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Is the GOP Ripping Apart?

John Heilemann has an article in New York magazine about the 2012 Republican primary, which is undoubtedly the strangest leadup to any presidential election I’ve seen in my lifetime. He writes:

That Mitt Romney finds himself so imperiled by Rick Santorum—Rick Santorum!—is just the latest in a series of jaw-dropping developments in what has been the most volatile, unpredictable, and just plain wackadoodle Republican-nomination contest ever. Part of the explanation lies in Romney’s lameness as a candidate, in Santorum’s strength, and in the sudden efflorescence of social issues in what was supposed to be an all-economy-all-the-time affair. But even more important have been the seismic changes within the Republican Party. “Compared to 2008, all the candidates are way to the right of John McCain,” says longtime conservative activist Jeff Bell. “The fact that Romney is running with basically the same views as then but is seen as too moderate tells you that the base has moved rightward and doesn’t simply want a conservative candidate—it wants a very conservative one.”

The transfiguration of the GOP isn’t only about ideology, however. It is also about demography and temperament, as the party has grown whiter, less well schooled, more blue-collar, and more hair-curlingly populist. The result has been a party divided along the lines of culture and class: Establishment versus grassroots, secular versus religious, upscale versus downscale, highfalutin versus hoi polloi. And with those divisions have arisen the competing electoral coalitions—shirts versus skins, regulars versus red-hots—represented by Romney and Santorum, which are now increasingly likely to duke it out all spring.

Few Republicans greet that prospect sanguinely, though some argue that it will do little to hamper the party’s capacity to defeat Obama in the fall. “It’s reminiscent of the contest between Obama and Clinton,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently opined. “[That] didn’t seem to have done [Democrats] any harm in the general election, and I don’t think this contest is going to do us any harm, either.”

Yet the Democratic tussle in 2008, which featured two undisputed heavyweights with few ideological discrepancies between them, may be an exception that proves the rule. Certainly Republican history suggests as much: Think of 1964 and the scrap between the forces aligned with Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller, or 1976, between backers of Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. On both occasions, the result was identical: a party disunited, a nominee debilitated, a general election down the crapper.

With such precedents in mind, many Republicans are already looking past 2012. If either Romney or Santorum gains the nomination and then falls before Obama, flubbing an election that just months ago seemed eminently winnable, it will unleash a GOP apocalypse on November 7—followed by an epic struggle between the regulars and red-hots to refashion the party. And make no mistake: A loss is what the GOP’s political class now expects. “Six months before this thing got going, every Republican I know was saying, ‘We’re gonna win, we’re gonna beat Obama,’ ” says former Reagan strategist Ed Rollins. “Now even those who’ve endorsed Romney say, ‘My God, what a fucking mess.’ ”

But this may go far beyond the usual give and take of primary politics. One thing that has been obvious during this, the strangest of all primary seasons, is that the Republican party is deeply divided, and in more ways than just between the moderates and the hardliners. Forget about Newt Gingrich; though he likes to portray himself as the real conservative ideas man, his campaign is a personal mercenary mission that is entirely disconnected from actual ideas. But the other three remaining candidates show the three strains of Republican thought in stark relief.

To the extent that Mitt Romney represents anything other than his own ambition, he could be said to embody, to some small degree, the old-fashioned pragmatic conservatism of Russell Kirk or Edmund Burke — conservatism as more of a temperament than a set of bold principles (or even catchphrases, the closest thing Republicans have to principles these days). He prefers slow, deliberate change and political compromise over unshakable faith in a set of ideas.

Rick Santorum represents the religious right or, if you prefer, the theocons. And he is absolutely sincere about it. Where Romney comes across as fake and disingenuous when discussing social issues like gay rights and abortion, Santorum comes across as a true believer. Because that’s what he is. He’s a culture warrior through and through and he speaks the Christian right’s preferred language of faux persecution and grievance at their loss of privilege and power to regulate the lives of others.

Ron Paul represents both the libertarian and paleo-conservative wings of conservatism. He’s the one with ideas that clearly don’t fit in the mainstream of either party. The two major parties are full-scale employed in the service of American empire and military projection, while Paul wants us to withdraw our military from the rest of the world and stop intervening in other countries (for the record, I agree with him). And while both parties are also all-in for the vast expansion of executive authority, the bill of rights be damned, Paul stands alone in demanding an end to torture, warrantless wiretaps and the whole artifice of unconstrained power built by President Bush and dutifully maintained — even expanded — by President Obama. The fact that his message is resonating with about 25% of Republican voters reveals a serious pocket of people who want to end this bipartisan consensus in favor of more wars and more government intrusion into our private lives.

Where the Republican party goes from here is a mystery. When I interviewed Fred Karger on my radio show recently, we talked about the demographic realities facing the GOP. The anti-gay stuff just isn’t playing as well as it used to, and as older voters die off and are replaced by younger voters who lack the bigotry of earlier generations, it’s going to start backfiring on them. The same is true on immigration, where the growing Latino population will soon make it politically impossible to maintain the strident anti-immigration positions being taken today.

This is inevitable in party politics, of course. As public opinion shifts, so do the positions of political parties. But are these divisions so deep that the GOP can’t pull off that shift? Possibly, but I doubt it. Parties have come and gone in the past, but never before have the two major parties been so deeply ingrained in the nation’s legal and financial structures. The Republican and Democratic parties have massive advantages in terms of election law and huge constituencies that make them far more likely to evolve than to go extinct.

The wildcard in all of this is the Christian right. While the party professionals may see the need to evolve away from theocon positions to try to appeal to younger voters, the religious right is not going to give up its influence over the party without a fight — and it’s not going to agree to shut up to remain part of the coalition. That’s the thing about true believers — your “purity” isn’t the only thing they demand, they demand it from the political party as well. So while I don’t think the GOP is going anywhere any time soon, I do think there’s a real possibility that religious right voters will increasingly seek out third parties.

Comments

  1. Chiroptera says

    …says longtime conservative activist Jeff Bell. “…the base has moved rightward and doesn’t simply want a conservative candidate—it wants a very conservative one.”

    Heilemann left out the ellipses between “very” and “conservative,” where he omitted the words “insane and stupid.”

    …the theocons.M

    Good word. I don’t recall coming across it before, but I might start using it.

    Getting back to the point of the post:

    Way back in the late ’70s and first year or two of the ’80s, when I was a conservative Fundamentalist Christian, it was clear to me that the Evangelical voters were being used by the conservative (big business) establishment. I was in high school, surrounded by Religious Right adults who were gushing about how they were finally coming into control (at the same time — I kid you not — going on about what a despised, persecuted minority they were), and I could see that this was all about being used, not having any real control.

    When I became firmly entrenched on the left, I still saw the conservative movement as being basically run by the big business conservatives who were taking advantage of the Religious Right and the liberterandians.

    (The latter term is for those self-described libertarians who never saw a civil liberties issue that they wouldn’t sacrifice as long as the economy was further deregulated — rather than “libertarian” they are more “free market fundamentalists.”)

    What I am seeing now is what I was predicting in the early ’90s (clever insight or lucky guess?): that this uneasy coalition between partners who basically despise each other would eventually unravel.

    What is interesting, though, is how the Religious Right “useful idiots” have managed to seize actual control of the Party. That I never saw coming.

