economy, or any number of other front burner issues.
Giuliani looks to be emerging as the elites’ favorite. This guy is pro-choice, favors special rights for gays, and advocates gun control. Have these become official Republican positions, and are they evidence of what has happened to the Republican Party since the neocons took it over? An attorney friend of mine with whom I spoke last Friday probably said it best. To paraphrase how he put it, if the Republicans choose Rudy Giuliani as their nominee after a protracted hate campaign drives Ron Paul back to “third party” status and the public lets them get away with it, they do not deserve to win next year. It will be fair and just to say that this country deserves a socialist Hillary/Obama presidency which would run Rome on the Potomac straight into the ground.
It might be worth noting as an aside that Giuliani has been linked to the proposed NAFTA Superhighway system. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, his Houston-based law firm, Bracewell & Guiliani, represents Cintra Concesiones, the Spanish megacorporation that has joined with San Antonio’s Zachry Construction on the Trans-Texas Corridor. This positions Giuliani firmly with the power elite. So again: do Americans really want him in the White House?
And should conservatives trust information from elite-controlled outfits like Fox News (owned by News Corporation, globalist Rupert Murdoch’s media empire)? Arguably the exchange between Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani was a set-up. During debates such as the one last Tuesday, microphones of non-speakers are turned off. Giuliani’s, however, was left on while Ron Paul was speaking. Why? Was someone waiting for something Giuliani could attack? Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media has observed, “[Fox News] seems to be emerging as an arm of the Giuliani-for-President campaign. Honest conservatives should demand better coverage.” Fox News Online published a dishonest Dick Morris column declining to mention Paul and portraying the race as “nine-way.”
A growing number of people aren’t buying it. They are responding to Ron Paul’s message of limited government, bringing America’s troops home from a pointless and increasingly destructive war, abolishing the IRS and the Federal Reserve, getting out of bad trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA, getting out of the WTO, restoring the Constitution, and returning to the idea of America as republic, not empire. It would be, as I’ve noted elsewhere, a first. But those who believe that America is still worth fighting for will get behind Ron Paul’s candidacy, and defend him from the media’s attack dogs. Since Ron Paul shows no signs of caving in, and I don’t see the neocons backing down, the next year promises to be very interesting!
© 2007 Steven Yates – All Rights Reserved
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Steven Yates earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1987 at the University of Georgia and has taught the subject at a number of colleges and universities around the Southeast. He currently teaches philosophy at the University of South Carolina Upstate and Greenville Technical College, and also does a little e-commerce involving real free trade. He is on the South Carolina Board of The Citizens Committee to Stop the FTAA.
He is the author of Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action (1994), Worldviews: Christian Theism Versus Modern Materialism (2005), around two dozen philosophical articles and reviews in refereed journals and anthologies, and over a hundred articles on the World Wide Web. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina, where he writes a weekly column for the Times Examiner and is at work on a book length version of his popular series to be entitled The Real Matrix (hopefully!) to be completed this summer.
Presented by Bill Haymin, 2007