If anyone had any doubts that the US is ruled by a single pro-war, pro-business party, recent Congressional action should dispel them. It is clear that the wheels are already being oiled for starting a war with Iran, and the Democrats are complicit in this pre-war demagoguery, just as they were before the war with Iraq, when many voted for the Iraq war authorization resolution.
Take the recent resolution H. Con. Res. 21 of the 110th session passed by the House of Representatives. As Arthur Silber points out, it lays the groundwork for what can be used later to start a war with Iran. 411 members voted for it, and only two voted against. The two were (no surprise) Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul and Kucinich explains why.
The vote may have been seen by some as symbolic, a chance for them to grandstand against Iran, the current target of demonization by the pro-war lobby. It was triggered by an alleged inflammatory statement by the Iranian leader that people who know the language and idiom well say is a mistranslation. (See Juan Cole and also here.) But as the bitter experience of Iraq reveals, so-called symbolic resolutions have a way of being used as if they are legal authorizations for war.
As for Paul, Rudy Giuliani must be kicking himself for taking on congressman Ron Paul during one of the early GOP debates. As a result of that exchange, Paul has received a lot of media exposure. I have mentioned approvingly his views on the Iraq war and the negative consequence of militarism in foreign policy. Another big thing in his favor is that he does take the constitution and the Bill of Rights seriously.
But we have heard very little in the media on his domestic views, some of which I disagree with, especially his opposition to single-payer universal health care system. Another negative against Paul is that he objects to gays serving in the military, and seems to support the current ridiculous “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The issues page on Paul’s website is a bit sketchy on details of his positions on many issues. The Carpetbagger Report lists other problems with Paul’s views and those of libertarianism in general.
Paul’s sharp opposition to government in almost all its forms and almost uncritical support for the private sector seems to arise from a great faith in the ‘free market’, but his view of it, like that of many libertarians, seems to be an Adam Smith idealization, where lots of small companies vie for customers on a roughly equal footing. In such a situation, individuals have some power and can benefit but that situation is rarely found in the modern, highly corporatized, monopolistic economy. Now corporations have enormous power over individuals and one of the important tasks for both the government and the judiciary is to counterbalance that power so that individuals are not at the mercy of these powerful entities.
There is a danger with too powerful a government, though, because it can shift its allegiance from protecting the rights of ordinary citizens to serving the interests of the elites who wine and dine politicians and contribute to their campaigns and even outright bribe them. We currently have a system where a single pro-business, pro-war party government with two factions (labeled Republicans and Democrats) is actually colluding with corporations to exploit individuals, and a Supreme Court that is also more solicitous of business interests than that of individuals. It is time to swing the pendulum away from big government-big corporation domination of our lives.
Since the mainstream media tends to focus mainly on so-called ‘leading’ candidates, in order to redress the balance, here is collection of just Paul’s responses to questions during the June 5, 2007 New Hampshire debate.
It is to Jon Stewart’s credit that he asks Paul about his other views.
And keeping on a lighter note yet revealing of where Paul stands on a variety of issues, here he is on Stephen Colbert’s show:
And as a result of appearing on Colbert’s show, he got the famous ‘Colbert bump’ and his poll numbers shot up to 2%!
While people like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are unlikely to win their respective party’s nominations since the media have already decided that they are not ‘serious’ candidates, their presence in the race has definitely opened the door to a wider range of views (especially on the Iraq war and the threat to liberties at home) and that is definitely a good thing.
POST SCRIPT: Bong hits 4 Jesus