  2. slc1 says

    The two major parties are full-scale employed in the service of American empire and military projection, while Paul wants us to withdraw our military from the rest of the world and stop intervening in other countries (for the record, I agree with him).

    Shades of Charles Lindbergh! This is nievety^2. It is not possible for the US to withdraw from the Middle East because most of the world’s proven oil reserves are located there. If a war breaks out there between the various factions in the area (a distinct possibility if Israel attacks Iranian nuclear facilities or if the current hostilities in Syria spill over into Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq), who the fuck is going to keep the Straits of Hormuz open other then the US Navy?

  3. Michael Heath says

    Ed’s blog post headline:

    Is the GOP Ripping Apart?

    I would argue emphatically no. They are in fact becoming a party with far less competing platform planks. I don’t think the GOP presidential primaries is as representative of the party’s attributes as Republican members of Congress, Republican governors (with a few outliers like MI’s Rick Snyder), and Republican state legislators. So using them as the group to define the party would extend our conclusions too far. The more populus groups I mention are increasingly committed to their caucus rather than being ripped apart.

    What I do think is representative of the GOP presidential candidates is that one can’t successfully govern and be a standard-bearer of conservatism. That’s because as I’ve argued for several years now, American conservatism in its present and trending state is a political ideology incapable of good governance. So every candidate who actually thinks and acts like a conservative embarrasses the party because he represents the deficiencies of how they think and act. Their denial of reality does not produce good results when we look at their record of governance. They can talk themselves into initial popularity, but peel back the onion and we find a party of Sarah Palin’s, Rick Perry’s, Herman Cain’s, and Newt Gingrich’s.

    At the state level it’s even worse. Conservative policies at the state level were arguably the single biggest impediment to recovering from the recession and making our labor market ever weaker.

    Ed writes:

    Where the Republican party goes from here is a mystery.

    Perhaps the most provocative mystery of our time. I certainly think so. The paradox here is that conservatives are getting the power in the party they’ve always desired at the same time the demographics reduce the demand for such an ideology. Their record of governance is increasingly hard to ignore so these demographics have few incentives to become Republicans.

    Parties are capable of reform. I remain impressed with how Democrats have reformed themselves over the past few decades though that was also enabled by the migration of Southern conservatives to the Republican party. Especially given my conclusion this progress goes unnoticed because of a handful of remaining conservatives who obstructed their own party’s initiatives. However, because the Republican party is now dominated by conservatives and the state of their political ideology by definition makes them incapable of beneficially adapting, it’s a mystery how this will play out given there are no competing political movements who seem capable of taking control of the Republican party.

  4. Michael Heath says

    Chiropetra writes:

    What I am seeing now is what I was predicting in the early ’90s (clever insight or lucky guess?): that this uneasy coalition between partners who basically despise each other would eventually unravel.

    I don’t see this union of socially conservative populists with a minority of plutocrats unraveling but instead becoming further committed to each other. However they may turn-off marginally more non-conservatives. The exit polls from the MI primary vote has me concluding the average voter is not nearly well enough informed to even understand the dynamics going on within the parties and political ideologies. E.g., all the women who voted for Rick Santorum, the social conservatives within the working class we know will remain committed to whoever the Republican candidate is as long as they oppose the hated ‘other’ of the day, oppose abortion rights, and practice tribalism.

    It was not irrational for Rick Santorum to paint Mitt Romney as part of the 99% to a conservative populist audience.

  5. says

    Ron Paul represents both the libertarian and paleo-conservative wings of conservatism. He’s the one with ideas that clearly don’t fit in the mainstream of either party.

    Bullshit. His ideas ARE the Republican Party’s ideology. They are the ideological justification the Republicans need to pretend they’re more than a party of mindless, childish reactionary opposition to progress and equality. He’s the go-to-guy for every right-wing faction who needs to pretend he opposes this or that progressive policy “on principle,” not just mere bigotry.

    …Paul stands alone in demanding an end to torture, warrantless wiretaps and the whole artifice of unconstrained power built by President Bush and dutifully maintained — even expanded — by President Obama.

    Really? What did he actually DO to make his “demands” relevant to the rest of the party? Did he ever threaten to quit the PoG and either support the Democrats (which would have made a major diference in 2004) or go back to the Libertarian Party? Of course not — the minute he leaves the PoG’s bubble-verse, he goes back to being the irrelevant fringe-idiot he was before 1980. Ron Paul’s standing within the Republican bubble-verse is more important to him than opposing torture or foreign wars.

    The fact that his message is resonating with about 25% of Republican voters reveals a serious pocket of people who want to end this bipartisan consensus in favor of more wars and more government intrusion into our private lives.

    No, it represents a serious pocket of loonies, reactionaries, corporate tools, bigots and mindless ideologues, most of whom want a US government too small to stop them from systematically depriving the rest of us of our freedom. Even if Ron Paul gets elected and fulfills all of his promises, we won’t be a freer nation because of it; any more than the US was a freer country before we got into WW-II.

  6. MikeMa says

    Had the GOP nomination process proceeded according to script, Romney would be running ads against Obama and the imagined leftist policies of Obama’s administration full time. With candidates like Santorum, Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich and Cain who could have imagined last summer what is taking place now? Each of these ‘in no way qualified to be president’ loons espouses positions and goals more ridiculous than the previous idiocy puke event. The lies are standard for all candidates but these fools don’t even show much imagination.

    Not very long ago, these idiots wouldn’t have been invited to campaign events for fear of another embarrassing comment. Now those comments are party planks. I have never witnessed such open hate and bigotry paraded in public and cheered by the masses.

    Santorum one minute speaks passionately of defending the constitution and in the next claiming one of its most valuable tenets causes him to throw up. McCain elevated the Alaskan idiot and she roused the mostly quiet haters and morons who were prior to her emergence too embarrassed to say out loud what they thought. Now we have morons and fools running for high office.

  7. raven says

    The wildcard in all of this is the Christian right.

    They aren’t doing that well either.

    US xianity is slowing dying, thanks to the fundies. Unfortunately people are leaving in the order of the best and brightest. The moderates and Catholics are losing members faster than the other groups.

    Southern Baptists Have Fewest Baptisms Since The 1950s And Are …
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/southern-baptists-fewest-baptis...
    by Jaweed Kaleem

    Baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant …

    Southern Baptists Have Fewest Baptisms Since The 1950s And Are Losing Members. Baptism … First Posted: 06/12/2011 11:29 am Updated: 02/21/2012 4:37 pm …

    The SBC was taken over decades ago by right wing extremists who sold out their own doctrinal principles for politics.

    They’ve been losing members for 4 years straight and retention rates of young people are 30%. The latest is that they are going to change their name. Rebranding is always a desperation move.

  8. raven says

    I have never witnessed such open hate and bigotry paraded in public and cheered by the masses.

    You missed the 1950′s and 1960′s then.

    Yeah, neither have I. I fall into multiple categories of their long list of people to hate. Just about everyone falls into at least one, a prominent one being “female”.

    If one of the haters for jesus Tea Partiers ever got elected President, not impossible at all, the USA is over with.

    Unfortunately, I’m still on the boat. In that event, the next thing will be surviving the train wreck.

  9. Michael Heath says

    MikeMa writes:

    Had the GOP nomination process proceeded according to script, Romney would be running ads against Obama and the imagined leftist policies of Obama’s administration full time.

