"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dorothy Rabinowitz on Ron Paul

Dorothy Rabinowitz, a writer whom I tend to trust from the Wall Street Journal, has an article up today about Ron Paul's attitudes toward America:

A grandfatherly sort who dispenses family cookbooks on the campaign trail, candidate Paul is entirely aware of the value of being liked. He has of late even tried softening the tone of some of his comments on the crime of foreign aid and such, but it doesn't last long. There he was at the debate last Thursday waving his arms, charging that the U.S. was declaring "war on 1.2 billion Muslims," that it "viewed all Muslims as the same." Yes, he allowed, "there are a few radicals"—and then he proceeded to hold forth again on the good reasons terrorists had for mounting attacks on us.

His efforts on behalf of Iran's right to the status of misunderstood victim continued apace. On the Hannity show following the debate, Dr. Paul urged the host to understand that Iran's leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had never mentioned any intention of wiping Israel off the map. It was all a mistranslation, he explained. What about Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust? A short silence ensued as the candidate stared into space. He moved quickly on to a more secure subject. "They're just defending themselves," he declared.

Presumably he was referring to Iran's wishes for a bomb. It would have been intriguing to hear his answer had he been asked about another Ahmadinejad comment, made more than once—the one in which the Iranian leader declares the U.S. "a Satanic power that will, with God's will, be annihilated."

There can be no confusions about Dr. Paul's own comments about the U.S. After 9/11, he said to students in Iowa, there was "glee in the administration because now we can invade Iraq." It takes a profoundly envenomed mindset—one also deeply at odds with reality—to believe and to say publicly that the administration of this nation brought so low with grief and loss after the attack had reacted with glee. There are, to be sure, a number of like-minded citizens around (see the 9/11 Truthers, whose opinions Dr. Paul has said he doesn't share). But we don't expect to find their views in people running for the nation's highest office.

The Paul comment here is worth more than a passing look. It sums up much we have already heard from him. It's the voice of that ideological school whose central doctrine is the proposition that the U.S. is the main cause of misery and terror in the world. The school, for instance, of Barack Obama's former minister famed for his "God d— America" sermons: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for whom, as for Dr. Paul, the 9/11 terror assault was only a case of victims seeking justice, of "America's chickens coming home to roost."

Some in Iowa are reportedly now taking a look at Dr. Paul, now risen high in the polls there. He has plenty of money for advertising and is using it, and some may throw their support to him, if only as protest votes. He appears to be gaining some supporters in New Hampshire as well. It seemed improbable that the best-known of American propagandists for our enemies could be near the top of the pack in the Iowa contest, but there it is. An interesting status for a candidate of Dr. Paul's persuasion to have achieved, and he'll achieve even more if Iowans choose to give him a victory.
Again, there is much to like in much of what Ron Paul says, and in his personality and character and personal history.   But these sorts of attitudes are, for me anyway, a disqualifier for the position of Commander in Chief.  

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