He may still be underperforming at the polls, but when it comes to supporters putting their money where their mouths are, Ron Paul has the Republican frontrunners beat hands down.
Paul, the quirky Texas congressman who’s been lighting the Internet on fire, raised $19.95 million in the last three months of 2007. That’s more donations than the combined total of the two current Republican frontrunners, John McCain and Mitt Romney, during the same period, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Andrew Malcolm.
Amazingly, Under-The-Radar Ron has as many delegates as Rudy NineEleven did before he dropped out. (I’m still reveling in the sheer bliss of not hearing Rudy described as a “front-runner,” and having to reassure people who thought he was a serious threat to our candidates in 2008. I TOLD ya he wouldn’t make it through the primaries.)
This 2008 Presidential election is obviously historic for Democrats from a race and gender standpoint; but in a strange way, I think it’s also historic on the Republic side. Each candidate that has won – and may possibly win – a primary or caucus, represents a splinter of the disintegrating popsicle stick sculpture that is today’s Republic Party.
Many people have described the conservative coalition as an uneasy three-way alliance between the corporatists (that would be Willard “Deep Pockets” Romney), the neocon warmongers (ably represented by John “Bomb Iran” McMaverick), and the rightwing fundie wackos (hello, Hackabee!). I haven’t seen a lot of references to the fourth group, however, which in some ways is the most powerful: the libertarians, who believe they have found their king in Ron Paul.
One of Raygun’s most successful cons was to make Americans believe that corporations are somehow “more efficient” than government. Poor, bloated, red-tape-filled government just couldn’t hold a candle to the lean, mean, corruption-free style of the business world. As Raygun said,
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’
[Tell that to the Gulf Coast, you heartless fuck.]
Now if the Republics were not so gifted at propaganda, and if Raygun were not such a harmless, benevolent-seeming figure, and if we had a media at that time, those words would have been recognized for what they were: A deliberate attempt to convince Americans to allow the merging of corporations and government. The true name of that system is Fascism. But alas, the same media that destroyed Jimmy Carter for trying to prevent future wars for oil was only too happy to embrace Raygun’s nightmare vision. After all, it would certainly make the moguls who owned big corporations a lot richer, and that’s all they cared about.
Enter the think tanks, the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys, the giant media conglomerates – all made possible by the evisceration of the Fairness Doctrine and the killing of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The 80’s were marked by a huge increase in consumerism as culture; by movies like “Working Girl,” which exalted the virtues of business; and, of course, by the entry into the Republican Big Tent of evangelicals and libertarians.
Liberal types tend to think that evangelicals are unteachable. I strongly disagree with this characterization. For example, the extremely popular Democratic Governor of once-red Montana, Brian Schweitzer, garnered the Republican “Gays God and Guns” vote by stressing that if we don’t take care of the environment, there will be nowhere to hunt and fish. I believe that many evangelicals have voted, and will vote, Democratic, because we are the ones trying to address global climate change. As the Bible says, we should be stewards of the earth.
No, the truly unteachable are the libertarians. They believe right down to their souls that the government is bad and business is good. They will blather on endlessly, spewing out a fog of nineteen-syllable words they don’t even understand, to “prove” how the founders really DIDN’T want government to take care of basic human needs and that the Declaration of Independence is more powerful than the Constitution and that the “free market” will take care of those who are “deserving” and that people can “choose” whether to be sick or poor or black or female or…..It is absolutely amazing that people this deluded about the real world can even hold down jobs or manage to feed themselves. But Raygun convinced them. Greed is good! Deregulation is good! Trust Enron, not the government! Wheeeeeeeeee!
Every high-flown argument for libertarianism boils down to this, however: “Fuck you – I’ve got mine.” It’s fine if you want to be an island in your personal life, but never will this philosophy ever work for a society.
I mean, isn’t it obvious where Reaganomics has gotten us? Anyone should be able to see the direct results all around us: 47 million without health insurance; many more millions underinsured and going bankrupt because of it; gas prices out of control; the cost of living going up and real wages staying stagnant; good manufacturing jobs gone overseas; poverty increasing, unemployment going up, foreclosures and bankruptcy due to predatory lending prices and bank deregulation, two unwinnable, unending wars for resources in Afghanistan and Iraq…But somehow, libertarians are still holding onto their selfish, pathetic dreams. Obviously, the near-collapse of the American government just isn’t collapse-y enough yet. If ONLY we’d deregulate the market MORE! And privatize EVERYTHING! Taxes are “stolen money!”
I swear to Jeebus, these people don’t even realize that taxes build their roads, pay the salaries of public safety officials, pay for their schools, and keep the food supply and the air clean. They don’t get that when you cut taxes in a time of war, as Dubya did and NO OTHER PRESIDENT HAS EVER DONE, you don’t have money for all those things to keep functioning. Duh. Fucking. Duh.
And whaddaya know? Our infrastructure is crumbling. Our food and toys are poisoned. Pollution is way up. Global warming is accelerating. Our schools are crumbling and underfunded. And that wonderful, wonderful response to Hurricane Katrina! Oh, that worked out great for the folks in Mississippi and Louisiana. I’m sure they were so grateful that Bush was playing guitar and Condi was shoe-shopping while they lost their homes, their loved ones and their lives.
It is this total denial of reality that allows libertarians to become cultists for Ron Paul, a racist nutjob who advocates against public libraries and a standing army, and who thinks the black helicopters are coming for us all. (I won’t link to his website, but you can find all this stuff there.)
And you know what? I hope he wins, as Ross Perot won Maine in 1992; because I just can’t wait to hear his victory speech. That will be a major revelation of the selfish and greedy underbelly of today’s Republic Party; and one more nail in the political coffin of the most toxic criminal organization that ever stole the White House.