    Whose script? That’s the important point here; that the GOP is now pretty much a monolithic conservative entity whose successfully flushed itself of nearly all moderates. Therefore the preferred script would have the party nominating an authentic conservative rather than a former moderate like Mitt Romney who now either poses as a conservative or is a authentic conservative – a difference no one can discern (I lean for the latter). Mitt Romney is Harriet Miers with no Sam Alito in sight. So the script breaks down because there are no competent authentic conservatives in the race who can also run on their record, in spite of the fact the party’s reached a level of purity never encountered in their entire history.

  10. MikeMa says

    Michael,
    The script was written by the old GOP establishment. They also never anticipated the turmoil we have now nor, I suspect, have they any effective way to deal with it prior to the convention. The ‘you’ll vote for me because where else can you go’ attitude toward the theocons has failed completely between 2008 and now. The original script is in the trash and they are furiously writing a new one for the convention.

  11. raven says

    So the script breaks down because there are no competent authentic conservatives in the race who can also run on their record,

    Olympia Snowe, senator from Maine.

    Who just announced she is fed up and won’t stand for reelection.

    John Huntsman, despised by his own party.

    I’m sure there are others. They are most likely hiding in their closets or under their beds right now.

  12. says

    Gee, that sounds kinda familiar. I’m trying to remember who else calls liberals “predictable” in lieu of a more substantive response…oh yeah, right-wing Republicans! The fact that you sound like a right-wing Republican when defending Ron Paul only reinforces my impression that Ron Paul is really no different from other right-wing Republicans.

    If that’s all you’ve got, why don’t you just give up and admit I’m right?

  13. abb3w says

    I’d suggest the term “MoneyCons” for the pro-business “cheap labor conservatives” that are the last hiding place of the old-fashioned pragmatic conservatism within the GOP.

    I usually use the term “XenoCons” for the isolationist, paleo-conservative, anti-immigrant, anti-affirmative-action, “afraid of brown people”, John Birch to neo-Confererate faction. (There are libertarians who don’t fall in that category. It subjectively seems too damn many do, though. I suspect this is because it attracts what Altemeyer might term low-RWA high-SDO types… and high-SDO contributes to prejudice.)

    “TheoCons” is obvious.

    I suspect Newt may be appealing in part to the foreign adventurist wing that wants to go forth and smite the wicked; they’re usually termed NeoCons, but I prefer the term “JingoCons”.

  14. Michael Heath says

    Me earlier:

    So the script breaks down because there are no competent authentic conservatives in the race who can also run on their record . . .

    Raven responds:

    Olympia Snowe, senator from Maine.

    Who just announced she is fed up and won’t stand for reelection.

    John Huntsman, despised by his own party.

    I’m sure there are others. They are most likely hiding in their closets or under their beds right now.

    Gov. Jon Huntsman doesn’t think like a conservative, so his party rejected him as one of their own, in spite of consistently applying conservative-friendly measures. But he’s also a traitor, favoring the interests of the U.S. at the expense of conservatism by legitimizing the black Kenyan usurper’s regime by joining it as our Ambassador to China.

    The approach to thinking aspect is one so many of us non-conservatives fail to acknowledge. That conservatism is strongly driven by a singular-style state of mind where Huntsman fails the test.

    Olympia Snowe is not a conservative but instead a moderate. She failed at the one item moderates must succeed at to be politically relevant, a leader who can pull the ideologues together into a compromise by standing on principle and competency and rejecting ideology. Sen. Snowe instead submitted her filibuster vote to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell even for items she previously supported, like mitigating climate change. Therefore she has no caucus, especially not conservatives.

  15. raven says

    Highlights from the Huffpo article mentioned above.

    Ding Dong, the witch isn’t dead but is isn’t looking so good either.

    Baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, have dipped to their lowest point in 60 years, according to a new report.

    In eight out of 10 years, the number of baptisms performed have declined.

    Church attendance and Sunday school enrollment declined in 2010.
    Membership, currently 16.3-million, is down for the fourth year in a row.

    Donations to missionary work are down too. The denomination’s International Mission Board received $145.6 million during its annual drive last year — almost $30 million shy of its goal. The number of missionaries, which was 5,656 in 2009, dropped to 5,000 last year.

  16. Ouabache says

    as older voters die off and are replaced by younger voters who lack the bigotry of earlier generations, it’s going to start backfiring on them.

    It’s not that the younger conservatives are less bigoted. They just have a different brand of bigotry. They are ok with gay people but still have problems with Muslims, Hispanics and poor people especially if they are brown.

  17. D. C. Sessions says

    Will the religious fanatics seek out third parties, or will they hold on to control of the Party and drive everyone else to third parties?

    The answer comes down to whether the Party establishment can force a change to the structure and rules of the Party. In the current Party organization, the low-level organization at the local and State levels has enough power that the Party pretty much belongs to whoever can put enough shoe leather on the ground. And that’s almost 100% a function of passion — which is something that the fanatics have in spades and is notably missing from anything remotely resembling “moderates.”

    The theocrats and the Paulites have it. That’s how the theocrats took over (to pick an example) Kansas twenty years ago. That’s how the Paulites are racking up control of delegates this year. And stacks of money can buy a lot of things but it’s not at all clear that money alone can buy the kind of day-to-day support that you get in high-octane churches.

    Normally the committee work at conventions flies below the radar. Oh, there might be some attention to the platform committee (even though the platform itself is mostly ignored) but the rest are lucky to get a mention, much less actual coverage. Bear the above in mind, though: this year the Republican rules and organizational stuff is going to be a major indicator of the future of the Party.

    You heard it here first.

  18. says

    …they’re usually termed NeoCons, but I prefer the term “JingoCons”.

    Good call, especially since there’s nothing all that neo about the neo-cons, other than their age relative to their stodgier, less energetic predecessors.

  19. says

    And stacks of money can buy a lot of things but it’s not at all clear that money alone can buy the kind of day-to-day support that you get in high-octane churches.

    No, but it can buy the high-octane churches that provide said support, and drive slick ad campaigns to very effectively manipulate huge masses of people whose passion is greater than their ability to see through a scam. Money can’t buy passion, but it can buy a skilled demagogue to arouse and sustain the passion.

  20. says

    If either Romney or Santorum gains the nomination and then falls before Obama, flubbing an election that just months ago seemed eminently winnable, it will unleash a GOP apocalypse on November 7—followed by an epic struggle between the regulars and red-hots to refashion the party.

    If recent history is any guide, a narrative will quickly emerge that the Republicans lost (again) because they strayed too far from the pure faith, they failed to nominate a True Conservative, and as a result, the base was insufficiently motivated to show up to vote (it doesn’t matter that the exit polls will readily disprove this idea). So nothing will change.

    And it doesn’t matter who they nominate. If you think that nominating Santorum will make it impossible for them to blame their loss on creeping liberalism, just consider that they’ve convinced themselves that Santorum got creamed by 18 points in ’06 because he supported Bush’s “liberal” policies several years prior. Seriously.

  21. marcus says

    “With such precedents in mind, many Republicans are already looking past 2012.”
    I believe this may be part of Christie’s master plan, figuring he’ll have 4 years to assume the mantle of a pragmatic conservative with a good chance of doing better against whatever Democrat might present themselves. Case in point his recent political gymnastics about his promised veto of the NJ marriage equality legislation. He’s not against teh gheys marrying he just thinks the “people” should decide.

