This post is very serious! Very serious indeed, for I am a serious blogger whose author-i-TIE you must respect. But more than that, you must respect my special cause, my job, my single special interest, my idee fixe. “That’s my job/that’s what I do,” twanged the minstrel yokel. Well, my job is the most important. EVAR. Acknowledge, bitchez! Anything less is worse than wrong; it’s unserious!
[Bradrocket adds: HTML, don't be too worried about Charles Pierce's disagreement. He surely does kick royal amounts of behind (and he has an even bigger Brady man-crush than I do), but you're very much in the right on this. Of all the colors in the current wingnut rainbow (which consists of leisure-suit green, Deuce-Coupe yellow, and the orange of the '70s Astros uniforms) Paul is by far the least offensive. A Preznit Rudy is basically the worst nightmare scenario. Preznit Mitt would be bad, but he's enough of an opportunist that I don't think he means all the crazy crap he says (and yes, it's sad that I now consider crass opportunism to be a check-mark in a GOP candidate's favor). OK, I'll shaddup now and let you get back to work...]
The Times quotes Norman Mailer putting it far less retardedly — actually, Mailer here is wonderfully, lovably candid (a pleasing break from his default position of lovable obnoxiousness) — one of those advertisements for himself that actually went over well:
“I think the novel is on the way out,” he said. “I also believe, because it’s natural to take one’s own occupation more seriously than others, that the world may be the less for that.”
This hits on all cylinders: He’s right that the diminished importance of the novel is a cultural loss; he’s right to say he takes that fact more seriously than others; he’s right to say it’s natural that a writer does so.
My point is: Would that some political bloggers acknowledged their own — myopia is far too strong a word; how about natural (pace Mailer) or unnatural (and you can figure out which is which and who is whom) — over-investment in x issue, and that the recognition inspired a new sense of caution.
Above: The archetypical monomaniac:
On any given subject, only considers its
connection to a pale cetacean.
The crude reduction, in several obituaries, of Mailer as a mere misogynist is neither rightwing nor leftwing but simply a logical symptom of over-investment, of one’s pet cause (or pet tool — Althouse, crusader against Valenti’s boobs, is most insincere in her feminism) overriding one’s judgment. Likewise, the smears of Ron Paul as a David Duke fellow-traveler and inspiration to Timothy McVeighs everywhere is the logical symptom of an over-investment in anti-racism. While racism and misogyny are important things to combat — indeed opposition to such things is rightly a default position among progressives but is only mouthed and used cynically by wingnuts — neither, respectively, should they be assumed as the underlying cause of… well, everything bad.
The progressive stake in Ron Paul’s success is a simple: We don’t want any Republican to win, but everyone benefits from a rightwing that is less warmongering. A historical analogy that illustrates the strategy I’m talking about would be when, in 1940, Wendell Willkie secured the Republican nomination for President. Wilkie eventually came to a pro-war position, thus giving his opponent, FDR, breathing room to prosecute a war actually worth fighting. A strong Paul showing, on the flip-side of the same coin, would free our Dem candidates to speak with less, shall we say, imperialism (though I doubt Hillary would whatever her opportunities to do so; hence the wingnuts’ preference for her if a Dem must be elected; or, maybe I’m just a misogynist; yes, surely that is it!!!).
…which brings me back to my initial point OF. MAXIMUM. SERIOUSNESS. We all have our obsessions, our bugbears, our pet causes. And we should be careful not to assume that they always pertain to whatever question’s at hand. Doubly, we ought to avoid over-specialization, over-investment, and above all avoid the tendency to make a Unified Field Theory (incorporating our obsession to the point of ludicrous aggrandizement) and apply it to everything monomaniacally. And yet, and yet… some obsessions — okay, one current obsession — is more equal than others, is a political and moral trump card: Stopping the war. As Atrios has mentioned quite a bit lately with sarcastic understatement, people forget that war is a bad thing. But it’s not just a bad thing; unjust, immoral wars are the worst thing a country could ever do short of a Holocaust. Garden variety American racism makes people miserable and gets people killed, as does sexism, homophobia, etc. But evil wars get people murdered en masse — brown people, I might add. Plus it degrades America, breaks her treasury, and the conditions war exerts on domestic politics as a rule enables rightwing policy: there is a relationship between not just the war and, say, domestic spying, but also between the war and cultural issues like racism, sexism, etc. War is the fuel that the engine of wingnuttery guzzles. Wingnuts understand this; why do you think they are willing to concede (if push becomes hard electoral shove) on every single issue but that?
Ron Paul is anti-war. Otherwise, he’s of course a wingnut. We’re not gonna vote for him anyway; but we should hope wingnuts do. Therefore it’s strategically dunderheaded and morally irresponsible (given the importance of the war) to allege that Paul is at best equivalent — or more likely, worse than — the other Republican candidates. Ron Paul can hurt the other wingnuts, especially the worst wingnut of all, Rudolph Giuliani. This is why neocon hacks like David Frum and Rich Lowry constantly and vehemently attack Paul; it’s also why the clay-eating cretins of Redstate.com — composed of racists, sexists, religious nuts, militia sympathizers, etc; basically a clusterfuck of Freepers who’ve learned how to spell — have banned Paul supporters from the site.
Finally, to put the fixation of racism (to the detriment of all other issues, especially the war) in its place: all wingnuts are more or less equally racist, some just use better code than others. Or, put another way, troglodyte racists are a significant part of the wingnut base and all candidates must appeal to that base to get its vote. What I’m getting at here is the apparent belief of some liberals that Rudolph Giuliani’s potential administration, neocon that it would be, and whose support comes from the ‘burbs and cities and from the “conservative intelligensia” [sic], would be in practice any less racist, sexist, cruel, homophobic, etc than Ron Paul’s. It is to larf. Giuliani had to appear tolerant (for a wingnut) to get elected in NYC. And like Mitt Romney, another con man from a Blue State, he’s “sincerely” flip-flopping to get elected to the Presidency. Consider the depravity of Giuliani’s advisors. Racism? Demented Daniel Pipes thinks internment isn’t such a bad policy. Homophobia? Norman Podhoretz counts homosexuality as the root of all evils. Fiscal batshittery? A ‘fuck the poor’ stance of cartoonish supervillainy? David Frum, who wants to repeal the social contract to the Donner Party level, is far more libertarian in the concentrated-evil, social darwinist sense than Ron Paul on his worst day.
Unlike Paul, a President Giuliani will incinerate thousands of people in Iraq, Iran, and probably Syria, too. Somewhere, there is an Arab or Persian Daisy, in whose future a clusterbomb looms if a wingnut not named Paul wins the Presidency. Therefore, the more wingnuts — the existence of whom you can’t wish away — are steered toward Paul and away from the warmongering pack of idiots who compose the balance of the Republican candidates, the better for everyone here and abroad. I’m not gonna vote for Paul, but then I’m not a wingnut. However, the point is that wingnuts do vote, and we have an interest in which candidate they vote for. Paul is the best choice, and if you well-intentioned liberals can’t see past your favorite domestic issue to grasp this truth, you probably need to reassess your hierarchy of values. Yes, my pet issue is more important than yours! Neener neener!