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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

 

angry man for an angry party http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=e2f15397-a3c7-4720-ac15-4532a7da84ca

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, January 09, 2008 permalink View blog reactions
The TNR has a lengthy article on Ron Paul, looking beyond the short horizon of his campaign and at the years of newsletters he has written over the years with his political screeds, and concludes he is "angry".

Ron Paul is not going to be president. But, as his campaign has gathered steam, he has found himself increasingly permitted inside the boundaries of respectable debate. He sat for an extensive interview with Tim Russert recently. He has raised almost $20 million in just three months, much of it online. And he received nearly three times as many votes as erstwhile front-runner Rudy Giuliani in last week's Iowa caucus. All the while he has generally been portrayed by the media as principled and serious, while garnering praise for being a "straight-talker."

From his newsletters, however, a different picture of Paul emerges--that of someone who is either himself deeply embittered or, for a long time, allowed others to write bitterly on his behalf. His adversaries are often described in harsh terms: Barbara Jordan is called "Barbara Morondon," Eleanor Holmes Norton is a "black pinko," Donna Shalala is a "short lesbian," Ron Brown is a "racial victimologist," and Roberta Achtenberg, the first openly gay public official confirmed by the United States Senate, is a "far-left, normal-hating lesbian activist." Maybe such outbursts mean Ron Paul really is a straight-talker. Or maybe they just mean he is a man filled with hate.


What the essay completely misses is that Ron Paul's views and his hate towards minorities and gays is actually well within the mainstream of the GOP, a party that has exploited divisions in its cultural war (one that promises to be waged anew should Huckabee take the nomination). The essay describes Paul as an iconoclast within the GOP, but other than his view on Iraq, he isn't really beyond the party orthodoxy (and even is Iraq views have a solid grounding in the paleocon school, who are out of favor at present but clearly remain a part of the base).

Paul's candidacy is one that has exposed the fault lines within the GOP, but within the GOP he remains. It isn't that Paul is an angry man. It's that he's an angry party man, however much the party today tries to deny it.

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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.