  22. says

    Raging Bee wrote:

    Gee, that sounds kinda familiar. I’m trying to remember who else calls liberals “predictable” in lieu of a more substantive response…oh yeah, right-wing Republicans! The fact that you sound like a right-wing Republican when defending Ron Paul only reinforces my impression that Ron Paul is really no different from other right-wing Republicans.

    If that’s all you’ve got, why don’t you just give up and admit I’m right?

    LOL. Seriously, this seems like a reasonable argument to you? On some issues you can be perfectly rational; at the mere mention of anyone who has ever associated themselves with anything vaguely libertarian, you just lose your fucking mind. I’ve listed the major differences between Ron Paul’s positions and the usual Republican positions many times; you still refuse to see them. If you don’t think favoring an isolationist foreign policy and huge cuts to defense spending is not at odds with common right-wing Republican views, you’re simply delusional. If you think that sponsoring legislation that would repeal the entire program of executive power expansion that began under Bush and has continued unabated under Obama is not at odds with common right-wing Republican views (and the views of the Democrats in Congress, for the most part, as well), then again, you are simply delusional. You simply cannot grasp that there are disagreements among those you deem your enemies; anyone you decide is on the other side must be equally evil in all the same ways. Any actual disagreements must simply be ignored. When it comes to this issue, you are just a buffoon spewing bullshit.

  23. says

    …at the mere mention of anyone who has ever associated themselves with anything vaguely libertarian, you just lose your fucking mind.

    Calling me insane doesn’t exactly work when you fail to refute what I actually say.

    Also, why are you acting like I’m the only one slamming Ron Paul? That’s NEVER been the case — I’ve never been the only one on a thread pointing out Ron Paul’s record of batshit insanity, bigoted associates, and total indifference toward real human needs and rights. Why, for example, do you never address Michael Heath’s criticisms of Ron Paul here?

    I’ve listed the major differences between Ron Paul’s positions and the usual Republican positions many times…

    And each time, I and others point out that his actions (not to mention his non-actions) contradict his words.

    If you don’t think favoring an isolationist foreign policy and huge cuts to defense spending is not at odds with common right-wing Republican views, you’re simply delusional.

    First, as I and others have pointed out before, his isolationist foreign policy is dead wrong and not based on good intentions. And second, it’s really not that different from other Republicans, who are equally willing to end all foreign aid, withdraw from the dirty socialist world that won’t conform to our fantasies, and pretend America is a separate planet and other people just don’t matter.

    If you think that sponsoring legislation that would repeal the entire program of executive power expansion that began under Bush and has continued unabated under Obama is not at odds with common right-wing Republican views (and the views of the Democrats in Congress, for the most part, as well), then again, you are simply delusional.

    Again, as I and others have pointed out before, his actions speak louder than his words. IF Ron Paul cared so much about those issues, why didn’t he throw his support to Kerry in 2004 as an explicit protest against Republican policies? That would have changed the election results, and the Democrats would have heard his message loud and clear, and had no choice but to at least acknowledge his stated protest. Why did Ron Paul not do this? Because he didn’t care as much about those issues as he says he does.

    Did Ron Paul ever call a press conference and make a big stink about Republicans questioning liberals’ patriotism? Where was he when Republicans accused Democrats of wanting to coddle terrorists? Did he ever publicly attack any Republicans for using 9/11 for partisan advantage? He and his corporate allies could have turned a huge, well-financed publicity machine against any or all of those policies — but chose not to.

    Ron Paul is just like the Tea Party: pretending to be independent of both parties, but only trashing liberals.

    You simply cannot grasp that there are disagreements among those you deem your enemies…

    I grasp that beneath the words, the Republicans are a lot more in agreement than you admit. It has been repeatedly pointed out here, by myself and others, that Ron Paul has a lot more in common with the teatards and other right-wing Republicans than anyone wants to admit.

    If Ron Paul is so drastically at odds with the rest of the PoG, how come none of the other candidates are attacking him in the primary debates, like Bush Jr. totally trashed McCain in 2000? The answer is obvious: they can’t attack him without attacking their own ideological foundation. The “disagreement” you speak of is nothing but a puppet show. They don’t attack him because they know (and they know he knows) that he doesn’t really mean a word of what he says.

    If you want to question someone’s rationality, question your own. You’ve been so emotionally invested in the “libertarian” identity-badge, for so long, that you can’t bear to admit the whole thing was a scam from day one, and you were played for a fool.

  24. Ichthyic says

    If either Romney or Santorum gains the nomination and then falls before Obama, flubbing an election that just months ago seemed eminently winnable

    say what?

    I’ve been following this since long before the current primary, and at no time did any republican nominee even look close to being able to beat Obama on the national floor.

    wishful thinking, looks like to me.

    that said, if people are wondering where the GoP will go next, all you need do is figure out which candidate can manage to pull the reins of all the RWAs that now populate the GoP so heavily, and because of the folly of the neocons who came before, who encouraged the RWAs INTO the GoP because they were so easily to manipulate as a voting block.

    now, there are so many RWAs, that the GoP has become, shall we say, completely “bottom heavy”.

    They simply await a strong, charismatic leader. They won’t really care what his policies are, they won’t really care if he will lead them out of an economic spiral, so long as he can convince them he is leadership material.

    there is no more GoP. They gave their party away with the strategy of trying to manipulate more and more RWAs into the party to begin with.

    McCain saw it. Many others did too, and long before 2000.

    There is no easy fix to this. Everyone in the US must literally bite the bullet, stand up for real utilitarian principles, and fuck the manipulating bullshit.

    Be straight.

    …or become essentially what the RWAs want: Another fascist dictatorship.

    you know it’s coming.

  25. Ichthyic says

    since I’m on a Bob Altemeyer bandwagon this week, I would say that if you want to understand what happened to the GoP over the last 40 years, and where it will go next, just spend a day reading the Authoritarians.

    Hell, it’s a fun read, and it’s free:

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

    book is the upper left link.

  26. laurentweppe says

    What is interesting, though, is how the Religious Right “useful idiots” have managed to seize actual control of the Party. That I never saw coming.

    You should have studied Europe history: proto-fascists remained the usefull idiots of the upper class from the midle of the 19th century until the early twenties.
    ***

    who the fuck is going to keep the Straits of Hormuz open other then the US Navy?

    Europe could: the Treaty of Lisbon assert that in case of unanimity between the member states (say, when they’ll all freak out during the mother of all energy crisis), the different armies of the EU will basically merge, creating a nifty five millions men strong millitary juggernaut capable to match the level of spending of the US with a similar technological level and a shitload of experience in abusing one’s firepower: better than a zombie apocalypse: the tiny bloodthirsty peninsula which screwed mankind more than anyone else during the last millenium despite its own violent inner bickering would have one single standing army -and one freaked out public opinion in dear need of oil- and everyone would be wondering why the fuck they felt so threatened by Iran.
    ***

    Will the religious fanatics seek out third parties, or will they hold on to control of the Party and drive everyone else to third parties?

    They’ll eventually do in the US what their cousins did in Western Europe: they’ll stop being religious but keep on being biggots. When people are in favor of sectarian supremacism, they can switch sect more easily that you may think, so long as the supremacism is as strong is their new home as it was in their old.

  27. says

    Again, as I and others have pointed out before, his actions speak louder than his words. IF Ron Paul cared so much about those issues, why didn’t he throw his support to Kerry in 2004 as an explicit protest against Republican policies?

    This is one of the most infuriating things about your statements about libertarianism. When someone points out a libertarian position of some politician that is fairly liberal, your immediate response is almost always, “Well, why didn’t they do what I wanted them to do? Waaah!” It’s absolutely absurd. Why would Ron Paul throw his support behind John Kerry? Because he’s not Bush? I seriously wonder if you ever think about these statements before they come spewing out of your keyboard.

    First, as I and others have pointed out before, his isolationist foreign policy is dead wrong and not based on good intentions. And second, it’s really not that different from other Republicans, who are equally willing to end all foreign aid, withdraw from the dirty socialist world that won’t conform to our fantasies, and pretend America is a separate planet and other people just don’t matter.

    Translation: “I’m simply delusional.”

    Oh yeah, all those other political candidates who seem to favor a pre-emptive strike on Iran have virtually identical positions on foreign policy.

    If Ron Paul is so drastically at odds with the rest of the PoG, how come none of the other candidates are attacking him in the primary debates, like Bush Jr. totally trashed McCain in 2000? The answer is obvious: they can’t attack him without attacking their own ideological foundation don’t take him seriously as an opponent.

    FTFY.

    If you want to question someone’s rationality, question your own. You’ve been so emotionally invested in the “libertarian” identity-badge, for so long, that you can’t bear to admit the whole thing was a scam from day one, and you were played for a fool.

    As someone who also questions your rationality in regards to libertarianism and who is also not at all drawn to libertarianism, I find this statement incredibly amusing. “You think I’m so irrational on this subject? Oh yeah, well…you’re just an irrational libertarian!” Quite the witty riposte you have going there.

  28. says

    …your immediate response is almost always, “Well, why didn’t they do what I wanted them to do? Waaah!”

    No, my response is to ask why he chose not to do something he could have done, something that had a real chance of having an effect beneficial to the cause you claim he supports. And neither you nor Ed ever answer the question; all you do is avoid the scenario and deliberately misrepresent what I said.

    (Besides, am I really the only person who judges a politician by what he does vs. what I reasonably suspect he should do? How else should I judge them?)

    Why would Ron Paul throw his support behind John Kerry?

    I already answered that question, in plain English. The fact that you’re asking it again implies you’re trying to avoid facing my answer.

  29. says

    Here’s another problem with Ron Paul: he’s a well-known liar. He’s lied about his longstanding associations with racists (and run away when an interviewer confronted him on it), he and his brand of libertarian have lied about liberals (by equating us with Nazis and Stalinists), they’ve lied about environmentalists (by accusing us of wanting to take humanity back to the Dark Ages), they’ve lied about global warming, they’ve supported (or at least condoned) the teaching of creationism, and their entire economic ideology is based on false premises, revisionist history, and pure fantasy. His dishonesty is longstanding and well documented. How dumb does one have to be to take anything he says at face value, just because it happens to be what one wants to hear?

  30. says

    It’s not about “avoid[ing] the scenario”; it’s about recognizing that people often have a more complicated political calculus than what you ascribe to them.

    Let’s turn this around: Suppose you are vehemently opposed to Obama’s record on civil liberties. Would you then suggest that people support Ron Paul as a protest? Fuck no, you wouldn’t, because then you would be giving tacit support to at least the majority of his positions, which you don’t support. What you’re proposing that Paul should have done to mollify your own opinion is so incredibly naive and simplistic that I have literally never seen another commenter take this position with any other candidate or issue.

    I already answered that question, in plain English.

    You might want to review the function of the rhetorical question.

  31. says

    Raging Bee wrote:

    Also, why are you acting like I’m the only one slamming Ron Paul? That’s NEVER been the case — I’ve never been the only one on a thread pointing out Ron Paul’s record of batshit insanity, bigoted associates, and total indifference toward real human needs and rights. Why, for example, do you never address Michael Heath’s criticisms of Ron Paul here?

    Jesus Fucking Christ, I’ve slammed Ron Paul. Repeatedly. Over and over and over again. The problem isn’t that you slam Ron Paul, the problem is that you do so by pretending that he is exactly like every other right wing Republican when he clearly isn’t. He has huge policy differences with them on many important things. And all your absurd arguments do not change that one bit. Let me repeat here exactly what you said:

    Bullshit. His ideas ARE the Republican Party’s ideology.

    And now:

    And each time, I and others point out that his actions (not to mention his non-actions) contradict his words.

    How? I mentioned two distinct areas where he differs completely from the mainstream of the Republican party: foreign policy and the military and executive power (which actually encompasses about half a dozen major constitutional issues, all of which he is right on while the Republican party and most of the Democratic party are wrong). How do his actions contradict his words in those two areas? He has voted against every military adventure either party wants to send soldiers to die in since he’s been in office. And he has submitted legislation to reverse the Bush/Obama doctrines of executive power and gotten exactly one co-sponsor (Kucinich). And neither the Republican or Democratic leadership has even brought it up for a committee hearing, much less a vote. He’s voted consistently on the right side of those issues while both parties have voted consistently on the wrong side of them. He isn’t the one being inconsistent on them (though he has plenty of other inconsistencies, many of which I’ve pointed out).

    First, as I and others have pointed out before, his isolationist foreign policy is dead wrong and not based on good intentions. And second, it’s really not that different from other Republicans, who are equally willing to end all foreign aid, withdraw from the dirty socialist world that won’t conform to our fantasies, and pretend America is a separate planet and other people just don’t matter.

    Whether it’s wrong or not is not relevant, it is the fact that it is clearly out of step with the Republican party (and the Democratic party too). And to suggest otherwise is absolutely delusional. I’m not talking about foreign aid, I’m talking about foreign military intervention, something both major parties are practically addicted to and Ron Paul has been absolutely consistent in opposing.

    Again, as I and others have pointed out before, his actions speak louder than his words. IF Ron Paul cared so much about those issues, why didn’t he throw his support to Kerry in 2004 as an explicit protest against Republican policies? That would have changed the election results, and the Democrats would have heard his message loud and clear, and had no choice but to at least acknowledge his stated protest. Why did Ron Paul not do this? Because he didn’t care as much about those issues as he says he does.

    Are you fucking kidding me? You must live on the planet next to Wingnuttia, you’re absolutely delusional. Why should have have thrown his support to Kerry? Kerry has also voted consistently in favor of American imperialist adventures around the world, and he did absolutely nothing to stand up to Bush’s expansion of executive power. Neither has anyone in the Democratic party leadership. They are as complicit in the destruction of our constitutional safeguards as the Republicans, as Obama proves every single day. But this is what your argument comes down to, Ron Paul isn’t good enough on those issues if he didn’t become a Democrat — never mind that the Democrats are hip deep in the same things he is critical of Republicans for. You’re only proving my point perfectly; nothing will ever be enough unless he agrees with you on every single issue. And if he doesn’t, then you dismiss all of the positions he takes that are correct because he hasn’t joined a party that is also wrong on all of those issues.

    If Ron Paul is so drastically at odds with the rest of the PoG, how come none of the other candidates are attacking him in the primary debates, like Bush Jr. totally trashed McCain in 2000?

    Actually, they have. Remember Newt Gingrich, who really does represent mainstream republican views, saying he would not support Ron Paul if he got the nomination? That’s because he is considered heretical on foreign policy and constitutional matters. But there’s a more important reason not to bother focusing their attention on him: He has no chance of winning. No one has bothered to really put a focus on him because they know he’s maxed out at maybe 20% of Republican voters, and that is precisely because those voters hold opinions on these issues that is starkly at odds with the rest of the party.

  32. says

    I sure hope the GOP ripping apart. I really hope that some day a credible third-party alternative will emerge despite the first-past-the-post system (is my understanding correct that the constitution does not mandate a specific voting system?)

    Then you could have something like:

    Tea Party crazies lead to GOP split, into a right-wing party and centre party.
    Democratic party is pushed to the left by progressives, some of the more conservative Democrats join centre party.

    I don’t think this scenario is very realistic, though.

    Now, something different, I hope it’s not too off topic but here’s something I’ve been wondering about:

    Thinking about the libertarian worldview. What I’ve learnt from reading comics depicting a libertarian wonderland, I understand (though of course disagree completely) that in case of abortion, iff you accept the premise that it is murder that they could have a trial suing for damages (I imagine that in cases of murder, any member of the community could sue on behalf of the victim, don’t really know how that libertarian private justice thing would work in these cases, as the trials usually depicted in these comics usually don’t are that kind of trial, wonder why), but what about same-sex marriage? I still don’t get who would get damaged, financially or physically, by that…

    It seems that Ron Paul is opposed to the government meddling in marriage issues, so his position seems to be more consistent, and so I think that would support Ed in his thinking that the Ron Paul style libertarianism is indeed a minority position, even within the Tea Party.

  33. says

    addendum to 33:

    upon reflection, I think same-sex marriage would (should?) be a non-issue to libertarians, but for some reason the Tea Partiers, or certain segments of them, have often been conflated with libertarians.

    Also, Ron Paul is against abortion. But who in a libertarian world would define what murder is?

  34. slc1 says

    Re laurentweppe @ #27

    Just for the information of Mr. weppe, a large army is totally irrelevant to keeping the Straits of Hormuz open. Such an exercise will require large naval forces, which Europe doesn’t have (the entire continent of Europe has exactly one aircraft carrier (French). Only the US navy has the naval forces with the capability of keeping them open.

  35. says

    Kerry has also voted consistently in favor of American imperialist adventures around the world, and he did absolutely nothing to stand up to Bush’s expansion of executive power. Neither has anyone in the Democratic party leadership.

    You yourself have admitted, in more than one previous post, that Obama has been slightly but noticeably better than the Republicans on these issues. Not good enough by a long shot, but better. Now you’re going back on that admission and, like Ralph Nader, pretending both parties are exactly the same, just to justify Ron Paul’s refusal to put his money where his mouth was when it really could have counted.

    Even if Kerry was no better than Bush Jr., Ron Paul’s jumping ship would have shaken up the election, and forced EVERYONE to pay attention to the issues Ron Paul pretended to be so passionate about. And if the Democrats had seen the game so radically changed by Ron Paul’s defection, that would have made them at least a little more likely to take notice — and action — on his issues. If Ron Paul really cared so much about those issues, he would have used a defection to highlight them in a hotly contested election to get maximum attention and maximum results. He chose not to, and that proves he really didn’t give a shit. (And no, I’m not saying he should have “become a Democrat,” I’m saying he should have thrown his support to the Democrats in one election. There’s a difference.)

    But there’s a more important reason not to bother focusing their attention on him: He has no chance of winning.

    Funny thing…Republicans have been quietly trying to brush him off and pretend he wan’t relevant for THIRTY YEARS…and in that time, he’s only become MORE relevant and central, not less — with the aid of right-wing Republican interest-groups who have always been important parts of the Republican coalition. Doublethink much?

    No one has bothered to really put a focus on him because they know he’s maxed out at maybe 20% of Republican voters, and that is precisely because those voters hold opinions on these issues that is starkly at odds with the rest of the party.

    Where were those 20% when the Republicans were in power? Cheering their party on every step of the way, just like the Tea Party. If you think they support Ron Paul because of his views on foreign policy, then you’re the “delusional” one, not me. They support Ron Paul for the same reasons so many Republicans call themselves “libertarian:” they’re embarrassed at their party’s total unmitigated failures, but don’t want to admit the evil commie liberals were ever right about anything.

    The simple truth is, and always has been, that Ron Paul talked a good talk, but never walked the walk. And now you’re frantically twisting reality (and going apeshit with the boldface) to avoid admitting you bet on the wrong horse.

  36. says

    slc1: are you including the UK as part of “Europe?” Last I checked, they still had a navy. And a carrier or two. But either way, I still think the US has a valid strategic interest in keeping the Straits of Hormuz open, and as lame as our current foreign policy may be, isolationism is still worse. Isolationism isn’t really a policy, it’s just a form of escapism — and escapism is what people like Ron Paul are all about.

  37. slc1 says

    Re Raging Bee @ #38

    According to Wikipedia (perhaps not the best source but a subscription is required to access Janes Fighting Ships), the sole British carrier, the Illustrious, is strictly a helicopter carrying ship with no capability to launch or retrieve fixed wing aircraft.

    The French carrier is the Charles DeGaulle, which is nuclear powered and has fixed wing aircraft launching and retrieving capability.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_carriers#Aircraft_carriers_in_service

  38. says

    slc1: I’m certain the British have a carrier that can launch fixed-wing aircraft, such as their Harrier jump-jet. I remember seeing photos of such a carrier in action off the Falklands; I remember the little jump-ramp at the forward end of the flight deck. Is that carrier no longer in service? Did the British mothball their carrier(s) due to cost constraints?

  39. says

    It seems that Ron Paul is opposed to the government meddling in marriage issues, so his position seems to be more consistent, and so I think that would support Ed in his thinking that the Ron Paul style libertarianism is indeed a minority position, even within the Tea Party.

    He’s opposed to FEDERAL meddling in marriage issues, just as he’s opposed to Federal meddling in just about every other issue. He’s a classic “states’ rights” reactionary, and many of his core supporters are people who absolutely despise nearly all forms of US government intervention in the US, all the way back to desegregation and the Civil Rights Act, if not to the abolition of slavery. So no, he’s really not that different from the Tea Party. Hardcore right-wingers in silly costumes were calling themselves “libertarians” (and “survivalists” and “tax protesters” and “strict constructionists” and “Freemen” and “sovereign citizens” and…) long before they were calling themselves the “Tea Party.”

  40. says

    Raging Bee,

    that’s a fair point, though many teabaggers WANT federal meddling to the extent of what the constitution allows.
    But ok, let me rephrase my question then: how do libertarians justify the states (instead of the federal government) legislating the bedroom? Including Ron Paul?

  41. says

    pelamun: they’d probably justify it by saying: a) States’ Rights! b) the Constitution was not meant to be applied to the States, and the Fourteenth Amendment was imposed by force and is therefore invalid; c) same-sex marriage is not in the Constitution, just like “separation of church and state” and “air force;” and d) SUBORNATION TO FALSE MUSTER!!! Any questions? Didn’t think so.

  42. says

    Another way the liebertards might justify it is by saying that it’s okay for States to pass draconian restrictions on private activity, because people could vote with their feet by moving to other States that were less tyrannical, and competition would make everything right. James Hanley used to blither about how “voting with your feet” was the most wunnerful freedom you could have — just ask any regugee from tyranny or sectarian violence how free they are (after leaving all of their property behind).

  43. laurentweppe says

    Such an exercise will require large naval forces, which Europe doesn’t have (the entire continent of Europe has exactly one aircraft carrier (French)

    Who needs aircraft carriers when you have these?

  44. says

    that doesn’t sound at all like the libertarians from the libertopia comics I’ve read :P. But the vote with your feet thing does sound like libertarian ideology to me…

    So in a libertarian wonderland, you would still have communities passing intrusive laws, and if you weren’t ok with them, you could just love. A-OK…

  45. says

    Yep, and if you get stuck in an underfunded refugee camp because you can’t afford to buy a new house every time a new despot burns you out of the old one, it’s your own damn fault for not working hard enough. Or for being too picky about your rights, you ignorant slut.

  46. says

    To no one’s surprise, I’m sure, Raging Bee ignores almost every substantive argument I made and focuses instead on two issues: Why Ron Paul didn’t support John Kerry in 2004 and why the other Republican candidates haven’t savaged Ron Paul. And his answers are simply laughable on both. I wrote:

    Kerry has also voted consistently in favor of American imperialist adventures around the world, and he did absolutely nothing to stand up to Bush’s expansion of executive power. Neither has anyone in the Democratic party leadership.

    And he responded:

    You yourself have admitted, in more than one previous post, that Obama has been slightly but noticeably better than the Republicans on these issues. Not good enough by a long shot, but better. Now you’re going back on that admission and, like Ralph Nader, pretending both parties are exactly the same, just to justify Ron Paul’s refusal to put his money where his mouth was when it really could have counted.

    Woo, you beat the hell out of that straw man. Nice work. Now to reality. What I have actually said is that while Obama has been slightly better on some of these core executive power issues, he’s actually been slightly worse on others. For instance, he invented a whole new legal argument that Bush never even thought of to insulate the executive branch from accountability on 4th amendment issues (actually arguing that the executive branch had “sovereign immunity” against civil suits involving violations of FISA even though that law explicitly includes both civil and criminal penalties for violating it — even Bush never used that one). And it was under Obama, not Bush, that the DOJ threatened to send federal marshals into a judge’s chambers to take back a document the NSA had mistakenly turned over that proved that the plaintiffs had standing, and argued that not only could they not use that document to show that they had been the targets of an unconstitutional wiretap, they couldn’t even refer to it in court in any way. And Bush at least did go to Congress to get approval before going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan; Obama ignored Congress, the War Powers Act, the Constitution and his own repeated statements about the limits of presidential power to start bombing campaigns without congressional authorization. So, slightly better on some things, worse on others.

    But this was about supporting John Kerry, who has had a terrible track record on civil liberties. It was Kerry in the late 90s who was pushing for restrictions on the use of encryption by individuals, something the Clinton administration very much wanted and the ACLU and other groups were strongly opposed to. It was Kerry who wanted the FBI to have back-door access to all VOIP software. It was Kerry who not only supported our blatantly unconstitutional asset forfeiture laws (along with Joe Biden, who literally wrote the book and the law that did it), he wanted to make it international in application. He voted for the Patriot Act, like everyone in the Senate other than Russ Feingold. He had a horrible record on such issues (after 2004, he started to change a bit on those issues, but he certainly isn’t anyone’s idea of a civil libertarian.

    And not only have I not argued that both parties are exactly the same, I have explicitly said the opposite. I have said, for example, that while Obama has been a disaster on these issues, turning Bush’s blatantly unconstitutional power grabs into a matter of bipartisan consensus, he has at least put better people on the federal bench, including the Supreme Court, than anyone that would be nominated by any Republican. And I see that as a positive reason to vote for Obama rather than any of his Republican opponents. I’ve said this many times over. But you keep beating up that straw man all you want.

    Even if Kerry was no better than Bush Jr., Ron Paul’s jumping ship would have shaken up the election, and forced EVERYONE to pay attention to the issues Ron Paul pretended to be so passionate about. And if the Democrats had seen the game so radically changed by Ron Paul’s defection, that would have made them at least a little more likely to take notice — and action — on his issues. If Ron Paul really cared so much about those issues, he would have used a defection to highlight them in a hotly contested election to get maximum attention and maximum results. He chose not to, and that proves he really didn’t give a shit. (And no, I’m not saying he should have “become a Democrat,” I’m saying he should have thrown his support to the Democrats in one election. There’s a difference.)

    The fact that you think this would have changed anything shows just how utterly delusional you are on this. You’ve built this bizarre alternate reality in your head where Ron Paul, then an obscure congressman from Texas with little support in either party, would have said he was supporting someone who was nearly as bad as Bush on all of those key issues, that would have changed everything. Seriously? Did you write that with a straight face? Again we have this bizarre argument that if Ron Paul didn’t do everything you thinks he should do, he must not really mean it even though he has a lifetime of consistent votes and sponsoring legislation. He didn’t support either candidate in 2004 and he had no reason to do so, especially when it comes to the constitutional issues we’re talking about.

    Where were those 20% when the Republicans were in power? Cheering their party on every step of the way, just like the Tea Party. If you think they support Ron Paul because of his views on foreign policy, then you’re the “delusional” one, not me. They support Ron Paul for the same reasons so many Republicans call themselves “libertarian:” they’re embarrassed at their party’s total unmitigated failures, but don’t want to admit the evil commie liberals were ever right about anything.

    Actually, the survey data on Ron Paul supporters shows quite the opposite, that he is attracting a hell of a lot of voters who otherwise would not vote Republican. That’s exactly why the GOP is so terrified of him running third party or as an independent in the general election, because they know a lot of his supporters would go with him rather than vote for a Republican candidate who is in favor of these things that they oppose.

  47. slc1 says

    Re Raging Bee @ #40

    According to the Wikipedia article (again less authoritative then Jane’s Fighting Ships), they have only the Illustrious currently in service.

    The carrier used in the Falklands exercise was the Invincible which, apparently, is no longer in service, at least in the British Navy.

    OT but of, perhaps, some interest, there was a British battle-cruiser named the Invincible, which was involved in an action in the early part of WW1, known as the Battle of the Falkland Islands. It and another battle-cruiser were detached from the British Grand Fleet, under the command of Admiral Sturdee, after a British squadron was sunk by a German squadron in the Pacific, and were sent to hunt down and sink the latter. The German squadron, under Admiral von Spee had approached the Falklands to destroy a radio station but found to their dismay the two battle-cruisers in port. The German squadron was chased down and sunk by the guns of the two battle-cruisers.

  48. slc1 says

    Re laurentweppe @ #45

    Mr. weppe must be a Poe. I suggest that he look at a map to determine how far those islands are from the Straits of Hormuz. This is in addition to the question as to whether air power alone would be sufficient to keep the straits open. Carrier task forces have other ships besides the carrier which would be important assets in escorting tankers through the straits (remember how US naval assets were used to escort tankers during the Iraq/Iran war).

  49. says

    I still don’t get why people here still take a poster seriously who keeps advocating dropping 15 nuclear bombs on Iran.

  50. slc1 says

    Re pelemun @ #52

    In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg published today, the president said he wants a permanent solution to the problem of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. IMHO, a conventional attack by Israel or even a more intense conventional attack using bunker busting bombs by US air forces won’t get the job done. If the president is serious, then the only workable approach is the total destruction of Iran’s military capabilities, which can only be assured by the use of nuclear weapons.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/obama-to-iran-and-israel-as-president-of-the-united-states-i-dont-bluff/253875/

  51. says

    You’ve built this bizarre alternate reality in your head where Ron Paul, then an obscure congressman from Texas with little support in either party…

    Are you fucking kidding me? You know as well as I do that Ron Paul has — and has had for decades — a core of supporters who would have been VERY responsive to just about anything he asked them to do. Not a majority, of course — but quite enough to have changed the 2004 election result, which everyone knew in advance would be very close. Why didn’t Ron Paul make what he could have known would be, at the very least, a clear and attention-grabbing gesture of protest? That was the only thing he could have done to make his concerns center-stage; he had no other options. Seriously, it’s not like he had some other plan that would have undermined Bush’s expansion of executive power.

    Now you’re trying to justify Ron Paul’s inaction on the grounds that he was irrelevant? Jumping ship to punish the Republicans would have made him relevant, so that excuse doesn’t fly. And he chose not to do it because he didn’t WANT to be relevant, didn’t want to be responsible, and didn’t want to leave the GOP because his REAL priorities (tax cuts and deregulation) were the same as theirs.

    Like I said, Ron Paul was never willing to walk the walk; and you admit it when you try to make excuses for his inaction.

    …he is attracting a hell of a lot of voters who otherwise would not vote Republican. That’s exactly why the GOP is so terrified of him running third party…

    So who would those voters otherwise vote for, if not a Republican? And if they wouldn’t otherwise vote Republican, why would the Republicans be “terrified” of a third-party run by him? Thank you, Ed, you’re one step closer to admitting why Ron Paul serves, and does not really oppose, Republican interests; and why they let him benefit from their propaganda machine.

    One moment you say Ron Paul is not a threat to the Republicans, next moment you’re saying the Republicans are terrified of him. And you’re calling me a buffoon?

  52. says

    slc1: thanks for the info on British carriers. Now back to bashing you for your blind, stupid, sadistic advocacy of nuclear attacks against Iran…

    If the president is serious, then the only workable approach is the total destruction of Iran’s military capabilities, which can only be assured by the use of nuclear weapons.

    That “solution” would only be “permanent” as long as we kept on bombing whatever they try to rebuild after the last bombing, while expecting them to stop trying to defend themselves when we “preemptively” attack them. And believe me, our political will to keep on bombing them without provocation would run out long before their political will to build up their power against unprovoked attacks did.

    Here’s another idea: remember that we didn’t have to preemptively destroy either China’s or the USSR’s nuclear capability, so why should we have to destroy Iran’s, which will never be as big as China’s?

  53. slc1 says

    Re pelemun

    I would suggest that Mr. pelemun read the interview, to which I linked, with the president in which he explains why Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons is unacceptable. Sounds pretty persuasive to me.

  54. says

    Oh, and do I really have to remind you that the fallout from dozens of nuclear bombs won’t neatly stay in Iranian airspace? Where do you think the wind will take it? How will that affect the legitimate interests of the affected nations? Do you even have enough self-control to think about that before screaming for more blood in the name of peace and security?

  55. slc1 says

    Re Raging Bee @ #56

    If we hit them as I propose, it will take them 20 years to recoup. An attack every 20 years doesn’t seem too arduous.

    However, as I proposed to Mr. pelemun, I suggest that Ms. Bee read the interview with the president, to which I linked, in which he makes a persuasive case as to why acquisition of nuclear weapons by the mad mullahs of Iran is unacceptable.

  56. says

    slc1: calling something “unacceptable” does not automatically make an unprovoked nuclear attack, or its long-term consequences (foreseeable and unforeseeable), “acceptable.” There’s a lot of “unacceptable” shit going on all over the Earth that can’t be nuked away without absolutely heinous costs to all manner of innocent people.

    Another thing about Iran: it seems to be one of a very few countries in the region not affected by the “Arab Spring” and the subsequent chaotic outpouring of old destabilizing hatreds. Are you really stupid enough to think that an unprovoked nuclear attack against such a large, powerful, and up-to-now-relatively-stable nation would be GOOD for Israel’s security, or the stability of the region? If you answer “yes,” then the next school bus you board should be the short one, ifyouknowwhatimean…

  57. says

    If we hit them as I propose, it will take them 20 years to recoup.

    And less than 20 years to build an air force to a) counter the next attack and b) retaliate against whoever launches it. Trust me, you drooling bloodthirsty chickenhawk, Iran is dangerous enough without nukes, so an attack targeting only nuclear facilities will not make the danger go away. Your infantile fantasy of limited precision surgical strikes with neat permanent results is an insult to our intelligence. Grow the fuck up.

  58. says

    Besides, Iran’s biggest threat to Israel has always been Hezbollah, not nukes. Diverting attention away from the real threat won’t make Israel more secure.

  59. says

    Another thing about Iran: it seems to be one of a very few countries in the region not affected by the “Arab Spring” and the subsequent chaotic outpouring of old destabilizing hatreds.

    I’d say that is precisely because of the language barrier. (I don’t imply you didn’t know this!) Iran is not an Arab country.

    My impression of the Iranian population is after their own version of the Arab Spring a year or so prior to the events in the Arab world, the energy of the opposition movement has fizzled out for the moment. But anti-government sentiment is still simmering (a western attack would certainly change that). It’s estimated that only 25% of Iranian citizens will go to the so-called elections* they are holding today/tomorrow (depending on your time zone).

    *some western media have been calling it “elections of the conservative [institutions]” Given the role of the Guardian Council and other institutions rigging the elections, that’s indeed a good term

  60. slc1 says

    Re Ed Brayton @ #50

    I seem to recall some back and forth between myself and Raging Bee in which it was indicated that he was actually a she.

  61. laurentweppe says

    Mr. weppe must be a Poe. I suggest that he look at a map to determine how far those islands are from the Straits of Hormuz

    While I was being slightly sarcastic, in fact, french Mirages can go from Cyprus to Bandar-Abbas. Or Rafales can go from Cyprus to Tehran. Of course, all of this is pointless, considering the fact that the tiny Iranian navy cannot pull a serious blockade and that the Iranian economy can’t withstand a huge economy crisis: iranian threats concerning Hormuz have been, as usual, little more than posturing, helped by western propagandists who prefer to pretend that te Iranian tiny insular petty dictatorship is a Big Dangerous Evil Empire rather than to admit tnat they’re still pissed at the overthrow of their puppet dynasty.

  62. slc1 says

    Re laurentweppe @ #65

    All the Iranian navy has to do is sink a couple of oil tankers in the straits and they will be effectively shut down.

    Mr. weppe still seems not to understand that air forces alone could not keep the straits open. A naval force to escort tankers is required and only the US Navy has the wherewithal to perform that task.

    Apparently, the nations in the area are rather less sanguine about Iranian military capabilities then is Mr. weppe. As President Obama opined in the interview with Jeffrey Goldberg to which I linked, Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons would set off an arms race in the area as nations like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt rush to acquire their own nuclear capability. Just what is not needed in that part of the world.

  63. says

    All the Iranian navy has to do is sink a couple of oil tankers in the straits and they will be effectively shut down.

    Yeah, that’s just one of many bad things Iran can do without nuclear weapons. So why the fuck are we wasting any time arguing over a capability that’s totally superfluous?

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